Oman dining: Arabian recipes for Ramadan

T-Mag Wednesday 07/June/2017 12:08 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman dining: Arabian recipes for Ramadan

Recipes by Bosky Dutia & Sami Al Sami

Thareed is a traditional Arabian dish made from pieces of bread in a meat or chicken broth. It is typically consumed in the Holy Month of Ramadan and is quite popular in GCC countries.

1kg lamb shoulder chops
2 tablespoons ghee
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 cube beef Maggi seasoning
2 teaspoons Baharat (Arabic spices, see lnote below) or your favourite mixed spices
1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, lightly crushed
4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
4 heaped tablespoons of tomato purée
4 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
4 cups of water
2 small whole dried limes, pierced with a knife
2 inch piece of cassia bark or cinnamon stick
3 whole green chillies
2 teaspoons salt
3 large waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
4 baby courgettes, cut into chunks
1 or 2 piece (approx) of preferably tandoori bread

With a sharp knife, remove the meat from the bone, trim excess fat and cut into cubes. Do not discard the bones as they will be used for flavour. In a flame-proof casserole dish or heavy based saucepan placed over high heat, heat the ghee until hot. Add the lamb and bones in batches and brown on all sides, transfer each batch to a plate when browned. Set aside. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onion, cook until soft and golden. While cooking the onion you may notice the bottom of the pan getting brown, adding a little water will help loosen the brown bits from the bottom while stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic and ginger, Maggi seasoning and cook for about 30 seconds stirring continuously, next add in the mixed spices and coriander seeds, cook for a further 30 seconds. Add in the tomatoes, tomato purée, fresh coriander, lamb and bones, stir all together. Pour in the water, add the dried lime, cassia bark or cinnamon stick, green chillies and salt. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer very gently for 1 hour. Add the potatoes and carrots into the stew cover and continue to gently simmer for another 40 minutes. Add the courgettes, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes or until tender. Once the stew is finished cooking and meat and vegetables are tender, taste and add more salt if necessary. Tear the bread into 3 or 4 inch pieces and gently mix into the dish, the bread will soak into the broth, no dry bits of bread should be visible. Serve straight from the cooking pot or place into a large serving bowl. Serves 4 to 5 people.

Baharat is the Arabic word for spice mix which may consist of a mix of ground black pepper, cinnamon sticks or cassia bark, cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, chillies, turmeric, and nutmeg in various quantities.

Maqlooba which means ‘upside down’ is a traditional Arabic dish made of rice, meat or chicken and vegetables usually served with yoghurt or salad. Very popular in GCC countries specially Bahrain and Kuwait.

1 full chicken cut into pieces
250 grams yoghurt
1 packet tomato paste
2 inch piece ginger thinly sliced
6 pieces of garlic roughly chopped
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon dry lemon powder
1 tablespoon paprika powder
2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 tablespoon Arabic mix spices
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups of rice
2-3 +2 cardamom
2-3 cinnamon
2-3 cloves
2 eggplants - chopped to thick slices and soaked in salt and vinegar water
3 onions - 2 cut into circles, one chopped to thin slices for garnish
Rose water
2 potatoes, chopped to big pieces
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 green or coloured pepper sliced into circles
1 bunch coriander leaves
2-3 green chilli

Wash chicken and cut into medium sized pieces. Add yoghurt, tomato paste, ginger, garlic, and all the ground spices (powders). Let it sit aside. Wash and soak rice and cook till half cooked with salt, cardamom, clove and cinnamon (2-3 pieces each). Fry the eggplant in oil till brown and fry the onion for garnish to a deep brown. Soak saffron, rose water, and 2 pieces of cardamom. In a pressure cooker, add oil, layer potato, chopped tomato, peppers, onions, place the marinated chicken on top, and green chilli. Cook on a medium flame till one whistle and reduce the flame to medium low and let it cook for 20 minutes. Let the pressure cool and then add the coriander leaves on top and the garnish onions. Layer rice and eggplant in equal halves on top and sprinkle the soaked saffron rose water mix on top. Close the pressure cooker and set the flame on low. Let it cook for 15 minutes. Serve in a big plate.

Honeycomb Dessert (Khaliat Nahal)
Honeycomb dessert is a very popular Iftar dish in Oman, which can be served sweet or salty with a cup of Arabian coffee.

For the dough:
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons yoghurt
1 tablespoon milk powder
75ml cooking oil
2 1/2 cups white flour
Kiri square cheese
50ml milk
1 egg
Condensed milk
3 teaspoons cinnamon powder
2 teaspoons sugar

In a deep bowl add 1 cup warm water, 1 tablespoon yeast, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 1 tablespoon salt. Mix all the ingredients properly. Now add 2 tablespoons yoghurt, 1 tablespoon milk powder, 75ml cooking oil, and mix all these ingredients properly. Add 2 1/2 cups white flour and keep mixing until you get a perfect dough. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Cut the cheese to 9 equal pieces. Grease a round baking tin with some oil. Take small amount of dough. Use your hand to flatten it and keep piece of cheese in the centre. Wrap the flatten dough around the cheese. Put it in the centre of the baking tin, and keep repeating until baking tin is full. Heat the oven, temperature should be around 120C, insure that top and bottom flames are on. In the same time mix the 50ml of milk with the egg. Use the brush to spread thin layer of the mixture over the honeycomb. After 5 minutes put baking tin in the oven, normally it takes 15-20 minutes. Immediately after the honeycomb is out, pour condensed milk on top equally and then sprinkle sugar and cinnamon powder or you can replace with sugar syrup or honey. Serve with coffee.

Farfeena is a very traditional Omani dish made of dry anchovies and local vegetables, very easy to prepare with no heat required. Served as a salad or with rice.

250g dry anchovies
Spring onion (bundle) or 1 white onion
Green chilli
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon ghee or butter
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Salt (to taste)
Red chilli powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
Lemon (up to your taste)
Purslane leaves (two bundles)
1 green mango (optional)

Clean dry anchovies by removing heads and tails. Grind the anchovies a little and make sure they do not turn to powder. Chop the onion and the green chilli. In a deep bowl add water, ghee, cumin powder, salt, red chilli powder, black pepper, and lemon. Mix it all. Add purslane leaves. Now add onion and green chillies. Mix it again. Add slivers of mango. Add it to the mix with the anchovies and mix it all. It can be served with white rice or by its own.

Khushaf (drink)
Khushaf is a very popular Ramadan drink in Egypt, its consists of dry fruits and nuts soaked in water and saffron. It can be a replacement to a big meal and still be healthy.

4-5 strands of saffron
30ml rose water (Iranian)
3/4 jug hot water
250g dry dates
200g mix of raisins, apricot, fig (optional)
Sugar as required
50g nuts (almond + pistachio + pine nuts)

Add saffron strands and rose water to the hot water in the jug. Mix it. Cut the dates in 4 equal pieces and remove the seed. If you are using dry fruits like raisins, apricots, figs, cut them in to small pieces. Add the dates to the water and let it soak (dry fruits as well if it’s used). Add the sugar to the water (please note dry fruits and dates are sweet so add sugar accordingly).
Let it cool down in the fridge for two - three hours. Chop the almonds, pistachios, and pine nuts to small pieces and keep it on the side.

Once you are ready to serve the drink, take the jug out of the fridge, divide dates and dry fruit to equal amounts in the cups. Add chopped nuts on top. Pour water on top. Serve cold.