Seafood, vegetables, fruits and starch-based foods- these are the essentialities of Lebanese cuisine. This cuisine also makes use of fats sparingly unlike Chinese and other styles of cooking. The choice of meat is also very selective, as the people often consume poultry products than red meat.
Other valuable ingredients likewise include oils and seasonings such as garlic and lemon juice. In fact, most of the Lebanese dishes are prepared by means of grilling, baking or sautéing with use of olive oil. Dairy products such as cream are used mostly for desserts and not usually in viands or entrees.
Vegetables, on the other hand, are prepared by means of pickling and cooking. Sometimes, the Lebanese prefer to eat it raw. More so, the cuisine focuses more on spices, herbs and the freshest ingredients. While these selections seem to be limited, the presentation of Lebanese food is very diverse and limitless. The people are keen on preparing meals by means of having combinations and varieties. The diet, generally, is characterized as hearty and earthy, due its inherent flavors and tastes.
Lebanon is one country, filled with traditions as well. For its people, food and drinks are synonymous with each other. No food is complete without a complementary beverage, as much as no drinks are served without any food on the guest’s platter. Mezze is a good example of this customary practice, wherein small dishes are served along with beverages. The featured items in a Mezze can range from basic to complex, such as bread, pickled vegetables, hummus and skewered meats.
Common desserts include a fresh serving of seasonal fruits. Baklava, which is also part of Greek cuisine, is another popular dessert among the Lebanese people. Other traditional dishes also feature a number of fresh and natural produce, thus creating an ensemble of textures, smells and flavors.
Ingredients Utilized in Lebanese Cuisine
Poultry, Lamb, Goat
Eggplants, Potatoes, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Chickpeas, Lentils, Beans, Squash, Zucchini,
Seasonings, Herbs, Spices and Sauces:
Tahini (sesame paste), Lemon juice, Garlic, Cumin, Mint, Sesame oil and seeds, Parsley, Onions, Chili, Cilantro, Vinegar
Eggs, Milk, Butter, Cream, Cheeses, Yogurt
Nuts and Grains:
Rice, Oats, Wheat, Pistachios, Walnuts
Lebanon, being a country comprised of regions, is very open to receiving influences from other cultures. On the contrary, the people strive to maintain tradition through regional dishes and great food. The freshness of chosen ingredients, as well as the intensity of selected spices and herbs, gives Lebanese cuisine that unique ‘earthy flavor.’
The Mezze, which features an elaborate serving of hot and cold dishes, make the cuisine extraordinary and colorful. Moreover, with a great selection of dishes and dips such as Batata Harra, Baklava, Fattoush even Hummus, we can easily determine the Lebanese’ passion for spicy living and flavorful food.
Authentic Lebanese Recipes
Recipe Source: lebaneserecipes.com
* 8 chicken thighs
* 1/2 cup malt vinegar
* 1 tsp mixed spices
* 1/4 ground cardamon
* 1/4 cup yoghurt
* 1 tbs oil
* Salt & pepper
The mixed spices used here are the traditional ’7 spices’ you can buy off the shelf.
Slice the chicken.. Marinate using all the above ingredients for 4 hours or overnight in the fridge. Put the chicken with the marinade in an oven tray and bake covered in a hot oven for 30 mins, turning once. Uncover and put back in the oven for 5 more minutes, or till the chicken is well cooked. If desired, pour out the fat for a healtier option. Serve with sliced tomatoes, onions, and chopped parsley, rolled in a pitta bread topped with Tarator, hummus and Toum.
Lebanese Rice Pilaf
Recipe Source: lebaneserecipes.org
1/4 cup Chinese egg noodles or thin spaghetti, broken into 1/2 inch pieces
3 tbs Olive oil
2 cup Long grain rice
4 cup Cold water
Salt to taste
* In a small frying pan, saute’ the noodle pieces in the olive oil until they’re golden brown. Careful, they burn easily.
* Wash the rice, drain it and place it in a small pan with a tight fitting lid.Add the water and the toasted noodles and oil. Add the salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low,and cook, covered for 20 minutes Serves 6 – 8.
