Kafta Kabab

Kafta is a dish of meatballs or meatloaf  found in the Indian subcontinent, South Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Central Asian cuisines.

In Syria Kafta is a very popular dish. It is usually made from lamb, beef, or chicken. The meat is often mixed with other ingredients, such as rice, bulgur, vegetables, or eggs to form a smooth paste. It can be grilled, fried, steamed or baked, and may be served with a rich spicy sauce. Kaftas are sometimes made from fish or vegetables rather than red meat.

It can also be pressed between two flatbreads known as 'Arayes'. These are also sometimes cooked on the grill or in a panini maker. 

In Greek, Cypriot, and Balkan  cuisine Kafta may be cooked with pork, beef, lamb, or a mixture of the three.

In Cyprus, Kafta is known as keftedes and is usually served fried and eaten with yogurt.

The word Kafta comes from Classical Persian (kōfta), meaning "rissole", "to pound" or "to grind", reflecting the ground meat used for the meatballs.

Zucchini boats in tahini sauce

Zucchini boats, filled with perfectly seasoned juicy minced meat, cooked in a velvety, minty and slightly tangy tahini sauce.  If you have never cooked with tahini, the idea might seem odd at first but this velvety smooth paste is good for so much more than hummus!

In the Levant and Syria in particular, tahini is a pantry staple. It is used to make salad dressings, halva, cookies, and it makes the perfect sauce to cook meat and vegetables in.

These zucchini boats are super easy to make and you can even do the prep a day or two ahead of time, cook the zucchini, prepare the filling and the sauce and store everything in the fridge. All you have to do on the day you want to serve this is to fill the zucchini, pour over the sauce, and bake for 30 minutes!

Syrian molasses pudding (khabeesa)

Many Christians around the world celebrate Epiphany on January 6th, also known as Three Kings’ Day, in reference to the three wise men/kings who visited baby Jesus. It marks the day Saint John baptized Jesus in Jordan’s river along with the three kings’ visit.

Every religious holiday has its special traditions and there are three during Epiphany:

–  Zlebye and Khabesa sweet

– Dayim Dayim

– Keeping balconies lit

The Zlebyé is the most popular sweet during Epiphany and is basically fried dough with sugar and cinnamon. It’s really good and the best way to have it is when it’s still hot.

Khabisa also is a popular sweet dish made from grape molasses or carob, corn flour and decorated with walnut pieces. Khabisa has a jelly-like consistency and dissolves smoothly in the mouth. 

People greet each other during Epiphany by saying “Deyim Deyim”, which is an old saying to wish others blessings all year long. Also, yeast is prepared with small coins in it and hung on a plant or a tree outside the house in a small bag. There is a belief that Christ will be passing at midnight to bless homes and the hanging yeast balls, hence why lights are kept on as well. Other sweets are also prepared on that day.

These traditions gather families together, are fun and bring back a lot of beautiful memories. Dayim Dayim and Merry Christmas to all Syrians.

Syrian Sujuk

Sujuk  is dry and spicy meat that looks like sausage and it is very delicious. Armenian cuisine has been famous for sujuk for many years. The Armenians were the first to make sujuk, and then it quickly spread throughout the Balkans, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.

There were various ways to prepare the sujuk during the Middle Ages. It spread to Syria when the Armenians entered from Turkey to Syria and Lebanon.

Then sujuk quickly became a core element of traditional Syrian food.

Sujuk consists of ground meat (usually beef or lamb, and even horsemeat has also been used). Black pepper, Aleppo pepper, whole garlic cloves, red pepper powder, and cumin are added to the meat before it is ground.

Syrian Awameh

Awameh is a dessert that dates back to the early medieval period and the 13th-century Abbasid Caliphate, where it is mentioned in several of the existent cookery books of that time.

Awameh is Syrian yeasted dough that is fried and then sweetened with rosewater or sugar syrup. It can be infused with different flavors by adding spices to the batter like anise  or cinnamon . You can also infuse the syrup by adding some cardamom pods or cinnamon sticks to it.

In the Levant, they are called awameh and in Egypt zalabya

It is usually eaten with a cup of unsweetened Arabic coffee, but you can also have it on its own or with a cup of tea.

These crisp balls are the perfect dessert for any occasion such as weddings, business events, house parties.