Winter is a hugely popular time in Dubai both for its residents and tourists. Relieved of the high temperatures, winter nights are refreshing and the perfect time to indulge in Dubai’s fine dining.
The Lebanese kitchen are bursting with delicious new dishes this time of the year, available at the best Lebanese restaurants in Dubai, where the old fashioned Lebanese food tradition flourishes. Dishes like Knefe, Lentil soup, Mushroom & Asparagus soup, Grilled Kofta and Halloum Arayess, Shish Barak, Maloubeh with Meat, and Hrisseh are all dishes that fall in the “winter category”.
A traditional famous Lebanese breakfast food is Knefe. Of course can be enjoyed in all four seasons, but even more pleasant when it’s a bit cold outside. It is best described as a flat platter that resembles a light brown sweet cake with a soft white melting cheese filling, with often some pistachio’s and syrup on top. Best eaten on sesame bread. Some of the Lebanese restaurants in Dubai will serve Knefe as a dessert, and why not?
Another delicious dish when it is cold outside is the Lebanese Lentil soup, shorbat adas. This healthy, nutritious and appetizing soup can be found all over the Middle East. Actually lentil is considered as a main dish because it is so filling. It matches perfectly with pita bread and lemon on the side.
Mushroom and Asparagus soup
When the temperature drops outside Mushroom and Asparagus soup is another enjoyable soup. Asparagus is one of the healthiest vegetables to eat, packed with vitamins and minerals. They are even known for having an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, because they consist of a unique combination of anti-inflammatory – and even antioxidant – nutrients.
Grilled Kofta and Halloumi Arayess
Another personal winter favorite – which can of course be eaten all year round – is Grilled Kofta and Halloumi Arayess. It is made of a pita bread stuffed with minced lamb (or beef) mixed with some finely cut onion and spices, grilled until the bread is toasted and the meat is done. At home it also makes for an adventurous barbecue dish . To add some variation some white Halloumi cheese can be added.
Shish Barak is a typical traditional Lebanese winter dish. It is made of spiced ground meat dumplings cooked in a yogurt stew, and served hot in this sauce. The dumplings are nowadays made of beef, but any truly Lebanese restaurant will make them with lamb. Shish Barak is not usually served by main stream Lebanese restaurants, only the exclusive Lebanese restaurants in Dubai have them on the menu.
Another dish typically associated with winter is makloubeh or ‘upside down’ dish. It is especially tasty when it is prepared with Meat. A traditional makloubeh features some roasted vegetables, a meat of choice and rice. It is all about the presentation with this dish, and as mentioned it is best served upside down. The ingredients are pre-cooked in segments – first the vegetables, then the rice, and meat flavored with turmeric, cumin, sumac and cinnamon – that are piled and cooked over the stove. When it is served as a piece of art it almost feels like a sin to eat it. Irresistible when made with eggplant and lamb meat.
Finally the Lebanese Hrisseh is nutritious porridge traditionally prepared in mid-August to commemorate the Assumption of the Virgin Mary celebrated by Lebanese Christians mid-August. Shia Muslims prepare hrisseh to celebrate the end of Ashoura. It can be meat of sheep meat mixed with wheat or chicken and wheat, flavored with spices from which the most dominant one is cinnamon. This porridge is eaten warm and matches well with fresh yoghurt.
Again, most of these dishes can be eaten the whole year round. It is just that eating them in the winter season in a nice cozy Lebanese restaurant is the best way to do it. Specially on one of the rare cold days in the Dubai winter. Sahtein!