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Makaanik (Middle Eastern Spiced Sausages) with Pomegranate Molasses

Makaanik, a delightful favourite for brunch or any meal of the day, epitomises the rich and diverse culinary traditions of the Middle East. While the term ‘makaanik’ often finds itself used interchangeably with ‘sujuk’ to describe Middle Eastern-style spiced sausages, Lebanese makaanik distinguishes itself with a unique blend of spices such as cloves, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and white pepper and is typically enriched with pine nuts for added flavour and texture.

I grew up savouring the robust flavours of homemade Sudanese sujuk, packed with cumin and coriander. I’ve always enjoyed these sausages pan-fried, accompanied by feta cheese and a slice of French baguette. However, living in Dubai introduced me to Lebanese makaanik, a delightful alternative I’ve come to cherish.

My preferred way to prepare makaanik is by sautéing it with onions and finishing it with a drizzle of pomegranate molasses, which adds a beautiful sweetness that complements the savoury spices of the sausage. This method not only elevates the dish but also creates a perfect balance of flavours, marrying the sweet with the savoury in a symphony of taste that is both comforting and indulgent. It’s a culinary homage to tradition, yet adaptable to the ingredients and flavours at hand, making it a versatile and beloved dish in my kitchen.

Basic Ingredients for Makaanik


Makaanik: This is the star ingredient, a Lebanese-style sausage known for its rich spices and flavorful meat. It serves as the protein base of the dish.

Onion: Adds sweetness and depth when caramelised, complementing the savoury notes of the makaanik.

Olive Oil: Used for sautéing, it provides a healthy fat source and enriches the overall flavour.

Pomegranate Molasses: Introduces a sweet yet tangy flavour, adding a unique, glossy finish to the dish.


Roasted Pine Nuts: Add a nutty crunch, offering a textural contrast to the dish.

Pomegranate Jewels: Contribute a burst of sweet, tart flavour and a visually appealing touch.

Fresh Parsley or Coriander: Provides a fresh, herbaceous note to round off the dish.

Alternative Ingredients

For Makaanik: If you can’t find makaanik, consider using other types of spiced sausages.

For Onion: If onions are too strong for your taste, shallots or leeks can be a milder alternative, offering a subtle sweetness when sautéed.

For Olive Oil: Avocado oil or grapeseed oil can be used in place of olive oil for sautéing, both offering high smoke points and mild flavours.

For Pomegranate Molasses: Tamarind can offer a similar tangy sweetness if pomegranate molasses isn’t available.

For Pine Nuts:  Roasted almonds, walnuts, or pecans can replace pine nuts for a different nutty crunch and flavour in the garnish.

For Fresh Parsley or Coriander:  Mint, basil, or dill can be alternatives, providing a fresh, aromatic touch that complements the dish’s rich flavours.

Preparation Tips for Makaanik

  • Ensure the onions are fully softened and slightly caramelised before adding the makaanik to bring out their natural sweetness.
  • Cook the makaanik on medium heat to ensure it browns evenly without burning.
  • Be cautious with the amount of pomegranate molasses; add gradually and taste to avoid overpowering sweetness.

Serving Tips for Makaanik

  • Serve the dish hot, garnished with pine nuts, pomegranate jewels, and fresh herbs for a burst of flavours and textures.
  • This dish pairs well with flatbread or rice, allowing the sauce to be fully appreciated.
  • A side of fresh salad or yoghurt can complement the rich flavours of the makaanik.

Storage Tips

  • Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.
  • Reheat gently in a pan over low heat, adding a splash of water if the dish seems dry.
  • Adding fresh garnishes after reheating is best to maintain their texture and flavour.

Makaanik (Middle Eastern Spiced Sausages) with Pomegranate Molasses

Servings: 8 persons
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes


  • 500 g makaanik
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, freshly ground


  • 1 tbsp pine nuts, roasted
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate jewels
  • handful fresh parsley or coriander, chopped


  • Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions until they have softened.
  • Add the makaanik to the pan and cook until browned. If there's excess fat, drain it off.
  • Pour in the water and pomegranate molasses. Let the mixture cook until the liquid reduces. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Transfer the dish to a serving plate. Sprinkle roasted pine nuts and pomegranate jewels over the top, then garnish with chopped parsley or coriander.

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