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Recipies of Syriac Christians in the Middle East

Compiled by Mrs. Cossette Shamonki and Mrs. Norma Anz. Please note that these are recipies from the Middle East and not necessarily of Syriac Christian origin.





Fatayer Spinach

2 bags spinach chopped coarsely Juice of 4 lemons
1 large onion chopped fine 3 cup oil
salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 - 1 cup separated pomegranate seeds fatayer dough

Wash spinach in cold water and drain. Sprinkle with salt and let stand until wilted, then squeeze until all water has been removed.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Place 2 heaping tablespoonfuls of mixture in center of fatayer dough patty. Close in triangular shapes and arrange on greased baking pan.

Bake in 400 F oven until lightly browned on bottoms. Place under broiler and bake until tops are golden brown.

Variation of above recipe:

2 medium heads cabbage shredded may be substituted. or

2 bags kale chopped fine.

Fatayer Batata (Potato Pies)

2 lb. potatoes 1 large onion (chopped)
1 lb. coarsely ground lamb or beef juice of 3 lemons
1 tbs. Butter salt and pepper to taste
fatayer dough  

Grate potatoes and cover with cold water, adding 1 tsp. salt. Take potatoes by handfuls and squeeze out water thoroughly. Combine all ingredients, mixing well. Place a large handful of filling in center of fatayer dough patty. Close in triangular shapes.

Arrange on greased baking tray.

Bake in 400 F oven until bottoms are lightly browned. Then brown tops lightly under broiler.

Variations for above recipe:

Fatayer Malfoof (cabbage pies with diced lamb)

2 medium heads cabbage, shredded, may be substituted in place of potatoes.

Fatayer Dough (For Meat and Vegetable Pies)

3 lb. flour 1 rounded tbs. salt
1 cake yeast (or 1 pkg. dry yeast) dissolved 1/4 cup oil
3 1/2 - 4 cups water (lukewarm)  

Mix ingredients in order listed. Gradually add water, kneading well, until dough is of medium consistency. Cover with plastic for 1 hour in a warm place until dough rises.

Shape dough into balls 2 inches in diameter. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.

Lightly flour table or board. Then with tips of fingers, flatten to thinness of pie dough.

Various Fillings:

lamb, spinach, cabbage, potatoes, kale and kishik.

Quick Methods:

Hot roll mix, canned biscuits or Bisquick.

Sfeeha (Meat Pies)


5 cups flour 1/2 cup Crisco and butter, mixed

l 1/4 cup warm milk 1/2 yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water

2 tsp. salt


2 lb. coarsely ground lamb 1 onion chopped fine
1 cup labanee juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup pine nuts salt, pepper and cinnamon to taste

Combine above meat filling ingredients. Mix flour, salt, Crisco and butter together, then add warm milk and dissolved yeast. Mix with hands until well blended. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes. Take a part of the dough and pat out to 4 inch thickness on slightly floured board. Cut out rounds 3 to 4 inches in diameter. Place 2 tablespoons of the meat filling in the center of dough rounds. Shape into triangles by pinching edges together leaving small opening in center, or for round shape SFEEHA flute edges. Arrange on greased baking tray. Bake in 400 oven until bottoms are lightly browned. Then brown tops lightly under broiler.

Kimaj (Bread)

13 cups flour 2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup water (lukewarm) 1 cake yeast
4 cups water (lukewarm) 2 tbs. sugar
1/2 cup oil  

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 Cup water, then add sugar. Sift flour and salt together, add water, oil and yeast mixture. Knead until dough comes away from sides of pan. Cover and set aside for 20 minutes.

Cover a table with newspapers, then lay a dry cloth over the newspapers. Sprinkle flour over cloth. Shape dough into balls 2 inches in diameter, and place on flour covered cloth. Cover dough with another dry cloth then cover all with a plastic sheet. Let rest for at least 1 hour.

Roll out dough balls with a rolling pin approximately to 1/4 inch thickness. Place side by side on cloth covered newspapers, sprinkle dough with flour. Cover with dry cloth. Three to four layers may be placed on top of each other using flour covered cloth between each layer. Cover all with plastic sheet. Let rest 1 to 2 hours.

Gently place each Kimaj on heavy baking pan or on an asbestos board and bake in preheated 450 F oven. Bake until lightly browned on top and bottom, until puffed up and done.


