One thing is sure: Mujadara lentils must be small, round, and dark brown. Those have a deep nutty flavor that will make all the difference for this purist’s dish.
Mujadara is all about being a vegetarian dish, and so a version with meat seems so contradictory and weird! But it does exist, and it is Georgina al Bayeh, Tawlet’s super smiling cook from Kfar Dlekos, who initiated us to the wonders of mujadara b’ lahmeh!
Kibbeh is mainly done with meat, with more than 30 different versions of it, but in coastal cities, kibbeh is made with fish!
Armenian cuisine is sophisticated and has a taste of its own. Itch is basically the Armenian version of a tabouleh. Itch is mainly fine-ground bulgur soaked in a tomato-based sauce.
Hummus is the definite non-home food—even if you find it often in home-cooked meals. A good restaurant is measured to the quality of its hummus, and hummus in the old days used to be bought at the souk fawwal only.
Reshta is the West Beqaa answer for what to serve for Good Friday’s lunch: large homemade noodles in a thick lentil stew. Lentils are a Good Friday staple, and are said to represent Christ’s tears.
This is the “other” mujadara, the one that must be “grainy,” with the rice in distinct separate grains and not puréed like the Rice and Lentils.
Foul means “fava beans” and is the name of the green fava (foul akhdar), the dried beans, and the dish itself. Foul medamass (seasoned fava) is somewhere between a salad and a stew.
There is always space to argue about variations on dishes, and so it is true with falafel too! Where is it from? Where is the best one? How should it be made? I’ll stop on this last issue!
Fatteh is typical souk food, mainly of the souks of Damascus. Already prepared ingredients are mixed at the last minute and served immediately—cooked chickpeas, yogurt, grilled bread, and traditionally browned butter or ghee drizzled on top. A fatteh must be served and eaten quickly, before the grilled bread gets soggy from the yogurt.