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 National Day #44 in sight, I decided to do a three recipe series based on the recipes of UAE. The only recipe that is on this blog is Khabeesa, which I had featured during last year’s National Day. This is just a small step in trying to learn the food of this country. Google has not been of so much help though I have managed to collect a few sources and InShaAllah, hoping to try them as the time comes. The recipes I have for this series are not complicated, in fact they are snacks and not the main course. But I take this as a small step. Do wish me luck in finding more useful sources for local recipes… Meanwhile, starting this series with Faloodah, which is a vermicelli drink, very similar to the Falooda that we make, but without the ice cream. I got this recipe from a cut-out from BBC Good Food a couple of years back and the recipe provider was Ms. Maitha Al Shamsi, who runs a cafe called Mama Tani in Jumeirah, Dubai. I have been wanting to go to the cafe, unfortunately I must say that once umma returned back home for good, I have become very lazy in taking long drive with the kids as sometimes the experience becomes too harrowing! Hehe… 🙂 I prepared it without adding any ice, but please feel free to add them for extra coldness. Do watch out the other two recipes coming up tomorrow and day after, InShaAllah…
Falooda ~ Emirati Vermicelli Drink
- 2 tsp chia seeds or basil seeds I used chia seeds
- 100 ml water
- 100 gm vermicelli
- 500 ml chilled milk
- 120 ml rose syrup
- 100 ml ice cold water
- Crushed pistachios for garnish
- Soak the chia/ basil seeds in water for 10 minutes till plump. Set aside.
- Cook the vermicelli in hot water till done. Drain, wash well with cold water and set aside to cool.
- Blend the remaining ingredients except the pistachios in a blender. Pour into a large jug, add in the vermicelli and chia/ basil seeds and stir well till combined.
- Store in the fridge till serving time.
- Pour into glasses, top with pistachio. Serve cold.