Saudi Arabian cuisine can be compared to a culinary journey through a mysterious country. It reflects the deep traditions of the local people.
Features of the national cuisine of Saudi Arabia
Despite the limited selection of products, it is diverse. The dishes in the country are hearty and prepared according to simple recipes.
Of the main components of culinary masterpieces, it is worth highlighting meat, fish, dairy products, cereals, vegetables and fruits. Observing Islamic laws and traditions, residents do not consume pork, meat of predatory animals and alcoholic beverages.
Lamb and poultry meat are popular; in rare cases, camel meat can be found. Meat dishes are cooked on charcoal or in a pan in their own juice without adding oil.
Lamb roasted on a spit is in great demand. Excellent meals are obtained from fish and seafood cooked over charcoal. The cooks do an excellent job with the tandoor, the dishes from which are instantly eaten by tourists.
The preparation of national dishes is not complete without aromatic and hot spices and seasonings. They are added to almost any treat.
The hospitality of the indigenous people has no boundaries. Travelers are greeted with hot coffee with dates and a hearty meal. It is a great honor for the Arabians to feed a guest, which is why they serve dishes on large plates. It is accepted here by hand.
For several millennia, culinary specialties and traditions have remained unchanged. Saudi Arabia’s cuisine is very similar to that of neighboring Arab countries.
Its origins were influenced by Turkish, Indian and African tribes. But Arabian cuisine also contributed to the formation of dishes from neighboring regions. The specifics of cooking and the ingredients are the same, the only difference is in the names of the treats.
Many peoples of the Arab countries eat 2 meals a day, having a hearty breakfast and lunch in the late evening. Arabians drink coffee often and a lot, they can either combine it with food or use it on their own.
The morning meal is a light breakfast. Most often, these are dates and everyone’s favorite coffee, sometimes bread or pita cakes along with cheese, dates and qahva, as well as pies with various fillings (kubbe, hudar, sambusa).
The main meal is a hearty lunch.
It includes appetizers, meat and fish dishes with garnish and hot sauce.
Eating is not complete without white bread, which the indigenous Arabians love.
The evening meal is late in the day. It contains lighter food. Most often, these are small snacks in the form of sandwiches, various soups, or some kind of light Western dishes.
Typical products and traditional dishes
The Arabians manage to create traditional dishes of different tastes from a small range of products and surprise their guests.
Before the main meal in Saudi Arabia, it is customary to serve snacks on the table. They are presented in the form of meat, fish and vegetable salads. Tabbouleh (made from tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, herbs and wheat) and ful (bean puree with lemon and garlic) are popular.
Fresh and pickled vegetables, squash and eggplant caviar, nut and garlic spreads, pies with fillings and dates are in great demand.
On holidays, local residents serve watermelon or melon on the table before meals.
Soups from the Arabians are meat, fish and vegetable. They have a mushy consistency.
Often they prepare the following:
- chicken broth with egg and rice;
- bean soup;
- homemade chicken noodles;
- soup with green peas and nuts;
- chicken broth with rice, cardamom, black pepper and milk;
- bean soup with lamb and rice.
The most long-awaited and satisfying dishes are meat and fish dishes with a side dish. Over the years, chefs have learned how to cook lamb in different forms incomparably.
The following second courses are common:
- kabsa – a meat dish with rice, vegetables and spices;
- al-mandi – steamed chicken with honey;
- lamb stew with vegetables;
- fried chicken with a side dish;
- meat patties and chops;
- meat on a skewer and barbecue.
Arabian desserts are distinguished by an unforgettable taste. Dairy and rice puddings with pistachios and raisins, apples baked in dough, candied fruits and nuts with honey are irreplaceable on the table.
The culinary experts are great at surprising with their baked goods.
- knafe – thin dough with cheese soaked in sugar syrup;
- bassbusa – semolina cake with sweet syrup and coconut;
- ligemat – donut with honey.
Fruits and berries, jelly and ice cream are found on the tables as desserts.
In Saudi Arabia, the most common is strong coffee with nutmeg, cardamom or cloves; the second most popular is tea with various herbs.
