Arabic cuisine is one of the most diverse in the world. It ranges from simple, hearty dishes like falafel and hummus to more complex meals with multiple courses. While there are many famous Arabic dishes, here are ten of the most popular ones.
This bread salad comes from Levantine cuisine, which spans Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan. Fattoush typically consists of stale or toasted pieces of pita bread mixed with fried peppers and other vegetables along with cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs. Other ingredients may include radishes, lettuce, and scallions. The dressing for fattoush typically includes lemon juice as well as olive oil along with seasonings such as mint, sumac, garlic, and salt. The ingredients are mixed together and then topped with toasted nuts such as almonds and pine nuts along with raisins.
This is a salad dish made from bulgur (cracked wheat), tomatoes, mint leaves, and onion, among other ingredients. Preparing tabouli can vary widely; many recipes include parsley instead of mint leaves, but there are numerous variations on the recipe for this dish which can also include scallions, cilantro, or lemon juice. It may be served alongside hummus or falafel as part of a meze platter or it can be served as an entrée itself. Pomegranate molasses is sometimes added to the dish in the form of a dressing.
The name of this Syrian and Lebanese dish translates to “the mix” because it is made from lentils, rice, onions, and bulgur. It can also have cumin or coriander added for flavor. Mujaddara may be served alongside other arabic dishes such as kibbeh or stuffed grape leaves to provide additional variety at a feast. This dish often contains caramelized onions along with pine nuts on top for garnish.
This fried Middle Eastern chickpea patty/ball is very popular throughout the Arab world, particularly in Jerusalem. Originally from Egypt, falafel provides both poor and wealthy people with an inexpensive source of protein. These balls of fried goodness are often served with tahini sauce and can be found at street vendors.
This dish comes from Syrian cuisine and is quickly gaining in popularity due to its low price point, ease of preparation, and the fact that it can be purchased almost anywhere. Although this recipe does not include hummus or baba ghanoush along with which many people eat shwarma, a pita may be used to wrap up the meat. It is usually made from chicken but lamb is also sometimes used. In addition, lime juice and garlic may be added for flavor before marinating the meat in spices such as bulb, cardamom, clove, and cinnamon along with salt, cumin, pepper, and coriander.
This dish consists of a fried shell made from burghul (cracked wheat) that is stuffed with minced meat, onions, bulgur, and spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. It can be served hot or at room temperature. Although the kibbeh shell may be shaped into different forms, it is most often formed into an oval shape for ease of preparation. Kibbeh may be served with yogurt on the side as well as other accompaniments such as hummus or tahini sauce to provide additional flavor.
Another Levantine food favorite, shawarma comes in many shapes and sizes throughout Arab countries but usually consists of meat that is cut from a spit and cooked as it rotates. One such popular preparation method for this dish includes the use of pita bread as well as tahini sauce, tomatoes, and pickles. Other variations on shawarma may also include eggplant with parsley and pickled vegetables on top along with sauces such as hummus or tahini.
This eggplant-based dip comes from Levantine cuisine and is easily prepared by roasting large eggplants before peeling them and mashing their pulp into a paste. Tahini, olive oil, nuts such as pistachios, or pine nuts together with garlic are common ingredients baba ghanoush may include. This dish is usually served with pita bread or chips.
This soup made from the leaves of jute mallow comes from Egyptian cuisine and some claim it to be one of Cleopatra’s favorite dishes. Although difficult to prepare, molokhia is gaining popularity as its nutritional value has been recognized by many people around the world. Some variations on this dish may also include chicken broth instead of vegetable broth together with a variety of spices such as coriander, cumin, and salt which provide additional flavor. Additional ingredients can include beans and rice which are added after removing the molokhia leaves from the pan so they do not become mushy. In addition, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice, and fried onions are often used to garnish the dish.
This salad comes from Levantine cuisine which consists of bulgur that is mixed with chopped tomatoes, parsley, mint, onion, and other spices such as salt, pepper, and cumin. This dish can be served alongside meat or fish. It is most popular in Iraq where it has been a common item on dinner tables for many generations. Tabbouleh may also include cucumbers but this ingredient is not widely used in regions outside of the Levant due to its high price point in some areas.
Arabic cuisine is one of the most diverse and flavorful in the world. This list of the 10 most famous Arabic dishes will give you a taste of what’s to come if you decide to travel to this region or even just try some of these recipes at home. From savory tagines and couscous dishes to sweet baklava and kanafeh, there’s something for everyone on this list. Have we made you hungry yet?