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 4 pm for the fireworks that start at 8, but the feeling of going there used to be awesome. HD would keep cribbing but he would have no choice then to come along. 😀 It’s been now three years since we have seen the festivities and I guess it will be the same this year too…
In the UAE, it is 75% expats and 25% local population. That explains why mostly the local food we know gets limited to a mild biriyani, lqeimat and harees. Their food is like an enigma. It is actually hard to find outlets that serve authentic Emirati food. For the past couple of years, I have been going high and low on trying to collect as much as content available on the recipes, so that I can slowly try one by one and feature them on the blog. Yes, InShaAllah, I would love to have my blog as a source of Emirati recipes. I have been really slow, but hopefully I will be able to do it. 🙂 Of late, I discovered a few outlets serving Emirati food, though you can’t call them authentic – a lot of recipes have actually been twisted to meet the modern palette. One of them was Logma at the Box Park, which was suggested by a friend through her Instagram posts. I gathered up a friend and went there to have breakfast, exactly one day after I tried these Chebaabs.
Explaining to you the dishes on this traditional breakfast platter – Khameer, then there is a chapathi, a small regaag, the yellow you see down is their chebaab, then there is a scrambled egg dish called Baith Tamat, then the vermicelli dish called Balaleet, and the sides are dates syrup and cheese.
As soon as I got the platter, the first thing I did was eat the chebaab and apart from the color and the thickness, the taste was similar, Alhamdulillah. The only difference I noticed was the use of yeast, which I didn’t add in my recipe. OK, coming to discover how I found this dish called Chebaab – I saw somebody post a picture of this pancake on a food group on FB, but unfortunately she didn’t share the recipe when asked for. That got me hunting on GGma and I zeroed down onto two links – here and here. The first one used yeast and the second one used baking powder, making it instant. The main highlight of these pancakes are definitely the cardamom and saffron flavors. You should not miss them, otherwise they would just be normal pancakes. 🙂 Serve them up with a nice dash of dates syrup and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and they are delicious! The kids who are normally not fond of pancakes, happily enjoyed these and asked for more! What more could I ask for! 🙂 InShaAllah, I am hoping to try each of the dishes in the above breakfast platter, but please don’t expect them to appear really soon on the blog! 😀 For other recipes, do watch out under the tab “Emirati Recipes“, InShaAllah will keep adding more to it as days pass by… 🙂
Here’s wishing my adopted country a very happy NATIONAL DAY #45… May Allah bless this country with abundance and prosperity… 🙂
Chebaab ~ Emirati Cardamom Saffron Pancakes
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cardamom powder
- A fat pinch saffron crushed
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup water as required
- Butter as required
- Dates syrup and sesame seeds for serving
- Combine ingredients from flour to saffron in a bowl and whisk well to combine.
- Beat the eggs, oil and milk till well combined in another bowl and add to the dry ingredients.
- Start whisking and add water slowly till you get a smooth batter with the texture of a pancake batter.
- Heat a pan, brush some melted butter on it. Pour a cup full of batter and spread to make a round. You can make it thick or thin as per prerference.
- Cook till spots start appearing on the top and then flip and cook till done.
- Keep warm till all the pancakes are done. This batter makes 8 pancakes.
- Serve with dates syrup and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.