Moufataka: Beirut’s Yellow Dessert

“Hey grandma, you’ve been in the kitchen for hours, what are you up to?” I asked, after a mouthwatering aroma dragged me from the living room all the way to the kitchen. I then realized that it was some kind of dessert, the yellowish orange color in the pot didn’t look very tempting at first though! “It’s called Moufataka, one of the oldest Beiruti desserts!” she replied.

Hajj Makari and Hachem, one of the few shops in Beirut that still prepare Moufataka, say this dish was born in 1880 and originated in Ras Beirut (West Beirut). Now if you really want to get a feel for traditional Beirut, Basta is the neighborhood to visit. Moufataka is not an easy dish to prepare, it requires a lot of stirring. The name of the dish translates into “not sewn”, in other words, the ingredients are cooked to death until they lose their initial texture and meld into an extra-moist, sweet, fragrant mass with a silky, doughy texture and a golden hue to brighten your day.

Moufataka

Moufataka

The younger Lebanese generations probably don’t recognize this dish. However, young Beirutis will definitely know the smell of this dessert no matter where they are. The older generation cherish the Moufataka due to all the memories it brings back. Try this recipe prepared by one of the few shops who still keep this tradition alive, or have one of our Beiruti chefs like Chef Khodr do it for you!

Moufataka
Serves 6
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Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/4 kgs/0.55 lbs of Italian rice
  2. 1/4 kgs/ 0.55 lbs of Tahini
  3. 1/2 kgs/1.10 lbs of white sugar
  4. 1 Tablespoon of Turmeric
  5. 0.5 Liters/0.13 gallons of water
  6. Pine Nuts
Instructions
  1. Put water, rice and turmeric in saucepan on the hob/stove until the rice is cooked.
  2. Add tahini and sugar.
  3. Lower the heat under saucepan.
  4. Stir continuously until the mixture starts bubbling gently and it becomes thick, creamy and the tahini oil starts coming up to the surface.
  5. Pour in serving plate
  6. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top.
  7. Let it cool at room temperature.
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