Syrian cuisine

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A typical Syrian meal beginning at lower left of center, and continuing clockwise: makdous, syrian salad, hummus, haloumi and baba ganouj, with pita bread partially visible at upper right corner of photo.
Syrian hummus with MInced Meat & Pine Nuts from Damascus

Syrian cuisine includes the cooking traditions and practices of modern Syria (as opposed to Greater Syria), merging the habits of people who settled in Syria throughout its history.

It is heavily influenced by Ottoman Turkish and Arab cuisine.

Syrian cuisine mainly uses eggplant, zucchini, garlic, meat (mostly from lamb and sheep), sesame seeds, rice, chickpeas, fava beans, lentils, cabbage, cauliflower, vine leaves, pickled turnips, cucumbers, tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, mint, pistachios, honey and fruits.

At the beginning of the 21st century, selections of appetizers known as mezze are customarily served along with Arabic bread before the Syrian meal's main course, which is followed by coffee, with sweet confections or fruits at will. Many recipes date from at least the 13th century.[1]

Foods[edit]

Baklava (sometimes spelled Baklawa) is a rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo pastry filled with chopped nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire

Meze[edit]

Name Description
Baba ghanoush (بابا غنوج) eggplant (aubergine) mashed and mixed with seasonings
Baterish (باطرش) mashed roasted eggplant
Falafel (فلافل) a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both
Fasolia bi zeit (فاصوليا بزيت) green beans with olive oil, lemon and garlic
Fatteh (فتّة) pieces of Arabic bread covered with other ingredients
Fatteh al-makdus (فتّة المكدوس) Fatteh with makdus and minced meat
Fatteh bi-l-lahm (فتّة باللحم) Fatteh with meat
Fatteh bi-s-samn (فتّة بالسمن) Fatteh made with beef or sheep tallow
Fatteh bi-z-zayt (فتّة بالزيت) Fatteh made with vegetable, corn, or olive oil
Fatteh dajaj (فتّة دجاج) Fatteh with chicken
Fattoush (فتوش) salad made from several garden vegetables and toasted or fried pieces of pita bread
Halloumi cheese (جبنة حلومي) usually sliced and grilled or fried
Harra' esbao'o (حراق اصبعو) lentils with dough
Hummus (حمص) a dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic
Hummus bil-lahm (حمص باللحم) hummus with meat on top
Jez mez (جظ مظ) a sort of shakshouka
Kashk (كشك) drained yogurt
Kibbeh (كبة) in the Middle East, dishes made of bulghur, chopped meat, and spices
Labneh (لبنة) strained yogurt which tastes similar to cream or sour cream only more tart
Lahmacun (لحم بعجين) a thin piece of dough topped with minced meat and vegetables.
Makdus (مكدوس) Stuffed and pickled eggplants
Makmur (مكمور) chopped zucchini with rice
Moussaka (مسقعة) grilled eggplant (aubergine) mashed with olive oil, tomato, onion and garlic
Muhammarah (محمرة) a hot pepper dip from Aleppo,[2] made from Aleppo pepper
Mutabbal (متبل) mashed eggplant (aubergine) blended with tahini, olive oil, salt and garlic
Olives (زيتون)
Shakeria (شاكرية) cooked yoghurt
Shish kebab (شيش كباب) cow's milk or sheep's milk cheeses
Tabbouleh (تبولة) bulgur, finely chopped parsley, mint, tomato, spring onion, with lemon juice, olive oil and seasonings

Stuffed vine leaves (Sarma)[edit]

Name Description
Yabrak (يبرق) Grape leaves stuffed with rice and minced meat cooked and served hot
Yalanji (يالانجي) Grape leaves stuffed with rice and a variety of vegetables and served hot or cold

Kebab[edit]

Kebab khashkhash from Aleppo
Name Description
Kebab (كباب) Grilled meat
Kebab halabi (كباب حلبي meaning "Aleppine kebab") Kebab served with a spicy tomato sauce and Aleppo pepper, with about 26 variants[3] including
  • Kebab hindi (كباب هندي), made from rolled lamb, with tomato paste, onion, capsicum and pomegranate molasses
  • Kebab kamayeh (كباب كميه), made from soft meat with truffle pieces, onion and various nuts
  • Kebab karaz (كباب كرز), made from lamb meatballs with cherries and cherry paste, pine nuts, sugar and pomegranate molasses
  • Kebab khashkhash (كباب خشخاش), made from rolled lamb or beef with chili pepper paste, parsley, garlic and pine nuts
  • Siniyyet kebab (صينيّة كباب), made from lean minced lamb served on a tray with chili pepper, onion and tomato

Kubbeh[edit]

A variety of Syrian dishes made from a fried, baked, grilled, cooked, or raw mixture of bulghur and minced lamb are called kubbeh (كبّة).

