Emirati cuisine


Emirati cuisine
Falafel balls

Emirati cuisine is a blend of many Middle Eastern and Asian cuisines.

The modern diet of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is cosmopolitan, featuring dishes from around the world. A lot of people confuse Levantine food as being Emirati, but shawarma, hummous, tabbouleh, and mixed grill are all recent additions and do not do justice to the "soul food" that makes up the Emirati menu.

Due to harsh desert conditions, the traditional food of the United Arab Emirates uses a lot of meat, cereals and dairy. Vegetables are easy to grow and are strongly featured in the diet. Traditional dishes include Ma'louba, Margooga, Harees, Machbous, Arsee'ah, Fireed, Jisheid and Mishwy. Meats traditionally used were chicken or small fowl, such as Houbara bustards, and goats. As camels are highly prized for their milk and transporting ability, the eating of camel meat is normally reserved for special occasions.

The dishes are usually like stews, as everything is often cooked in a single pot. Saffron, cardamom, turmeric and thyme are the core flavors used in Emirati cookery. The introduction of rice to the diet came when the traders moved to the region. Leaves from indigenous tress, such as the Ghaff were also used to stuff small birds, releasing their flavor during the cooking process.

Breakfast in the UAE usually features breads like ragag, khameer and chebab, served with cheese, date syrup, or eggs. These were made over a curved hot plate, resembling a stone, which would have been used by the Bedouins. Balaleat is another dish, but its advent again with the traders, who introduced pasta.

Sweet options include luqeymat, a deep fried ball of pancake batter that is rolled in sesame seed and then drizzled with date syrup. Other desserts include khabeesa, which is flour bread crumbs blended with sugar, cardamom and saffron or bethitha, a semolina blended with crushed dates, cardamom and clarified butter.

At the close of the meal it is usual to be served with a red tea infused with mint, which aids the digestion. Other traditions to the meal include a welcome with dates and gahwah (Arabic coffee), which are offered on arrival and are kept available through the guests visit.

Food

Traditional Emarati Tea
An example of lamb kebab sticks sold by a street vendor

Seafood has been the mainstay of the Emarati diet for centuries. The United Arab Emirates cuisine is a reflection of a great Arabian heritage and vast exposure to civilizations over time. Muslims are prohibited from eating pork so it is not included in Arab menus. Meat, fish, and rice are the staple foods for the Emirian cuisine. Lamb and mutton are the more favored meats, then goat and finally beef. Popular beverages are coffee and tea which can be supplemented with cardamom, saffron, or mint to give it a distinct flavor.[1]

Hotels frequently have substitutes such as beef sausages and veal rashers on their breakfast menus. If pork is available, it is clearly labelled as such.

Alcohol is generally only served in hotel restaurants and bars (but not in Sharjah). All nightclubs, and golf clubs are permitted to sell alcohol. Specific supermarkets may sell alcohol, and pork, but are sold in separate sections.[2]

Dishes forming part of the Emarati cuisine:[3]





References


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