Sabia is a cold drink made from bread and spices with the addition of date palm juice. The laban, which includes yogurt, is salty, sweet, or smoked.
Arabian drinks include baked milk, fruit juices and compotes made from fresh or canned fruits.
Definitely worth trying in Saudi Arabia
The main dishes of the locals are stews, cereals and rice. They know how to bake delicious and aromatic bread and flat cakes (such as lafa, khmer).
The main ingredients of the dish are lamb and rice with spices (cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, saffron and garlic). Cooked food is usually served with pasta and eggs.
An Arabian dish can be of 2 types: soup or dessert. The main ingredients are wheat dough, salt, milk and ghee. If you cook asida in the form of a soup, then you need to add the broth.
The traditional dish looks like slices of bread in broth, which can be meat or vegetable. It is eaten most often during Ramadan. This dish is popular in the country.
The dish is based on fish and rice. It is complemented by spices: saffron, ground black pepper and cinnamon. Machbus samak is served as a second course during a meal.
It is made from dough, meat and vegetables, seasoned with sauce. The dish is consumed at lunchtime.
Dessert in the form of pies with various fillings. The dough contains flour, yeast, ghee and milk. Salt is added to taste.
The most delicious Arabian treat, which is made from stuffed wheat dough. It can be either dates or toffee. On the tables, glue can be found during breakfast or as an addition to the main meal.
A popular delicacy in Saudi Arabia. The main component is a mashed banana and ground bread. It is customary to pour it over with honey and sprinkle with nuts.
Consider a vegetable and fruit salad as an appetizer.
To prepare it you will need:
- boiled potatoes – 1 pc.;
- apple – 1 pc.;
- lemon – 1/4 part;
- orange – 1 pc.;
- fresh cucumber – 1 pc.;
- boiled carrots – 1 pc .;
- citric acid, sugar, mayonnaise – to taste.
Peel and cut all fruits and vegetables into wedges. Add sugar and citric acid. Mix everything well and season with mayonnaise. You can additionally decorate the snack with fruit.
Meat soup with beans and rice is perfect as a first course.
- meat – 500 g;
- beans – 250 g;
- rice – 150 g;
- onions – 1 pc.;
- garlic – 1 clove;
- herbs, spices and salt to taste.
Fry the meat cut into large pieces in a pan until half cooked without oil. Then send it to a saucepan and cover with cold water.
Cook until tender. Add the beans to the broth and bring them to a half-cooked state. Add rice and finely chopped onion. After everything is cooked, add chopped herbs and chopped garlic. The soup is ready to eat.
Kabsa can be prepared as a second course.
- chicken – 1 carcass;
- rice – 4 tbsp.;
- onions – 1 pc.;
- carrots – 2 pcs.;
- garlic – 2 cloves;
- lemon zest – 1 tbsp.;
- tomato puree – 1 tbsp.;
- salt – 1 tsp;
- bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves – to taste;
- ground cumin, coriander and black pepper – 0.5 tsp each.
Mix finely chopped onions and chopped garlic with all the spices. Coat the chopped chicken pieces with the resulting mass, pour over the tomato puree. Give them time to brew a little. Bake the marinated meat in the oven.
Add rice to the remaining marinade and pour water over everything. Stir well and cook over low heat until tender. Put rice in a deep bowl, chicken on top. The dish is ready.
Basbusu is often prepared as a dessert.
For the pie you will need:
- flour – 1 tbsp.;
- sugar – 1 tbsp.;
- egg – 4 pcs.;
- coconut flakes – 1.5 tbsp.;
- yogurt and vegetable oil – 1 tbsp each;
- vanillin and baking powder – 1 packet each.
Beat eggs with sugar and vegetable oil. Add all the ingredients to the resulting mixture and mix until smooth. Before sending to the oven, grease the baking sheet with vegetable oil and sprinkle with a little flour. Bake the pie until golden brown.
The resulting dessert can be poured with sugar syrup, and sprinkled with coconut on top. The dish is ready to serve.