Image Credit: lebaneserecipes.com
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Chef Joel Robuchon is one of the most popular chefs in the culinary world, particularly in France. He owns a number of fine-dining restaurants in different parts of the world, and he gave each of them his special culinary touch, making sure that his restaurants serve only the best dishes with the best and freshest ingredients and products. All his efforts paid off as three of his restaurants were included in the top 50 list of S. Pellegrino’s World’s Best Restaurants. His L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in France got into the 29th position. His restaurants’ getting into this prestigious and much-coveted spots and his exemplary cuisine is proof that he is one of the best chefs in the world.
Chef Robuchon was born on the 7th of April 1945 in France. At the tender age of 15 years old, he went on to work at the Relais of Poitiers Hotel where he became an apprentice chef. When he turned 28, he became Hotel Concorde La Fayette’s head chef. this was in 1974. It was in 1981 that he opened hi own restaurant in Paris, Jamin. It was a small French restaurant, but it earned three Michelin stars three years after he launched Jamin.
With his culinary skill fast becoming famous and more people visiting his restaurant, Chef Robuchon opened a bigger one in Hotel du Parc. Just like Jamin, it also received there Michelin stars. However, at the age of 51, he closed his restaurant and semi-retired in 1996.
His became restless though, and after some considerations, he opened a small restaurant in Japan and then launched L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Paris, France. In his new restaurant in Paris, he completely redefined haute cuisine. In fact, it was a radical change that defied fine dining in the traditional sense. Instead of dividing chef and diners, he gave his restaurant a flowing space by placing seats around a counter that shows the kitchen. The contemporary feel that his new restaurant exudes created an informal yet elegant atmosphere.
Instead of stopping with two restaurants, he opened more. Aside from the modern L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, he opened the more traditional and formal restaurant, which is the La Table du Robuchon in Paris. Chef Robuchon also went international and opened his own restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, London, Hong Kong, Japan, Taipei, Monaco, and Macau.
His perfectionist approach to his cuisine has earned him and his restaurants numerous awards. He is a firm believer that two or three flavors are enough to make a very delicious meal, and that, instead of adding more flavors to make a dish exciting and interesting, it is more important to bring out the natural flavors of the ingredients by combining it with ingredients that can bring out its essence.
Right now, Chef Robuchon is considered as the best chef when it comes to French cuisine. It can be said that his cuisine is simply French.
Chef Joel Robuchon’s Sautéed Bass with Lemongrass
- 1 medium tomato, quartered and seeded
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, very finely chopped
- 1 thyme sprig
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for frying
- 10 lemongrass stalks, bottom two-thirds of tender inner bulbs only, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small shallot, sliced
- One 3-inch-long strip lemon zest
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 scallions, white and pale green parts only
- 1 medium leek, white part only, cut into fine julienne
- Four 6-ounce skinless sea bass fillets
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 300°. In a small baking dish, drizzle the tomato quarters with the olive oil and scatter the garlic on top. Add the thyme sprig to the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Toss well and arrange the tomatoes skin side up. Bake for about 1 hour, or until very soft. Peel the tomato quarters. Leave the tomatoes in the dish and discard the thyme sprig. Leave the oven on.
2. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the 3/4 cup of vegetable oil with a little more than half of the sliced lemongrass and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain the oil.
3. In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the shallot and cook over moderate heat until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining lemongrass and the lemon zest and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add the cream and simmer over low heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Strain the sauce into a small saucepan. 4.
4. In a medium saucepan of boiling water, cook the scallions for 1 minute. Using tongs, transfer them to a plate. Cut the scallions into 2-inch lengths. Add the leek julienne to the water and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
5. In a medium skillet, heat 1/4 inch of vegetable oil until shimmering. Add the leek and fry over moderate heat until crisp but not browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the leek to paper towels and drain. Season with salt.
6. Put the scallions in the dish with the tomato and warm in the oven. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, warm 1/4 cup of the lemongrass oil until shimmering. Season the bass fillets with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned and just opaque, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the fillets to plates and arrange the tomato quarters and scallions on top.
7. Bring the lemongrass cream sauce to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, then whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter until smooth. Season with salt. If desired, froth the sauce using an immersion blender. Spoon the sauce around the fish and drizzle some of the lemongrass oil around the plate. Top with the fried leek julienne and serve.
Notes: The remaining lemongrass oil can be refrigerated for up to one week. It can be used to sauté seafood, chicken or pork. Or it can be used to make a vinaigrette or as a garnish for finished dishes.
