Celebrate UAE’s golden jubilee with 4 classic Emirati recipes

Celebrate UAE’s golden jubilee with 4 classic Emirati recipes

Why stop at machboos and luqaimat, when there’s Ouzi, Chami and more to eat!

Celebrate UAE’s golden jubilee with 4 Emirati recipes! Image Credit: Shutterstock

The UAE marks 50 years today. Join in on the celebration with family, friends and food. However, choosing the right recipes can be quite a task, especially because Emirati cuisine is extensive.

The Food team at Gulf News handpicked a few dishes for you to make during the long weekend….

1. Emirati lamb ouzi with oriental rice

Emirati lamb ouzi (image used for illustrative purposes only) Image Credit: Shutterstock

- By Executive Oriental Chef Mussabeh Al Kaabi, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray


  1. 1.1 kg lamb belly
  2. 500 gms basmati rice
  3. 100 gms lamb, minced
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. 3 cinnamon sticks
  6. 10 gms fresh garlic, chopped
  7. 120 gms fresh onion, chopped
  8. 100 gms fresh tomato, chopped
  9. 20 ml ghee
  10. 200 gms salt & pepper
  11. 6.5 ml water
  12. 10 gms turmeric powder
  13. 40 gms local spices (a roasted blend of equal measures of black peppercorns, cumin seeds, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander seeds, cloves, dry red chilli, bay leaves and cinnamon)
  14. 30 gms tomato paste
  15. 40 gms fresh coriander, chopped


  1. First, chop onions, garlic, tomatoes and coriander and keep them aside.
  2. For the rice, add 10 ml of ghee to a thick-bottomed pan. Add the chopped garlic and onions, along with cinnamon sticks and bay leaves. Cook it until the onion and garlic turn golden in colour.
  3. Next, add the minced lamb, cook it for 5 minutes, and add rice. Season with salt, pepper and coriander leaves and cover it. Allow it to cook on a slow flame for 20 minutes. Once done, keep it aside.
  4. Wash the lamb belly thoroughly and then marinate it with salt, pepper, local spices, tomato paste, chopped tomatoes and turmeric powder.
  5. Store the lamb in a container and cover it. Put it in an oven for 3 hours in 180C.
  6. When all are cooked put the rice on a plate and put the lamb belly ouzi on top of it.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy!

2. Chicken Tahta

Classic chicken Tahta recipe Image Credit: Supplied

- By Chef Bilal Saleh, Majdolin at DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences

  • 2 local baby chickens (600 gms), cut into 4 pieces each
  • 1 kg basmati rice
  • 3 red tomatoes
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 3 cardamoms
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 green chilli, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp of local Bezar
  • ½ tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 3 pieces of dry lime
  • 3 cloves
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup oil sunflower
  • 5 tsp rose water
  • Sprinkle of saffron
  • 1 cup fried onions, cashew nuts and raisins to garnish

Here's our recipe to making Emirati Bezar.


  1. For the chicken, season the pieces with Bezar and salt. Fry the chicken or roast it in an oven and keep it aside.
  2. For the gravy, soak the saffron in the rosewater and keep it aside.
  3. Sauté the onion, garlic, ginger and whole spices. Add the powdered spices and stir well. Add the chopped green chilli, dry lime and fresh tomato. Cook it for 10 minutes.
  4. Add two spoons of saffron-rosewater then add the cooked chicken to the sauce.
  5. For the rice, wash it thoroughly to rid it off from the starch then soak it for 2 hours.
  6. Next, in a pot add two litres of water, salt and a little oil. Boil the rice and cook it for 12 minutes. Ensure it is not too well done.
  7. Time to serve. In the serving pot, add around 2 cm of the cooked rice. Layer the chicken on top with chicken and gravy. Add the rest of the rice. Pour the rest of the saffron water and keep it in a hot oven of 150C for 12 minutes.
  8. Once done, garnish with fried nuts and serve with yoghurt on the side.

3. Emirati Balaleet with egg

Emirati balaleeet with egg Image Credit: Supplied

- By Chef Bilal Saleh, Majdolin at DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences

  1. 500 gms vermicelli
  2. Saffron to sprinkle
  3. 1 tbsp cardamom powder
  4. 50 ml sunflower oil
  5. 100 gms white sugar
  6. 3 fresh eggs
  7. 50 gms local ghee
  8. 2 tbsp rose water
  9. 1.5 litres water to boil the vermicelli


  1. In a saucepan, add oil on a high flame.
  2. Add 70 per cent of the vermicelli and fry until golden.
  3. Add the rest of the vermicelli and then add water.
  4. Boil the mixture until it gets soft and fully cooked.
  5. Strain the vermicelli from the water using a colander.
  6. Add the sugar, cardamom powder and local ghee to the vermicelli.
  7. Transfer it to a cooking pot then add extra ghee and rose water.
  8. Close the pot well and slow cook for 6 minutes until ready. Serve and enjoy!

4. Dates and Chami

Dates and chami for dessert! Image Credit: Supplied

- By Chef Bilal Saleh, Majdolin at DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences

  1. 2 cups of fresh yoghurt
  2. 1 cup of water
  3. 1 cup of dates
  4. 2 tbsp of local ghee


  1. Mix yoghurt and water and stir well.
  2. Heat the mix until it splits. Don’t stir it.
  3. Now strain the mix in a soft mesh to drain the water.
  4. Once cooled, fill the ‘chami cheese’ in the dates.
  5. Drizzle local ghee on it or serve in a bowl. Enjoy!

Do you know of any Emirati dishes? Share it with us on food@gulfnews.com

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