Meet the Cook


“Deep in the Heart of Texas”


to the

“Pearl of Arabia”



Sharjah's Gold Souk in the early evening

Sharjah’s Gold Souk in the early evening

I write to you from my little sandcastle here in the beautiful city of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

I am an American Muslimah originally from San Antonio, Texas. I am married to an Emirati, whom I call The General and we have been married now for over 25 years, MashaAllah.

I have five children. I have four daughters: Lily, Blossom, Rosebud, and Daisy. My one son is Little Man Habibi.

I love to write, sew, crochet, cook…and daydream 

I love my adopted home…the people, the culture, and the traditions.

You can find out a little more about me here.

52 responses to “Meet the Cook

  1. salams i came across your site on the muslim homeschooler website, i just wanted to say thankyou ive been looking for a site that has emirati food my emirate husband is getting fed up with roast chicken and mash potatos! im going to suprise him with an emirati desert and dish tomorrow inshallah!! thankyou so much!!

  2. As Salaam Alaikum, hi and welcome! Thank you so much for your comment. Please let me know if you liked the recipe.

  3. Assalamu Alaikum Sister! Wonderful effort with the blog! I’m a Pakistani American (from California) married to a Lebanese Egyptian man who grew up in Sharjah. It’s a shame you and I never met while I was living in Sharjah 4 yrs ago. I was part of this great group of American Muslimah women married to Arab husbands, but we’ve all drifted away from Sharjah. I can connect you to an American muslimah from North Carolina married to an Egyptian man and living in Sharjah, if you want.

  4. A.A
    I loved your website. Ive been to Sharja and loved it, especially the gold souk and the even better the abaya souk next door. Thank you for the recipes.

    Houston Tx

  5. I love Sharjah too ♥ Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

  6. I happen to find your blog it nice you got some nice recipe of UAE, I remember learning
    how to cook Emirati food,been here for 26year also marry to emirati..

  7. Wow!!! Thanks so much for commenting.

  8. Hi, I love love love your website. I am also American (california/montana) married to an Emirati. Do you have the recipe for fareed? Thanks 😀

  9. Hi,

    Yes, I do have a recipe for it. I think that it is called “thareed” … pieces of khobuz and stew right? I will post a recipe soon, InshaAllah. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I will be posting more recipes soon, InshaAllah 🙂

  10. Assalamu Alaikum! Thank you for creating this website! I am from Oregon and have many brothers here from UAE. I have known them for almost three years now and they never seise to amaze me! I have always loved to cook, and cooked in large numbers, perfect for my brothers… Although had gotten tired of constantly cooking cheeseburgers, kubsah and pasta. I was always telling them to bring me back cookbooks from UAE, but some how they always forget. 🙂 I came across your blogs/post/ what have yous in desperation of trying to find something that I could make for shibob in order to bring them some sort of comfort while studying here in the states. I love the pictures of all the steps. I am a very visual person, and if I have not made it before… I need to see what it will look like. One of the guys finally brought back a cookbook for me, although the downside is it is in all Arabic! Trying to translate is rather hard, since most of them have not made anything they are requesting. Makes for very interesting new dishes, that is for sure!
    So again, thank you for everything! InshaAllah one day I will be able to visit and see what all my brothers are talking about and possibly be able to cook with the women of the country!

  11. Well, your enthusiasm for wanting to cook some traditional recipes made me smile 🙂 InshaAllah you will be able to visit the UAE one day.

  12. I’m so glad to have found your website and thanks so much for your link to mine. Having lived in the UAE for over 10 years, as a keen home-cook who is interested in a variety of cuisines, I know so little about Emirati cooking. I’ll be visiting often. You may be interested to see our UAE food blogger facebook group Famished in Arabia too.

  13. Hi! I am also an American living in Dubai and have been attempting to make Emirati dishes so am very glad to have stumbled upon your site. I can’t wait to try some of the recipes you have posted!