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Generally, Latin-American cuisine refers to the beverages, food and culinary treasures innate in Latin America. To begin with, Latin-America is one area of diversity, where various cultures and practices are being followed and shared. It likewise includes the various cuisines of different countries. Initially, this cuisine can be defined as one general topic, with a number of countries, owning a parcel of it.
This cuisine is known for its typical use of maize, as key ingredient. Common examples of these would be tortillas and tamales. The cuisine is also known for its sauces and varied condiments such as salsa, pebre, mole, pico de gallo and guacamole. More so, Latin-American foods are considered distinct due to its relative use of herbs and spices. Most often, the only difference lies in the quantity or amount of spices used in each dish.
Beverages, meanwhile, are considered varied and diverse. Drinks such as mate, chichi, cacao and atole are just some of the popular choices. As for deserts, Latin-Americans prefer theirs very sweet. Dulce de Leche, Teja and Flan are very popular along with Arroz con leche and Tres Leches cake.
Knowing Latin-American cuisine is like dealing with three specific regions namely South America, North America and the Caribbean. Caribbean cuisine is a fusion of many cultures namely Indian, Amerindian, African, Spanish and French. Food preferences include seafood, rice and vegetables. On the other hand, North American cuisine refers to foods that are native or popular to countries of North America; the same way Canadians or Americans regard Canadian or American food. South American cuisine, on the contrary, is defined by its use of meat and seafood such as lobster, crab, lamb and venison.
Ingredients Utilized in Latin-American Cuisine
Pork, Beef, Lamb, Venison, Chicken
Lobster, Crabs, Tuna, Flying Fish, Squid
Potatoes, Onions, Cabbage, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Leeks, Green Beans, Bell Peppers, Squash, Chayote, Black Beans, Chickpeas, Jalapenos,
Avocado, Pineapple, Apple, Mango, Grapes, Melon, Watermelon, Banana, Papaya, Plums, Passion Fruit
Wheat, Corn (Maize), Rice
Milk, Cheeses, Eggs
Be reminded that this list is not exhaustive as many ingredients can be used as well.
Basically, Latin-American cuisine is like a multi-faceted cuisine, where various cultures and practices are merely followed and adopted. The choice of ingredients differs since geography, climate and foreign influences do come into play. Latin-America is representative of many countries and states ranging from the coasts of Brazil, Chile, Colombia up to Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Foreign influence also represents an unlikely mix of traditions and ways, along with the combined flavors of East and West. In fact, history has stood witness to these changes and variances. And with migration finally setting in, it is very likely that Latin-American cuisine will continuously grow as well.
As always, defining a cuisine is often a difficult undertaking. For not only are you studying the manner and culinary traditions of a specific place, you are also trying to decipher its uniqueness. Food, in general, has always been an equalizer; for it builds communities and establishes traditions regardless of boundaries. In the end, Latin-America is a living proof of this as many countries thrive to create a standard that is definitely for keeps.
Authentic Latin-American Recipes
Pupusas (EL SALVADOR)
Recipe Source: ma.iup.edu
1 pound ground turkey breast
½ large onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium fres green chili, seeded and minced
1 small tomato, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon cumin
¼ pound low-fat white cheese, grated
½ teaspoon salt
5 cups flour
water, about 4 cups
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. In a large, non-stick saucepan, over high heat, cook the turkey, onion, and garlic until cooked through. If necessary, add small amounts of water to the turkey to prevent sticking. When the meat is firm, reduce heat to low and add the chili, tomato, and cumin. Let mixture cook until all liquid has evaporated. Set aside to cool. Stir in the cheese and salt.
2. Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to make a tortilla-like dough. Divide the dough into 25 pieces and roll each into a ball. Flatten each ball between the palms of your hands to ½-inch. Put a spoonful of the meat mixture in the middle of each disk of dough and enclose it firmly. Flatten the pupusas again until they about ½-inch thick.
3. To cook, heat a flat, heavy-bottom skillet until it is very hot. Brush the skillet with a little oil. Cook the pupusas on each side for 4 to 5 minutes until nicely browned. Serve immediately.
Serve with curtido.
