7 Secret Recipes from Arab Locals

7 Secret Recipes from Arab Locals

People can sometimes be hesitant and anxious about trying new food, especially if it contains ingredients you have never heard of. Middle Eastern cuisine, owing to the vastness of the land and the people it originates from, is rich beyond comprehension, both in taste and ingredients. Also, it’s vegan heaven! Arab countries offer tasty traditional food to tourists around the world. Whether its Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Dubai or Ajman, you will get the chance to enjoy the best, tasty and traditional Arab food everywhere. But if you still want to make middle eastern wonders at home, the following seven are the most traditional recipes of Arab cuisine which you must try at least once in your life!

1. Manakeesh

Manakeesh is the Arabic pizza of sorts. It is made of authentic Arabic Lebanese flat breads, topped with an exquisite selection of marinated meat, vegetables, and a multitude of Arabic spices and herbs. It is difficult to think of a lavish breakfast table in the middle east without a manakeesh at its centre. Here is the low down on how to make this delicious Arabic food.


  • 2 ¼ lb flour
  • 2 cup of warm water
  • Fresh zaater oil
  • 2 tbsp dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated akawi cheese
  • 1 tbsp salt


  1. Stir yeast in ¼ cup of warm water and leave it aside for an hour to become active.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of salt in flour, along with some olive oil over it. Add the remaining cups of water on it and mix them together into a soft dough.
  3. Roll out the dough into a medium sized thickness and spread the fresh zaater oil all over the surface  
  4. Place the dough on the baking sheet and top it up with 1/3 cup of grated akawi cheese.
  5. Bake in your oven for about 6 min at 650 F.
  6. Serve with fresh tomatoes and pickled cucumber.

2. Humus

Humus is a traditional, local Arabic dip. It is mostly served with warm pita bread.  It is a popular cuisine from Arab locals especially in Turkey, Morocco, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and Israel.


  • 2  lemon juice
  • 3 tsp sesame seeds
  • 300 gm chickpeas
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp olive oil (for garnishing)
  • 1 tsp Paprika (for garnishing)
  • Spring parsley (finely chopped for garnishing)


  1. Soak chickpeas for overnight and boil in a deep saucepan until tender.(cooking time : 135 – 140 min)
  2. Reserve the cooking water.
  3. Grind chickpeas in a blender with lemon juice, garlic, salt and sesame seeds.
  4. Add cooking water into the blender and blend the mixture to make a dip of soft creamy consistency.
  5. Garnish with parsley, paprika and olive oil.

 3. Kabsa

Kabsa is a exuberant looking family of dishes made from basmati rice, meat, vegetables, and a unique blend of spices. Kabsa originated from Yemen and is served as a traditional dish in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, Jordan and Kuwait. Kabsa can be made in a number of ways, the recipe differs in almost every household!  But as long as it looks grand, you got your kabsa right.


  • 1 kg chicken (cut into pieces)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 sliced onion
  • 12 oz tomato puree
  • 2 medium chopped tomatoes
  • 4 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 2 grated carrot
  • 1 grated orange
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 Cardamom
  • 3 Cinnamon sticks
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 kg rice
  • ¼ cup Raisins
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds


  1. Saute 2 medium sliced onion until it begins to brown.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, chicken pieces and garlic and stir for 5 min over low heat.
  3. Stir in 3 cups of hot water, grated orange, grated carrot, salt, pepper and spice.
  4. Cook over medium heat for about 20-25 min, until chicken is done.
  5. Set aside to keep warm.
  6. Stir rice into the liquid in the pan and cook.
  7. Cover the pan over low heat for about 35-40 min or until liquid is absorbed.
  8. Put rice on a serving platter, with chicken pieces spread all around.
  9. Toss almonds and raisins over and serve.

4. Matchbous

Matchbous is an Arabian cuisine made from spiced lamb, tomato, rice and stew. Matchbous is a classic Khaleji dish. With the very first bite of your Matchbous, you will experience a burst of intriguing taste stemming from intense flavour of cooked rice and lamb. To broaden the spectrum of your taste, you need to give this recipe a try.


  • 2 tsp ghee
  • 1.5 kg lamb shoulder
  • 2 roughly chopped onions
  • 1 tsp Baharat
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 peeled tomatoes
  • ½ tbsp powdered loomi
  • 3 pieces of cassia bark
  • 2 cups of rice
  • ½ cup coriander (chopped)
  • Water (750 ml)
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 6 cardamom pods


  1. Saute the onions in a large pan, over a medium heat, until they turn transparent.
  2. Add turmeric and Baharat and cook until the onions and spices are thoroughly mixed.
  3. Coat the lamb pieces with spices, cook until the lamb browns.
  4. Add salt, tomatoes and the other spices.
  5. Cover the pan and simmer for about 15 min.
  6. Add coriander and water to the pan.
  7. Cover the pan tightly and cook over a low heat for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender.
  8. Add the rice, bring the pan to the boil. Cook for about 20-25 min over a low heat, until the rice is cooked.
  9. Turn off the heat and remove the cover.
  10. Stir the mixture.
  11. Serve with green salad and yogurt.

