Sunday, 19 December 2010

Bazeen بازين

Bazeen, an Amazigh dish most often made from barley, is one of the most distinctive North African dishes. It is a staple in Western Libya, and often served for lunch on Fridays. There are variations on the basic lamb bazeen, serving it with stews featuring camel meat, chicken, squid or broad beans. A favourite winter variation is Bazeen served with Hassa soup made with dried meat (gideed). The most well-known Bazeen is made of a mixture of 3 parts barley flour to 1 part wheat flour. The flour is cooked in salted water to make a hard dough, and then formed into a rounded, smooth dome, with the tomato sauce, potatoes, boiled eggs around it, the mushroom shown in the picture is my addition, not part of the original recipe. An untraditional alternative is to serve bazeen as dumplings in a stew.

Serves 4-6
about 1 kilo meat (preferably shoulder and leg of lamb)
1 large chopped onion
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fenugreek
1 tbsp tumeric
1 tbsp red chilli 
tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
1 large garlic clove
2 chopped fresh green chillies
3-4 medium potatoes peeled and halved
500g pumpkin cut into medium sized cubes (optional)

for the dough
1 kilo barley flour
1/4 kilo plain / wheat flour 
1 tbspoon salt
about 11/2 litre boiling water ( more as needed )

Pour the olive oil in a  pot.

Add the fenugreek, onion and chillies to the pot. Stir and cook until the onion begins to soften.

Add the meat to the pot.

Add the spices and mix.

Add the roughly chopped garlic cloves.

Add tomato paste, mix well.

Add about 1/2 litre of boiling water. Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes then add another litre of boiling water and cook on medium heat  for further 45 minutes 

                 Add potatoes halves, cook on low heat, meanwhile prepare the dough

Mix the barley with the plain flour in a deep bowl.

In a deep pot, pour 1 litre of boiling water and add 1 tbsp salt.

Pour in the barley mix, all at once.

With a wooden spoon, push in the edges, creating an island of flour in the middle of the pot, allowing the water to bubble around it. Do not disturb the flour in the middle. Do not cover the pot.

Stick a wooden spoon in the middle of the island, and move the spoon a little so the water can bubble up inside, then do not disturb. Leave the dough to cook for 45 minutes on medium heat.

Hard-boil 6 eggs.

Test the potatoes. They should be just cooked, firm rather than mushy!  Remove the sauce from heat at this point.

After 45 minutes the dough should be ready. Using the wooden spatula mix well with the water in the pot, you might need to add more hot water to make a medium hard dough. Using the spatula press the dough against the edges of the pot to remove any lumps. The best way to do this is to place the pot in the sink, holding it against a corner with one hand to get a good purchase. 

If you have a machine that will knead bread dough then it will handle bazeen fine, and you will get a smooth ball of dough in minutes. 

Test the dough by pressing it in your fist and checking if it holds together well. Remove the dough from the pot. Place in a large flat serving bowl and knead it to get rid of the lumps, then form into a ball. If there are deep cracks you need to knead it again.

Form the bazeen by placing your palm on the ball and rolling in circular motions around the dish until you have a smooth dome with a flat base.

Press the edges down to make the dough stick to the dish.

Pour the tomato sauce around the dough. Arrange the meat, potatoes, and pumpkin if used. Peel and add the six hardboiled eggs. Bazeen is served with fresh chillies and lemon and is typically eaten in a communal dish, using the right hand.


  1. Hi, great blog! One question, is Bazeen and Bezellia, two different kinds of dishes?

    I hope you keep blogging, I for one find it very interesting and would like to know more Libyan recipes.

  2. Thank you for visiting :) Bezellia simply means peas in Arabic. There's a dish called tabikhet bazellia, which is tomato sauce and peas.

  3. Hi, yes ist is a really great blog.

    But i need help: how do you make bazeen exactly?
    I want to try it :D

  4. Hi Rosa, welcome to the blog and sorry for the late reply! I am planning on putting up a step-by-step recipe of bazeen soon :)

  5. طريقة سردك للخطوات أكثر من رائعة

  6. I have some bazeen pics somewhere - when I find them I will post them to you. I ate bazeen in Gharyan with my friends!!!

  7. I made bazeen when I wanted to make something in honor of Libya and I am relieved that I was not too far off the mark/.Looks beautiful and such a traditional dish!

  8. I suggest also with the video with bazeen recipe in YouTube.

  9. Thanks El Patron, I hope you enjoyed the bazeen in Gharyan.

    I'm glad it turned out well, Taste of Beirut :) Yes I think it is a really distinctive dish.

    P Mac I will look for the best video to post or maybe make one.

    1. Salaam, I have a video of Bazeen up on youtube!!!

      BTW, I love this blog, you guys have got so many great recipes on here & the photography is beautiful.



    2. Salam Umm Obaidah,

      I'm sorry I missed your comment. I just checked out your blog and youtube channel, and they're amazing, a lot of creativity there! Some recipes had me wanting to rush to the kitchen and try them out immediately :D

  10. thank you so much for this recipe! ive always wanted to make bazeen but never knew how.. your step by step explanation and ingredients are perfect! this is the third time ive made since ive found your recipe (3 times this month !! its been such a success that the family keep asking for it!!) and yes you are right i have the kitchen aid mixer and it makes it ready within minutes! thank you again! walahi! Wish you all the best!

  11. can you please post a recipe with rushda? thats one i would love to learn how to do!!

  12. Thanks for the comment benghazeeya, glad this recipe turned out well for you and I hope you enjoyed it as much as the family! :) We have had several requests for Rishda and we are working on it, with steps again to make it as simple as possible. It should be up soon inshallah :)

  13. I liked your site a lot
    i have similar one & would be glad if you visit it at

  14. Thank you for the comment and giving us the link to your site :)

  15. Hi ive tried so many of your recipes and loooved them all!! thank you soo much youve turned me into a proper libyan cook!! I have one request.. I am just curious as to when you will post the Rushda recipe? That would be my dream come true!! Thanks again for this wonderful blog!! - Asma

  16. Hi benghazeeya, great to know you've found the blog useful! I just posted the Rishdet Burma recipe which you can find here Not sure if you meant that one, or the rishda made using a kaskas? In any case, hopefully we will have other fresh pasta recipes soon :)

  17. I am so excited to find your blog! I have a friend in the USA from Libya & this is his favorite dish! I am so excited to finally find a recipe that I can follow! I get to make my first break fast meal for him during this Ramadan season & this is the dish I will attempt! Do you have any suggestions on what else I should make with it?

  18. Hi Sarah :)

    Thanks for your comment. Bazeen is traditionally served on its own. It's a very heavy dish, so most people find it too much to break their fast with it. I would suggest the following dishes:

    Libyan Soup with Lamb and Mint (a must on every Libyan Ramadan table!)

    To go with the soup, any pastry recipes go perfectly, you can find a few here in Finger Food or Stuffed Savories. But I would recommend this, just because it is very Libyan:

    Fried Potato Wedges Stuffed with Minced Meat

    For the main dish:
    Mixed Stuffed Vegetables: Tajin Mahshi

    I hope this helps!