- Couscous is a traditional Berber dish of semolina (granules of durum wheat) which is cooked by steaming. It is traditionally served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it. Couscous is a staple food throughout the North African cuisines of Morocco, Algeria,Tunisia, Mauritania, Libya and the Western Sahara.
- Moghrabieh, (meaning ” a dish from the Maghreb”) is a much-beloved traditional dish in Lebanon and is considered a feasting type of meal to which many relatives or friends are invited. It used to be made with both lamb shanks and chicken but nowadays most people prefer a streamlined version with only one or the other. Moghrabieh refers to both the grains and the finished dish. This dish involves two main steps: The first is to cook the chicken (or meat) and the onions and obtain a good bouillon which will be used to cook the moghrabieh grains. The second is to cook the moghrabieh grains in the bouillon.
So, now you know that the origins of moghrabieh are found in this small hidden spot in Tripoli's souk. Mr. Dabboussi welcomed me, the great grandson of a family of passionate cooks. They have developed a handmade recipe without meat which they fill in sandwiches with pickled cucumbers and beetroots.
The moghrabieh is simple, containing semolina, hummus and onions. A filling food for the poor, Mr. Dabboussi tells me. All it needs is to be grilled with margarine fat and rolled into a sandwich. Honestly, it's a tasty thing. The fat is absorbed by the tender bread, while the inner filling melts slowly. Perfectly cooked onions you rarely feel, well seasoned moghrabieh and crunchy vegetables transform a dish into a street food bite. All of this for only LBP2,000.
PS: You can buy Moghrabieh for take-away and home preparation for LBP1,000 a kilo