UAE National Day 2020: Here's what Emirati chefs like to eat on National Day

UAE National Day 2020: Here's what Emirati chefs like to eat on National Day

From Mchbous to Aseeda Bobbar, here are four dishes local chefs like to eat on this day

emirati chefs collage
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Dubai: The UAE celebrates its 49th year and what better way to celebrate than with delicious Emirati cuisine?

Gulf News speaks with four different chefs and restauranteurs about their favourite dish to make and eat on UAE National Day.

Meet Chef Musabbeh Al Kaabi

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A true trailblazer in the UAE’s culinary scene, Chef Musabbeh’s colourful career as the first Emirati Chef in the UAE. He started after serving seven years in the United Arab Emirates Army forces. Chef Musabbeh is famous for his Ramadan cooking shows which were featured in both Kuwaiti Channel Al-Rai TV “Sufra Khaleejeeya” and Sharjah TV “Cooking and More”. Keen to showcase Emirati cuisine, Musabbeh still presents various TV shows and cooking demonstrations across the region.

Chef Musabbeh is currently the Oriental Chef at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray. 

What is your favourite dish to make and eat for UAE National Day?

Chicken Machboos.

This was the first dish which my mum taught me and she has always been an inspiration for me since the age of 7 when I decided to commence my journey into the culinary world.

I make it using dry lemon, blend of mixed homemade local ground spices and ghee. It takes about 45minutes to make.

It’s a great feeling when other cultures taste and enjoy Emirati cuisine. It's a feeling of inspiration that encourages me to keep evolving the Emirati cuisine through unique offerings.

How I make Machboos

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1kg Chicken on the bone

600g Basmati Rice

100 gTomato Cliced

60g Red Onion Cliced

20g Garlic chopped

10g Coriander chopped

80ml Local Ghee

4g Local Spices

3 Dried Lemon Whole

2g Cinamon Steak

0.5g Bay Leaves

0.5g Whole Cloves

10g Ginger Mashed

1500ml Water

15 grm 15 Salt & Pepper

16 grm 1 Cardamon Whole

17 grm 1 Black Pepper Corn


1. Heat the ghee in a deep pot and add the ground spices, add the onion, garlic and saute until you get golden colour.

2. Add the tomato and chicken then cook it for 25 minutes, add the ginger, local spices and 1 liter of water.

3. Mix it nicely then let it cook for 60 minutes, add the coriander, rice and salt and pepper, let it boil until the rice absorbers all the water.

4. Then cover it and leave it for 15 minutes on a low fire.

Garnish with fresh coriandar.

Meet Chef Fatma Abdulla Ibrahim Al Ajmi

Chef fatma
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Chef Fatma has been a Specialty Chef at Jumeirah Beach Hotel since 2017. During her time there she was recognized countless times and received many awards. She won a gold medal for the Emirates Salon Culinaire for Best local Emirate Cuisine at Gulf Food Dubai in 2017 and 2018. Fatma was also named the UAE National Colleague of the Year at Jumeirah Beach Hotel in 2018.

What is your favourite dish to make and eat for UAE National Day?

Aseeda Bobbar, which is an Emirati pumpkin pudding.

Traditionally this is considered a staple Emirati dessert. Ever since I was young, my grandmother used to cook this for our family, and that is how I learnt the recipe and aim to share it with our current generation.

I make it with Saffron and cardamom, which gives Emirati cuisine its delicious distinction in flavours.  It takes about 45minutes to make.

I feel proud that other cultures love and appreciate Emirati cuisine, as it is quite common and easy to prepare as breakfast options. My passion for cooking enables me to be creative and think out of the box by creating new food concepts by combining Emirati and International cuisines.

How I make Aseeda

Aseeda Bobar
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200 g Pumpkin, deseeded and peeled

160 g Sugar

20 g Pistachio nibbles

2 g Cardamom powder

½ g Saffron

10 ml Rosewater

50 ml Ghee

40 g Flour

300 ml Water


1. Cut pumpkin into cubes, boil with saffron and cardamom powder until the pumpkin is cooked

2. Blend the mixture to make a smooth puree

3. Melt sugar in a pan until it is caramelised. Pour in the pumpkin puree. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes

4. Add rose water to the mixture

5. Roast flour in another pan until it turns light brown, sift the flour through a fine sieve

6. Remove the pumpkin mixture off the heat and stir in ghee and the roasted flour

Serve warm, garnished with pistachio nibbles

Meet Nahla Walli

Nahla is an Emirati restauranteur and foodie. She owns TBK  at the Galleria Mall and Asma at The Dubai Mall. 

What is your favourite dish to make and eat for UAE National Day?

My favourite dish is Balaleet. Traditionally it consists of vermicelli sweetened with sugar, cardamom, rose water and saffron, and served with an overlying egg omelette. 

It reminds of breakfast at home which was always a real bonding time in my family. We used to sit on the weekend and enjoy each other’s company whilst eating Balaleet.

We traditionally use vermicelli, saffron and egg. There have been many variations to the recipe through the years, but I like to stick to my roots and cook it the same way as my mother did.

It takes around 30 minutes to make.

I am proud and honored of my country’s cuisine, it’s amazing to see how it has evolved through the years and that Emirati food is now well sought out by other nationalities.

How I make Balaleet

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1 cupc vermicelli (wheat noodles)

8 tablespoons butter (or clarified butter)

¾ cup sugar

2 tablespoons ground cardamom

2 pinches saffron , diluted in 2 tablespoons of rose water (or water)

4 eggs , beaten

Vegetable oil


In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add one cup of raw vermicelli. Lightly fry the vermicelli noodles until they turn golden brown, about 5 minutes. Constantly stir with a wooden spoon, so the vermicelli does not burn.

Then add a large volume of water to boil the fried vermicelli. Once the water starts to boil, add a cup of raw vermicelli and cook for just 3 minutes. Drain vermicelli in a colander.

Add 8 tablespoons of butter, 2 tablespoons of cardamom, ¾ cups of sugar and 2 pinches of diluted saffron to the pan. Mix and heat until sugar is dissolved for about 6 to 8 minutes.

Add vermicelli back to the pan, mix and cook for an additional 2 minutes.

Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a separate pan. Add the 4 beaten eggs. Tilt the pan in order to spread the uncooked egg. When dry on top, flip the omelet over and cook for an additional minute. Serve vermicelli with omelet on top

Meet Chef Hend Jasim Raisi

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What is your favourite dish to make and eat for UAE National Day?

I also love Balaleet.

It is one of my favourite Emirati dishes, which I enjoy having as breakfast or even as a dessert. This dish reminds me of my childhood, and more specifically of Eid where I used to wake up early in the morning as I looked forward to my Mother’s delicious Balaleet.

I have noticed such a positive response when it comes to other cultures tasting Emirati cuisine, more specifically Balaleet and Lugaimat; which are deep fried dough balls cooked with cardamom and sugar.

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How I make it


Vermicelli 200g

Sugar 40g

Cardamom 4g

Rose water 5ml

Saffron to taste

Pure Ghee 5ml

Oil 5ml

Eggs 3

Water 1L


Boil water

Add ghee in a pot on heat, and add balaleet (vermicelli), sauté until half the vermicelli turns golden

Add hot water on top of the balaleet, boil until cooked and strain

Place balaleet in the pot. Add sugar, cardamom, saffron and rose water then mix.

Take a non-stick pan and cook eggs until well done, place on top of balaleet, serve hot.

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