Aash-mal-Zaffran ~ Emirati Saffron Rice

  I have been wanting to post more Emirati recipes but that doesn’t seem to be happening. I had initially planned at doing one recipe per month, but things are not going as per plan. I try to keep a healthy mix of all kinds of recipes on the blog, and Alhamdulillah, I feel I am doing a fair enough job. 🙂 I am actually happy with it, since I don’t want to feel any pressure regarding concentrating on one cuisine, especially when you have to be extra careful as to how your folks would react to different flavors. 🙂  But, yes, this year, I have been trying to keep a tap on cooking more local recipes and I am sure I will be able to keep recording them at a good enough pace rather than keep them waiting. 😉   Today, I am sharing a very simple recipe but… 

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Balaleet ~ Emirati Vermicelli Egg Breakfast

  While I posted the Chebaab as the National Day special, I had mentioned that I would try to recreate Emirati dishes in my kitchen. So far, the process has been slow but steady. I am slowly trying a few new dishes, but not clicking them, since I would like to make them again for the blog and click them well. InShaAllah, slowly you will see a fair amount of Emirati dishes featuring on the blog this year. 🙂   I was introduced to Balaleet by this post of Fami’s. Till then, I was unaware of it’s existence. I was really not sure of how the combination of sweet and salt would co-exist. That was when the breakfast at Logma happened and I got my first taster of this dish. I ended up eating that little portion all by myself without sharing with my friend. 😉 From then, I had… 

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Chebaab ~ Emirati Cardamom Saffron Pancakes

  Today happens to be UAE’s National Day #45. Having lived in this country for almost all my life, it gives me a lot of excitement when this day comes by. The whole country gets into a festive mode. The streets are lit, cars are decked up, everybody takes to the roads to celebrate, irrespective of your nationality. Compared to back home where our independence day is celebrated in a mild way, it is totally different here. At least a month before, you start seeing merchandise all over the place – stickers, flags, caps, clothes, what not! It is actually a site to see. When my parents were here, umma would somehow drag us all for a drive to Abu Dhabi to see the festivities at the corniche. I seriously miss those days. Not that I used to enjoy the pathetic traffic that we would start facing as early as… 

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Thareed Alkhadaar ~ Middle Eastern Vegetable Stew

  MENA Cooking Club is back! In fact, it returned back last month with a bang with Algeria, but I couldn’t participate since I was leaving on vacation and there wasn’t enough time to cook for it. From now on, there is a slight twist in the mechanism. We are still given the country and three dishes to select what we want to try, but this time, we are given a secret ingredients which needs to be a part of the dish cooked. Now isn’t that interesting? In case you are interested in joining us in the fun of cooking up some delicious Middle Eastern food, then do check out the link at the beginning and let’s get it started from there!   This month, the country in question is Bahrain. Bahrain is a tiny island in the Persian Gulf, sharing proximity with Saudi Arabia and Qatar. It happens to… 

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Harees ~ Emirati Wholewheat Mash

  Ramadan is incomplete in this part of the world without a regular supply of “Harees”. I bet anybody who has been here will agree.   “Harees” is nothing that whole wheat slow cooked along with mutton and bones till nicely mashed. Umma would say that in those days (early 80s), she has seen the maids at the Arab houses would have a huge pot outside the house kept on a makeshift stove, with fire from dried date palm or wood and they would stir in once in a while to ensure it doesn’t stick. The harees would be cooked for hours till you are unable to distinguish the whole wheat nor the mutton. The bones that would be floating on top would be fished out and then the harees would be packed in casseroles with a generous topping of ghee, called as “smen”. These are then distributed to the… 

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Dejaaj Murragg/ Saloona ~ Emirati Chicken Stew

    Ever since the last challenge, I haven’t been a part of the MENACC from the beginning of the year. In January, the group decided a deviation from the normal route and asked us to bake cookies that had some memories associated with them. Even though I wanted to, since my parents came down, I was strapped of time and decided to give it a miss. Then for February, it was Tunisia. Even though I did try the soup called Lablabi, I was really not satisfied with the way it turned out to be and I had made it at the last minute, so I didn’t even have time to cook an alternate recipe, so had to give it a miss too. But this month, I had decided not to skip it at all, since it involves a country that I am looking at every chance to collect recipes… 

