A rich blend of Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines – questions around the origin of Emirati cuisine are best answered here, Experience Emirati flavours and aromas. Our round-up of the top ten must-try local dishes.
1. Majboos: It is mouth-watering Gulf dish consisting of chicken and rice with different spices and ingredients such as cinnamon, chickpeas, saffron and cardamom. It is usually served with chicken and special sauce of tomatoes and chilies.
2. Mandi: This dish is prepared in a traditional manner. Rice, meat (lamb or chicken), and a blend of spices are its main ingredients – it gets its unique taste from tandoori-style cooking (a hole dug in the ground and covered inside by clay).
3. Harees: Neither a porridge nor a dumpling, this wheat-based dish is something between the two. What are its other major ingredients? Wheat, wheat, and some more wheat! Boiled, cracked, or coarsely-ground wheat, mixed with meat is what makes the dish interesting.
4. Tharid: Layers of bread, meat and vegetables – this one is irresistible. The meat and vegetables are boiled, until soft, and then the flavourful stew is poured over a thick layer of bread.
5.Balaleet: Vermicelli with an omelette is a favourite Emirati breakfast item. “Orange blossom, saffron, cardamom, cinnamon, and pistachio are used to enhance the flavours of the dish,” says Chef Ali, Al Nafoorah (Emirates Towers).
6. Bathitha: For those who have a sweet tooth but don’t want to stuff up too much sugar, this is just the right delicacy! The sweet is made of dates, butter, brown wheat, rosewater, almonds, hazelnuts and sesame.
7. Khanfaroosh: It is an Emirati dessert made of fried dough that contains rice, eggs and sugar, it’s usually provided with Arabic green coffee or milk.
8. Khameer bread: Usually, bread is baked in an oven; but Emirati bread Khameer is cooked in a different way. It is bakes on fire using a tray and is made of light dough that contains curcuma and saffron.
9. Markouka: This dish consists chicken, cooked with zucchinis, carrots, wheat and potatoes with black pepper.
10. Maqluba: Sometimes, it is a great idea to flip things upside down, and Maqluba is a perfect example of that. Another rice dish, it can be prepared with meat and vegetables (fried) of your choice. Once ready, the dish is flipped over and served upside down.