Stuffed Zucchini

1 doz. zucchinis squash 1 can (#2) solid pack tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbs. mint, crushed salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare squash by washing. Cut off top and core then scrape off rooted end. Carve out innards of the squash using a carrot style peeler. Then rinse squash in a bowl of cold water with the minced garlic and mint (do not through out the water). Loosely stuff squash with basic stuffing.

Basic Stuffing for Squash, Cabbage, and Grape Leaves.

3/4 cup uncooked rice, rinsed in cold water. Salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 lb. coarsely ground meat. usually lamb (shoulder portion)  

Combine all ingredients together.

Place squash In a pot with whole tomatoes. Add the garlic and mint water on top of the squash and cover. Cook on low flame for approximately 35 minutes or until tender.

Yogurt Sauce:

2 quarts yogurt 1 cup wafer
2 tbs. corn starch 1 tbs. salt
1 egg white  

Dissolve corn starch in water then the egg white and salt. Combine yogurt and mix. Strain sauce through a strainer then bring to boil, stirring constantly.

Stuffed Squash with Yogurt Sauce

2 quarts yogurt sauce 2 doz. small green or white squash
2 cloves garlic, minced (in 2 cups of water) 2 tbs. dried mint
salt to taste  

Prepare the squash according to the stuffed zucchini specifications then steam squash in a large kettle with the water and garlic cloves for about 20 minutes. Then add 2 quarts of Yogurt Sauce, and cook for 20 additional minutes until done. You can garnish the squash with mint if desired.

Ris Bid Feen (Upside - Down Rice)

4 lamb shanks (chicken may be substituted) 1/2 cup butter
2 large onions, chopped 1 can garbanzo beans drained
2 cups rice, raw salt, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon to taste
3 cups lamb broth  

Boil the lamb shanks (with spices) until tender. When done, separate the meat from bone and gristle. Sauté onions in a little butter but don't brown. Place garbanzo beans at bottom of pot with 1/2 cup butter and onions. Combine meat, rice, and broth. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before unfolding.

To serve place pot upside down on serving platter.

Meat Balls with Peas and Tomato Sauce

1 lb. ground lamb meat (beef) 1 medium onion, minced
1 1/2 pkgs. frozen peas 2 tbs. milk
1 beaten egg 4 tbs. bread crumbs
2 tbs. chopped parsley 1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper a pinch of all spice

Mix in spices, egg, onion, milk, parsley, and bread crumbs and blend well. Add meat and knead all ingredients (except peas) Shape into balls and sauté in oil or butter until brown. Set aside. In the same frying pan, sauté large onion, chopped and add 1 can whole tomatoes, minced 1 8 oz. can tomato sauce; 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced; 1/2 tsp. thyme; a pinch of rosemary; Salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the tomato mixture until; thickened. Pour into casserole the meatballs, peas & tomato mixture. Bake at medium temperature until well done.

Recommended to serve rice as a side dish.

Meat Loaf

1 lb. Lean ground beef 1 lb. lean ground lamb
1 large onion, ground 6 hard boiled eggs
1/2 bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped 1 raw egg
2 tbs. flour salt, pepper, & allspice to taste
1 8oz. canned tomato sauce (optional)  

Combine raw egg, flour, ground onion and the seasonings with the ground meats and mix thoroughly. Smooth out meat mixture on waxed paper until it is about 1 inch in thickness. Blanket the meat with the chopped parsley. Now place hard boiled eggs end to end on the edge of the meat; begin rolling meat over the eggs until it is entirely rolled this will have an egg center with parsley. Place meat roll in a pan.

Bake @ 325 F for 11/2 hours.

NOTE: If using tomato sauce, pour same over meat roll just before baking. When done, let the meat loaf sit about 5 minutes, then slice meat about 1" thick.

Ihgee (Meat Omlette)

1 bunch parsley leaves, chopped 1 doz. Eggs
1 tbs. corn starch dilute in 2 tsp. milk 1 lb. lamb meat, coarsely ground
1 large onion, chopped 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. all spice 1/2 cube butter (or margarine)
salt and pepper to taste  

Preheat oven 375 F.

Fry meat and onion together until they are well done. Set aside to allow meat mixture to cool, adding chopped parsley and spices. Separately. beat eggs, and add to the diluted corn starch. Then combine meat and egg mixtures together mixing well. In a buttered baking pan pour in the combined mixture and bake. Cut into small squares.

Recommended side dish, yogurt or salad.