Name Description
Kubbeh bi-s-siniyyeh (كبّة بالصينيّة meaning "plate kubbeh") A plate of baked kubbeh
Kubbeh Halab (كبّة حلب) Kubbeh with a rice crust; though named after Aleppo, this recipe seems to be of Iraqi origin
Kubbeh hamid (كبّة حامض) Kubbeh with lemon juice
Kubbeh labaniyyeh (كبّة لبنيّة) Cooked kubbeh with yogurt
Kubbeh 'qras Grilled ((كبّة أقراص (مشوية) Grilled kubbeh
Kubbeh nayyeh (كبّة نيّة) Raw kubbeh
Kubbeh safarjaliyyeh (كبّة سفرجليّة) Kubbeh with quince
Kubbeh summa'iyyeh (كبّة سمّاقيّة) Kubbeh with sumac

Mahshi (Stuffed squash)[edit]

A famous dish served in Syria is made from vegetables (usually zucchiniكوسا / kūsā, or eggplantباذنجان / bādhinjān) which are stuffed (محشي / maḥshī) with ground beef or lamb or mutton, nuts, and rice.

Street food[edit]

Baking flat bread in the 1910s
Falafil and hummus in a Syrian breakfast

Syrian street food includes:

Name Description
Booza (بوظة) Ice cream known for its elastic texture, which is caused by the presence of mastic
Falafil (فلافل) Fried balls or patties of spiced, mashed chickpeas, most often served in Arabic bread, with pickles, tahina, hummus, sumac, cut-vegetable salad and often, shatteh, a hot sauce, the type used depending on the falafil maker
Ka'ak (كعك) Rings of bread, made from farina and other ingredients, commonly sprinkled with sesame seeds, occasionally served on the table to accompany Syrian cheese; a buttery and sweetened version, filled with crushed dates or walnuts, is eaten as a dessert, usually served to eat with string cheese shaped into a braid (jibneh mashallaleh)
Manakish (مناقيش) Dough topped with thyme, cheese or ground meat; it can be sliced or folded, and it can be served either for breakfast or lunch
Shawarma (شاورما) Sliced and marinated meat shaved off a roasting skewer and stuffed into Arabic bread or sometimes baguette, alone with hummus, or with additional trimmings such as fresh onion, French fries, salads and pickles

Sweets[edit]

Syrians are renowned for producing dried-apricot paste (qamar ad-din)
Name Description
Ba'lawah (بقلاوة) Layered pastry filled with nuts, steeped in a honey syrup called 'atr (قطر), and usually cut in a triangular or diamond shape
Barazek (برازق) A sort of sesame seed cookies, made from white sesame seeds, butter, sugar, milk and honey[4]
Basbousa (بسبوسة) A sweet cake made of cooked semolina or farina soaked in simple syrup
Bashmina (البشمينا) Made mainly from flour with a honey syrup called 'atr (قطر).[5]
Bilatat jahanam (بلاطة جهنم meaning "Hell's tile") Made mainly from sugar and flour with a red food coloring[6]
Crêpe (كريب) A very thin French pastry with butter and sugar
Ghazal al-banat (غزل البنات) Sugar cotton candy stuffed with pistachios or cashews
Halaweh homsiyyeh (حلاوة حمصيّة) Also known as al Qurmashliya, made from flour, water and salt, fried with oil until they form little pieces, which would be colored afterwards[7]
Halawet al-jibn (حلاوة الجبن) Pastry rolled and stuffed with cheese or thick milk cream, served with a honey syrup called 'atr (قطر)
Halweh (حلوة) A slab of sesame paste studded with fruit and candy/sweets
Haytaliya (هيطلية) A sort of milk pudding
Kanafeh (كنافة) Shoelace pastry dessert stuffed with sweet white cheese, nuts and syrup
Ma'mul (معمول) Biscuits filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts, and shaped in a wooden mould called tabi' (طابع), a popular sweet on Christian holidays (Easter), Muslim holidays ('Id al-Fitr), and Jewish holidays (Purim)
Mamuniyyeh (مامونيّة) Mixture of semolina and ghee simmered in water with sugar, usually served with salty cheese or milk cream called qishteh (قشطة)
Muhallebi (مهلبية) A sort of milk pudding
Nabulsiyyeh (نابلسيّة) A layer of semi-salty Nabulsi cheese covered with a semolina dough and drizzled with a honey syrup called 'atr (قطر)
Qada'ef (قطايف) Semolina dough stuffed with a paste made from sweet walnuts or milk cream, with a honey syrup called 'atr (قطر)
Qamar al-din (قمر الدين) Dried apricot paste
Raha (راحة) A confection based on a gel of starch and sugar
Rice pudding (رز بحليب) Made from rice mixed with water or milk and other ingredients such as cinnamon
Simsimiyah (السمسمية) A confection of sesame seeds and sugar or honey, with some Saponaria[6]
Suwar as-sitt (سوار الست meaning "lady's wristlet") A disc-shaped pastry steeped in a honey syrup called 'atr (قطر) while the centre is covered with smashed pistachios
Taj al-malik (تاج الملك meaning "king's crown") Round dry pastry, the centre of which is filled with pistachios, cashews or other nuts
Zilabiyyeh (زلابيّة) Thin sheets of semolina dough, boiled, rolled and stuffed with pistachios or milk cream called qishteh (قشطة)
Znud as-sitt (زنود الست meaning "lady's arms") Phyllo pastries with various fillings

