“Deck the halls with boughs of holly Fa, la, la, la, la!” That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the “season to be jolly” is finally here! The 25th of December will mark the highly anticipated annual festival, Christmas, commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. Similar to any other annual event, one of Christmas’ main elements is undoubtedly the food. Pudding, gingerbread houses, and candy canes are just a few of the countless examples that we hear in Hollywood movies during this time of year. But what about the Middle East? Do we have any traditional and scrumptious delicacies to prepare and eat in December? The answer is YES! We’ve compiled you a list of festive culinary creations, with the help of Middle East Monitor, from different parts of the region.
Palestinians are definitely an “eclectic bunch” based on their choice of cuisine. Their main Christmas dish would probably be lamb cooked in different ways, yet quite similar in terms of the richness and variety of the ingredients as well as the complexity of the recipe. Examples include Zarb, Mahshi, and Hameem. Of course, desserts play a key role on the dinner table as well; such as sweets made with nougat and sesame seeds.
Lebanon is known for its major Christian population in comparison to other Arab countries. So, Christmas is definitely a big deal! The meal is traditionally lamb or turkey, which is stuffed with either rice and spices or pomegranate stuffing.
A Syrian Christmas feast generally includes chicken, nuts, sweet pastries, and oranges.
One of Jordan’s most renowned dishes is the Christmas cake. It’s quite close to the famous English cake in terms of ingredients with dried fruits and spices soaked in brandy and cognac.
All these delicious dishes represent a grain of sand in a sea full of Middle Eastern Christmas recipes. Other common dishes include Hummus, Tabbouleh, Freekeh, Baklava, and Eish Saraya. I have to confess that my mouth is watering already!