Arabic Language Blog

Libyan Recipe: Bazeen بازين Posted by on Feb 25, 2022 in Arabic Language, comprehension, Culture, Food, Pronunciation, Travel & Geography, Uncategorized, Vocabulary

In this post, you will be introduced to the number 1 (savoury) dish in Libya – it’s El-Bazeen البازين. Bazeen is one of the most known delicious and sophisticated dishes across Libya. Tunisia is probably the only other country that makes this dish but is cooked differently. In that sense, El-Bazeen is really unique to the Libyan culture. Below, I will give some information about this traditional meal الوجبة التقليدية and provides a recipe الطريقة/ الوصفة in Arabic & English.


Image by Mudassar Iqbal from Pixabay

What is it?

Bazeen is a savoury dish that is made up of 2 main ingredients: Barley flour dough عجينة دقيق شعير and a tomato sauce مرقة طماطم – it’s also called Edaam إيدام or Tbeekha طْبيخة, with lamb لحم الضأن. It’s often served as lunch, in special occasions (weddings, etc) and on Fridays أيام الجمعة. It’s considered quite filling but healthy as the dough is made of pure barley flour.

The way this dish is cooked is similar to another traditional Libyan dish that I shared before: Libyan Porridge: ʕASSeedah عَصيدَه. The main difference is that El-ʕASSeedah is a sweet dish. However, the overall idea of a dough in the middle (shaped a bit differently though) and a sauce/syrup around it is kind of the same. The other common thing between them is the use of ‘El-mughruf’ المُغْرُفْ, an important kneading tool that is mostly used to make the dough (You can read more about it here). Finally, both of them are eaten with your hands 😀

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The Recipe الوَصْفَة:

Let’s now move onto the recipe (watch the video below – in Libyan Arabic).



Ingredients المقادير:

The sauce: In a big bowl, put the following:


Some oil بعض الزيت

A medium chopped onion بصلة متوسطة الحجم، ومفرومة

Big lamb chops قطع كبيرة من لحم الضأن 

Tomato paste ٤ ملاعق كبيرة من معجون طماطم

1 large spoon of turmeric ملعقة كبيرة كركم

1 large spoon of cayenne pepper ملعقة كبيرة فلفل حار 

Salt ملح

Water ماء


The sides:

Boiled potato wedges قطع بطاطا مسلوقة.

Optional: boiled eggs بيض مسلوق (اختياري).

You add them at the end. Make sure they’re covered with the sauce fat.


The Dough:

750kg of barley flour كيلو إلا ربع من دقيق الشعير 

1/2 large spoon of salt ١/٢ ملعقة كبيرة من الملح

Some water to knead the dough بعض الماء لعجن الدقيق

A bowl with some water in it (to boil the dough in) إناء به بعض الماء لغلي العجين

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Directions طريقة التّحضير:

The sauce:

  • Heat the oil and then add all the above ingredients in order سخّن الزيت وأضف كل المكونات/ المقادير في الأعلى
  • Then add the salt after the sauce has been boiling for about half an hour ثم ضف الملح بعد أن غليان الصلصة لحوالي نصف ساعة
  • Add boiling water (what you see fit – make sure the water covers the lamb) ضف ماء مغلي (تأكد من أن الماء يغطي اللحم).
  • Leave on low heat until the lamb is well done اترك المكونات على نار هادئة حتى ينضج اللحم.
  • An important side the sauce is ready is the fat that can be seen on the sauce علامة مهمة على نضج الصلصة هي صعود الدهن على سطح الصلصة.

The Dough:

  • Knead the dough very well until it becomes soft.
  • Make some rectangular-shaped pieces of dough and put them in the boiling water.
  • Leave the dough in the boiling water until it is done (it takes about 3o minutes).
  • Use the ‘mughruf’ / kitchen spatula to knead it. It’s better to use a flat bowl so that you can shape the dough into a dome.
  • Put the shaped dough in the serving bowl. Then, add the sauce, potatoes, eggs & chili pepper around the dough.

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El-Bazeen in action Exploding head

Finally, for those of you who are interested to learn more about this dish, you can watch this clip below. It’s a vlog by an Algerian Youtuber who travels to Libya and eats Bazeen, in the city of Msillatah مسلّاته. The 6:15 – 14:00 portion of the video shows his experience with Bzeen for the first time (English subtitles are provided).

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About the Author: Hanan Ben Nafa

Hi, this is Hanan :) I'm an Arabic linguist. I completed my PhD in Linguistics - 2018. My PhD thesis was entitled Code-switching as an evaluative strategy: identity construction among Arabic-English bilinguals. I'm also a qualified public service translator & interpreter.


  1. Jijii:

    Nice post. This style of bazeen is so Libyan.
    By the way, the vlogger is Algerian, not Moroccan. His accent is indicative of middle Algeria, between Moroccan and Tunisian.

    • Hanan:

      @Jijii Thank you for passing by. Yeah, he is clearly Algerian but it was a typo. Thanks a lot for pointing it out.