Citizens, the cuisine of Bahrain in the Middle East is not well-known at all outside the immediate region, which is a tremendous shame as it is a crossroads for culinary influences ranging from India to China and beyond!
The seafood from the Gulf is legendary for its variety and flavor, and this recipe for Chebeh Rubyan puts the shrimp of the region from and center! I have showcased a meat recipe from Bahrain previously here.
All that said, I believe it is time to educate my beloved members of TFD Nation about the cuisine of this small but intriguing nation of the Middle East!
As noted on bahrainthisweek.com:
The island country of Bahrain is a melting pot of different cultures and traditions, and while it has embraced the influences of different cultures that have taken shelter in it, its indigenous food stand intact and preserved over the years. BTW takes a bird’s eyes view of the traditional fare of Bahrain that makes the cuisine of the land so popular with both the original inhabitants as well as the expat population of Bahrain.
Bahrain’s traditional food includes fish, meat, rice, and dates. One of the most famous Bahraini dishes is machboos, which is made up of meat or fish served with rice. Another known food is muhammar which is sweet rice served with dates or sugar.
Bahrainis also eat other Arabian food such as falafel, fried balls of chickpeas served in a bread, and shawarma, lamb or chicken carved from a rotating spit and wrapped in pita bread. Traditional snacks include samboosa and pastry. Balaleet is a sweet saffron noodles served with a savory omelet on top.
Another important part of the Bahraini diet is the fresh fish of the Gulf, of which the king is the Hamour (grouper), typically served grilled, fried, or steamed. Other popular local fish include Safi (rabbit fish), Chanad (mackerel), and Sobaity (see bream). Most of the time, fish is eaten with rice. A century of British rule in the Gulf has also made fish and chips popular in Bahrain.
Another delicacy is Qoozi (Ghoozi), which is grilled lamb stuffed with rice, boiled eggs, onions and spices. The traditional flatbread is called Khubz. It is a large flatbread baked in a special oven. Numerous Khubz bakeries dot the country.
Coffee, called Gahwa locally, is considered a part of the traditional welcome in Bahrain. It is usually poured into a coffee-pot, which is called dalla in Bahrain. It is served in a small cup made for coffee called finjan.
An important aspect of Bahraini cuisine is certainly the desserts. The most popular Bahraini desserts include baklava, halwa, kunafa, umm alli, and so on.
So next time you are in the mood for some food that is exotic and rich in the spices of the land, look no further than any traditional Bahraini restaurant for a gastronomical journey down the rich heritage of the Island.
This particular dish is widely eaten in Bahrain as part of a celebratory feast, usually accompanied by Muhammar (sweet rice). This is a dish where we obviously see the influences of both Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines on the gastronomy of Bahrain and the Gulf States.
The Baharat spice mix is my own personal blend – you can buy the dried rose petals I prefer for this recipe here.
Loomi, also known as black lime and dried lime, is a staple in Middle Eastern spice cabinets with a unique tart and sour flavor.
In their pre-ground state, loomi look like fresh limes that were left to sit around in a fruit bowl and forgotten about. The actual process of making them isn’t too far off. Fresh limes are boiled in salt water and then left to sun dry. The final product appears shrunken, deflated, and vary in color from tan to very dark brown.
They have a highly aromatic, somewhat fermented flavor, and can be used whole (usually pierced or crushed) or in powdered form. Buy the powdered form here.
Citizens, this is a glorious appetizer that will wow any guests fortunate enough to be invited to your table! They will assuredly at first think this is an Indian dish – be sure and smile knowingly when you bring them up to speed on the error of their assumption.
Battle on – the Generalissimo