Kaykat joz al-Hind (Coconut cake)

Surprise guests coming over? Don’t worry, all you need to do is whip up this delicious cake in minutes and impress them! Kaykat joz al-hind, which translates to coconut cake, is one of my favourites for several reasons, not least of which is the fact that it is made from pantry staples that most households have all the time. It is also a one-bowl cake that requires nothing more than a bowl and some elbow grease, saving you from slaving over the sink, and the recipe is so simple, it is one of the few I actually have memorised! This cake is similar to basbousa but I personally prefer it because of its airier texture and lightness. Although this cake […]


The colder winter months require comforting stews and this okra and meat dish delivers! In the winter months when I make lots of stews for my family I like to cook my meat and chicken in batches when I know what I am cooking for the week. It really helps to have the protein and broth ready, cutting down on the cooking time, so I can have home cooked meals on the table super fast on weekdays. Although I am not typically a huge fan of okra, except when it is breaded and fried the southern way in the US, even I crave the comfort of this tomato-based hug in a bowl. The secret to not having really soft and […]

Ka’ak Hadrami

These easy to make spiced cookies are the perfect accompaniment to cup of coffee or tea. Hi, I’m Maha Salah from Middle East Monitor and today I’m going to show you how to make Ka’ak Hadrami. Just from its name, you can tell that Ka’ak Hadrami is a Yemeni dessert originating from the city of Hadhramaut. Ka’ak is an Arabic work usually used to describe a cookie, but I loosely call this a cookie since it is quite dense and bready. The best part about this dessert is the fact that it is made from pantry staples and you can make it at a moment’s notice, meaning it is perfect for last minute guests. It is also really easy and […]

Shourabet freekeh

Looking for a soup that is filling, delicious,and healthy? Look no further; freekeh is definitely the one for you! Soup is just one of those foods that people turn to in winter because there is something so soothing and comforting about curling up with a bowl. This soup is one of my absolute favourites because it is thick and hearty with its chunks of chicken, but the flavour is delicate and it remains light. The word freekeh comes from the Arab word “farek”, which means to rub, which is fitting since freekeh is green durum wheat that has been roasted and rubbed, thus creating its unique nutty flavour. While freekeh is become increasingly popular in the West, it has been […]

Roasted lamb shoulder over freekeh

With the holidays right around the corner and lots of family gatherings planned, try my recipe for roasted lamb shoulder over a bed of nutty freekah. Your family and friends will love you for it! Short on time but want to impress your dinner guests? This roasted lamb shoulder dish is perfect for you! It looks difficult and time consuming, but honestly couldn’t be easier! The main thing about this dish is that you use good quality meat, since it is the centrepiece. Making slits in it and filling them with garlic ensures the flavour permeates the meat and you end up having tender pieces of roasted garlic to enjoy with your meat. I like to marinate my lamb shoulder […]


There is truly no dessert in the world like gooey, cheesy and sweet knafeh. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll never stop craving it! Knafeh is a dessert that has become synonymous with celebration. It is present at graduations, weddings, birthdays, or any big gatherings in the Levant, especially in Palestine, but popular all around the Middle East. This dessert originates from the city of Nablus in Palestine and is made with Nabulsi cheese. However, there is also a Turkish version. Since I live in the West, where it is hard to find Nabulsi cheese, I have found that a combination of Akkawi cheese and fresh mozzarella works well. The goal is to have a nice firm cheese that is also […]

Fasooliya bil zeit

No matter how much of a meat lover you are, I am sure you’ll love this meatless dish, made up of earthy green beans, tangy tomatoes and warm spices. Serve up a bowl of this to your loved ones and they’ll love you even more! Fassoliya bil zeit, translating to beans in oil, is a dish made all across the Middle East. This dish is one of my favourite vegetarian dishes and a winter comfort food for my family. Every family makes theirs to their own taste, but we prefer ours lemony and spicy, with a prominent cinnamon flavour, but you can tweak yours to suit your taste buds. If you feel like a bit of meat, a version of […]

She’reya bil haleeb

Everyone loves a cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day, but what if I told you that you could feel the same cosines with a bowl of this dessert? She’reya bil haleeb, which translates to vermicelli in milk, is very similar to rice pudding, but with less milk. It is very popular in the Middle East and is usually reserved for winter. Every household cooks theirs differently, depending on how they like it. I personally like to cook mine a little bit like risotto, by adding the milk gradually, adding a batch when the milk is mostly absorbed, with a final product that is only slightly runny. Other people prefer theirs quite runny and almost soupy. It is really […]

Fattet Baitenjan

Fattet baitenjan is a dish popular in the Levant. Fatteh is a dish with a bread base, which can be topped with any mixture of ingredients, depending on the type of fatteh. The bread can either be fried, baked in the oven, or even soft. I prefer crispy bread to add texture to the dish! Baitenjan is aubergine in Arabic, and that is definitely the star of this dish. You can choose to leave the peel on or completely peel the aubergine, but I like to do it this way because I have some pieces with and some without the peel. Make sure you don’t cut the aubergine too small, as it shrinks after cooking, and will disappear into the […]