Okra with Lamb (Bamee)

2 lb. fresh okra 1 1/2 lb. lamb meat
1 cup water 1/2 lb. onions chopped
1 tsp. salt 2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. coriander (kisbara seed) 1/2 tsp. pepper
2 8oz cans tomato sauce 3 tbs. Butter
juice of 2 lemons  

Wash okra and trim off stems; dry then brush with butter. Lightly brown.

Cut lamb meat in chunks. Brown the meat and onions in butter, add water & salt.

Cover and cook under a low flame. Pound together garlic and coriander seed and add to the meat.

Prepare sauce mixture:

Mix together l/2 cup water, tomato sauce, lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste. Add to the meat & boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Combine the okra, meat and tomato sauce mixture and cook slowly until done.

Serve with rice.

Stuffed Cabbage

1 head of cabbage (boiled until leaves are limp) 1 can whole tomatoes
2 cloves of chopped garlic 2 tbs. lemon juice (optional)

Cut leaves to desired size, removing the heavy membrane. The heavy membrane removed from the leaves may be placed in the bottom of the kettle before placing rolled cabbage leaves side by side and in layers to the top of pot.

Prepare Basic Stuffing.

Place small amount of stuffing on each leaf and begin rolling. Place chopped garlic and tomatoes between cabbage rolls in pot. Add enough water to almost cover the cabbage rolls and season to taste. Cook slowly for 20 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook until done.

Chicken with Borgul (Chicken with Cracked Wheat)

1 whole chicken, fryer, cut up 2 cups #3 borgul (cracked wheat)
2 large onions, cut lengthwise 1 cube butter
1 tbs. Salt 1/3 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. powdered cinnamon 1 can garbanzo beans
6 cups water salt and pepper to taste

Boil chicken in large kettle for about 1/2 an hour. Then add onions to chicken and broth. Let boil until the chicken is done.

De-bone the chicken and discard the skin. Return the chicken to the broth. Fry the borgul in butter and then add to the broth boiling for 5 minutes. Let simmer until the broth is absorbed (about 20 minutes)

Chicken and Rice with Yoghurt Sauce

1 stewing chicken (5 lb. ), cut up 2 tbs. baking soda

1 cup garbanzo beans 1 lb. small cooking onions

1 can mushrooms or 1/2 lb. fresh 2 cups rice, uncooked

Soak garbanzo beans with baking soda in water over night. Drain and remove skins. In large pot, place cut up chicken & garbanzo beans adding enough water to cover 4 1/2+ cup reserve of broth later. Cover pot and simmer on low flame 3-4 hours or until tender, then add the onions; cook 10 more minutes. Remove Chicken from pot and place chicken in casserole & make alternate layers as follows; chicken, garbanzo, rice, onions & mushrooms. Continue to alternate ingredients until all are used. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth. Cover casserole with foil & bake until the rice is done, approximately 30 minutes in a 350 F oven.

NOTE: While chicken is baking make Mint Sauce

2 tbs. butter 2 cups labanee (cream cheese)
2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tbs. dried mint crushed
1 egg white 1 tbs. Flour
1/2 cup chicken broth salt to taste  

Combine yogurt, egg white, flour, mint & salt; beat for 3 to 4 minutes. Sauté garlic in butter and add 1/2 cup chicken broth. Add to yogurt. Uncover casserole and add sauce; return to oven for 5 minutes. Place under broiler now for 5 minutes to brown sauce. May unfold casserole on serving platter.

Sheik Il Mihshee Stuffed Baked Egg Plant with Yogurt Mint Sauce)

1 eggplant (3 lb. size) 1 cube butter, melted

1/2 cup pine nuts (optional) 2 qt. yogurt mint sauce

Prepare Stuffing:

2 lb. ground lamb 3 tbs. butter
1 cup chopped onions 1/2 cup pine nuts
dash of cinnamon & allspice salt & pepper to taste  
1 can (1 lb.) sliced mushrooms  

Sauté lamb & onions in butter. Remove from the skillet & brown pine nuts in same butter. Remove pine nuts & mix with meat & onions mixture; add seasoning & mushrooms. Stuffing ready.