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Bezaar ~ Emirati Spice Blend

  UAE is my second home in every sense. Or should I say, my first home? Apart from being born back home and being there the first four months of my life, I have literally spent my entire life time in this little country, like many other Indian expatriates. Just like all of them, I can’t think about going and settling down back home, even though at the back of my mind, I know that one day, I may have to go and settle down, just like my parents have gone back. Even though I have been here, our eating habits have been very much our own food plus whatever we get at various restaurants out here. I already have a handful of Emirati recipes and definitely trying to build a little database on this little blog of mine. 🙂     As far as Emirati cuisine is concerned, a… 

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Habbat Al Hamra ~ Custard Asario Seed Drink

  Have you had cases where you go on to make a recipe, having no idea how it is going to taste like?   A couple of weeks ago, when I pulled out B for a drive towards Fujeirah on a rain drenched Saturday, we were having our lunch at an Afghani eatery. As we gorged on the pulao and the kebabs, he said, “Thaatha, have you ever tried Habbat Al Hamra?” To the question like look on my face, he said, “It is a yellow thick drink, with red color sago like balls floating in it. It tastes like custard and those balls are just like those falooda thing, it just tastes so good…” And he stopped it at that. We proceeded with the drive back home, but that description stuck to my head… As per him, he had relished this several times at a small joint in Sharjah,… 

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Lqeimat ~ Emirati Yeasted Dumplings

  From tomorrow onwards for the next four days, InShaAllah, we will be off from work. Schools and government institutions are already off from today, as they get the Martyr’s Day holiday today, while the private sector gets their holiday shifted to Thursday, thus giving us a relief of a long weekend. A long weekend basically for me means trying new dishes and clicking the maximum I can in the sunlight! 😀 Since the days are shorter now and the sunlight is not as brighter as it is during the summers, it is more of a challenge. Even though I have a lot in my drafts, it has been sometime since I have tried new food, so I am hoping to do some good recipes over this long weekend. We have no outing plans and I actually didn’t want any, as I wanted to just lazy around after having a… 

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Patees ~ Emirati Beef Patties

  Today is commemorated as Martyr’s Day across the UAE. The day was declared by the president of the UAE, as a mark for respect towards all the UAE soldiers, who were martyred on their duties and from this year onwards, it is a public holiday. You can read more about it here. May Allah bless the souls of the martyrs with the highest ranks in His Jannah, Aameen…   Following up from our Faloodah post of yesterday, today is a nice snack to have with a cup of hot black coffee, or kahwa, like the locals call it here. This recipe is also from the cut-outs as mentioned yesterday. I made a few variations to the original recipe – I mixed the beef mince into the potato mash, while the original recipe had asked to put a little beef inside a potato ball and shape like a patties. I don’t… 

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Faloodah ~ Emirati Vermicelli Drink

  Having lived in the UAE literally my whole life, I am guilty of not having made much of Emirati cuisine. The UAE is such a country where more than 75% of the population are expatriates. More than the locals, you find other nationalities all over the place. There is no dearth of getting your own food as well as the produce that is sold in the local supermarket chains are much better and cost effective than what you get in your own country. That may explain why we don’t have much from the local cuisine. Whenever we go for heritage shows, there are favorites that are on sale, like the lqeimat, regaag, aleesa and biriyani. It is difficult to find anything more than these four varieties. I am yet to come across an authentic local restaurant, though I am sure that there should be some around.   With the… 

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Khabeesa – Emirati Semolina Pudding

Today is the birthday #43 of the country that I grew up in my whole life. I am one among the 80’s generation who has seen the leaps and bounds in which this beautiful country has grown. At one time, the landmark to Dubai from Sharjah was the Al Mulla Plaza and there was only Trade Center on the way to Abu Dhabi. There were just small buildings, a small population – still more of expats than locals – and small growth. Life was simple then. After 2000, the growth has been phenomenal. The only time we remember seeing huge skyscrapers was in Abu Dhabi. But then the scenario spread all across the country. We have watched with awe the pace at which this country has grown. I guess I can keep going on and on, but then all I pray is that may Allah bless this nation and its… 

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