My sincerest apologies to everyone who waited for this recipe, promised ages ago (both of you!) Note that I’ve updated my header image to celebrate it’s delayed release.

Also, I need to make a confession from the outset – I’ve been eating the second recipe with my M’judrah since I learnt to make it, and so am not really a professional Loubia B’Zeit cook yet – other readers with more experience with this dish should feel welcome to comment below. Even though I’m now a more learned cook of this dish, I have eaten different versions of it many times, and had made my own version based on them, but then in research for this posting found out it’s a thing that other people have been doing for, well, thousands of years.

So here’s three versions:

  1. the most authentic,
  2. the version I’ve served many people before, and
  3. a combination of the three.

(i) Loubya bi Zayt

Ingredients (all recipes make 4 serves)

  • 1/2kg of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 400g ripe tomatoes, diced or 1 tin of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 brown onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until very soft, around 10 minutes
  2. Add the garlic, beans, salt and pepper and any dried herbs (if using – see note below), and saute for on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, or till the beans started to wilt.
  3. Add the tomatoes and lemon juice, then bring to a boil.
  4. Cover and cook over a very low heat until the tomatoes form a thick sauce – around 45 minutes.
  5. Season with fresh herbs or salt & pepper here if using them, but delicious as is.

(ii) Lebanese Green Beans (with Tomatoes)

Ingredients

  • 1/2kg of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • salt
  • 400g ripe tomatoes, diced (optional)

Method

  1. Boil/steam the beans until they’re relatively soft – some people like the beans almost falling apart, but they can’t be too firm or they won’t absorb the dressing properly.
  2. While the beans are cooking, mix up the olive oil, lemon juice and salt to make the dressing .
  3. If you want to use tomatoes, dice them here too.
  4. When the beans are ready, drain in a colander, return to pot. Using a serving size spoon, press the dressing into the beans (and tomatoes if using) and mix well.
  5. Can be served hot or cold – I like to eat with m’judrah.

Note

  • This dish doesn’t obviously doesn’t have a tomato sauce, but instead I sometimes (before I saw the light and found so many recipes) I just added diced tomatoes with the dressing. I’d prepare these first, along with the dressing, so that they both could be ‘pressed’ into the warm beans. As a general cooking tip, read about mise en place.

(iii) Vee’s ‘Skip’ Loubya bi Zayt

This method quickly boils/steams/microwaves the beans first, then uses the pot to make the tomato mixture which the beans can be added to.

Ingredients

  • 1/2kg of fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 Tbsp (to a generous glug) EV olive oil
  • 1 – 2 large brown onion(s), finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • salt

Method

  1. As with recipe 2 above, boil/steam the beans until they’re tender.
  2. While the beans are cooking, saute the chopped onions, garlic and some salt in olive oil until very soft.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until heated through.
  4. Once the beans are ready, mix the lemon juice and oil and pour over the drained beans.
  5. Add the dressed beans to the tomatoe mixture, cook futher if the mixture needs to be reduced.
  6. Serve with m’judrah and Lebanes-style yoghurt.

Notes

  • This version as I cook it now is most like Spanish versions of this recipe, known as Judías verdes con tomate, see here.

General Notes

  • This was the best blog entry I found for this dish – it explains the cooking method well and has several useful links.
  • Lots of Lebanese recipe sites, and my friend Katherine who taught me this dish (who learnt it cooking with her family), all have a particular method of trimming and preparing the beans: break the ends of by hand and then break into halves or thirds by hand. Probably more authentic, and a reminder this dish is some more peasant food that doesn’t require OTT preparation with a ruler or sharp knife.
  • This dish, has thousands of variations- I think it is called Zyetinyagli Fassolakia, Fassulya or Fasulye in Greek (similar in origin to Fasolada I guess?) and the Internet reveal endless variations from across the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterrainian. Some ideas you may want to try:
    • several sites, particularly Greek ones suggest boosting this dish with some finely sliced/diced potatoes or carrots – these would need to be either sliced finely enough to cook in the oil, or pre-boiled with the beans to a similar softness. There is a demo of a Greek method here.
    • This really good Lebanese recipe site features mint in with their green beans – something I love, so will try and update this when I do.
    • One of the more exotic variations was this Algerian recipe, including walnuts and several spices, but no tomatoes.
    • Lots of dishes include several spices, including cinnamon, all spice (go easy there), cumin, paprika or even a little cayenne. Experiment with your favourite spices, or to match another dish from the general region.
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