Hindbeh was one of the first foods I learnt to make when I left home. I was staying in Beirut in the springtime. I used to go to this local grower who had a small hindbeh field right in the middle of Beirut.
It wasn't very expensive to get a good bunch and I would pick up some onions and lemons on the way. And that was all you needed to make a nutritious lunch. Oh, and some lovely fresh bread of course.
When I got home I would have to wash the hindbeh very very well and soak it for a little in salted water to make the tiny snails would emerge and leave my lunch.
After fumbling around with the gas lighted hob (I still get scared when I have to light them with a match!) I would make the quick batch of hinbeh and caramalised onions in no time.
This is definitely a case of the more lemon the better and you really have to squeeze on a good amount as the leaves can be slightly bitter in a similar way to rocket leaves (or rocca as we call them in Lebanon).
Where can I find hindbeh?
The most likely answer to that is in your garden?! They sprout up everywhere around springtime you really can't miss them
When I moved to my house in the UK, I saw dandelions all around the garden and had heard that hindbeh were called dandelion leaves. Yet I still hesitated to pick them for a few years.
When one year, we had lots of and lots of dandelions sprouting around the house, my husband couldn't resist collecting them all and I was surprised they made a good batch.
And yes they tasted just like those back in Beirut and didn't poison us!
What are the health benefits of Hindbeh?
The other herb we use is fresh cilantro (or coriander if you live in the UK) but only a handful. A little garlic and onion finish off the dish, and the only spice I used was some black pepper.
Hinbeh b'zeit (Dandelion Greens in olive oil)
Dandelion Leaves with caramelised onions
- 1 big bunch of hindbeh dandelion leaves approx 500g
- 2 large onions sliced into strips
- 2 coves garlic chopped
- Handful fresh cilantro coriander, roughly chopped
- 4 tablespoon regular cooking olive oil
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1 teaspoon salt
In a non stick pan, sauté the onions initially on high heat for five minutes then lower to medium heat until caramalised, stirring every 5-10 minutes
Wash the dandelion leaves very well and soak in some salted water for approximately 15 minutes. Rinse again and add to a pot of boiling water for another 15 minutes.
Drain the leaves in a colander, then in batches, squeeze out all of the water with your hands and set aside
When the onions are golden brown, remove half and set aside for topping. Add the garlic and the chopped cilantro and sauté for few minutes
Roughly chop the drained and squeezed hindbeh and add to the onion garlic mixture and add approx 1 teaspoon of salt
Increase the heat to medum high and fry off the hindbeh for 5-10 minutes. Add the lemon juice just before turning off the heat. Stir well and adjust salt as necessary by tasting
Add the rest of the caramelised onions just before serving with fresh flat breads
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