Eggplant Preparation:

Skin & slice eggplant in 3/4 slices. Salt both sides and place on paper towels for 5 minutes to absorb the moisture. Using pastry brush, brush both sides of slices with melted butter and place in pan under broiler to brown lightly on each side. Remove from broiler and place layer of slices in lightly greased casserole dish, or large baking pan. Place layer of stuffing on top of eggplant & continue to alternate layers of eggplant slices and stuffing, until all ingredients are used, ending with eggplant slices on top. Heat Mint Sauce at low flame until it boils. (Please refer to Mint Sauce Recipe). Pour over entire top of eggplant casserole. Bake at 350 F for approximately 20 minutes.

If desired, sauté pine nuts in small amount of butter. Remove pine nuts & sprinkle over the casserole before serving.

Roasted Chicken or Turkey with Rice Stuffing

1 roasting chicken, or turkey 1 cup uncooked rice 5 lb.
1/2 cup pine nuts 1 lb. lamb meat, coarsely ground
2 tbs. butter 1/2 tsp. allspice
dash of cinnamon salt, pepper, and cloves to taste.

Preheat oven 300 F.

Clean the chicken (or turkey) thoroughly. Boil the rice in salt water for 10 minutes, then rinse in cold water and set aside.

Sauté the meat, adding rice, seasonings, and pine nuts, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes. Stuff the chicken loosely with the above mixture. Sew up the open ends and tie the legs together. Place the chicken (or turkey) in a clutch oven add 1 cup water and cover. Roast until tender.

Stuffed Grape Leaves (with Meat)

1 pkg. lamb breast (or beef) lemon juice, to taste
1 quart grape leaves  

(If packed in water, rinse and drain. If fresh then wash leaves and bring to a boil then drain)

Prepare Basic Stuffing

Combine all ingredients for basic stuffing and mix together loosely. Place grape leaf on plate or palm of hand and place a small of stuffing (about finger thickness s at the widest point of leaf). Place trimmed lamb breast bones on the bottom of kettle and arrange stuffed grape Leaves side by side and in layers to the top. Partially cover rolled grape leaves with water and salt and cook slowly for about 45 minutes. During cooking, add lemon juice to taste.

Basic Stuffing for Kibbi

1 lb. lamb meat, coarsely ground 1 onion, cut in small pieces
3 tbs. pine nuts 1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt 1 tbs. butter, melted


Cook the meat in melted butter and braise until half done. Add the cut onion and cook well; fold in the salt, pepper and pine nuts.

Baked Kibbi

1 Basic Kibbi recipe - (NOTE: Making baked Kibbi, increase cracked wheat to 11/2 cups instead of 1)

1 Basic Kibbi Stuffing Recipe - (NOTE: Stuffing recipe may be substituted with a stuffing of just pine nuts)

1 cup Rendered Butter

Butter baking pan (approx. size 8 1/2 x 11 1/3). Divide Kibbi recipe in 2 parts. Spread first half in an even layer on the bottom of pan. Then spread a layer of Basic Kibbi stuffing the Kibbi layer patting down lightly. Finally, spread the second half of Kibbi mixture over stuffing layer by forming patties in palms of hands covering entire surface using ice water to make a smooth surface on top Run a knife around the edge of pan to work Kibbi away from pan. Cut into diamond shapes. Make 4 holes with fingertip through the top of Kibbi to bottom of pan allowing for even flow of butter. Put rendered butter on top of Kibbi by dropping teaspoonfuls all over the top layer. Bake in an oven of 450 F for 30 minutes or until well done.

Kebab Patties (Kibbi Mi Lee)

Make Basic "Kibbi" Recipe. Shape and cook as you would hamburger patties. Fry slowly in butter or olive oil. Serve with salad.

Kibbi Omelette

Cut into small 1 pieces any left over cooked Kibbi. Heat slowly in lightly buttered frying pan. Add beaten eggs and season to taste. Garnish with parsley.

Ablama (Squash in Yogurt or Tomato Sauce)

12 small zucchini squash 1 1/2 lb. coarsely ground lamb meat (or beef)
1 onion, chopped fine 1/2 cup pine nuts
salt and pepper to taste  

Prepare squash according to stuffed zucchini specifications. Fry meat with the onion until cooked. Then add the pine nuts, salt and pepper. Stuff each squash with the meat mixture. Place squash side by side in buttered baking pan. Dot each one with butter. Brown in oven at 350 F turning squash over to brown on both sides.

Prepare yogurt sauce according to specifications. OR you can bake the squash in tomato sauce mixture consisting of 2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce and 2 cups water. Season to taste and pour over squash and bake for 1 hour at 350 F.

