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Saturday, 17 September 2011

Cooking with Lebanese Pine Nuts

The most cherished products from Lebanon are pine nuts freshly collected from the abundant pine tree forests. Lebanese pine nuts tend to be longer and thinner than ones we find here from other countries, and have a whiter colour to them.

Here are two Lebanese recipes that capitalize on pine nuts. Enjoy.

1. Mehshi Warak Aatea

Many of you remember the Grape Vine Sunday feature where me and cats head out to pick up vine leaves. Well we did this again, but rather than making the same meal, we prepared the vegetarian version of Mehshi Warak (a.k.a. Aatea).

The process and recipe is identical to the one I featured for the meat version (Meshi Warak). The key difference is the stuffing.

The stuffing consists of pine nuts, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped mint or parsley, salt, pepper, a sprinkle of olive oil and a sprinkle of lemon juice.

The rest of the process is identical to the meat version, you blanch the grape vine leaves, stuff and roll them, pile them in a pot over potato slices o they won't stick to the pot, cover them with 1/3 lemon juice to 2/3 water, sprinkle with salt and olive oil and cook on low heat until the water is absorbed.

2. Seyyadeyeh

A very easy recipe for fish lovers. Chop your favourite fish into small pieces and fry in olive oil. Put aside.

In the same pot, fry some onions, add the cooked fish, salt, pepper, olive oil, turmeric, rice and the required water for the amount of rice. Cook on low heat until rice is ready. 

Now where the pine nuts come in is at the time of serving. Pour the rice & fish into a platter and sprinkle with slightly browned pine nuts. Fit for a king (and queen). Enjoy.

All pine nuts used in dishes above are brought directly from Lebanese pine-treed mountains.

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