Cakes[edit]

Cheeses[edit]

  • Halloumi—a semi-hard, unripened, brined cheese
  • Jibne baida—a white hard cheese with a pronounced salty taste
  • Jibne khadra—a form of string cheese, originated in Syria, also known as Jibneh mshallaleh
  • Shanklish—cow's milk and sheep's milk cheeses

Beverages[edit]

Special edition of 5-year-aged Arak al-Hayat ('ara') from Homs, Syria
Name Description
Al-mateh (المته) A caffeine-infused drink produced from ground yerba mate leaves and served hot
'Ara' (عرق) A distilled alcoholic spirit, transparent in color, made from grapes and spiced with anise seeds
'Ayran (عيران) A yogurt-based beverage mixed with salt and water
Jallab (جلاب) A fruit syrup which can be combined with liquid to form a hot or warm beverage
Polo (بولو) Mint lemonade
Qahweh bayda' (قهوة بيضاء meaning "white coffee") A caffeine-free drink made from water and orange blossom water, sweetened with sugar at will, usually served in lieu of coffee
Qamar al-din (قمر الدين) A thick apricot juice, typically served for Iftar during Ramadan
Salep (سحلب) A traditional winter beverage, made with a flour from the tubers of the orchid genus Orchis; salep flour is consumed in beverages and desserts
Syrian beer (البيرة السوريّة) A beverage prepared from yeast-fermented malt, flavored with hops
Syrian coffee (قهوة) A beverage made from lightly roasted coffee beans along with cardamom, and served in small cups (as with Turkish coffee)
Wine (نبيذ) An alcoholic beverage made from fermented grapes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Eddé, Anne-Marie. (1999). La Principauté ayyoubide d'Alep (579/1183 – 658/1260).
  2. ^ The Culinary Institute of America (2008). Garde Manger: The Art and Craft of the Cold Kitchen (Hardcover ed.). Wiley. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-470-05590-8.
  3. ^ "كونا :: المطبخ الحلبي ينفرد بتنوع اطعمته وطيب نكته 11/01/2006". kuna.net.kw.
  4. ^ "Barazek (Sesame Pistachio Cookies)". food52.com. 25 October 2015.
  5. ^ "البشمينا حلويات اختصت بها مدينة حمص". SANA (in Arabic). 11 February 2015.
  6. ^ a b "بلاطة جهنم والبشمينا والقرمشلية والسمسمية حلويات حمصية لذتها في بساطتها". aawsat.com (in Arabic). 24 April 2010.
  7. ^ "الحلوى القرمشلية.. ألوانها الزاهية تجذب المارة في حمص". SANA (in Arabic). 26 February 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gerbino, Virginia Jerro; Kayal, Philip (2002). A taste of Syria. New York: Hippocrene. ISBN 9780781809467.
  • Kadé-Badra, Dalal; Badra, Elie (2013). Flavours of Aleppo : celebrating Syrian cuisine. Vancouver, Canada: Whitecap Books. ISBN 9781770501782.

External links[edit]

Media related to Cuisine of Syria at Wikimedia Commons