  14. Salam Alaikum 🙂
    I just wanted to let you know that i have been following your blog for over a year now and have made many of the recipes you post and ALL of them come out sooooo delicious! I just finished making the Fried Fish and served it in my MIL’s house and they loved it…I just wanna tell you to keep blogging please! haha….for my stomachs benefit…. I love the way you tell a story in each post about the food and give loads of pics for it, this really helps when its not something i might be familair with cooking…
    -with love from abu dhabi 🙂

  15. Salam my dear,
    It was a breath of fresh air stumbling upon your blog, I have bookmarked your blog site on my page. You seem to have perfected the Emirati cooking better than most of us Mashallah. Please feel free to visit my new food blog 🙂

  16. Hi! Searching for kinds of fish found in UAE led me to your blog 🙂 Lucky me! Every Saturday we travel to Sharjah fish market to buy our weekly supply. Thank you for sharing your recipe’s.

  17. Abigail:

    Hello and thank you for stopping by. Please come back and visit again 🙂

  18. Thank you Shaima for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Loved your blog as well. 🙂

  19. Noora:

    Wa Alaikum Salaam,

    Thank you for such a sweet and inspiring comment 🙂 You have made me blush!

    I will get back to blogging soon, InshaAllah. I have a whole lot of pictures but just need to type out the recipes to go with it.

    Thank you for stopping by and please come back and visit again, InshaAllah. 🙂

  20. sd-b:

    I am glad you found your way here 🙂 Thank you for commenting and please come back and visit again. 🙂

  21. Salaam – Thank you for sharing your recipes. I took a cooking class in Abu Dhabi, and the teacher was using your recipes! It is very difficult to find Emirati recipes online, so thank you for sharing 🙂

  22. Brenda: Thank you for visiting 🙂 and Wow! that is neat to know that my recipes are being used in a cooking class…how cool is that? LOL

    I hope that you enjoyed the recipes. 🙂

  23. hi there! i was planning to surprise my boyfriend by cooking him an emirati food for dinner but then all the site that i stumbled into were not as good as yours since i find it very personal as if you’re talking to your readers. thanks for sharing y0ur recipes and keep on posting ^_^

  24. Masha’allah, an inspiration…i love your daughters name!
    and i am discovering your blog with a great pleasure

  25. Hi Marla, I am delighted by your lovely comment. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I hope you have tried and enjoyed making some of the recipes 🙂

  26. Hello Rado, thank you for your lovely comment. 🙂



  28. um abdel halim

    salam aleiky wa rahmatoulAllahi wa barakatouh
    i just moved from london to the emirates in al ain seven days ago i love it ! its so beautiful machaAllah. im french algerian and im married to in emirates ❤ i was looking on the internet if i could find lovely recipes for him to make him happy )) and i find your beautiful blog i be taking a lot of your recipes and leaving you feeds backs inchaAllah.
    I looking forward to try all those lovely recipes inchaAllah may Allah bless my sister in islam salam aleiky.

  29. Hello Mayada, you can email me at

  30. Um Abdel Halim: Wa Alaikum Salaam! Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting 🙂 InshaAllah you and your family enjoy the recipes.

  31. Just the website I had wanted to stumble on. I am kind of drawn towards your lamp stew recipe, will try it out this weekend. One request: my son’s school (Mushrif school, Abu Dhabi) is requesting students/parents to come up with a UAE traditional recipe. Is it ok if I take off your Lamb stew recipe from here and submit to the school? They will compile all entries and publish as a book.

    Thank you.
    Sajid Waikhom (Abu Dhabi)

  32. Hi There,

    I would like your email address to update you on an upcoming food event.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

  33. Hi Mary Ann and fellow foodies!
    Are you familiar with this Emirati ingredient I found a reference to? It is a dried lichen, one side dusty powder green, the other black. It is sometimes used by the peeople from Hatta to add to Bzar spice mix.
    Can anyone put a name to it please?

