Glossary of Arabic Cuisine

 Arabic Bread (Khubz Arabi, pita) Flat, round bread, which can be easily split to make a sandwich, or broken apart and used as a utensil for scooping food  

Arayess Deep-fried lamb sandwich  

Ataif (gatayef, kataif) Small pancakes stuffed with nuts or cheese and doused with syrup  

Baba Ghanoush Char-grilled eggplant,
tahina, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic purée - served as a dip  

Baharat (bjar) Arabic mixed spices  

Bamia Baby okra and lamb in tomato stew  

Baklawa (baklava) Dessert of layered pastry filled with nuts and steeped in honey-lemon syrup - usually cut into triangular or diamond shapes  

Basboosa Semolina tart soaked with syrup  

Bukhari Rice Lamb and rice stir-fried with onion, lemon, carrot and tomato paste  

Burghul (bulghur wheat, bulgar) Parboiled and dried wheat kernels processed into grain, used in
tabbouleh and mixed with lamb in kibbeh  

Cardamom Aromatic spice, member of the ginger family, used to flavour Arabic coffee, yoghurt and stews  

Coriander (cilantro) Lacy, green-leaf relative of the parsley family with an extremely pungent flavour akin to a combination of lemon, sage and caraway.  

Ejje Arabic omelette  

Falafel Small deep-fried patties made of highly-spiced ground chick-peas  

Fatayer Pastry pockets filled with spinach, meat or cheese  

Fattoush Salad of toasted croutons, cucumbers, tomatoes and mint  

Foul (ful) Slow-cooked mash of brown beans and red lentils, dressed with lemon, olive oil and cumin  

Gahwa (kahwa) Coffee  

Haleeb Milk  

Halwa (halva) Sesame paste sweet, usually made in a slab and studded with fruit and nuts  

Hamour Red Sea fish of the grouper family  

Hommus Purée of chickpeas,
tahina, lemon and garlic - served as a dip with Arabic bread  

Jarish Crushed wheat and yoghurt casserole  

Jebne White cheese  

Kabsa Classic Arabian dish of meat mixed with rice  

Kebab Skewered chunks of meat or fish cooked over charcoal  

Kamareddine Apricot nectar used to break fast during Ramadan  

Khubz Marcook Thin, dome-shaped
Arabic bread  

Kunafi (kunafah) Shoelace pastry dessert stuffed with sweet white cheese, nuts and syrup  

Kibbeh (kibbe) Oval-shaped nuggets of ground lamb and

Kibbeh Naye Raw
kibbeh, eaten like steak tartar  

Koshary Cooked dish of pasta, rice and lentils to which, onions, chillis and tomato paste are added  

Kouzi Whole lamb baked over rice so that rice absorbs the juice of the meat  

Kufta (kofta) Fingers, balls or a flat cake of minced meat and spices that can be baked or charcoal-grilled on skewers  

Laban Tangy-tasting sour milk drink widely used in cooking as a substitute for milk  

Labenah Thick creamy cheese, often spiced and used as a dip  

Lahma Bi Ajeen Arabic pizza  

Loubia (fassulya) Green beans cooked in tomato sauce  

Ma'amul Date cookies shaped in a wooden mould called a tabi  

Makloubeh Meat or fish with rice, broad beans and cauliflower  

Mai Water  

Mantou Dumplings stuffed with minced lamb  

Markok Lamb and pumpkin stew  

Mehshi Means stuffed - aubergines, courgettes, vine leaves or cabbage may be stuffed with a mixture of minced meat, rice and onions  

Melokhiyyah Green, spinach-like vegetable  

Mezze (mezza, meze, mezzah) The Arabic word for appetiser  

Mish mish Apricots  

Mouhammara Mixture of ground nuts, olive oil, cumin and chillis, eaten with
Arabic bread  

Moutabel Eggplant dip made with
tahina, olive oil and lemon juice  

Mubassal Onion pancakes  

Muhalabiyyah Silky textured semolina pudding served cold  

Musakhan Chicken casserole with

Mutabak Sweet or savoury pastry turnovers usually stuffed with cheese, banana or meat  

Najil Saddle-back grouper  

Rocca Aromatic salad green with a peppery mustard flavour, used in salads or mixed with hot yoghurt  

Sambusek Triangular pies filled with meat, cheese or spinach  

Sayyadiya Delicately-spiced fish dish served on a bed of rice  

Seleek Lamb and rice dish where the rice is cooked in milk rather than the juice of the meat  

Shai (chai) Tea  

Shaour Red Sea fish from the emperor family  

Shawerma A cone of pressed lamb, chicken or beef roasted on a vertical spit where the meat is shaved off from the outside as the spit keeps turning. Saudi Arabia's most popular sandwich is
Arabic bread filled with shawerma meat, salad, hot sauce and tahina  

Sheesha (hubbly bubbly) Pipe for smoking tobacco leaves or dried fruit through a water filter  

Shish Taouk Skewered chicken pieces cooked over charcoal  

Shourba Soup  

Snober Pine nuts  

Sukkar Sugar  

Sumac Ground powder from the cashew family, used as a seasoning  

Tabbouleh Salad of
burghul, tomato, mint and parsley  

Taklia Spice consisting of ground coriander and garlic  

Tahina An oily paste made from ground sesame seeds, used in
hommus, moutabel and baba ghanoush  

Tamr Dates  

Taratour A thick mayonnaise of puréed pine nuts, garlic and lemon, used as a sauce or dip  

Um Ali 'Ali's mother' is a pastry pudding with raisins and coconut steeped in milk  

Warak Enab (warak dawali) Stuffed vine leaves  

Yansoon Hot spiced tea, used for medicinal purposes  

Zatoon Olives  

Zattar Blend of spices including thyme, marjoram,
sumac and salt  

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