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 be the third smallest country in Asia after Maldives and Singapore. Bahrain is rich in history, thanks to its pearl diving ancestry and is considered to be a high income economy. The name “Bahrain” literally means “the two seas”. Bahraini cuisine is vastly influenced by a mix of Arabic, Indian, Far Eastern, Persian, Balochi, African and European food, due to it being a major sea port and trading hub during ancient times.
For this month, we were given three choices: Al Wariyah – rice with a crust, Al Khabees – a crumbly flour dessert and Al Thareed – a flowy stew served with bread called regaag. I have never heard of the first one and was not able to find any reference online. 🙁 Al Khabees is a dessert made with dates and flour and I was not sure if I wanted to go for it. I found other sources apart from authentic Bahrain style, which meant that this dish is not unique to this county. And yes, it is different from the Khabeesa I cooked up some time ago.
I finally decided on the Thareed as there were at least some references for the same, in fact, I had a print-out which had the recipe, but under the Emirati banner. Searching online for the Bahraini option was not of much help – there weren’t many recipes that specifically pointed out to the country. The only link I could find was this, which was a very personalized version. Thareed is a stew made of meat or chicken with some mixed vegetables in a soupy consistency. The regag is spread on the serving platter, the thareed is poured over and it is consumed as a meal. This dish is most often made during Ramadan for Iftar meals. It is said that this was one of the Prophet (SAW)’s favorite meal, MaShaAllah! 🙂
Since I can’t have non-veg, I decided to skip the meat. Selfish me! 😉 Normally, thareed has potatoes, carrots and baby marrow (koosa), sometimes brinjals in it, but since we had to add pumpkin, I added some into this. The more vegetables, the merrier, isn’t it? 😀 I spiced it up the bezaar blend I prepared sometime ago and served it with plain rice. I was a bit concerned if it tasted good enough, but then the folks had it heartily with their rice and gave some good reviews about it. 🙂 Hopefully, once I am off my medication, I may try it with meat, would be delicious, of course! So off to how I cooked the Thareed…
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 baby marrow, peeled and diced
- 1 large potato, peeled and diced
- 1 small pc pumpkin, peeled and diced
- 2 tbsp oil
- ½ inch cinnamon stick
- 1 cardamom
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 2 green chillies, slit
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
- 1 heaped tbsp bezaar spice
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp paprika (optional)
- 1 small dried lemon (loomi)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Coriander leaves for garnish
- Wash and drain the vegetables and set aside.
- Heat oil in a saucepan. Fry the cinnamon and cardamom briefly.
- Add the onion and saute till golden brown.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and chillies and cook till the onion starts wilting.
- Add in the ingredients from tomatoes to ground cardamom and give a nice stir to coat all over. Cook on simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the vegetables and coat well with the mixture.
- Pour in around 2-4 cups of water (depending on how soupy you want your stew to be).
- Allow it to come to a boil on high flame, then reduce the flame, add salt and pepper to taste and cook with closed lid the vegetables are cooked.
- Serve with regaag or plain rice with a generous garnish of coriander leaves!