Monday, December 13, 2010

Arabic Breakfast/Ftoor

Arabic breakfast may seem like a cop out for a recipe but it is really important. Arabs eat this type of breakfast every single morning, and it is seriously my favorite because I get a little of everything. At the end of this post i will have a recipe for Arabic hard boiled eggs (it is how my husband always eats his hard boiled eggs but I think he is the only Arab that does it this way, if I am wrong please correct me) Anyways here is a typical arabic breakfast.

So normally there is some sort of vegetable, here i had some tomatoes, mint leaves (to be eaten with food like the laban msaffa (strained yogurt) or to be dipped in the tea) and cucumbers. Sometimes people also add some green onions or radishes, whatever you have available.
Honey or halaweh (sugar and sesame paste) is also always at the table, something to "ithala" with at the end of the breakfast (or if you are like me then you eat the sweet stuff all throughout the breakfast) Usually honey is eaten with cheese.
This is orange peel jelly but traditionally there is usually apricot jam.
Cheese, don't even bother telling an Arab breakfast is ready if there is no cheese. Here I have Syrian cheese or sometimes it is called chicago cheese. In Syria there is a cheese called jibneh bayda (white cheese) that is boiled before it is served to remove some of the salt, it squeaks when you chew it, you gotta love Syrian squeaky cheese. Sometimes (Laith's favorite) there is string cheese, pretty much any type of cheese you want.
Zaa'tar is a mix of dried herbs like oregano and thyme mixed with sesame seeds. Sometimes this mix is sour and sometimes it is not, i personally like it sour. This is eaten by taking pita bread and dipping it in olive oil and then in the zaa'tar mix.

Makdoos, I have a previous post showing how to make this pickled eggplant stuffed with walnuts and red pepper. This is very good and Syrians usually make it once a year and make enough for the whole year.
Laban msaffa or labneh which is strained yogurt topped with dried mint leaves and some olive oil. This is eaten either plain with pita bread or with black olives or with cucumbers.
Olives, again always available at any Arabs house you go to. Here I have black olives and green olives. Green olives are usually eaten with eggs and the black olives are eaten all the times. Arabs eat the olive by putting the whole thing in their mouth with bread and eating the olive then they (politely) spit the pit out in their hand. I, on the other hand, just peel the olive meat off and eat it.

This is how Oussama likes to eat his hard boiled eggs, I cut them in quarters and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then I drizzle the eggs with tahini and olive oil and serve. Hard boiled eggs can also be served as is and sprinkles with salt and pepper.

And that is a traditional (everyday) Syrian breakfast. Of course do not forget the tea. I also have halaweh (which wouldn't photograph properly)

Written Recipe:

Hard boiled eggs
Take eggs and place them in a pot with cold water and then directly on the stove. When the water starts to boil then time it for 8 minutes. Once the eggs have boiled for 8 minutes then drain them and pour cold water of them so they are easy to peel. Peel and cut the eggs into quarters and sprinkle salt and pepper and drizzle tahini and olive oil on top.


  1. Thanks. I am from Toronto, we're supporting a Syrian family settle and wanted to know what breakfast/food items they eat. This page has been very useful.