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Thursday, 9 December 2010

Lebanese Stews Series

There are endless varieties of Lebanese stews ("yakhneh") that are all healthy and very tasty. I will most likely be making many of them over the next few months and I will be sharing the recipes of each.

All Lebanese stews:
- Include one and only one vegetable or type of beans
- Are made with chicken, beef cubes or ground beef (or simply skip the meats for a vegetarian version)
- Have a tomato, lemon or yogurt base sauce
- Are made in steps where vegetables/beans and meats are cooked separately then added to the sauce
- Are eaten over rice
- Include one spice - garlic/cilantro/salt "Alleyeh"

Given the importance of "Alleyeh" as a base flavour of Lebanese stews, here is how to make it.

Chop a bunch of cilantro leaves very fine and crush 6 gloves of garlic. 

The wooden mortar and pestle is very common in Lebanon and is used exclusively for crushing garlic. Best to sprinkle garlic with salt prior to crushing.

Heat one Tbs of olive oil and fry the garlic for just under a minute. Add the chopped cilantro and continue frying until the cilantro welts, almost a minute.

And there you have it, the secret base for tasty Lebanese stews. You would only need a tsp of this for a pot of stew, so I usually freeze it and use what I need when I need it.

Keep an eye on actual stews recipes coming up.

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