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The Syrian Sweet Zalabia

Zalabia dessert is made by deep-frying flour batter in pretzel or circular shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup. It is popular all over South Asia and the Middle East. 

Zalabia dessert is very famous in Syrian pastry, and it is served specially in celebrating the feast of the Epiphany in January, and it is traditionally given to the poor during Ramadan.

Five simple ingredients are all you need to make Zalabia: yeast, flour, corn starch, water and a pinch of sugar, spiced with anise, cinnamon, and oil for frying. This dessert can be served warm or cold.

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Malfouf)

A cabbage roll is a traditional dish consisting of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings.

The Arabic name of cabbage is “malfouf”, however this word originally means wrapped up and that explains where the name of cabbage comes from.

Stuffed cabbage roll recipe is part of the Syrian cuisine and is considered a comfort food. Some are strictly vegetarian filled with buckwheat groats, barley or millet, while others feature beef, lamb or pork.

Barazek (Sesame Pistachio Cookies)

Barazek is a delicious Syrian cooky and it is a typically Syrian culinary specialty, and it very famous in Damascus. These cookies are also very popular in Homs and Aleppo, with sesame seeds and crushed pistachios, flavored with spices, vanilla and honey. With its light and crisp texture, this little sweet delicacy goes perfectly with a hot drink and will surely become your favorite treat.

Barazek is originally a Syrian pastry, but the recipe has spread widely throughout the Middle East, including Lebanon and Jordan. It is now common to find the famous sesame biscuits in many Mediterranean countries, exploring local shops and tea shops.

Traditionally, it is in Syrian bakeries that you can find the best barazek. They are sold in a pre-packaged form in metal boxes, to maximize shelf life. These biscuits are known as a part of local culture and traditions.

Homemade Arabic Seven Spice

Spice blends remind us of the old city. There was a time when you could only buy your spices and spice mixes in the old parts of the city ( Bzouryeh).

The spice shop was run by a kind and cheerful old man, one who never used the scales or measuring cups, yet he managed to produce the exact same blend every time.

Arabic seven spice blend is used heavily in the Levantine cuisine, particularly in Syrian and Lebanese recipes.

As the name implies, there are 7 spices that make up this blend and give it its signature flavor that is used to add an irresistible Middle Eastern touch to soups and tomato sauces. You can also use it as a rub for meat and chicken.

Lahmeh bil Saniyeh

Lahmeh bil Saniyeh, which literally translates to Meat in a Tray. It is meat spread in a tray and baked in the oven.  Some people have another name "Lahmeh bil Sahen" which means Meat in a Plate.

In the old days, late ninteenth, early twentieth century, most people didn't have ovens in their homes. Lahmeh bil Saniyeh was usually prepared by the family butcher and then sent to one of the city's many communal ovens to be baked. You can still get that today in Damascus especially in the old city and traditional old neighbourhoods.