Friday, 25 November 2011

Eating Seeds as a Pastime Activity: Pumpkin Seeds [Libb Abyad]

The Egyptian revolution part 2 is upon us, and no matter which side you are on, you are probably glued to the TV, radio or mobile phone getting your updates.

Egyptians have for years entertained themselves by eating roasted seeds, mainly Watermelon seeds (Lebb Asmar, Asmar means dark) which are usually light brown, and Pumpkin Seeds (Lebb Abyad, Abyad means white). This tradition has not even been forgotten in Tahrir square, where in midst of the tension, you can find a few street vendors with their carts selling different nuts and seeds. Roasted seeds still remains one of the cheap ways to snack, and is enjoyed by millions of Egyptians.

I never imagined to make my own Lebb, as it is so easily available, and cheap. One day while looking for urban gardening tips in Egypt, I stumbled across this post which just made my mouth water. Then the post was forgotten as the summer flew by and watermelons were out of season.

Finally, this Halloween, when I carved my pumpkin, I decided to save the seeds and try out Ashraf's recipe. When I told him he insisted I write about it in my blog to share to the world.  Ashraf is a permaculture enthusiast and can't resist the idea of sharing this simple, yet strong part of the Egyptian food culture. I tweaked his method a bit, but the basic principle stayed the same.


Pumpkin Seeds
3 Tbsp Salt
1 cup Hot water

Wash your pumpkin seeds well and dry them with a kitchen towel. Allow to sit to dry out for about half an hour.

Heat the oven to a med-high setting, I had mine on 160 degrees Celcius.

Spread out the seeds on a baking sheet, you don't want them to overlap. Place them in the oven for about 10 mins, just to dry them out.

Take out the tray, and have your salt and water mixed in and dissolved. Pour it over the seeds and give a quick stir. Place in the oven for another 10 mins. The water should evaporate and the salt should leave a white residue on the seeds.

Take out your seeds, and shake of the extra salt with a sieve.

Voila! Now snack to your heart's content.

Do you like snacking on seeds? What are your favorite seeds?


  1. Pumpkin seeds! I've never tried roasting those! I guess next time a pumpkin is around in the kitchen I might try this!

  2. Yes Ashraf, you will be happy with the results! it is your recipe after all :)

  3. Even my husband will tell you that there is nothing I like doing more than 'a2az2az lebb ;) I even took some with me on my honeymoon (that's addiction, lol). I'll definitely be trying this at home. I think I might soak the seeds for a few hours though beforehand to make it more digestible ( Awesome site btw - great to "meet" you here! Salam, Heba

  4. I love doing this, but I separate the seeds and do different flavors. Try mixing in garlic powder or chili powder, or even cumin. So super yum!

  5. Heba, good idea to soak the nuts. I soak dry legumes, so I guess it is the same for nuts as well. Love your site too, great food is my guilty pleasure :)

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  7. Hi Neveen!

    I am a bit of a purist, so I love pure salt. but the only other flavor I like is lemon chili lebb. Shata we lamoun, an Egyptian favorite!

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