Recipe with a story

A truly international dining experience

Knafeh, a popular Middle-Eastern dessert
Knafeh, a popular Middle-Eastern dessert
13 OCT 2015

It is a random day in the life of a Lebanese expat living in Doha. In such a cosmopolitan place, food becomes a more exciting experience. I agree with my housemates to prepare a Lebanese lunch, Mjaddara and Fattoush, and improvise a healthy and refreshing dessert that we decide to name “fruity knafeh.”

I go with my Lebanese friend with a Pakistani cab driver in a Japanese Toyota car that has a Qatari registration plate to get the ingredients we need, which are basically shipped from the four corners of the world. These are some international details that I notice on the way to the supermarket. We get the stuff and return home to prepare our meal.

For the Mjaddara we use:
• 1 onion
• 1 cup of lentils
• ½ cup of rice
• table spoon of olive oil
• 1 teaspoon of black pepper
• salt
• 1 liter of water

For the Fattoush we need:
• 1 big onion
• lettuce
• cucumbers
• green and red capsicum
• tomatoes
• baby spinach
• Rocca leaves
• table spoon of sumac
• toasted Lebanese bread
• ½ cup of olive oil
• salt
• 1 lemon
• 2 tablespoons of pomegranate molasses

As for the “fruity knafeh” we need:
• 4 cups of milk
• 1 cup of semolina
• 2 cups of oats
• juice cocktail of fresh mango, kiwi, orange and pineapple

Starting with the Mjaddara, we chop one onion and put it in the pot with one table spoon of (Spanish!) olive oil on medium heat. When the onion is half cooked, we add the lentils that have already been soaked in water for around 10 minutes. We then pour the water and bring the lentils to a boil. Once the lentils are cooked enough, we add the rice and let it boil for 10 to 15 minutes until most of the water is absorbed.

To prepare the Fattoush, we simply cut the vegetables, mix them and then add the olive oil, sumac, basil and some lemon juice along with the pomegranate molasses. Just before serving we add the roasted Lebanese bread to give it a crunchy texture.

Having finished with the main dish, we begin with the “fruity knafeh” by pouring the milk into a pot over medium heat and then adding the cup of semolina. The mix is slowly stirred until it gets thicker. Once it starts to boil, we pour it in a flat platter where we have already sprinkled one of the cups of oats. We then put the other cup of oats on the surface of the mixture and allow it to cool. Afterwards we cut the fruits and prepare the cocktail in the blender to serve it with our new version of healthy knafeh, “fruity knafeh.”

Now that we are ready to enjoy this homemade food, we shall end this Lebanese recipe prepared in cosmopolitan Qatar with a French phrase, bon appétit!