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Traditional Emirati cuisine

Rice, meat and fish are used a lot in the preparation of several dishes.

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Traditional food is being made at the Heritage Village in Dubai. Al Harees and Al Machboos are popular local dishes.
Gulf News


Dubai: The UAE boasts a number of traditional dishes served during different occasions.

Emirati cuisine relies heavily on the use of fish, meat and rice.

Below we explore some of the most popular dishes.

Al Harees

Al Harees, which is made mainly from meat and wheat, is a popular treat during special occasions such as Ramadan, Eid and weddings.

It is made by cooking ground wheat in a pot with a pinch of salt, to which the meat is added.

The mixture is then left for many hours until it is fully cooked and the meat is completely dissolved into the wheat.

The mixture is poured into a clay pot and placed in a clay oven or inside a specially prepared hole in the ground that is filled with burning coal.

The pot is completely covered with the coal and left for several hours after which the thick mixture is removed and stirred with a special piece of wood called "midrib".

The final product is topped with local ghee (clarified butter) and placed onto flat plates.

Al Machboos

Al Machboos, which is also called Al Makboos, has red meat as its main ingredient (which can be replaced by chicken or shrimp) and rice.

The meat is placed in boiling water and a blend of spices and dried lime are added. Fried chopped onion is added to the cooked meat, followed by a vegetable medley usually consisting of potatoes, tomatoes and green peppers.

The mixture is left to cook on low heat for a short period.

Cooked rice and saffron are added to the meat mixture in layers.

Finally, Al Machboos is left to cook on a low fire or in an oven for about 10 minutes.

Popular dishes also include:

- Al Muhammar bil dibs: Rice cooked with dibs, which is a sweet extract derived from dates.

- Al Thereed: Bread mixed with meat gravy.

- Al Qurs Al Mafrook: Round dough is poured into a clay pot and placed inside a specially prepared hole in the ground. It is later mixed with ghee.

- Al Reqa'aq: It is made from soft unleavened dough that is flattened and baked on a hot iron plate.

- Al Muhala: Similar to Al Reqa'aq bread with egg spread on top. Can be eaten with sugar.

- Al Khameer: Flour mixed with date paste and sugar is baked over burning coal and kept overnight.

- Al Chebab: Made from flour, sugar, milk, eggs and water.

- Al Sago: Al Sago is a dessert made up of wheat mixed with ghee, sugar and cardamom.

- Al Balaleet: A kind of pasta made with sugar, eggs, ghee, onions and cinnamon.

- Al Jareesh: Al Jareesh is made of "Borghol", which is a kind of crushed wheat.

- Batheetha: Batheetha is a popular traditional dessert made of date paste, flour and ghee. First flour is poured into a pan and left until it turns red, the date paste is added and mixed, and the mix is poured into another pan where ghee is added. The best time to make Batheetha is during the winter.

Other famous Emirati Dishes are Al Chami, Al Logimat and Mathrouba.