Serve with rice.

Kibbi - Raw (Basic recipe)

3 cups ground lean lamb meat (leg portion only) 1 medium onion chopped
1 cup fine cracked wheat (borgul) salt and pepper to taste

Keep ingredients refrigerated. Trim meat of all fat and muscle. Grind lamb meat through fine meat grinder and chill. Wash cracked wheat by soaking in water then pressing between palm of your hands to remove excess water. Mix wheat with meat, onions and spices, kneading well. When mixture becomes stiff, dip your hands in ice water and knead to soften. Run mixture through meat grinder a second time and serve immediately.

Kibbi with Yoghurt (Labaneeyee)

2 cups raw Kibbi

Take a small handful of kibbi and mold into palm size meatballs. Hollow out the center with your finger. This may be done by pushing your finger in one end of football and pressing toward palm of hand. Gently smooth over open end to close.

NOTE: It is very important to dip hands in ice water while working with the meatballs.

3/4 cup rice

2 cups water

2 quarts yogurt (Laban)

Cook the rice.

Put the yogurt through a fine sieve over the cooked rice adding 2 tsp. flour at the same time bring the yogurt to boil and cook for 5 minutes. Place Kibbi in sauce and cook for another 15 min.

Serve hot or cool.

Rishta (Lentils and Spinach Soup)

1 cup lentils 1 large onion, chopped
1 cup noodles 2 cups spinach, chopped
1/4 cup oil salt and pepper to taste
4 cups water juice of 1 lemon, if desired

Pick clean and wash lentils. In saucepan, add lentils and water bring to boil and cook for 15 minutes. In the meantime, sauté onion in oil until light brown and add to lentils. Add spinach, salt, pepper and noodles. Cook for 15 minutes. More water may be added. Add lemon juice and serve.

Imjaddarah (Lentils and Wheat)

1 cup lentils 2/3 cup coarse wheat (burghul)
1 large onion (diced) 3 tbs. oil
3 cups water salt and pepper to taste

Brown onions in oil, add lentils and water, boil for 10 minutes. Add wheat, salt and pepper and cook for 15 minutes.

Imjaddarah (Lentils with Rice)

1 cup lentils 3 1/2 cups water 1 small onion
1 cup rice 1 1/2 tsp. salt 1 large onion

1/4 cup oil



Wash lentils, add water and salt and boil for 10 minutes in covered saucepan. Add diced onion and washed rice to lentils, stir and cover. Cook 15 minutes longer over low heat. Cut large onion in wedges or rings and sauté in oil until golden brown. Pour some of the oil from sautéed onions into cooked lentils and rice, stir. Pour lentils and rice into serving platter. Top with sautéed onions and oil.


Ahtayef (Stuffed Pancakes)

2 cups flour Pinch of salt
cold milk 1 1/2 cup butter 3 heaping tsp. baking powder
pinch of baking soda areeshi or ricotta cheese

Sift dry ingredients except soda, stir in cold milk until consistency of thin pancakes. Mix in a pinch of soda.

Grease griddle. Make only 3 pancakes at a time, no more than 5 inches in diameter. Cook on one side only. Place cooked pancake on damp towel, to avoid drying. Place 1 tablespoon Areeshi or Ricotta cheese on one-half of the uncooked side. Fold over and press edges to seal. Refrigerate until ready to use. Fry rapidly in hot butter on both sides. Pour thin syrup over Ahtayef and serve hot


1 cup sugar 1/2 tsp. mazahar (rose water) 2 cups water

Boil water and sugar and cook until of a thick consistency. Remove from heat and add Mazahar.

Rooz Ib Haleeb (Rice Pudding)

2 quarts milk 3/4 cup rice
1/2 - 3/4 cup sugar (to taste) 1 tbs. cornstarch
1 tsp. orange blossom water (mazahar) or Vanilla  

Bring milk to a boil. Wash and drain rice, add to milk, stirring occasionally for approximately 10 minutes. Add sugar and cornstarch, stir, cook for 10 more minutes or until rice is well done. Add flavoring before removing from heat. Pour into dessert dishes and cool to room temperature.

Mighlee Pudding

1 cup cream of rice 1 tsp. ginger
1 tbs. ground caraway seed 9 cups water
1 1/2 tbs. ground sweet anise 2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tbs. cinnamon  

Combine cream of rice and spices in saucepan. Cover with 9 cups cold water. Stir thoroughly. Cook over high heat, stirring continuously, bringing to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Add sugar and stir continuously until sugar dissolves. Then cook until it thickens for about 30 minutes. If pudding is not sweet enough add more sugar.

