Culi­nar y her­itage

Moua­janat: re­gional spe­cial­ties

Lebanon Traveler - - CONTENTS -

Once you’ve sam­pled tra­di­tional Le­banese sa­vory pas­tries, known lo­cally as moua­janat, it is not dif­fi­cult to un­der­stand why they have been en­joyed since the early days of Mediter­ranean civ­i­liza­tion. The jux­ta­po­si­tion of crispy pas­try and meat or vege­tar­ian filling is truly di­vine, with each re­gion spe­cial­iz­ing in its own unique vari­a­tion of the pop­u­lar item.

FATAYER WITH SHANKLISH - TASHEA, AKKAR

Shanklish is a spe­cialty of north­ern Le­banon made from cow or goat’s milk. It is curded milk, which is drained and molded into tight balls. The balls are then coated with pa­prika or dried thyme and left to fer­ment and dry.

To make the shanklish into a tra­di­tional fatayer pas­try, the cheese is mixed with onions and baked on a saj or in a tan­nour oven. You can sam­ple the shanklish fatayer in the Akkar re­gion. A good op­tion is the Abou Mar­wan Guest­house in Tashea (70 449616).

WILD PLANT PAS­TRIES - QEMAMINE, DINNIYEH

Qemamine is a beau­ti­ful vil­lage at the bot­tom of Wadi Juhan­nam, sur­rounded by steep mountain peaks. Qemamine is char­ac­ter­ized by its unique bio­di­ver­sity, which pro­duces a wealth of fresh plants and foods.

Vil­lagers have a deep knowl­edge of the ed­i­ble plants that grow wildly on the sides of the mountain and their diet de­pends heav­ily upon them dur­ing the spring sea­son. A pop­u­lar way to pre­pare the plants, which range from hind­beh to qors aane, is to use them to fill pas­tries. Sev­eral types of chopped greens are mixed with onions, pome­gran­ate seeds or pome­gran­ate mo­lasses, stuffed into fresh dough and baked on the saj. A great place to sam­ple the pas­tries is the Taleb Guest­house in Qemamine (70 937284).

DARFIEH CHEESE FATAYER - TAN­NOURINE

Darfieh cheese is one of the most tra­di­tional cheeses pro­duced in the high­lands of Eh­den, Bcharre, Her­mel and Aarsal. The cheese is made from goat’s milk, which is aged in goat’s skin in cool moun­tain­ous in the high­lands of Ba­troun. The cheese is salty and slightly tart, mak­ing it par­tic­u­larly tasty when it is baked. To en­joy these fatayer, con­tact Rita Sarkis at Eco­dal­ida in Tan­nourine ( 71 679055/03 679055).

POTATO AWARMA FATAYER - BAROUK

A potato and meat pas­try is the sta­ple win­ter meal in vil­lages dot­ted across the Le­banese moun­tains. Tra­di­tion­ally, these hearty fatayer pas­tries are eaten in the win­ter months. Vil­lagers mix diced pota­toes with awarma and spices and bake them in the iron stove. Sam­ple these fatayer by con­tact­ing Aida Bous­tani (03 420495).

EGG AND WAL­NUT SAMBOUSEK - MARJAOUN

Sambousek are fried pas­tries whose ex­act shape and stuff­ing vary by re­gion. In the south­ern area of Marjaoun, vege­tar­ian sambousek are com­mon. The pas­tries are stuffed with scram­bled eggs, wal­nuts and seven-spices, and deep-fried to a glo­ri­ous shade of golden brown. For or­ders of this sambousek, con­tact Ma­jed Makhoul ( 03 903060).

Photo: Food Her­itage Foun­da­tion

Photo: The Recipe Hun­ters

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