lula subs

lulu sub

Way back when I first started blogging, I posted a recipe for kebab gu samoon, which is pretty much an Assyrian kebab on an Iraqi sesame roll. It’s one of the classics I grew up with, and my family most often makes ours with lula kebabs, an Assyrian and Armenian classic. The key to a good lula kebab is to add a ton of cilantro and green onion for a wonderfully fresh flavor. They’re delicious grilled (a little smoke complements all those herbs), but lately I’ve been taking inspiration from their flavor and baking them in a lula-inspired sub with zesty banadurah harrah, stretchy mozzarella, and fresh cilantro.

Baked subs are a really wonderful party trick, because you can make and prep all the components ahead of time, quickly assemble and bake them at the last minute, and then casually serve them on a sheet pan. Add a really simple green salad (arugula, olive oil, lemon, black pepper, and lots of parmesan), and you’ll blow your guests away.

lulu sub
lulu sub
lulu sub
lulu sub

How to make ahead

The day before

  • Bake the lula meatballs

  • Make the banadurah harrah (spicy tomato sauce)

  • Shred or slice the cheese (if it’s not already sliced/shredded)

  • Wash and dry the cilantro topping (refrigerate in a slightly damp towel-lined container)

  • Slice the baguettes (store everything in the refrigerator, except for the baguettes)

Right before serving

  • Microwave the meatballs for about 1 or 2 minutes (to warm them through, but don’t overcook them)

  • Microwave the banadurah harrah until it’s hot.

  • Toast the bread and assemble the subs, then bake and garnish them as in the recipe.

  • Once baked, they’re best served right away, but they’re still really delicious leftover.

lulu sub
lulu sub
lulu sub
lulu sub

lula subs

yield: 4 giant or 8 medium servings
active time: 40 minutes
total time: 1 hour
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PDF to print

  • 4 10-inch baguettes

  • fully cooked lula meatballs (below)

  • banadurah harrah/tomato sauce (below)

  • 200g/2 cups mozzarella (shredded or slices, not fresh)

  • a handful of cilantro leaves

  1. Prep all the components (the tomato sauce and meatballs, below).

  2. Preheat the broiler.

  3. Cut the baguettes almost all the way through, and then open them like books. Place on a sheet pan cut-side-up. Place the baguettes under the broiler for just a couple minutes to toast them (this takes about 4 minutes in my broiler, but it may take less in yours).

  4. Remove the baguettes from the broiler, and place the meatballs evenly over the baguettes. Spoon some banadurah harrah over the meatballs, followed by the mozzarella (1/2 cup per sandwich). Broil them just until the cheese melts and bubbles (about 3 minutes in my broiler). Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately.

lula meatballs

  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs (or 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs) (55g)

  • 1/3 cup milk (75g)

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (900g)

  • 2 cups chopped cilantro (80g), plus a handful of leaves for garnish

  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion (30g)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed through a press

  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided in half

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F / 204°C convection.*

  2. Place the bread crumbs in a large mixing bowl. Pour the milk over them, and let them sit for about 5 minutes to absorb it. They should become bread-like and mushy, but not soggy.

  3. Combine the hydrated bread crumbs with the ground beef, cilantro, green onion, pepper, garlic, and half the salt. Mix everything together evenly, but careful not to over-mix it or compress it.

  4. Shape the meat mixture into about 20 meatballs, each weighing about 50g. Do not squeeze the meatballs together too tightly—they shouldn’t be perfectly smooth.

  5. Place them on a parchment-lined 18x13 inch sheet pan, sprinkle each meatball evenly with the remaining salt, drizzle evenly with 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. If they aren’t browning to your liking, feel free to place them under the broiler or turn the heat all the way up for the last couple minutes of baking (keep an eye on them, to make sure they don’t burn). While you’re waiting, make the sauce.

banadurah harrah sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed through a press

  • 1 28-ounce can (or 2 14-ounce cans) diced tomatoes (800g)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

  • 2 teaspoons dried mint

  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a 10-inch skillet for 1 minute. Add the onions and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  2. Add the diced tomatoes with their juices. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every minute or so, until the tomatoes dissolve into a thick sauce and their juices evaporate. If you're not using a wide frying pan (e.g., if you're using a tall saucepan), this may take longer.

  3. Add the salt, dried mint, crushed red pepper, and oregano, and give it a stir. Remove from heat, add the lemon juice, and stir together. The sauce should not be too thick or too thin (there should not be any runny liquid. If it’s too runny, return to heat for a couple minutes, until it’s the right consistency).

* If you don’t have a convection oven, no worries—they might just take a little longer to bake, and you might need to increase the temperature a bit to get them to brown.

lulu sub
lulu sub

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rainbow lamassu cake

rainbow lamassu cake

Happy Pride Month! To celebrate, I baked this rainbow lamassu orange blossom cake for my LGBTQ+ Assyrian family, friends, and readers. May you be loved, accepted, and respected wherever you go, and may you always be free to be your beautiful, wonderful self ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

This recipe is adapted from Quin’s vanilla almond rainbow petal cake—I cut the recipe in half to make it one single layer, subbed orange blossom water in place of the vanilla and almond extracts, and made my favorite cream cheese frosting instead of buttercream. Quin’s recipe is wonderful, and you should check it out and give it a try (especially her beautiful rainbow petal design).

rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake

For anyone who’s interested in replicating this rainbow sprinkle covered white chocolate lamassu, I’ve included instructions and a video in the recipe below. But a small word of warning—this rainbow lamassu takes a lot of patience and care. If you’re the kind of person who likes building ships inside bottles and knitting intricate hats, this is totally up your alley. But if you’re the kind of person who absolutely dreads fiddly tasks, like installing a tiny SIM card, or if you always manage to get the entire bottle of superglue on your fingers instead of on your favorite broken coffee mug, then this project isn’t going to spark joy for you. But covering a cake in rainbow sprinkles is always a hit, so don’t sweat it if you don’t feel like fussing with all that tempering and piping.

rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake
rainbow lamassu cake

rainbow lamassu orange blossom cake

adapted from Butter Be Ready’s vanilla almond petal cake
yield: 8 servings
active time: 30 minutes (+ an extra 30 minutes active with the rainbow lamassu)
total time: 90 minutes
download a
PDF to print

the cake

  • 200g all purpose flour (1 1/2 cups)

  • 7g baking powder (1 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 3g salt (1/2 teaspoon)

  • 55g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature (4 tablespoons)

  • 55g neutral-flavored oil (1/4 cup)

  • 150g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature (110g)

  • 160g buttermilk, room temperature (2/3 cup)

  • 15g orange blossom water (1 tablespoon)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) convection (without convection, it might just take a couple more minutes to bake). Butter an 8-inch cake pan, line it with a parchment round, and then butter the parchment.

  2. Use a mesh sieve to sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, and set it aside.

  3. Place the butter, oil, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium-high speed with the paddle attachment until it comes together, then beat for another 3 minutes until it lightens a bit.

  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, allowing each to incorporate completely before adding the next. Then add the buttermilk and orange blossom water, and beat until combined.

  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix just until it comes together into a smooth batter (don’t overmix it—it’s ok if there are a couple little lumps).

  6. Pour the batter into the cake round. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

  7. Trace around the edge of the cake with a thin knife, and then invert onto a cooling rack (flip it one more time, so it’s cooling flat-side-down). Let it cool completely before leveling or frosting.

cream cheese frosting

  • 225g (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

  • 115g butter, softened to room temperature (8 tablespoons)

  • 250g powdered sugar (2 cups)

  • 7g orange blossom water (1 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 1 pinch salt

  1. Combine the cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

decorating

  • Cooled cake

  • Cream cheese frosting

  • Rainbow sprinkles

  1. Once the cake cools, carefully shave a little off the top if it has a hump (it’s ok if it has a slight hump).

  2. Evenly frost the cake with the frosting (use a rotating cake tray and offset spatula if you have them).

  3. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles, or try your hand at a rainbow lamassu (below)

rainbow lamassu (optional)

  • White chocolate

  • Tiny round rainbow sprinkles

  • Large circle rainbow sprinkles (optional)

  1. Draw the outline of a lamassu on a piece of paper (look at some photos online, and feel free to just print one if that’s easier). Place the drawing on a small microwave-proof cutting board and masking tape it down so it doesn’t move around. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the drawing, and use about 4 small pieces of masking tape to keep it in place and hold it flat.

  2. Temper some white chocolate (zap it in the microwave 10 seconds at a time, mixing between zaps, until it melts completely). Transfer the white chocolate to a pastry bag (or ziplock bag), and cut a small hole in the tip. Carefully pipe the outline of the lamassu in white chocolate (pipe at a 45 degree angle, rather than pointed directly down, and let the chocolate fall in a line).

  3. Once you’re completely done outlining, cut a larger tip in the bag, and go back and flood the rest of it. It will probably look a little rough and will probably harden a bit as you work—your priority is to stay in the lines and flood it with a somewhat thin layer (about 1/8-inch). Use a small offset spatula to help it spread out if you’re having trouble piping thinly enough.

  4. Once you’re done, place the lamassu back in the microwave just for a few seconds to slightly warm it if it has hardened at all (it takes about 15 seconds in my microwave, so keep a very close eye on it). It should be melted, but still holding its shape. Use a small offset spatula to very carefully smooth out any lumps on the surface, without letting it spill over the sides (make sure it stays in the lines).

  5. Once it’s nicely smoothed out and pretty much level (it doesn’t have to be perfect), top it generously with rainbow sprinkles. Carefully shake the excess sprinkles off the cutting board—tilt the board slightly in different directions to get them to fall off (being careful not to disturb the white chocolate too much—you don’t want it to run).

  6. Use your offset spatula to gently nudge the outline back into shape (some sprinkles will stick to the side of the outline, and you’ll want to nudge those into the chocolate slightly, so that the outline isn’t jagged).

  7. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, until it’s completely solid.

  8. Once your cake is frosted, carefully remove the tape from the parchment. Once the parchment is released from the cutting board, carefully lift it away and lift the lamassu away. Place the lamassu in the center of your cake, and optionally decorate the cake with a few large circle sprinkles.

To make this cake ahead:

  • The cake itself can be baked 16 hours ahead and left at room temperature. If you want to bake it a day ahead of time (or longer), wrap it tightly and freeze it as soon as it cools, or it will get stale (it will stale even faster in the refrigerator than at room temperature). Let the cake thaw for a couple hours at room temperature before you’re ready to frost it.

  • Frosting can be made a couple days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator, but must be brought to room temperature so that it’s spreadable before you frost the cake.

  • The white chocolate lamassu can be made a couple days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Leave it on the cutting board, and wrap the board with plastic wrap once the chocolate has hardened.

  • Cakes are best assembled and decorated as close to the last minute as possible, because they tend to stale a little in the refrigerator (especially as the butter hardens), but it can be kept in the refrigerator for about 8 hours without much negative effect. Try to let it come to room temperature for about an hour before you serve it.

rainbow lamassu cake

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