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Catholic Recipe: Kamhié


  • 3 cup (300 g) wheat, whole grain
  • 8 cup (21) water, boiling
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (100 g) raisins, golden
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) almonds, chopped
  • 2/3 cup (100 g) candied mixed peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water
  • 1 cup (250 g) sugar, or a mixture of half sugar and half honey
  •  Topping
  • cinnamon sugar
  • walnuts or pistachios, chopped or grated
  • Details

  • Serves: 8 to 10
  • Prep Time: 5-7 hours
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: All
  • Origin: Armenia; Syria; Lebanon

Also Called: Lebanese Dessert for St. Barbara's Day

In Armenia, Syria and Lebanon, the Christmas season begins on December 4, the feast of St. Barbara. This traditional Lebanese dessert is wheat berries laced with nuts and candied fruits. While the wheat is cooking, the head of the household is supposed to tell the legend of St. Barbara.


Wash grain thoroughly under cold running water. Drain well and put into a heavy saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. A slow cooker may be used instead. Add the salt and 8 cups of boiling water, cover tightly and simmer slowly until the wheat is soft but not mushy. This may take 4 to 6 hours.

The consistency should be similar to that of porridge. If there is too much liquid, it should be drained.

Continuing to cook the grain over low heat, stir in the raisins, pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, mixed peel, sugar and rose water. Stir until sugar is dissolved and the mixture thick and moist.

Remove from heat and spoon into individual dessert dishes or one large bowl. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon, sugar and the chopped walnuts or pistachios.

Recipe Source: Cooking With the Saints by Ernst Schuegraf, Ignatius Press, 2001
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