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is a necessary ingredient for every cuisine, and for many mouneh preparations, mainly pickles, brines or drying. Salt was produced along the Lebanese coast, and oldest salt ponds are Phoenician, dating back to more than 3000 years old.
A local seed, planted in the arid lands of the south Lebanon, an indispensable ingredient for the "za’atar" (thyme mixture) and also sprinkled on many kinds of bread. The sesame seeds are also the basic ingredient of the tihini - the sesame paste, used for tarator, hummus, moutabal, kibbeh arnabyieh …
is a dried cheese, covered with thyme and sometimes hot pepper too. Shanklish is part of the mouneh, and can be conserved for a year. It is not consumed as a cheese, but always served as a salad with tomato, onion and olive oil.
Typical of "Aakkar" region, in North Lebanon, the "shanklish" is a ball of dried cheese, covered with dried thyme, and sometimes seasoned with hot pepper. Shanklish is prepared by boiling "laban", then drying and pressing the curd obtained, and shaping it into balls, that will be left for one or two months, in a humid atmosphere, so that a fine mildew will form itself over.
The Metn and Chouf mountains are covered with pine trees, standing right, high and proud, so precious for their pine cones, that hide under their scales black seeds, case of the tasty pine nuts. pine nuts decorate and give the final touch for many dishes, as the sayadyieh (rice with fish) or the" rezz aa djejj" (rice with chicken).
However, pine nuts are the best in sweets: "kol w chkor"… eat and thank: it is a well deserved name and not a joke. Small lozenges of baklava (oriental puff pastry) stuffed with pine nuts and sugar, and prepared especially for the Ramadan. And it is so good, that we can only eat… and thank!
A typical ingredient of our mountains, essential for the "mouneh": the sumac is a dark red powder, with a particular lemony. The sumac is extracted from a wild shrub, which grows in medium height mountains. At the end of each branch grows a bouquet of tightened grains, like grapes of lentils, covered by a dark red skin.
The grapes are shelled, the seeds dried in the shade, then ground, to extract the dark red cover. The sumac is a traditional substitute of lemon, and a basic ingredient in many dishes, such as: “fattouch” and eggs with the sumac.
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