Chef Maher Omran, Sofitel Dubai Jumeirah Beach Hotel’s Arabic Chef, recently conducted an exclusive ten-day festival, ‘With Love from Lebanon’ at Sofitel Mumbai’s Pondichéry Café. Food connoisseurs could pick from a wide selection of Chef Maher ‘s speciality dishes like Hummus, Falafel, Shawarma, Motabale (grilled smoked eggplant), Mouhammara (toasted whole nuts and tomato puree), Eggplant Musaka (oven roasted eggplant in tomato stew) and more.
With over a decade of experience in Lebanese cuisine and a unique gastronomy style, Chef Maher says, “The fact that Middle Eastern food is low on fat and uses plenty of fresh vegetables without compromising on flavors, accentuates its taste.”
With fresh herbs, spices, ingredients, mint, parsley, oregano, garlic, nutmeg, and cinnamon, Lebanese cuisine is light, delicious and is popular among gourmands all across the globe. Read on as he shares 5 fun facts about Lebanese food.
1. Lebanese salads often make use of ‘Samak Powder’ in dressings. Instead of lemons, or any other citrus, this is the element that adds the sour note to dressings.2. Vegetables and certain fruits such as prunes and apricots, are often sun-dried and stored to be used in the future, during the off seasons, when they are not as abundant. They are often served in between courses as palate cleansers.
3. There are no short-cuts in Lebanese cooking. For a delicate cuisine, the ingredients are prepared with as much time as they require and often sees methods such as braising. For instance, hummus preparation requires the chickpeas to be soaked in water overnight.
4. The cuisine makes use of a lot of preserves such as olives, preserved wine leaves and pickles, thereby imparting a distinct flavor to the cuisine.
5. Non-vegetarian dishes often use raw meat, such as raw lamb loins. However, this is not ideal for restaurant kitchen environments, as the freshness of the meat cannot be determined. Dishes such as “Kibbeh Nieh” (a kind of Beef Tartar) are generally seen only in home cooking.