Recipe Source: ma.iup.edu
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground extra lean beef
¼ cup sherry (optional)
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon salt
pinch ground red pepper
¼ cup raisins
1 cup diced fresh or canned pineapple
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup chopped red bell pepper
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef, onion, garlic until the onion is tender and the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear. Drain off all fat. Add all remaining ingredients except the green and red bell peppers. Bring to a simmer and cook 5 minutes. Add green and red bell peppers and heat through.
Serve with rice and bread.
Image Credit: casalatina.com
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From humble beginnings to world-class chef, Chef Ignatius Chan culinary history is indeed a very inspiring story of achieving one’s dreams. Now, his restaurant, Iggy in Singapore is one of most visited fine-dining hotspot in the country, and it has also attracted the attention of the international culinary world. Today, Iggy is considered as the 28th best restaurant of the world, and Chef Chan still has so much to offer the culinary world.
Looking back on his childhood years, he stated in an interview that the memories that stand out the best are those times when he and his mother would visit and dine at some of the best restaurants in Singapore. They were not rich, but his mother would save some money from her meager earnings and, once in a while, would treat his son to these fine restaurants and give him a taste of the good life. They could have afforded expensive meals such as this, but the privilege was taken away when his father passed away, leaving his mother to take care of him. However, his mother wanted him to experience what she had when his father was alive, so she would always make it a point to treat her young son to these fine restaurants. These precious moments made him appreciate what good food really is and has served as an inspiration for him to excel.
However, Chef Chan admits that he was not that good in school, and this is mostly because he had to have a job at an early age to help his mother. Chef Chan heard from a friend that a hotel job can be lucrative, so he applied for a job at the Goodwood Park Hotel, the same hotel that is home to Gordon Grill, a restaurant where he and his mother used to eat when they have the money.
In 1985, Chef Chan decided to apply at the Singapore Hotel Association’s Hospitality School as a scholar, and he was lucky enough when SHATEC called him back, stating that the Mandarin Oriental Hotel will sponsor his education. After he graduated from SHATEC, he then went on to work at the Mandarin Oriental’s French restaurant, the Fourchettes.
Luck seemed to be on his side as he won a 6-month scholarship in 1989. The scholarship took him to Europe where he trained under some of the most prestigious restaurants in the continent, including Paris, Madrid, and Reims. Chef Chan also took advantage of his stay there to work in some of the wineries in Europe before he went back to Mandarin Oriental.
Chef Chan left Mandarin Oriental in late 1993 to open Les Amis with a good friend, Justin Quek from his SHATEC years. Les Amis won numerous awards, and it fast became a favorite place not only of gourmands but of food critics as well. He stayed with Les Amis for 10 years before striking it out on his own to launch Iggy’s with his wife, Janice, who was also a student at SHATEC. He gave Iggy his own magic touch that, pretty soon, his young restaurant was enjoying good reviews and earning prestigious awards.
All throughout his culinary career, Chef Chan has made a very big name for himself. He has earned numerous awards not only for his culinary skills but also for his sommelier skills, and all his efforts have paid off as Iggy’s is fast becoming the restaurant to dine at in Singapore.
Chef Ignatius Chan’s Bak Kut The (Pork Rib Soup)
- 1 kg / 2 lb pork spare ribs
- 2 whole garlic bulbs
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 star anise
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns
- 2 tbsp white peppercorns
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 6 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tsp salt
Cut and trim the spare ribs and place in a pot. Add enough water to cover the ribs and bring to a boil. Drain the ribs and rinse under cold water. Set aside. Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water for 15 minutes, then strain off the mushroom liquid into a stockpot. Place the cinnamon sticks, star anise and peppercorns in a spice bag or a tea sachet and add to the stockpot. Also add the pork ribs, garlic and mushrooms. Fill with enough water to cover the ingredients, then cover the pot with a lid and bring to a boil. When the stock comes to a boil, leave the lid partially open and turn down the heat to a low flame. Simmer until the meat is soft and almost falling off the bones. This process will take about an hour to 90 minutes. From time to time, skim the fats and any impurities that rise to the top. Remove the spice bag and taste the stock. Adjust the flavour by adding dark soy sauce or salt to your taste. Transfer to a claypot and serve piping hot with steamed white rice, you tiao (dough fritters), cut red chillies and dark soy sauce.
Servings: Serves 4.
Image Credit: mysingapore.sg
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