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Burst of Beirut Elissa Abou Tasse

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Burst of Beirut

Chef Elissa Abou Tasse won the Acqua Panna award for Connection in Gastronomy for the Africa & Middle East Region.

26 October, 2020
Average: 2.2 (30 votes)

serves for


total time

1 HR 15 MIN


For The Stock
100 g
100 g
100 g
3 g
2 g
Oriental cinnamon sticks
5 g
2 L
The Boiled Veal Tongue
Vegetable stock
Veal tongue
180 g
Cooked Cabbage
Vegetable stock
after cooking the veal tongue
Cabbage Leaves
4 to 6 Big
Cooked Wheat
Pomegranate seeds
30 g
Peeled sliced almonds
10 g
Vegetable oil
20 g
Cracked wheat
150 g
Cleared stock
300 ml
Folded Cabbage Wrap
Cooked Cabbage Leaves
Boiled Veal Tongue
Baby Basil Leaves
Garlic Blossom Flower
The Sauce
Cleared stock
Balsamic vinegar
30 g
Pomegranate molasses
30 g
to taste
Plating and Presentation
Cabbage Wrap
Vegetable oil
Cooked Wheat
Basil Leaf
15 g

Burst of Beirut is inspired by an original Lebanese dish made from cabbage rolls filled with rice and meat. In this version, the cabbage is cooked till it's transparent and wrapped with the tip of veal tongue and cracked wheat, mixed with toasted almonds and pomegranate. It is accompanied with a sauce from the stock of the veal and the cabbage, then reduced with pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar

Chef Elissa Abou Tasse created this dish as a tribute to all the victims of the Beirut explosion on 4 August, 2020. The cracked wheat in this dish represents the destruction of the city's wheat stocks that were destroyed in the explosion. It is full of simple and everyday produce, like the farmer’s cuts of meat found at the market. The name 'Burst of Beirut', comes from the fact this dish is full of aromas and flavours. as well as from the tragedy that is affecting the city of Beirut.

See how to prepare it below.

Step 01

Ingredient for the stock by Elisa Abou Tasse

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

For the stock

Wash and chop the vegetables. Keep all trimmings - especially carrot peels, as for me I think this is the perfect balance between the bitterness of the peel and the sweetness of the carrot. Leek bottoms is where I believe that the earthy flavour is centred. Onion peels will give a beautiful colour to the stock and also with the help of the spices it will remove any undesired flavour, especially because it’s not your usual cut of protein.

Step 02

aromas burned

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Put the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves in a saucepan on a medium to high heat, let it smoke and get to a burned stage: I like to burn the aromas, it will push the flavours to a maximum level without giving a burnt flavour. It will feel like Christmas in there.

Step 03

vegetables and aromas

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Add the chopped vegetables over the spices and give it a slight toasted colour, then add the water.

Continuously skim the stock of the foam forming, let it boil.

Step 04

boiling stock

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse


When the vegetable stock reaches the boiling stage, add the veal tongue.

Bring it to medium to low heat, let it simmer for about 1.5 hours depending on the size of the tongue.

Step 05

veal and stock

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Remove the veal tongue from the stock once cooked.

Step 06

veal tongue

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Clean the veal tongue: when it is cooked the white skin will come off easily and the bottom part that is purely collagen can be taken out by hand.

Step 07

veal tongue cleaned

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

The whole cleaned part is edible, cut it into the desired shape. I used the end of the tongue and cut it in half.

Step 08

straining the stock

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

For the Cooked Cabbage

Strain the stock, press the vegetables to bring out all the liquids and flavors.

There is no added fat and the tongue contains a small amount of collagen, so the clearing process will be easy: place your chinois, on top of it a fine strainer and finally a thick cloth, and strain your stock through it step by step. Do not force it, this way you will end up with a beautiful cleared stock.

Step 09

cabbages leaves

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Separate the cabbage leaves and remove the root part which is the thickest and contains more fibers and has the brightest white color.

Cook your cabbage in the clear stock, until the cabbage becomes almost transparent.

Strain them and reserve the stock.

Step 10

pomegranate seed

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

For the Cooked Wheat

To take out the pomegranate seeds, cut the pomegranate from the top and slice it from the edges in to 4 quarters, just slicing the skin. Crack it open and take out the seeds.

Toast your almonds in vegetable oil until just before golden, because they will continue to cook. Let them cool for 10 minutes and cut them into small pieces.

Step 11

cooking the wheat

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Rinse the cracked wheat for 10 minutes. Put the stock and rinsed wheat in a small saucepan on medium to low heat. 

Add salt to taste, stir one time and leave it for almost 12 minutes. The wheat should still be undercooked when you turn off your heat.

Step 12

cover the wheat with paper

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Cut a circular parchment paper and cover the wheat for 4 minutes, the wheat will continue cooking in the stock through the steam.

Step 13

Almonds, pomegranate and wheat

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Let it cool for 5 minutes, mix with pomegranate seeds and the toasted almonds.

Step 14

Cabbage leaf and tongue

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

For the Folded Cabbage Wrap

Cut the cabbage leaf into a rectangular shape, be careful it is very fragile. Cut the tongue into a rectangle, as evenly as possible.

Garnish the tongue with baby basil leaves and garlic blossom flowers.

Step 15

tongue covered with the cabbage leaf

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Cover the tongue with the cabbage leaf. Make sure to place it sleek side out for a smooth and clear finish.

Tuck the sides of the cabbage leaf under the veal tongue, like a small gift box.


Step 16

cooking the sauce

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

For The Sauce

In a saucepan, place the cleared stock. Add the pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar, let it reduce. Adjust seasoning with salt to taste.

Step 17


Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

For the Plating and Presentation

Place the cabbage wrap on the right of the plate. Brush it with a little bit of vegetable oil so the cabbage is more translucent.

Using a mold, form a frame of cooked wheat. It should be thick and hollow as it will be holding the sauce.

Garnish the wheat borders with almond and basil leaf.

Step 18

for the plating and presentation

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

Finally pour the sauce into the middle of the wheat frame. Be careful not to over-pour as it might expand.

Step 19

Burst of Beirut by Elissa Abou Tasse

Courtesy of Chef Elissa Abou Tasse

The final dish. 

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