Prep 10 m
Cook 40m
5 to 6


    1 kg malleh (preserved fish), store brought 

    3 medium-sized spring onions, finely chopped 

    2 tomatoes, optional 

    3 dried Emirati limes, peeled

    1/2 cup freshly chopped coriander 

    1/2 cup chopped fennel leaves

    2 tbsp tamarind, soaked in half cup hot water

    1 tbsp Emirati ghee or clarified butter

    3 fresh green chillies 

    1 tsp turmeric powder

    1 tsp Emirati spice mix - bezar 

    1/2 tsp cinnamon powder 

    1/2 tsp black pepper 

    For the rice 

    500 gms long grain basmati rice 

    4 cups of boiling water

    2 small cinnamon sticks 

    10 cayenne peppers

    3 to 5 cloves 


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Ingredient Substitution Guide


Ingredients to make Malleh Fogah
Ingredients to make Malleh Fogah Image Credit: Stefan Lindeque/Gulf News

Fogah is a traditional Emirati rice-based dish, that can be cooked with meat or preserved fish. It uses a slow cooking technique and blend of Emirati staple ingredients such as - bezar spice blend, dried lime and malleh. Nazek Al Sabbagh, co-founder of malleh gourmet shares a recipe to making preserved fish-based Fogah.

1. In a frying pan add ghee and then to it add chopped onions, malleh, dried Emirati lime and tamarind. Allow it to cook for 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Next, add all the spices and stir well to allow the malleh or fish  to absorb all the spices.

3. Add the freshly chopped greens - coriander and fennel leaves, along with chillies.

4. Now, add the half cooked rice to layer it.

To prepare the rice, you will need

A. Wash and rinse the rice well, until water is clear.

B. In a pot, boil 4 cups of water, pour in the rice alongwith the ingredients and give it a boil. Lower the heat and allow the rice to cook. This should take about 8 to 10 minutes.

C. Turn off the heat once the rice is cooked at 75 per cent.

You can add Emirati ghee to the rice, if you wish to.

5. Cover and let it cook slowly on a small fire for 35 to 40 minutes.

6. Upturn the pan on a large plate and serve hot.

This recipe was first published in December 2021.

Want a sweet ending to this classic meal? Here is a traditional Emirati sweet dish - Luqaimat recipe