 5. Baklava

This rich pastry made with layers of filo and chopped nuts, held together by honey and syrup is bound to satisfy your sweet tooth! This beautiful dish drenched in light syrup is a gift from the old Ottoman Empire to the world. Even in the Middle East it is considered a ‘presentation’ dish and reserved for special occasions because of its expensive ingredients. (But don't worry, feel free to make it at home at impress at dinner parties!)


For the Filling

  • 8 oz finely chopped almonds
  • 4 oz finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 oz caster sugar
  • 2-3 tsp bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves

For the syrup

  • 1 lb sugar
  • 16 fl oz water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the cover

  • 5 oz unsalted butter
  • 12 oz packet filo pastry


  1. Mix all the ingredients under ‘filling’ in a bowl.
  2. Mix all the ingredients under ‘syrup’ together in a saucepan and bring it to boil, with continuous stirring for the sugar to dissolve.
  3. Simmer for 10 min.
  4. Leave it to cool.
  5. Brush a 12 x 10 baking dish with butter.
  6. Brush 10 sheets of filo with melted butter.
  7. Lay the sheets one by one on the dish.
  8. Now, spread the ‘filling’ in the dish.
  9. Now top it off again with further 10 to 12 sheets of filo and brush them with melted butter.
  10. Score the top layers into large diamond shapes with a sharp knife.
  11. Bake in oven (160 C) for about 1 hour or until the top turns golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and pour the syrup over the top.
  13. Leave it for 5-6 hours to absorb the syrup.
  14. Serve.

6. Shanklish

Shanklish is a type of sheep’s milk or cow’s milk cheese in Arab cuisine, which is made into very small balls. The balls are then covered in za’atar, a typical Arabic herb, and Aleppo pepper. The balls are then stored and dried for a long period before they can be eaten. It has a strong flavor and odor.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 quarts plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp crushed hot pepper
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • Za’atar seasoning for coating


  1. Combine everything in a saucepan except the za’atar.
  2. Stir and boil the mixture until curds separates.
  3. Stain it through a colander, lined with cheese cloth.
  4. Shape the cheese into small balls, when its cool enough to handle.
  5. Dust a palte with za’atar and roll the shanklish in the spice to coat them.
  6. Refrigerate before you serve.

7. Falafel

Our very own recipe! Falafels from Operation Falafel are crunchy balls or fritters of chickpea or other pulses, deep fried until golden brown. They are commonly sandwiched in pita bread with tahini sauce and hummus in pita bread (delicious!) You don't know the true feel of a falafel until you have one for yourself. And we have just the place for you to get started: Operation Falafel, Dubai.


  • 1 chopped onion
  • 16 oz dried chickpeas
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 3 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp flour
  • Salt
  • Oil (for frying)
  • Pepper


  1. Soak dried chickpeas in water for overnight.
  2. Drain chickpeas and place them in fresh water.
  3. Bring to a boil for 5 min.
  4. Let simmer on low for about 1 hour.
  5. Drain water from chickpeas and allow to cool for 15 min.
  6. Combine onion, garlic, flour, chickpeas, cumin, pepper and salt (to taste) in a bowl.
  7. Mash chickpeas and mix the ingredients together.
  8. Form the mixture into small balls (size of a ping pong ball) and then slightly flatten the balls.
  9. Fry at 360 degree in 2 inches of oil, until golden brown.
  10. Serve.

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5 Desserts that will make you wish you were Swedish

5 Desserts that will make you wish you were Swedish

The highlight of Swedish cuisine is arguably the pastries and desserts. With so much variety, those with a sweet tooth will be in for plenty of treats when they visit Sweden. 

Here are some swedish sweets to try when in Sweden!

1. Princess Cake

This iconic and traditional Swedish cake, known as prinsesstarta, consists of layers of cream, sponge cake and jam (all the good stuff.) It is topped with green marzipan as well as a pink marzipan rose before it is left to chill and later serve. Perfect for birthday celebrations or special occasions!

2. Semla

Semla, a cream-filled bun, is a familiar sight in Swedish bakeries. The roll in Semla is flavoured with cardomom and the cream filling is comprised of almond paste and whipped cream. Traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday, semla is now eaten pretty much at any time (especially by me) and you can easily find this treat at most bakeries in Sweden.

