Khaleej is the Arabic word for Gulf, a deep inlet of sea surrounded by land. The Khaleeji or Gulf Arabs refer to peoples of Eastern Arabia and the five countries that line the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman. They speak the similar dialects of Arabic, and share many customs, foods and dress code. Historically, they were coast dwellers with maritime trades, whose livelihood was boat building, fishing and pearl diving.
Being surrounded by desert, food choices were limited and largely dependent on trade ships from India, Iraq, and Zanzibar. Rice, grains, some vegetables and poultry came from there and spices, pearls, silks, perfumes were traded on route. The Gulf states became independent countries between 1960 and 1970, and rose to international prominence along with the oil trade, free trading ports like Bahrain and Dubai offering world-class tourist amenities and tax-free havens for international business.
Khaleeji food shares many of the aromas and flavours of India and Iran, as they are historically been influenced by these cultures. Their food reflects the wealth of the people, making liberal use of expensive spices and “athar” fragrant essential oils. This dinner menu brings you a taste of what is referred to as “Local Food”, and is often served at special banquets as a show pride in their culinary heritage. Interestingly “Local” is a name given to the native residents, who make up only 15 to 20 percent of the population – the rest are international expats working and living in the region.
Shorbat Al Addas – Blend of legumes soup
Smooth blend of Mung beans, yellow lentils and rice, savoured for its buttery lemon-garlic flavour
Kubba’t Halab – Stuffed rice dumpling
Saffron yellow fried dumpling with crispy rice crust, stuffed with pulled lamb
Machbous Jereesh Al Dajaj – Chicken wheat pilaf
Succulent chicken on aromatic jereesh (broken wheat) stuffed with raisins and almonds
Served with Daqous, a Khaleeji tomato sauce
Mahalabiyat Al Aeesh – Rice flour pudding with Sabja seeds
Sweet aromatic creamy pudding with goodness of sabja (Indian chia) and pistachios
Abeda Bihari Oturkar is a veteran food entrepreneur who is equally passionate about preparing delectable recipes and providing foods that improve well-being. Over more than 11 years her Dubai-based food business, Spice & Aroma Alimentary Food, grew to encompass a successful restaurant, catering business, cooking classes, consulting and culinary tours. All of Abeda’s endeavours are informed by a lifelong study of food, culinary history, spices and nutrition. She’s now looking to bring this culinary adventure to Ontario.
Every weekend The Depanneur invites a guest chef to host a fun, informal dinner party.
Leave a ReplyWant to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!