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 – UAE!
I don’t think I need to mention anything about the country at all. I have been writing about how the country has been with us all throughout the blog. Since the country has been a part of my life ever since I can remember, it has a soft corner in my heart. 🙂 I guess that’s the case with every being who have lived their childhood in this country and have continued to be here or even those who have relocated due to the circumstances of life. I know of so many personally who still believe that given a chance, they would always love to come back to this country. 🙂 Whatever said and done, I guess this is the only country in the world where the expatriates outnumber the locals so much that it is literally out of proportion, yet the local culture is fiercely protected and the remaining population takes it into its stride very positively.
Our host for the month is Tamar and she gave us a few delicious options – the Saloona for the soup, Ro-be-yann Nashif for the main and Khanfaroush for the sweet. The prawn dish was stroked out off my list since I couldn’t eat them and I would need to stare at the folks as they eat it – call it a bit of jealousy! 😉 But still, I have saved it up for making it sometime later, InShaAllah. Then the tussle was between the Saloona and Khanfaroush. My eyes constantly went on the latter, mainly because of the ease to make it plus these sounded so similar to our mukkiporicha appam – which just means deep fried cake… The recipe is not there on the blog, but InShaAllah got to make it, how soon, I have no clue! 😉 But after making the bezaar spice blend by myself, I had to make the Saloona and I patted on my back for taking the decision!
The Saloona is hybrid between a soup and a stew. You can make it go anyway, or keep it in the middle! 😉 The best part about the saloona is the use of vegetables along with the chicken, making it easy to include the otherwise-not-so-attractive veggies to go in and getting your kids to eat them! I have used only potatoes and carrots, but I have seen other recipes that use zucchini and brinjals, so you can add them as well. The ingredients are straightforward, that is all in your pantry, except the bezaar that you can make and store in your fridge, to use when you want. You can vary the amount of water as how thick or thin you want your saloona to be. Basically, this is a stew served with a thin Emirati bread called regaag or plain rice, and during Ramadan, these are served like soup after Iftar time. As the saloona simmered on the stove top, I couldn’t but get amazed as how lovely the whole house smelled. HD kept peeping in, asking me what I was making and all I did was smile. 🙂 On Fridays, normally I refrain from making plain rice, but the saloona was so flavorful that I didn’t want a flavored rice to overpower its taste, so served it with some plain rice and cut up cucumber, and it was cleaned up in no time! A total winner in every way, this is definitely going to be something I will make regularly, especially if I have guests to impress! 😉
Do hop onto see what my partners in the challenge have cooked up…
Posted on this day previously:
2013: Brownie in a Mug
2014: French Bean Upperi
- 1 kg chicken, cut into meduim pieces
- 3 tbsp oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp heaped Bezaar
- Salt to taste
- 4 cloves garlic, pounded
- ¾ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- 2 whole loomi (dried lime)
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
- 1 large potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp paprika powder (optional)
- 5 tbsp coriander, chopped
- Heat oil in a saucepan. Add the chicken, onion, bezaar and salt and cook for five minutes, turning the chicken occasionally.
- Add the other spices, garlic and loomi and cook for another five minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients except the coriander, and saute for a couple of minutes
- Add in 2 cups of water, adjust salt. Cook on simmer till the chicken is done and the vegetables have become soft.
- Add in the coriander leaves and serve hot with plain rice and salad.