Pour into custard cups. Cool then refrigerate. Serve cold and top with walnuts, almonds and pine nuts.

Teen Im Aiad (Fig Preserves)

1 lb. dried figs (cut in quarters) 1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. anise 1/3 cup walnuts (chopped)

Place figs in sauce pan with enough water to cover. Cook over low heat until tender. Add sugar and cook until preserve consistency, add anise and boil few minutes longer. Remove from heat and add walnuts. May be stored in jars.

Milkless-Butterless-Eggless Cake (Lenten Cake)

1 cup light brown sugar, packed firmly 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt 1 cup water
1/3 cup shortening 1 cup seeded raisins
1 tsp. cinnamon 2 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 tsp. soda 1 1/4 tsp. double-acting baking powder

Combine sugar, water, shortening, raisins, spices and salt in medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool. Measure sifted flour; add soda and baking powder and sift again Gradually stir dry ingredients into raisin mixture; then beat well. Grease generously bottom and sides of 8 x 4 x 3 inch loaf pan; pour in cake batter. Bake in slow oven 325 F for about an hour or until cake is done.

Caramel Custard

4 eggs 1 can sweetened condensed milk 3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water 2 tsp. vanilla  

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Put sugar in heavy skillet over low heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until sugar melts and turns golden. Pour into mold. With wooden spoon coat mold with caramelized sugar, coat bottom and sides evenly. Let cool while preparing custard.

Beat eggs in mixer, add condensed milk, water and Vanilla. Pour caramel-coated mold. Place mold in pan containing 1 inch hot water. Bake for 60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to Cool.

Run knife around edge of mold and turn over on serving dish. Chill and serve.

Date Roll

2 cups rendered butter (melted) 5 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar 2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla tsp. 2 tsp. whiskey
1/2 tsp. ground mahlab 1/2 tsp. orange flower water
Water (lukewarm)  

Blend butter and sugar, add eggs, vanilla, whiskey, mahlab and orange flower water. Mix in flour thoroughly, then add enough water until dough is of smooth consistency, and does not stick to hands. Cover and let set 3 to 4 hours.

Date Filling:

3 lb. dates 3/4 cup walnuts 1 15 oz. can condensed milk

Grind dates and walnuts fine. Add milk and mix. Divide dough into 4 parts. On unfloured board, roll out each ball with rolling pin 1/4 inch thick. Spread date filling over dough and roll tightly into long roll. (Jelly roll fashion.) Gently place on ungreased cookie sheet. With sharp knife cut roll diagonally in l2 inch slices, being sure not to cut through to bottom. Bake in 400 F oven for 40 minutes. Place under broiler for few seconds until light brown. Let cool. Slice through and sprinkle with confectioners sugar before serving.

Makaroon Fingers

4 1/2 cups flour 1/3 cup sugar 1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground anise seed 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 cup vegetable oil
4 cup water    


2 cups chopped walnuts 2 to 3 tbs. sugar

Mix filling ingredients together

Sift dry ingredients in large bowl. Add oil to dry ingredients and mix well. Rub between hands until coarse. Add water and mix like pie crust dough. Roll out small pieces of dough 1/8 inch thick. Fill with 12 tsp. walnuts and roll in finger shape. Bake on cookie sheet 20 minutes 400 F oven or until light brown. After baking, dip in syrup. Yields 50.


Boil 1 1/2 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar and simmer 20 minutes. Add 1 tsp. lemon juice and 1 tsp. orange water just before removing from heat.

Kannafee (Sineyee)

1 box shredded wheat (12 biscuits) 2 cups milk
3 tbs. rendered butter  


2 cups walnuts (chopped) 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp. orange blossom water

Mix ingredients together.


2 cups sugar 1 cup water 1 tsp. orange blossom water

Few drops of lemon juice

To make syrup combine sugar and water in saucepan and cook over low heat for approximately 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add lemon juice and orange blossom water. Cool.

Heat milk and quickly dip biscuits. Place in a large saucepan with the butter and crumble between hands or with a large spoon while over low heat. Mixture is ready when pressed in hand and holds together.

