This wonderfully flavourful dish is native to Syria. Traditionally, small pieces of dough are cut up and used instead of the pasta; but I grew up eating it this way. It’s therefore simpler to make but the taste isn’t compromised. The pasta I use tends to be either quinoa or corn, which are healthier alternatives to wheat pasta.
Whatever you decide to use, the taste will be the same: delicious and nutritious. It’s chock-full of amazing goodness including, iron, protein, good carbs, and good fats. It’s also allergen-free and vegan! Can’t go wrong with this meal. It’s light yet hearty, and full of flavour and punch. Every time I make Hirra Bisba’o, I literally double the amount, which easily feeds 8 people! But that’s how much I love it; so next day (or two) leftovers are fine with me :)
Although it may look complicated, it really is quite the opposite! So the next time you’re stuck on what to make for dinner, give Hirra Bisba’o a try. Your family will love it!
- 1C green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4C pasta of choice
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp pomegranate molasses (available at your local middle eastern store)
- Small handful of cilantro, finely chopped
- 1 onion, winged
- 2 fried pita loaves (optional but recommended)
- This recipe should serve 4-6 people comfortably.
1. Rinse lentils well, then place In a dutch or french oven. Cover with water so that it’s about 1-2 inches above the lentils. (As shown)
2. Bring to a boil. Skim off any foamy residue that may appear from the lentils and discard.
3. Add chopped onion and minced garlic to pot and stir occasionally on medium high heat for approximately 10 minutes, until lentils begin to slightly soften. Season with some salt and pepper to taste.
4. Next, add pasta to pot and stir. Let cook for another 10 minutes or so, until pasta is nicely cooked through and soft.
Note: You may have noticed that the water levels have decreased, so add more water until you have an inch or so above the lentils to allow for the pasta to cook properly.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the winged onions.
5. Cut the onion as shown below, and place in a skillet with about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook on medium high heat until the onions are nicely caramelized..yum!
Caramelized onions have to be one of my favourite things to eat! Once done, set aside.
5. Add lemon juice and pomegranate molasses, stir to incorporate into the meal.
Tip: Check if more salt is needed at this point – chances are you will need to add more as more ingredients are added to the meal; so adjust accordingly.
6. Finally, add the prepared caramelized onions and chopped cilantro into the Hirra Bisba’o and stir until fully incorporated. The smell is so fragrant!
Your Hirra Bisba’o is ready to eat!
To make the fried bread pieces is quite simple:
7. Place 3 tablespoons or so of veggie or grape seed oil into a skillet and get it really hot.
8. Cut the pita bread loaves into small squares. Then, add to hot skillet and stir continuously until bread crumbs have absorbed some of the oil and are a nice golden-brown in colour. It takes less than a minute so be sure not to leave the area!
Garnish your Hirra Bisba’o with some fried pita bread. I know many of us (including myself) tend to stay away from fried foods, but once in a while is ok I think :) And you’re only putting a little amount into your dish so really, no harm done! It really finishes the meal off perfectly and the taste of the bread compliments the rest of the ingredients in the dish.
That’s it. You have a new meal to add to your repertoire. Hope it becomes a staple in your home and you enjoy eating it for many years to come.
Bon appétit! xo