Awarma: Favorite Winter Dish – Lebanese Recipes

Growing up as a city girl, I rarely ever heard about awarma, a heavy, fatty dish, that’s said to be the winter supply of meat for villagers to keep them warm during the cold season. Awarma is an important aspect of Lebanese mountain life. Historically, villagers would get sheep to the center of the village yard to slay, which made it some kind of a tradition for more than 100 years now. Awarma is essentially cooked lamb fat and lamb meat stored in jars to preserve its flavor throughout the winter season.

Awarma: Favorite Winter Dish

A traditional breakfast in the villages of Lebanon would be eggs and awarma. What does someone need to prepare awarma for storage? According to “Lebanese Recipe”, one would need 1 kg (32oz – 4 cups) of fat from lamb meat roughly chopped), 1/2 kg (16oz – 2 cups) of lean lamb meat finely ground or chopped into bite-size pieces, 2 teaspoons of crystallized sea salt, and a 2 kg jar.


Awarma with nuts

Preparing this traditional dish is not hard, it needs a little time, but is definitely worth it. Cook the lamb fat in a deep pot over low heat, and then sprinkle spices over the meat, preferably ‘allspice’ or ‘seven-spice’. Leave your pot on low heat for 45 minutes. Add salt after 20 minutes. Stir it constantly so that the meat does not burn. Finally, store the meat in jars and preserve it in your fridge for a few weeks. This preparation process usually takes place before winter sets in, during the early autumn season, so it will be ready for serving during winter.

A ¼ plate serving size of awarma contains approximately 396 calories, 6 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbs, and 9 grams of protein. Despite the great amount of energy it generates for the consumer (helping them stay warm during harsh winter seasons), it contains too much fat. As we all know, constant consumption of large portions of fat can be fatal. Nutritionists and dietitians advise awarma lovers to have no more than a ¼ awarma portion per every 2 weeks in winter, and the same portion per month maximum during the hot season. Consuming too much fat can cause various types of blood vessel clots, causing strokes. This may lead to a serious threat to the heart and eyes, affecting heart rate and eyesight.

Awarma is a very tasty dish, especially when served in pies, or with eggs. This traditional Lebanese food guarantees you sufficient energy that will keep you warm during the coldest days of the harsh winter season. However, proceed with caution– too much awarma can cause you serious health issues–so take it easy!