Ancient Greeks use to rub their bodies with olive oil to keep skin in good condition



Necessities in Middle Eastern Cuisine


Common ingredients in daily cooking includes dates, olives, couscous, wheat, legumes , fresh fruits & vegetables.  Yogurt, cheese, black and red beans, chick peas , lentils, rice, pita bread and phylo dough .  Cracked wheat is a substitue for rice and a must in Middle east cookery. Tabbouleh is a salad with mix of cracked wheat (bulgur) , mint, parsley, onions, tomatoes,semolina, barley, tamaring, honey and more.


Berber in origin, native to the Maghreb region. Granules of pasta made from semolina flour, couscous is traditionally cooked by steaming it over boiling water . A feast to body and mind, Couscous is used in a variety of dishes, from stews to cakes and desserts.

Burgul (scroll for recipes) aka Bulgur

A common ingredient in Middle East cuisine.  Burgul, aka cracked wheat, is used in variety of dishes, and mixed with vegetables and meats.


A sweet confection, made from washed, dried and ground sesame throughout the Middle East. Another type of halva is made from semolina.

Preserved lemons

Moroccan in origin. The best are the small ones . Adds sweet and sour taste to couscous, vegetable, meat and chicken dishes. 


Native to North Africa, flavour many dishes with its tangy lemony taste.


Native to the Maghreb, seasoning made from hot pepper , garlic and oil and sometimes with tomatoes too.

Rose Water

Water combined with fresh rose blossoms, for use mostly in sweets, cakes as the famours Baklava . Can be use with rice and meat dishes too.


There are evidence which show that olives grew and used in Israel more then 6000 years ago. In some parts of Israel today, one can find olives tree to be over hundreds years old. The olive tree,along with figs and pomegranat ,are mentioned in the bible several times.

There are many different kinds of olives, to name just a few we can find:

  • Kalamata olives, origin in Greece, its black olives are best for
  • pickling.Manzanillo, origin in Spain, good for pickling and for oil making.
  • Santa Catherina , origin in Italy, excellent high quality olives.
  • Mochasan olives, big type, great for Middle Eastern salt pickling.



Middle Eastern sauces are not prepared separately in order to pour over the dish , but created during cooking as the sauce which accumulates in the stew pot ,or soups which are thickened with a mixture of egg yolk and lemon. Hard to leave, we dip our bread into it.

One exceptional is tomato sauce which dominant Middle Eastern cuisine. Originate in Spain, tomato sauce is usually prepared first and then other ingredients will follow.

Lots of popular sauces will be served cold such as garlic and mayonnaise sauce or yogury sauce, used as is or accompany with fresh mint , garlic or dill. Yogurt sauce is used with vegetables, rice, omelet, meat etc.

Sauces will give the final touch to the dish. 


Yogurt with Garlic Sauce

2 cup plain yogurt

salt to taste

2 chopped garlic cloves

black pepper

olive oil

Put the yogurt in a bowl. Beat gently with a fork or whisk until smooth and creamy. Add all the other ingredients. Beat to mix. Cover and chill until needed..


Oil and Lemon sauce

1/2 C oil, 2 lemons, salt, peppr

Beat the juice of the lemons with the oild and add the salt and pepper. This sauce is served with fish , either grilled of boild and goes good with salads too.


Taratour Sauce - aka Tahini sauce

1 C tahini (sesame seed paste), 3 tabs lemon juice, 1 clove garlic, salt

Put tahini in a bowl and add some water to thin it. Stir in lemon juice, crushed garlic and salt. Correct seasoning to your taste.


Harissa Sauce

1 C of fresh red jalapeno, 1/2 C paprika mixed with 1 C olive oil and 1 teas. cumin, 3/4 C lemon juice

Mix all in blender and serve cold.



It is called Kubbeh in Israel and Iraq, Kubeba in Egypt and Kibbeh in Lebanon and Syria. It is a staple dish from all over the Middle east , but it is different from country to country.

Kubbeh , the noun based from Arabic verb "to form into a ball",  is a dish made with lamb or beef, burgul and pine nuts into oval or round shape. Very popular in LebanonSyria and Israel

Jews who came from Arab countries brought with them their cuisine heritage and adopted recipes.  Kubbeh can be eaten fried, baked or raw and can be made with rice or semolina too .  


Fried Kubbeh

3/4 lb bulgur

3/4 lb ground beef or lamb 

2 onions

4 tabs chopped mint leaves

1 tabs chopped parsley

1 teas baharat

1 tesp cumin

1 tsp cinnamon

Salt and pepper

Oil for frying

Soak bulgur in water for 20 minutes. Squeeze out as much watr as possible.  Place onion, burghur, 1/2 lb beef and  herbs in a food processor and run the machine to grind it into a fine dough. Add a little water if it becomes too hard. Season with salt, pepper, pcumin and cinnamon. Chill.

Chop 1 onion and cook it in oil until translucent. Add beef and stir until the redness disappeared. Season with salt, pepper and baharat.

Wet your hands , make balls with the dough and using your finger to make a hole in each patty, aiming at having a thin wall. Place 2 teas filling inside each patty and close giving them an oval shape. Deep fry


Kubbeh in Sour soup


1 cup matzo meal

1 1/2 cup semolina

1 cup water

1 teaspoon salt


1 pound beef

oil for frying

salt and peppper to taste


6 cloves garlic

10 chopped scallions (green and white parts)

olive oil

300 gr' chopped spinach leaves 

lemon juice



Fry the meat cuts in a small amount of oil.  Grind (coarse).

Prepare the dough by mixing all ingredients. Wet your hands, and shape small balls. Fill with 1 tesp of meat and seal.

Heat toil, fry the garlic until gold, add scallions and spinach leaves , mix well. Cook about 10 minutes. Cover with water and continue to cook. Add lemon juice . Add kubbeh to the boiling soup, and continue cooking about 15 minutes.


Kibbeh Nayyeh