Saudi Arabian Foods
The Saudi Kingdom is well known for
its variety of traditional dishes that reflect the diversity of the regions
and the custom of the people. Most of the dishes contain meat, rice, wheat,
vegetables and spices that give these recipes a special flavor. One
of Saudi Arabia's most famous dishes is Al-Kabsa.
Al-Kabsa is made of rice cooked with red or white meat or chicken in a
pot. A variety of spices and salads can be added to the dish. Al-Kabsa
is considered a staple dish throughout the Kingdom.
Meat is cooked in various ways.
A popular way of preparing meat is called Al-Mandi. This utilizes ancient techniques of cooking, first employed
when man discovered fire. A lamb or chicken, prepared with rice, spices
and water is barbecued in a deep hole in the ground that is covered
while the meat cooks.
Another unique Saudi Arabian way
of preparing and serving meat is Mathbi. Al-Mathbi involves grilling seasoned lamb or chicken on flat stones that are placed
on top of burning embers.
There are many other popular dishes
in the Saudi Kingdom like Jarish.
Jarish is prepared by cooking wheat with Laban (sour milk) or milk and
adding spices to it. Jarish may be simply boiled and served with a topping
of chopped hot pepper and onion, or it may be browned in butter or oil
and then cooked into a sort of pilaf with chunks of meat, chopped onion
and tomato for the richly flavored dish called mufallaq.
Qursan is another dish which consists of dried thin wheat loafs which are saturated
with gravy and cooked in a special way.
Selek (lamb with
milk and rice), is a simple, bland dish, the best known of all the rice
dishes in Saudi Arabian cooking. It's almost like a hot rice pudding,
the rice first half-cooked in meat or chicken broth and then with milk,
stirred and simmered for about an hour until soft.
Another popular meal which is called Mathlutha is created by combining rice and Jarish. Mathlutha is usually served
with red meat or with chicken and is cooked in either the Al- Mathbi
or Mandi style.
Saleeg is another dish made by cooking rice with milk until the mixture becomes
solid. It is then served in a bowl with butter sprinkled on top of it
and poached meat. Different kinds of gravy, cooked with vegetables and
meat, are also common in the Kingdom
The coastal areas are famous for
seafood and rice dishes. Al-Sayadiah is an example of such a dish. It consists of fish cooked with rice and
Local food is often strongly flavored
and spicy. The staple diet is kubez
bread (flat, unleavened bread) which accompanies every dish.
abu laham is described as "something like pizza."
The Suadi Arabian spon on the Italian classic, it starts with leavened
dough, egg-rich and flavored with seeds of fennel, and black caraway.
This is baked in the shape of a thick-bottomed pie shell, then filled
with fried mutton, chopped kurrath or spring onion, and topped with
a sauce made from tahinah.
chick peas (hummus) and cracked wheat (burghul) are also common. The most common meats are lamb and chicken. Beef is
rare and pork is proscribed under Islamic law. The main meat meal of
the day is lunch, either kultra (meat on skewers) or kebabs served with
soup, salad, bread, rice, tomatoes, onions and other vegetables. Arabic
cakes, cream desserts and rice pudding (muhalabia) also feature in the
Mezzeh may include up to 40 dishes. Foreign cooking is offered in larger towns
and the whole range of international cuisine, including fast food, is
available in the oil-producing Eastern Province and in Jeddah. Restaurants
have table service.
Other regional favorites are kubbat
maraq- balls of rice spiced with turmeric, pepper, cumin
and dried lime are shaped around a center of fried ground meat, onion
and parsley and set to simmer in a sauce flavored with tomato; and fi qa'atah - a three-layered dish served as rice on the bottom,
meat in the middle and almonds on top. It's cooked, in fact, top side
down, for the name literally means "at the bottom."
During a Saudi Arabian feast it
would be most likely to eat the luxurious kharuf
mahshi, baby lamb stuffed with rice, nuts and raisins, rubbed
outside with a paste of onion crushed with cinnamon, cloves and cardamom
and browned all over in bubbling sawn, clarified cow or goat butter,