The Arab identity is one complex notion. Politically, the world of Arabs connute 22 Arabic speaking nations. People spread across West Asia, Mediterranean and Africa are also a part of the Arab community. When it comes to food, the Arabian cuisine is quite complicated.
Arabian cuisine is not a single entity; it is rather made up of different regional foods. Therefore, what you eat on the Arabian or Atlantic coast may be distinct from the food in the desert. On all the dishes, however, the impact of the Ottoman Empire reflects. You may also find the Turkish influence as well as Indian and Greek touch.
Arabian Cuisine with an Indian Touch
The Ottoman Culture and its food habits are distinct to the Arabs. In addition, the influence of the refined Persian Empire is also seen in the food traditions. In fact, the Mughal flavours are also prominent. Some of the common dishes include kofte, pulao, kebab, and samosa/sambusak.
If you visit the Arabian world today, much of their food and eating culture is similar to Indian taste. They belong to the same family with a distinct taste and flavour. However, what is instantly recognizable is their legacy of generosity and hospitality. The Arabian world is generous when it comes to sharing their bread with guests and spreading a lavish table.
Popular Arabian Foods
Arabian cuisine uses plenty of spices and saffron. That makes it quite similar to Indian food. They traded India, China, and Europe and lent their flavours everywhere. For centuries, the Arabs navigated the ocean, settled on the western and southern coasts, and gave us rich and flavourable foods like Kerala’s Moplah Biryani and the Khozikode Halwa.
Here’s a list of the popular Arabian foods to try:
- Kefta: Indian Kofta is called kefta in the Arab. It is a dish prepared with ground meat like beef or lamb, mildly seasoned with parsley and paprika, and grilled with onions. No gravy as such.
- Khubz: The Arabian flatbread is exactly like the pita bread, which you can find throughout the region. It is thick bread baked in tannur, or tandoor. Relish it with grilled meats or hummus.
- Tahini: Made of sesame seeds, hulled –toasted-grounded, this paste is essential to all Arabian cuisines and Mediterranean foods. A popular condiment goes well with everything – from dips such as babaganoush and hummus to halva.
- Labneh: Labneh is a creamier version of yogurt in which the water is drained out completely.
- Tagine: Tagine is a popular North African tribal dish found in places like Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. It is a typical dish cooked in a pot with main ingredients like vegetables and meat. However, no liquid is added to this dish; here the liquid comes from the fresh ingredients being cooked in the pot.
Mansaf: The national dish of Jordan, Mansaf is popular in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. The traditional version is now modified and served with lamb cooked in jameed broth. Jameed is a type of cheese made from fermented yogurt. The dish is served on a large platter with flatbread and topped with white rice, layered with tender meat, and garnished with pine nuts and almonds. The dish is common in Arabian feats.