Dried Fruit Salad

A Syrian dessert made of dried fruits soaked in apricot juice and decorated with almonds and pine nuts. It's a healthy and refreshing dessert and so easy to make, no cooking is required and no special skills here. Just soak the dried fruits in flavorful water or juice.

This salad is usually served   during the holidays and Ramadan.

Nuts are optional but highly desired for their crunch. Perfect for snacking, a delicious dessert or to top your ice cream. This recipe is vegan and very suitable if you are having vegans in the house.

Bitter Orange peel jam (Narenj Jam)

Narenj is the Syrian name for the Seville orange, also known as bitter orange, grown all over the Mediterranean, and commonly used in the cuisine of this region in a variety of recipes. The most common recipe to the Mediterranean countries producing bitter orange is jam and marmalade; even though the preparation method differs from one place to another, no pectin is added since the fruit is richer in pectin than sweet orange.
An absolutely delicious orange peel preserve recipe! Bright, colorful, sweet and syrupy, this is the perfect way to preserve the essence of this delicious fruit all year round!
Spoon sweets are traditionally served with a cup of Arabic coffee to welcome a guest, as an indication of hospitality. Nowadays, they are most commonly used as dessert and ice cream toppings (preferably vanilla!).

Kafta Kabab

Kafta is a dish of meatballs or meatloaf  found in the Indian subcontinent, South Caucasian, Middle Eastern, Balkan, and Central Asian cuisines.

In Syria Kafta is a very popular dish. It is usually made from lamb, beef, or chicken. The meat is often mixed with other ingredients, such as rice, bulgur, vegetables, or eggs to form a smooth paste. It can be grilled, fried, steamed or baked, and may be served with a rich spicy sauce. Kaftas are sometimes made from fish or vegetables rather than red meat.

It can also be pressed between two flatbreads known as 'Arayes'. These are also sometimes cooked on the grill or in a panini maker. 

In Greek, Cypriot, and Balkan  cuisine Kafta may be cooked with pork, beef, lamb, or a mixture of the three.

In Cyprus, Kafta is known as keftedes and is usually served fried and eaten with yogurt.

The word Kafta comes from Classical Persian (kōfta), meaning "rissole", "to pound" or "to grind", reflecting the ground meat used for the meatballs.

Zucchini boats in tahini sauce

Zucchini boats, filled with perfectly seasoned juicy minced meat, cooked in a velvety, minty and slightly tangy tahini sauce.  If you have never cooked with tahini, the idea might seem odd at first but this velvety smooth paste is good for so much more than hummus!

In the Levant and Syria in particular, tahini is a pantry staple. It is used to make salad dressings, halva, cookies, and it makes the perfect sauce to cook meat and vegetables in.

These zucchini boats are super easy to make and you can even do the prep a day or two ahead of time, cook the zucchini, prepare the filling and the sauce and store everything in the fridge. All you have to do on the day you want to serve this is to fill the zucchini, pour over the sauce, and bake for 30 minutes!

Syrian molasses pudding (khabeesa)

Many Christians around the world celebrate Epiphany on January 6th, also known as Three Kings’ Day, in reference to the three wise men/kings who visited baby Jesus. It marks the day Saint John baptized Jesus in Jordan’s river along with the three kings’ visit.

Every religious holiday has its special traditions and there are three during Epiphany:

–  Zlebye and Khabesa sweet

– Dayim Dayim

– Keeping balconies lit

The Zlebyé is the most popular sweet during Epiphany and is basically fried dough with sugar and cinnamon. It’s really good and the best way to have it is when it’s still hot.

Khabisa also is a popular sweet dish made from grape molasses or carob, corn flour and decorated with walnut pieces. Khabisa has a jelly-like consistency and dissolves smoothly in the mouth. 

People greet each other during Epiphany by saying “Deyim Deyim”, which is an old saying to wish others blessings all year long. Also, yeast is prepared with small coins in it and hung on a plant or a tree outside the house in a small bag. There is a belief that Christ will be passing at midnight to bless homes and the hanging yeast balls, hence why lights are kept on as well. Other sweets are also prepared on that day.

These traditions gather families together, are fun and bring back a lot of beautiful memories. Dayim Dayim and Merry Christmas to all Syrians.