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Classic Lebanese Cuisine: 170 Fresh and Healthy Mediterranean Favorites Hardcover – September 1, 2009


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Classic Lebanese Cuisine: 170 Fresh and Healthy Mediterranean Favorites + Lebanese Cuisine: More than 200 Simple, Delicious, Authentic Recipes + The Lebanese Kitchen
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Three Forks; First Edition edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762752785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762752782
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The cuisine of Lebanon epitomizes the best of the Mediterranean diet, which is esteemed for its health benefits. Abounding in a wealth of heart-healthy ingredients—including fresh vegetables, grains, herbs, and spices; poultry; lamb; yogurt; and olive oil—it yields meals replete with robust, earthy flavors. In Classic Lebanese Cuisine, a leading chef presents 170 dazzling recipes that reflect the full breadth of authentic Lebanese cuisine. Many recipes include several variations, giving you the option of preparing a vegetarian dish or adding chicken, lamb, or beef.

Featuring favorites such as baba ghannouj, tabbouli, and kibbi, and a large variety of Lebanese classics ranging from entrees to hors d’oeuvres, salads, desserts, and side dishes, this book also presents Chef Kamal Al-Faqih’s signature dishes. From London broil layered with garlic yogurt and pita, to heart-healthy fire-roasted wheat with lamb, he developed these singularly sumptuous recipes over two decades as the preeminent Mediterranean caterer in the Washington, D.C., area. Feedback from clients, friends, and family allowed him to focus on each dish individually and refine the ingredients and flavors. And, more recently, he devoted two years to further perfecting these recipes—for this book.

Accompanied by full-color photographs throughout, and with step-by-step instructions, Classic Lebanese Cuisine—linked to the Web site cookingwithkamal.com, where you can find complementary information—makes Lebanese cuisine accessible to everyone who seeks to reproduce their favorite flavors and dishes, from the merely curious to more experienced cooks.

From the Back Cover

In Washington, no dinner party I gave was complete without Chef Kamal Al-Faqih’s personal and professional contributions as a friend and caterer. He shared some tricks and helped me heal the deprivations of exile, as I treated my guests to nostalgic flights into the magical evenings at home I wished had never been interrupted. Kamal’s perfected and time-tested techniques steeped in the authenticity and ethos of the dishes he grew up with make that unique culinary voyage possible anywhere. . . . Let me invite you to . . . Kamal’s chest of Mediterranean treasures of the palate, lovingly and artfully presented in this gem of a book.
—from the foreword by Washington Post columnist Nora Boustany
 
 
Savory, Heart-Healthy Lebanese Recipes from a Renowned Chef
 
Among the 170 recipes in Classic Lebanese Cuisine  
 
APPETIZERS
Pomegranate-Beef Crescents • Hummus with Minced Lamb and Pine Nuts
Pumpkin Kibbi Balls

SALADS
Dandelion Salad with Yogurt • Farmer’s Salad with Tahini Dressing
Parsley and Bulgur Wheat Salad

MAIN DISHES
Cardamom Chicken, Lamb, or Beef with Rice • Red Snapper with Caramelized
Cumin Rice  • Jute Mallow and Garlic-Cilantro Stew with Lamb (or Beef)
Stuffed Squash and Grape Leaves

SIDE DISHES
Basmati Rice with Cumin, Lentils, and Onion • Eggplant Moussaka
Roasted Onion-Cumin Potato Spears • Stewed Okra and Cilantro in Olive Oil

SOUPS
Lentil Soup with Ruby Swiss Chard and Lemon • Miniature Meatball Soup

DESSERTS
Baklava • Glazed Anise Fingers • Sweet Semolina Yogurt Cakes

More About the Author

As a first generation American with strong ties to my parents' native Lebanon, I spent many summers visiting my family in the villages of Aley and Deir Koubel, a few miles outside of Beirut. It all began with experiences and memories from these visits. I would stand in the kitchen, watching my grandmother, aunts and cousins buzz around preparing what always seemed to be a feast. The aroma of fresh parsley as someone's hands flew over a chopping board to make tabbouli or the sizzle of a kibbi ball splashing into hot oil were my early connections to a cuisine and culture with which I came of age.

My appreciation for the foods and traditions of Lebanon developed into a professional career as a Lebanese Chef. For 20 years, I owned and was the head chef of Med Catering, which became the premier Mediterranean catering company in the Washington D.C. area. During those years my classic Lebanese dishes were offered at events for her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, His Majesty King Abdullah of Jordan, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, Senators George Mitchell and Barbara Mikulski, and world famous celebrities such as Placido Domingo, Angelica Huston and Francis Ford Coppola. Selwa "Lucky" Roosevelt, President Ronald Reagan's Chief of Protocol regularly called on me for both diplomatic events as well as for her private parties. My Lebanese-inspired menus were offered at various Smithsonian Institution museums, The White House, and thousands of events in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.

In addition to my professional catering business, from the early 1990s to the present, I have had the pleasure of leading a variety of cooking demonstrations across North America for both small and large groups alike. From Georgetown University and the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C. to numerous private homes accross the United States and on the West Coast. I have been able to introduce many individuals to heart-healthy and exotic Mediterranean foods for both formal entertaining and casual dining.

In 2005 I relocated to Southern California to pursue my dream of writing a cookbook. I spent the next two years working exclusively on writing, preparing and testing the recipes that I had perfected over the past two decades. In 2009 my cookbook...Classic Lebanese Cuisine-170 Fresh and Healthy Mediterranean Favorites was released. I continue to cook and learn...sharing and preparing recipes with friends and family. I hope you will enjoy the recipes. Sahtain (Double Health).

