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Full on flavour: Authentic Emirati recipes

Try your hand at these popular Emirati dishes with Chef Khalil Mustafa's easy recipes

  • Lamb Machbous.Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM
  • Vegetable threed.Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM
  • Chicken Margouga.Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM
  • Machbous Samak.Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM
  • Harees with baby veal.Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM
  • Aishu Lahim.Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM
  • Chef Khalil Mustafa.Image Credit: Kishore Kumar/ANM
Friday

Vegetable Threed

Ingredients (Serves 10)
1kg each, carrot, potato and baby marrow, diced
100ml corn oil
500g sliced onions
100g bezar spice
500g fresh tomatoes, chopped
20g cinnamon stick
2 dried lemons
50g garlic
100g ghee
50g ginger
20g green chillies
1 tsp ground cardamom
2 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt, to taste
3 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground turmeric
3 litres hot water
20g whole cardamom pods
Fresh coriander leaves, a bunch, chopped

Method
Heat oil in a deep saucepan. Add cardamom and cinnamon, sauté for a few seconds and then add onion. Sauté until onion turns golden brown. Add garlic, ginger and green chillies. Continue sautéeing until all the ingredients are soft but not wilted. Add tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, half the coriander bunch, bezar spice, turmeric, dried lemon, ground cinnamon and cardamom. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Then add hot water and bring the gravy to a boil. Add potatoes, carrots and baby marrow and cook for 15 more minutes. Finish off with ghee and salt, to taste. Serve vegetables on a platter lined with rigag bread. Garnish with sauce, the rest of chopped fresh coriander, sprinkle with ghee and serve hot.

Lamb machbous

Ingredients (Serves 10)
For the lamb:
Salt, to taste
1/2 tbsp turmeric
3-1/2 tbsp bezar spice*
Small lamb weighing 5-6kg, rinsed, dried and marinated overnight with salt, bezar, lemon juice and saffron
For the gravy:
Oil, for cooking
6 onions, sliced
50g each, chopped green chillies, garlic and ginger
3-1/2 tbsp bezar spice
1/2 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10 each, cinnamon sticks and cardamom
8 cloves
1 cup each, sultanas, whole blanched almonds and whole unsalted raw cashew nuts
6 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 cup tomato paste
Curry leaves, a handful
For the rice:
2.5kg rice
Salt, to taste
Ghee or clarified butter, a dollop
For garnishing:
6 cups yellow split peas, boiled with salt and turmeric and sauteed with 3 finely sliced onions until brown
1 tbsp bezar spice
2 tsp saffron, soaked in lemon juice
1 tbsp rose water

Method
Lamb: Heat water in a deep saucepan and boil lamb with salt, turmeric and a little bezar spice for 45 minutes. Remove lamb from the stock and keep aside. Reserve the stock for the rice.

To prepare gravy, heat oil in a large saucepan, and saute onions until golden brown. Add garlic, ginger and green chillies and sauté until the ingredients are softened and a little brown. Add bezar, turmeric, ground cinnamon, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves and dry fruits and continue to saute on low heat for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, curry leaves and half the fresh coriander and continue cooking on low heat for a minute. Add lamb to it and season with salt.

To prepare rice, boil it in a large saucepan with 3 litres of water until all the water has been absorbed. Then add the reserved lamb stock and cook until all the stock has been absorbed. Spoon ghee over and keep aside. Spoon lamb and gravy on top of the rice and garnish with the remaining coriander. Cover and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Remove from heat and set rice aside. Garnish with sauteed split peas and bezar spice. Remove from heat, sprinkle with rose water and saffron. Serve hot.

Chicken Margouga

Ingredients (Serves 10)
100g baby marrow
30g bezar spice
100g carrot
20g ground cinnamon
200g corn oil
50g curry leaf
40g dried lemon
20g dried red chillies
80g fresh coriander
10g fresh green chillies
100g fresh tomatoes
50g tomato paste
200g garlic cloves
100g ghee
50g ginger
100g potato
Saffron, a few strands
Salt, to taste
100g sliced onion
30g turmeric powder
1.2kg whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1-1/2 litres fresh water

For the bread dough
500g plain flour
A pinch of salt
200ml water

Method
Prepare the bread dough by mix together flour, water and salt. Divide dough into 100g balls. Set aside to rest for an hour. Roll out dough as thin sheets, cut into 5cm diamonds. Bake for 10 minutes at 180C. To prepare margouga, take a saucepan and add corn oil. Sauté onions until brown. Add garlic, ginger and green chillies and continue to sauté for 2 minutes on low heat. Then add tomato paste, fresh tomatoes, bezar spice, turmeric and dried lemon. Let it simmer for 2 more minutes. Then add chicken pieces and salt, and sauté again. Now add saffron, fresh coriander, curry leaves, 1-1/2 litres fresh water and simmer for 20 minutes. Add diced potatoes, carrots and baby marrow, along with bread dough, and cook together for 10 minutes. Garnish with a dollop of ghee, coriander and season with cinnamon and dried red chillies. Serve hot.

