This one pot- Libyan Mbakbaka- is rich in flavor and has a unique texture. Serve this versatile dish as a main course or side dish. Libyan Makbakan is a traditional pasta recipe passed down through generations. The dish originates from the coastal regions of Libya and has become popular among the Libyan people. This hearty meal is made with a savory combination of pasta, tomato paste, and various warm spices, like turmeric caraway seeds, coriander, and seven spices, making it a tasty and flavorful dish. With its origins in Libya, this traditional recipe has been a staple of Mediterranean Cuisine for centuries. This recipe will please all palates as a side or main course.
My mom had a unique spin on spaghetti for years, always using seven spices to make the flavors of lamb pieces pop. But what makes this Libyan Mbakaka different in addition to the seven spices and indeed tantalizing is caraway seeds! This nutty-bitter spice combination adds a hint of sharpness you won’t find anywhere else – it’s enough to make your taste buds sing! Libyan Mbakaka brings out those beautiful ingredients in every bite.
Ingredients in the One-Pot Libyan Mbakbaka Recipe
- Caraway Seeds: Caraway seeds contribute a warm, earthy, and slightly nutty flavor with a hint of citrus and anise-like undertones. They add depth and aroma to the dish.
- Seven Spices: This blend combines a variety of spices, offering a complex flavor profile with elements of warmth, sweetness, and subtle spiciness. It typically includes black pepper for heat, paprika for sweetness and color, cloves for a touch of warmth, nutmeg for earthiness, coriander for a citrusy note, cumin for a savory depth, and cinnamon for a hint of sweetness.
- Turmeric: Turmeric brings a vibrant yellow color and a mild, earthy, slightly bitter flavor with subtle hints of citrus and ginger. It adds a warm undertone to the dish and provides health benefits.
- Paprika: Paprika provides a bright red color and a sweet, slightly smoky flavor with a mild heat. It enhances the visual appeal and contributes to the overall flavor profile of the dish.
- Olive Oil: Olive oil adds a fruity and grassy note with a mild peppery finish, providing richness and depth to the recipe.
- Lamb: Lamb offers a savory, slightly gamy, and tender meaty flavor, complementing the spices and other ingredients.
- Onions and Garlic: Onions bring a sweet and savory base flavor, while garlic adds pungency and depth.
- Jalapenos: Jalapenos add a mild to moderate heat level with a subtle, fresh, and slightly fruity flavor.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato paste contributes a rich, umami-packed tomato flavor with a hint of sweetness and acidity, providing a robust base for the dish.
- Pasta: The choice of pasta will influence the final texture and flavor of the dish. It typically provides a neutral canvas for the flavorful sauce and meat.
- Italian Parsley: Italian parsley adds a fresh, slightly peppery, and herbaceous note, offering a bright garnish and a touch of contrast to the dish.
Combining these ingredients creates a rich and aromatic flavor profile with layers of spices, earthiness, sweetness, and savory depth, making One-Pot Libyan Mbakbaka a delightful and hearty dish.
Notes and Tips
- I used lamb leg pieces or explored other options like a shoulder of the lamb for a more tender texture. If ground beef is more to your liking, go all out – remember that cooking time needs some adjustments!
- Toast the caraway seeds slightly over medium heat, then crush them with a pestle. If you do not have any caraway, you could replace it with a combination of either anise, fennel, or coriander seeds
- 7-spice mix (also known as seven Bharat) is an irresistible blend of robust flavors such as black pepper and cardamom. Cloves, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, smoked paprika, and more to give your meals that zing
- Add uncooked spaghetti after the lamb is tender and perfectly cooked. Make sure there’s enough sauce – if you need more liquid, add hot water.
- Use a large pasta to pair well with the pieces of lamb. Lumache, Paccheri, or Rigatoni are good choices when making this pot-Libyan Mbakbaka.
How to Serve One Pot-Libyan Mbakbaka?
When serving the Libyan Mbakbaka, enjoy it in many different ways. My favorite is to serve hot and fresh out of the pan with a sprinkle of freshly grated cheese. Toppings like parsley, mint, black olives, and capers add extra flavor. Add a dollop of yogurt or sour cream to the top of the dish for an extra special treat. I also served it with a side of salad or roasted vegetables.
I would love to hear your experience!
Have you made this One Pot-Libyan Mbakbaka? Are you familiar with Libyan food? Love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment below.