Friday, September 23, 2011

Ethnic Food of the Day: Lebanese Lubia (لوبيا)

We love ethnic food. Period. Korean. Middle Eastern. Thai. African. Mexican. Indian. You name it, we like it. We are blessed with a wide cultural circle of friends and they each have something new and delicious to bring to the table (pardon the pun) as far as cuisine is concerned. I'm excited when one of them is willing to teach me how to make a traditional dish. 

Our Lebanese friend, Rabih, showed me the basics for Lubia, a saucy Middle Eastern dish served with white rice. Lubia/Lubya simply means "beans" in Arabic. You could use white or red beans and make Fasolia, but traditionally green beans are used in this recipe. Now, I should put a disclaimer on this. This is my interpretation - probably not super authentic, but so good! This is my go-to dish when I'm short on time because it's simple, healthy, delicious, and my family loves it. 

The recipe calls for baharat, or Middle Eastern mixed spices. For sake of time I purchased some from a Middle Eastern market but if you're feeling adventurous, you could make your own! I made some a few  years ago. Find a recipe here.

Olive oil
4 cups canned green beans 
1 large can diced tomatoes, in juice (or 2 - 15 oz. cans)
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bag Morningstar Griller Crumbles (eliminate if making gluten free)
Red pepper flakes
Lebanese Baharat or Middle East Mixed Spices 

In a large stockpot, saute onion in a small amount of olive oil over medium heat. When semi-clarified, add minced garlic and sauté a moment more. Add green beans and tomatoes. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, then add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes, a pinch or two of sugar (to neutralize the acid), about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. Seven Spices, and salt to taste. Stir and add 1/2 of the bag of Morningstar Griller Crumbles if using. Continue to cook for about 5 minutes more, or until all ingredients are fully incorporated and stew is bubbling nicely. Taste and adjust seasonings. Enjoy hot over white or brown rice. 

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