Butter 9" x 9" baking dish and press half of Kannafee mixture for bottom layer. Place nut mixture for center layer and remaining Kannafee mixture for top layer and press. Cut in diamond shape pieces.

Bake in 325 F oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned .around edges. Pour cooled syrup over hot Kannafee.

Harsit Il Louz'

3 cups farina or instant cream of wheat 1 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar 1 1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. baking powder tahini
1 lb. almond halves  


2 cups of sugar 1 cup water
juice of half a lemon 1 tsp. orange flower water

Boil about 10 minutes

Mix Farina, butter and sugar with enough milk to hold together. Let soak for 1/2 hour. Add baking powder and mix well. Coat 9" x 13" pan with Tahini. Pour and smooth mixture into pan. Garnish with almonds. Bake 1 hour at 300 F. Remove from oven and cut into squares. Pour cooled syrup over hot Harist il Louz.

Kaik Sumsum (Sesame Cookies)

1 cup rendered butter 1 1/4 cup sugar 5 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs (unbeaten) 6 drops anise oil 1 cup milk
6 cups flour    


1 egg (well beaten) 1 drop anise oil 1/2 cup sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients by hand. Blend butter and sugar, add baking powder, eggs and anise oil. Gradually add milk and flour alternately. Knead well. Pinch dough size of walnut and roll in palms of hands 4 inches in length, bring ends together to form a circle. Mix topping ingredients and dip each cookie to cover the top and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Place trays in center of oven. Bake in 350 F oven until lightly browned (approximately I5 to 20 minutes).

Barazit (Flat Sesame Seed Cookie)

6 cups flour 2 cups sugar 2 tsp. baking powder
1 egg 2 tsp whiskey 2 cups butter
l 1/2 lb. sesame seed    

Brown sesame seed under broiler until golden. Cool and set aside.

Break egg into measuring cup and fill with whiskey to make one cup.

Mix ingredients and roll into balls the size of a walnut. Flatten each ball very thin. Brush top lightly with syrup. Press top of cookie into sesame seeds and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 400 F.


1 cup water 4 cups sugar juice of 1/2 lemon
2 or 3 drops orange flower water    

Bring water to a boil. Add sugar and cook until syrup is thickened. Add lemon juice. Remove from heat and add orange flower water.

Baghajha (Cheese Pastry)

1 lb. baklawa dough, (approximately) melted rendered butter
2 tbs. rendered butter 1 recipe of gibnee (unsalted) or (11/2 qt. ricotta cheese)

In a greased 11" x 14" baking pan, place 15 sheets of dough, buttering every 5th sheet. crumble cheese and spread evenly over top layer. Add remaining 15 sheets of dough, again buttering every 5th sheet. Cut into 3 inch squares.

Bake in 350 F oven for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until lightly browned. Cool. Make syrup and pour over baghajha and serve warm.


3 cups sugar 2 cups water
1 tsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. orange flower water

Boil 5 minutes, remove from heat, add lemon juice and orange flower water. Syrup should be warm, not hot when pouring over baghajha.

Baklawa Dough

dough for 2 large baking pans 6 egg whites (slightly beaten)
5 lb. flour 2 egg yolks
1 tbs. Salt 1 tbs. baking powder
1/2 cup butter (rendered) 7 cups water or more

Sift flour, salt and baking powder into large pan. Push dry ingredients to one side. In other side of pan, add water, egg whites, egg yolks and butter. Work flour into liquid gradually until mixed. Knead thoroughly. Dough should be of soft consistency.

Cut and shape into balls the size of an orange. Roll in cupped hands until smooth. lust with cornstarch and set aside for a few minutes.

Pat out each ball to inch thickness then stretch out tissue thin and place directly into generously buttered baking pan. These sheets of dough may also be dried before placing into baking pan.

Place 25 sheets of dough in pan, brushing butter between each sheet. Do not butter top sheet. Spread nut filling and cover with 22 sheets.

NOTE: For each tray of Baklawa use 2 lb. of Commercial Dough.


2 lb. commercial dough (for each 17 x 13 tray) 3/4 cup sugar
Baklawa filling (for 1 tray) 2 tbs. orange flower water
3 cups melted rendered butter 2 lb. shelled walnuts or 8 cups (coarsely ground)

Combine Ingredients and mix well


Butter baking pans thoroughly. Place one (1) lb. of dough in pan, brushing butter between each sheet. Do not butter top sheet. Spread nut filling evenly on last layer. Place one (1) lb. of dough over nut filling, brushing butter between each layer. Cut in diamond shapes. Pour remaining butter over Baklawa. Bake in preheated 400 F oven for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 325 F oven for 45 minutes.

