Potato and Bulgur Lettuce Wraps | Oil-Cured Baby Eggplant Salad


Qednakhentzorov Keufte, Kamoom Portodj or Pertudjig | Potato and Bulgur Lettuce Wraps

These mashed potato patties or “keufte”, are the specialty of Musa Dagh (Musa Ler), Vakef and Anjar.  Musa Dagh, meaning “Moses Mountain”, was the center of the resistance movement during the Armenian massacres of 1915.  Armenians from the six villages of Musa Ler, as it is called in Armenian, were uprooted from their homes and took refuge on the highest mountain in town for forty days before being transported to safety by allied warships.  In 1939, a treaty was signed ordering Armenians to once again evacuate the region, but a handful of Moussadaghians chose to stay behind in Vakef.  Vakef, one of the six villages, is the only remaining totally Armenian village in the world that still speaks a dialect that is not understood by the majority of other Western Armenians.  Those who left the province immigrated to the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, onto a land bought for them by the French on which they founded the town of Anjar, also known as Haoush Mousa; and continued preserving their culture, traditions and cuisine.  Today, the town of Anjar is divided into six districts, each commemorating one of the villages of Musa Dagh. You can read more about the history and browse photos here.

qednakhentzor = potato, in Armenian

kamoom = potato, in Moussadaghian dialect


To start, you simply cook potatoes until tender, sauté some onions and prepare your bulgur mixture.

Then mix everything together, adding fresh parsley and green onion.

… and shape into long fingerling patties and garnish with toppings.

Serve cold or at room temperature,

wrapped up in lettuce leaves,

with a side of salad.  EGGPLANT SALAD ANYONE ?



Print this recipe


20 oz potatoes, about 3 large; peeled, quartered
3 cups water, or a combination of water and vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt, plus an additional 1-to-1 ½ teaspoons
1 + 1/8 cup fine bulgur, packaged as No.1
2/3 cups hot water
3 tablespoons oil; canola, sunflower or safflower
¾ cup minced onion, about half a large one
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon pepper paste
1 clove garlic, minced; optional
Pinch of black pepper
¼-to-1/2 teaspoon each allspice, cumin, and ground red Aleppo pepper
¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
4 green onions, sliced at a diagonal, plus an additional 2 for topping
Half a bell pepper, diced, for topping
Lettuce leaves

Combine potatoes, water, broth if using and 1 teaspoon salt in a pot; bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cook 12-15 minutes until tender.  Drain, mash and set aside.

Meanwhile, mix bulgur, 1-to-1 ½ teaspoons salt and 2/3 cups hot water in a bowl and set aside 10 minutes.

Sauté onions in oil until they just start to caramelize; for at least 10 minutes.  Add tomato and pepper pastes and garlic if using; cook for another 2 minutes then remove from heat.

In a large bowl, layer mashed potatoes, spices, soaked bulgur and sautéed onion mixture.  Mix until thoroughly combined; be careful, onions might be hot to handle.  Mix in parsley and four green onions.

* Instead of using red pepper, cumin and allspice as seasoning you can substitute the following for an alternate flavor: sweet paprika, mint and lemon juice or pomegranate molasses; added to taste.

Cover a serving platter with a bed of lettuce leaves.  Divide potato mixture into 32 balls, form into long fingerling patties and arrange on platter.  Top with remaining two green onions and diced bell peppers.

Serve cold or at room temperature; wrapped up in lettuce leaves.



Salatet Batinjan Makdous | Oil-Cured Baby Eggplant Salad

Makdous is tiny eggplants stuffed with walnuts, garlic, cilantro, rock salt and sometimes sun-dried red chili peppers; preserved in jars topped with olive oil.  It is a staple on Lebanese and Syrian dinner tables, served as mezze, and is especially good on rustic bread.


Just toss everything together gently and serve.



Print this recipe


3 pieces makdous, stuffed preserved baby eggplants; cubed
1 medium Beefsteak heirloom tomato, diced
Half a bell pepper, diced
2 green onions, sliced; or 1 small onion, diced
2/3 bunch fresh parsley leaves
Half a chili pepper, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses

Combine everything except eggplants and then gently toss in eggplants.

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