  34. Hello Mike, I will ask one of my SILs about this spice and let you know what I find out. Is this ingredient small in size and looks like a coral? Have you seen it included in a mix with a bunch of other ingredients that looks like a potpurri?

    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. 🙂

  35. Hello Mike,

    I found out what the ingredient is that you were asking about. It is “Shaiba” in Arabic. It’s English name is “Black Stone Flower”. It s also called Dagadful or Dagadfool in Indian cuisine. It should be used only in small quantities.

    My friend Noor over at Ya Salaam cooking uses this spice in her Bokhari rice recipe:

    Hope this helps!

  36. As salamu alaykum
    Welcome back!!!! 🙂
    i am happy to see your new post of new recepies Mash Allah

    I have become your emiratican member.

    I love your variety of emirati recepies with pictures.

    write more…

    wa salam

  37. Wa Alaikum Salaam Noora, thanks for the welcome back. I am so happy that you are here 🙂

  38. hi, I stumble upon your site while looking answers to my question if it is alright to publish a video of emirati women cooking rigaq and liqaimat in the traditional cooking corner, I don’t want to steer a commotion, I just want to write about the traditional sweets, probably you know.

  39. Hi Carla, I took a look at the videos on your blog and I don’t think that it will be a problem since you really don’t show her face. It was a good idea that you asked her first before videotaping her. For future reference though, always ask and then tell the person that you will be posting it on the internet.

    Hope that helps 🙂

  40. Assalam waliakum Mary, i just love your cooking…and the way you explain it with photos…its just great..thanks for all the recipes! there is one thing i have to ask you… see i had been to a wedding of one of my emarati friend, there they served habbat al hamra, i just loved that drink, i tried to get the recipe for it, but i could not, so please if you know how to make it (the one i drank was without milk) please let me know…i would really owe you BIG time!!! you can email me on…thanks in advance!!! 🙂

  41. This is exactly the 4th article, of your site I actually browsed.
    Nonetheless I really love this specific 1,
    “Meet the Cook | Emiratican Kitchen” the most.
    Regards ,Melvina

  42. You are my new favorite blog. I’m a cook from Kuwait and have just moved back after almost 20 years of living internationally on and off. I can really relate to your blog on a different level, thank you. Cheers

  43. Hi! I’m loving your recipes. Thank you! I agree, Sharjah is pretty awesome.

  44. Thank you 🙂

  45. 🙂

  46. Sorry…I thought that I replied to this. I will find a recipe and let you know when I post it.

  47. Salam Alaikum MaryAnn Mashallah I love your website so much! Your recipes are so easy to follow and I have wowed my Omani husband on many occassions with the help of your website. Would love to see some more recipes for Ramadan this year. Especially slow cooker recipes (best piece of kitchen equipment when your fastung!) Thanks x

  48. Salaam Alaykum MaryAnn. What a fantastic blog! Well done, it’s a fantastic resource and such a fun read too!

    Jazak Allah Khair!

  49. hi I have been marry almost 3 year with emiratI and still not doing good in cooking hope I’ll be expert like you.

  50. Salam alykom,
    So wonderful to read your food blog. I was wanting to know how to make the harees with quaker oats and subhanAllah there it was. I also am an American revert married to an Emiratee and have lived here for 25 years so you would think I would already know how to make this dish by now.. I suppose it’s good that I’m still learning new things after all this time. Thank you for sharing…love from Abu Dhabi

  51. Salam alaikum.

    I came acrosss your blog as I have been looking for recipes particularly Emirati. Married to an Emirati here for 2 years and although he eats the foods that I serve (Asian), I know his taste buds want to eat something his own. Your blogs make it easy for me to follow the recipe though I must say I have to familiarize the spices you used 🙂 But I am certain I will get by. Many thanks again! I hope you don’t mind if I drop you an email to ask a question for one recipe. 😉

    Thank you so much.

  52. Wa Alaikum Salaam Aya,

    Thank you so much for commenting. Anytime you have a question I am just an email or message away.

    Thanks again 🙂

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