Like every country in the world, the UAE also offers a variety of traditional cuisines. These can actually be traced back to 7000 years. Back in the day when it was just a vast desert, water was scarce. The nomadic Bedouins cultivated vegetables such as lemons, melons, onions, cucumbers, and other vegetables of the sort. The dates and wheat grown was their staple diet though.
Camels, goats, and sheep provided healthy and nutritious milk; the most important element of their diet has remained meat. It is their crowning glory. The variety of meaty dishes found in this region of this world is remarkable. Let us take a look at some of the most renowned dishes that Abu Dhabi has to offer.
Harees can be made up of either meat or chicken and is quite a filling dish. It consists of pieces of meat, cracked wheat and water. This concoction needs to be buried in an underground oven to be prepared. The dish is cooked on low heat till the meat is nice and tender. The ingredients are then blended to form a thick porridge.
Laham Mashwee is prepared from stuffed lamb. It takes a lot of cooking time but is a simple dish to prepare for the evening meal. It is traditionally served on large round dishes but can also be taken as a side dish with boiled rice.
The Mahshi is served at religious occasions, weddings, and to welcome honorable guests. A whole goat or sheep is cooked slowly for hours with many spices and is served on a large dish with fried onions, almonds, and raisin garnishes.
Makbous can be prepared from both meat and chicken. It is made of onions, rice, and meat and is seasoned with a variety of spices to enhance the taste. Dried lemon and salt also add to the enriching taste. First all the ingredients are boiled in water till the meat is nice and tender. The meat is then removed from the gravy and the rice is added to it. The meat is then re-added to the dish and cooked for another one or two hours. The Makbous is a popular dish for lunch time.
Matharuba is a fish and rice paste dish. This dish is originally from Kuwait but has gained a popular liking in the UAE too. It can easily be adjusted to your personal liking. Fish can also be substituted for chicken or rabbit, but fish is by far the most popular choice for the dish. It can be served with a side dish of boiled rice, garnished with fresh salad and lemons.
Thareed can be made from either meat or chicken. It is a meat and vegetable stew poured over a bed of regagg (thin pieces of bread) and served immediately. This dish is mainly very popular in the holy month of Ramzan. The base of the stew can be made from lamb or chicken, and carrots, marrow, and potatoes among other vegetables can be added to enhance the scrumptious flavor of the dish.
Samak Bilfern is basically baked fish. It is a modern day favorite as compared to its traditional predecessor, and has added spices and flavors. It is usually served with steamed or boiled rice, coupled with fresh salad and lime.
This dish is basically a chicken stew. It is regularly on the menu in many homes in the UAE. It can be served with steamed rice or regagg. It is also a popular dish in Ramzan, when it is consumed only with bread. Spices and vegetables can be adjusted and may vary from person to person, according to individual liking.
Gulf coffee; whole heartedly consumed in Arab homes early in the morning or after prayers. It is a tradition which has been carried forward since many years.
Most importantly keep in mind that food is a blessing from God and should be given its’ due respect. Be thankful for the fruits of the earth and for the bread you break. May the Almighty shower you with blessings, and bless you with ample amount of opportunities to taste the goodness of his creations and gifts around the world. Safe journeying everyone and keep your appetite intact! Best places to stay in Abu Dhabi and enjoy with The Local Cuisine
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