3. Ostkaka

Ostkaka, known as Swedish cheesecake, is unlike the conventional cheesecakes that we are familiar with in that it is denser in texture and a lot less sweet. It is traditionally made by curdling fresh milk with rennet but is more commonly made with cottage cheese today. Ostkaka is typically eaten lukewarm and can be served with fruit jams, fresh fruit and cream.

4. Kladdkaka

A dense and gooey chocolate cake, Kladdkaka will surely delight lovers of chocolatey desserts. This decadent treat is topped with icing sugar and is typically served with fresh fruit and cream or ice-cream(or all of them if you want!)

5. Appelkaka

Appelkaka, or apple cake, is one of the most common desserts served in Swede eateries. It is typically accompanied with a generous helping of vanilla sauce and while its appearances seem to be a cross between a pie and cake, it definitely belongs to the 'cake' category in swedish cuisine. 

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Amazing Recipes to Make in the Microwave

Amazing Recipes to Make in the Microwave

You are probably familiar with using your microwave to heat up leftovers or even ready-meals. But the microwave is perhaps one of the most understated appliances in your kitchen. You can actually prepare a simple meal and even some of your favourite sweets using only the microwave! Perfect for busy people who want their food fast!

Here are some foods you can try making with your microwave!

1. Steamed egg

Steamed eggs will have a smoother texture when prepared using a hot water bath over the stove but using a microwave will give you decent results too! Check out this recipe for microwave steamed eggs under 5 minutes!

2. Mac n cheese

This is not a ready-meal mac n cheese from the grocery store. It really is a bowl mac n cheese prepared from scratch and prepared only using the microwave! This recipe is proof that it can be done.

3. Egg fried rice in a mug

Who says you need a frying pan and stove to make fried rice? With a microwave, you can make egg fried rice in a mug!

4. Chocolate cake in a mug

Want your chocolate fix fast? Use the microwave and you can have your cake and eat it too (in a mug) in under 5 minutes! This recipe will show you how. 

5. Caramel custard

Satisfy your craving for pudding fast by making caramel custard in your microwave! If you prefer, you can use a mug too! Note that if you want your pudding cold, you have to let it chill in the refrigerator. Thisis definitely an easy dessert to impress at dinner parties.

6. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookie

So what if Halloween is long gone? Pumpkins are just too yummy! This is perfect for those times where you want a cookie without having to make a whole batch of them (because let's face it, you will end up eating all of them). Make a single pumpkin chocolate chip cookie in the microwave! You will be able to eat your cookie in no time!

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Food safety tips when travelling

Food safety tips when travelling

Many of us love to sample new foods during our travels. In the midst of all that indulgence, it is all too easy to forget food safety and the risk of contracting foodborne illnesses, which can ruin our holidays by sending us on seemingly endless trips to the restroom. But foodborne illnesses are preventable if we exercise care and caution with the food we eat. 

Here are some tips for a safe and indulgent adventure abroad!

1. Avoid tap water

Depending on the country you visit, tap water may not be safe for consumption as it may be contaminated by viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases. Water that has been contaminated can make you ill, even if consumed in small amounts. Stick to bottled water where possible and drink only beverages that are served piping hot, such as coffee or tea. Avoid having ice cubes in your beverages as it is likely that they were made from tap water. 

2. Avoid raw foods

Again, this is largely dependent on the country that you visit. For countries where tap water is not safe for consumption, raw foods which include salads and undercooked vegetables should be avoided as it is likely that tap water had been used to wash the vegetables. Other raw foods that should be avoided are raw or undercooked meat, seafood and eggs as well as unpasteurised dairy products, whether it is milk or cheese.

3. Eat food that is piping hot

If you are visiting a country where foodborne illnesses are prevalent, you should be eating foods that are served piping hot when dining out. This is because high temperatures will destroy the germs and bacteria that can make you ill, such that the cooked food you eat is safe for consumption. You should also take extra care when ordering street food – only order from a vendor where food is prepared on the spot, not to mention in a hygienic manner. 

4. Fruits 

You can still enjoy the goodness of fruits when you travel – stick to fruits that can be peeled and do not require washing before consumption. Germs are highly unlikely to get into fruits that can be peeled. Such fruits include oranges, bananas, mangoes, kiwis and melons. If you insist on washing your fruits before eating them, use bottled water to do so.

5. Go with the flow when eating out

This may sound counter-intuitive but when in doubt, dine at eateries that are packed with patrons, especially in countries where foodborne illnesses are prevalent. Eateries that are crowded are less likely to serve foods that will make you ill or they would not even be frequented by patrons. If you are looking to have street food, head to vendors with plenty of customers – it is unlikely that food served by popular vendors have been sitting for many hours around though it is always good to check. 

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