Keywords: famous emirati
Description: Posts about traditional emirati food written by MaryAnn
Arseeyah is a simple and hearty rice and chicken dish. I consider of the UAE’s great comfort foods. It is a great food for young children (it is one of my children’s favorite foods) and adults love to eat it as well. I cook this often during Ramadan and it is also a dish which is always made at my sister-in-laws house every Eid for breakfast time. I like to make this for a simple lunch or dinner.
This past April, Sharjah had a Heritage Festival. If you are able to go please do it is held every April. Anyway, this was a common dish being offered there. I was able to ask one of the women there how she made hers and it was the same except that she used basmati rice instead of calrose (short grain) rice like I do but she assured me that it could be made using the calrose rice. I have never tried making Arseeyah with basmati rice.
Arseeyah is very easy to make and only has just a few ingredients. I use chicken breast to make mine but you can definitely use a whole chicken which will give you more flavor of course. Okay, now for the recipe.
In a medium size pot add the chicken, water, and cinnamon bark. Boil the chicken breast for one hour or the whole chicken until it is falling off the bones. Remember to skim off the scum. Strain and reserve the broth.
In a large pot add the rice, the strained broth, the chopped chicken, salt, pepper and cardamom powder. Stir.
Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. The pot needs to be covered. Every ten minutes go and stir the Arseeyah so that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
With an electric mixer set on high, mix the Arseeyah until the rice and chicken are “melted” into each other very well.
Place the Arseeyah onto a platter and spoon melted samen (ghee) over the entire surface and smooth out. Since it is Ramadan I am serving the Arseeyah in a huge hot pot (I just love these! It will keep the food nice and hot for hours!).
Variation: I like to add 1 can of Nestle Cream to the Arseeyah and then mix it well using the electric mixer.
Thareed is another popular dish to make when a Muslim is fasting. It is very common to make Thareed for Iftar (breaking of the fast) during Ramadan because it is light on the stomach. It is basically crispy flat bread layered with a meat soup. Actually it is a cross between a hearty soup and a soupy stew. (Does that make sense?)
Thareed can be made with lamb, chicken, and also with just vegetables. Today I will give you the recipe for Thareed with lamb and will post the recipes for the chicken and vegetable later on, InshaAllah.
If you live in the UAE you can usually find it in abundance during Ramadan. There are women who make this early in the morning and will sit out front places like the Co-Op or the fruit and vegetable market selling these for Dh10 a bag.
You could also use Khobuz Irani which is a thin flat bread (about the thickness of tortillas) and this can be bought at any Iranian bakery. Sorry I don’t have a picture to share of what it looks like. Here in Sharjah there are many Iranian bakeries which are little hole-in-wall places in the neighborhoods of Ghafiyah andUmmKhanoor.
When I was living in the US, I would substitute Roti which I bought from the frozen food section of an Indian grocery store. You could also use regular pita bread. I have never used it before but a friend of mine has.
This recipe can easily be halved but since it is Ramadan it is nice to share with your neighbors or to feed the poor.
5 large piece of Raqaq bread or 2-3 pieces of Khobuz Irani (or you can substitue Roti or Pita bread)
(Note: Tear the Raqaq bread or the Khobuz Irani into large pieces…about the size of the palm of your hand. Leave the pieces out to air dry on a large platter on your kitchen counter or dining room table. If you do not have Raqaq bread or Khobuz Irani available, you use Roti or Pita bread.)
In a large pot, heat the oil and sauté the onions until they get a nice golden brown color. Don’t burn the onions. Add the garlic and stir until fragrant.
Add the tomato paste and all of the vegetables, EXCEPT the koosa (squash) mix together to coat the vegetables with the tomato paste.
Add the lamb meat, reserved broth, Maggi cubes, and the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT the koosa and the chopped cilantro.
Bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are almost done. You can now add the koosa (squash) and the chopped cilantro and cook until the koosa is fork tender.
Each layer of bread will be soaking with the liquid from the stew. None of the bread should be left dry.