You can visit me on my YouTube channel, chefkamal1 for demonstrations of several of my classic recipes. I also offer easy access to specialty cooking ingredients and utensils at my online store, shopkamal.com

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 65 customer reviews
A thousand thanks for that alone, Chef Kamal!
Carol Horany
Recipes that are easy to follow, with excellent results.
Ammoura
I'm looking forward to trying more of the recipes.
James Vaughn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By K. D. Snyder on August 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
As a self-professed foodie, I love being able to connect culture with food. What makes this book a stand-out for me is not only the delicious and easy to follow recipes but the way it takes me to a world that's very different from my own. A lot of cookbooks are just ingredients and directions. Chef Kamal has succeeded in providing readers with something more--a cultural experience where food is the vehicle of choice to another way of life. I've tried several different recipes and all of them are stand-outs and very user friendly. If you enjoy new tasting sensations, pick up this excellent cookbook. It's full of experience and taste!
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Abu Talij on August 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The problem with many Lebanese cookbooks is that there is no single "Lebanese" cuisine. There are as many ways to prepare warak al areesh (stuffed grape leaves) as there are villages in the country. But after preparing more than a few of the dishes in "Classic Lebanese Cuisine," I can honestly say that these recipes are the closest I have ever tasted to the food I grew up with. A truly wonderful book that is on a par with "The Culinary Heritage of Lebanon" by Chef Ramzi N. Choueri; not as comrehensive but just as delicious.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By KM on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I have bought hundreds of arabic cooking books. This is the BEST book I have ever bought. My husband is Syrian and I am American. He is the MOST CRITICAL person I have ever met to evaluate food. He loves almost every dish I have made from this book...no other book satisfied my husband. I soon became a better cook than my Syrian mother in-law. I don't consider myself an expert cook, but all I can say is I was able to make the dishes and my taste buds are very happy.

There is one recipe you have to try, it's called Lebanese Curry. I had a dinner party (Arabs) and served the Curry dish...they went crazy about the dish. I never had anyone ask me for my recipe. I was on cloud nine. It's funny because my husband didn't want me giving anyone my wonderful recipe. I would pay a lot of money just for this one recipe. Believe me this is a must have book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Carol Horany on December 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am in love with this cookbook! It has everything - the best of the Lebanese food recipes with beautiful photography of each dish and even the Lebanese translation of the name. The recipes are thorough and nicely presented in an easy to read format; it is a pleasure just reading the recipes.

Chef Kamal gives a step-by-step approach to food preparation and has included many tips along the way. My favorite tip so far is his method for preparing Turkish coffee. I never would have thought to prepare it as he does and yet it is simple and logical and each cup turns out great. Another surprise was his method for cooking grape leaves; again, simple and logical with excellent results. Each step to his recipes is purposeful and indicates great thought and technique. It is fun to learn new cooking methods for favorite foods, especially when those dishes are improved.

As an added benefit, it is wonderful to be able to identify the Lebanese dishes in the native language. The book provides a great learning tool to be able to put the English and Lebanese names together with the picture of the dish. A thousand thanks for that alone, Chef Kamal!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. Statland on October 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I first developed a passion for Lebanese food about 20 years ago. There are several restaurants in the Washington, D.C area that offer decent Labanese dishes, but none of them compared favorably to the catered meals I enjoyed when Med Catering and Chef Kamal prepared a dinner. He left Washington, to the dismay of many of us, so certainly I had to have Chef Kamal's book and try his recipes. He provides wonderful, easy to understand directions and his luscious photos help me know that I'm at least close. I've prepared a few dishes a couple times and I have delighted dinner guests. He's to be congratulated not only for his talent as a super chef but also in having the ability to impart his techniques to a reader.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Vaughn on October 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I eat out of the microwave and the refrigerator. Cooking is not my thing, but I like Lebanese food and this book was suggested to me. I have tried a couple of recipes and was very pleasantly surprised by the results. I made baklava and the Lemon Garlic Chicken to great reviews from the family (and the co-workers who got the extra baklava). They said they'd never have known I had a "black spoon" (the culinary equivalent of the black thumb for a gardener who kills plants easily) if I could turn out dishes like this. I'm looking forward to trying more of the recipes. Having attended a tasting party using recipes from this book makes me all the more willing to try them as they were really delicious. The directions were easy to follow. "Expert" level terms were explained and the DVD showed the techniques in an easy to follow manner. This is a book for the expert and the novice both.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Megan Johnson on March 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased this cookbook a month or so ago. I recently moved to an area where it is impossible to get Lebanese cuisine locally, so I decided to make it on my own. I have tried several recipes from this book, including Toom (garlic puree) and chicken kebabs. Both of the recipes yielded delicious results, and the ingredients were easily obtainable. I felt such a sense of accomplishment after having made restaurant quality Toom. And my chicken kebabs were so moist and exploding with flavor, it was unbelievable. Most of the ingredients for these recipes are easily obtainable, and the author has a website where you can also purchase many of the imported ingredients, spices, and special equipment at very reasonable prices. (I purchased a vegetable corer, rose water, orange blossom water, and turmeric from his site. Those items arrived quickly and I was very satisfied.)

One thing that really sets this Chef Kamal apart from many others is his supplemental material. I will advise you that while the cookbook is cheaper to purchase on Amazon than on his website, if you buy it from his site, it includes an instructional DVD. I cannot speak of the DVD, as I purchased the book from Amazon. I do, however, recommend you check out Chef Kamal's YouTube channel.

He has posted instructional videos there that you can view for free. I would not have been as confident when making the Toom had I not viewed his video beforehand. Watching his videos may also give you a good idea of whether or not you will use this book. He has also included basic instructional recipes for separating a chicken into pieces, making clarified butter, and making simple syrup. After having read his cookbook and watching his videos, I feel like Chef Kamal has become my guide to creating authentic Lebanese food at home.
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