Machbous Samak

Ingredients (Serves 10)
2 tsp bezar spice
3 fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
10g whole cloves
2 cups corn oil
6 garlic cloves, crushed
50g curry leaf
3 dried lemons
50g fresh coriander
2 fresh lemons
50g ghee
50g ginger
20g green chillies
Hot water 2 litres
2kg mackerel pieces
2kg rice, rinsed
Salt, to taste
3 onions, thinly-sliced

Harees with baby veal

Ingredients (Serves 10)
200g ghee
Salt, to taste
Whole veal, cut into 8 pieces, boiled
3kg whole wheat

Method
Boil veal for 10 minutes, skim off the excess fat and continue to boil for an hour. Add whole wheat and stir for 30 minutes. Season with salt and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Seal the pot with a tight-fitting lid for it to work like a pressure cooker. Let it simmer for
5 hours on a low heat. Remove the pot from heat, open the lid and pick out all the bones. Beat the mixture with a long wooden spoon until it acquires a fluffy texture. Pour ghee over and serve hot.
1 tsp, tomato paste
2 tbsp, ground turmeric

Method
Rub fish with salt, turmeric and bezar. In a saucepan, heat corn oil and pan-fry fish until it turns brown. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel. In the same saucepan, fry sliced onions until light brown. Then add garlic, ginger and green chillies and cook until done. Add the remaining bezar spice, turmeric, ground cinnamon and cloves and cook on low heat for 3 minutes. Now add fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, curry leaves and half of the fresh coriander and continue cooking on low heat for another minute. Then add a litre of hot water and season the gravy to taste. Add fish and let the fish simmer in the gravy to soak up the flavour for 5 minutes. Remove fish from gravy and set it aside. Add another litre of water to the gravy, bring to a boil and add rice. Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. Now place a dollop of ghee on the rice while it’s still in the pan and arrange cooked fish on top. Garnish with fresh coriander, then cover and cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Serve machbous samak on a platter with fresh lemon on the side. 

Biryani Samak

Ingredients (Serves 10)
3 tsp bezar spice
400g fresh tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups corn oil
50g crushed garlic cloves
50g curry leaves
3 dried lemons
50g fresh coriander
2 fresh lemons
50g ginger
20g green chillies
2kg King fish, cut into 150g pieces
2kg rice, rinsed
Salt, to taste
200g onion, sliced
1 tsp tomato paste
2 tsp ground turmeric
4 green chillies, fried

Method
Rub fish with salt, turmeric and bezar. In a saucepan, heat corn oil and pan-fry fish until it turns brown. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel. In the same saucepan, fry sliced onions until light brown. Add garlic, ginger and green chillies, sauté for a few minutes, then add tomatoes, tomato paste and fresh coriander. Cook on low heat for a minute, then add bezar spice, turmeric, green chillies, dried lemon and a tsp of ground cinnamon. Cook for 5 more minutes on low heat. Add fried fish and cover pan for another 5 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle. Meanwhile, boil rice in salted water with curry leaves and strain off the excess water once cooked. Arrange rice, fish and masala in a heavy cooking pot and repeat the layers. Drizzle corn oil, then add fresh coriander and ground cinnamon. Cook on low heat for 15 more minutes, tightly covered with a lid. Garnish with fried chillies, coriander and lemon and serve hot.

Aishu Lahim

Ingredients (Serves 10)
7 tbsp bezar spice
2 eggs, boiled
20g cinnamon bark
5 tsp ground cinnamon
30g dried lemon
50g fresh coriander
1 kg fresh tomato
100g garlic cloves
150g ghee
50g ginger
50g green chillies
6kg lamb
1kg onions, sliced
3kg rice
2 tsp saffron
Salt, to taste
10g whole cardamoms
5g whole cloves
1 cup readymade Emirati hashwa (stuffing of herbs and spices) for serving

Method
Slice onions and fry until brown. Add cardamom and cinnamon and fry for a minute. Add garlic, ginger with green chilli and fry until all are browned. Add tomatoes, half the fresh coriander and the bezar. Boil the meat for 10 minutes and sieve the froth. Add the onion, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and cloves and cook the mixture for 45 minutes. Remove the meat from the broth and add the rice to it. Once cooked, strain the rice. Place the rice, meat and spice mixture with dried lemon in a layer in the pot; repeat another two layers of the same, sprinkle ghee, the rest of the fresh coriander, saffron and ground cinnamon over the top layer. Steam on a low heat for 15 minutes. Serve on a large ceramic platter with Emirati hashwa and boiled eggs.

–All recipes by Chef Khalil Mustafa, executive chef, Dubai International Convention Centre, Dubai World  Trade Centre

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