NOTE: Keep dough covered with damp cloth or plastic while using, to prevent dough from drying.


2 1/2 cups sugar 1 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. lemon juice 1 tsp. orange flower water

Mix sugar and water and boil over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Add lemon juice and orange water before removing from heat. Let syrup stand for 10 minutes before pouring evenly over cold Baklawa

Kaik Ib Aijwee (Kaik with Dates)

4 cups Farina (1 box) 2 cups rendered butter (hot)
1 heaping tsp. baking powder 6 cups flour
1 tsp. mahlab (ground fine) 1 dry yeast
4 to 5 cups warm milk 3 boxes pitted dates (3 Ib. ground)

Dissolve dry yeast in 1/3 cup warm water and cover. Stir farina with hot butter. Cover and keep warm for 1 hour.

Grind dates on meat grinder and mix with a littlee butter until smooth enough to roll into a 1/4 inch thickness about 4 or 5 inches long.

Add flour to Farina mixture and rub thoroughly between hands until smooth then knead. Add mahlab, yeast, baking powder and warm milk. Mix until well blended. Cover and set aside for 1 hour or until raised.

Cut dough into 2 inches in diameter. Pat dough lengthwise. Place date roll on dough of same length and roll into cigar shape. Put ends together to form a circle. To decorate pinch top of each with 1 inch wide prongs. Bake in 450 F oven until bottoms are light brown then place under broiler to brown tops.


1 cup rendered butter 2 cups flour
1 cup sugar 1 cup blanched almond halves

Beat butter on full speed of electric mixer until very fluffy, about 20 minutes. lend flour and sugar in bowl. Add flour mixture gradually to butter and beat until it becomes too heavy for mixer. Add remaining flour to mixture and blend with wooden spoon, complete mixing by hand. Chill for 10 minutes.

Shape dough in small balls in palm of hands. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Press center of each cookie gently with small finger and place an almond half in each indentation.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in 325 F oven. DO NOT OVER BAKE. Cookies should be white. Do not remove from cookie sheet until completely cooled.


5 lb. flour 3 cups rendered butter 4 cups milk
3 cups sugar 2 tbs. anise seed (ground fine) 1 tbs. salt
2 yeast 3 eggs 1/2 cup warm water
2 tbs. mahlab (ground fine and sifted)    

Combine first four ingredients, rub in butter until very fine. Dissolve yeast in water. Add sugar to milk and heat until lukewarm. Add milk and yeast to dry ingredients and knead until well blended. Cover and put in warm place to raise, about 3 hours. Pinch off dough into 2 inches in diameter, handle as little as possible. Starting with first ball of dough pat out on slightly oiled bottom of cut glass dish to 4 inch thickness. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake in 425 F oven until bottoms are lightly browned, then place under broiler until golden brown.


2 cups milk or cream 2 tbs. butter 1 cup sugar

Combine ingredients and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Dip cooled Kaik in hot syrup.

Zalabee (Doughnuts)

8 cups flour 1/4 cup oil 1/2 yeast
3 cups water 1 tbs. salt  

Sift flour and salt into pan. Push dry ingredients to one side of pan. Dissolve yeast in warm water. On the other side of pan pour water, oil and yeast. Work flour into liquid gradually until completely mixed and knead just enough for smooth consistency. Cover and set aside to rise at least 45 minutes. After dough rises pinch off portion of dough the size of a lemon. Stretch into oblong shape. Drop in deep hot oil and fry until golden brown.


May be dipped in Awamee syrup.

Sprinkle with sugar while warm.

May be filled with: ground nuts and sugar mixture, soft scrambled eggs, preserves, Syrian cheese or cooked apples.

Sesame Wafers

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp. salt 1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp. celery salt 3 tbs. Sesame oil

Sift flour with salt and celery salt. Stir in sesame seeds. Add egg yolk and half of the water. Stir until dough cleans the bowl, adding more water if necessary. Knead dough on a lightly floured board for 5 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Roll out on lightly floured board to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cutter to 2 1/2 inch rounds. Heat oil to 350 F. Stretch each round even thinner with the fingers. The thinner the dough the more crisp the wafers will be. Drop dough into hot fat or oil and fry 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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Last Update: August 8, 1997