Category Archives: Chicken

Harees…new recipe variation

Fasting for Ramadan 2013 starts tomorrow and my daughter and I have been doing food prep this past week.   Yesterday we filled about 250 samboosas and then froze them.  So we are good to go for a few weeks, InshaAllah (God Willing).

A daily Ramadan staple is Harees.  I only ever cook it during Ramadan.  It is tasty and filling and a great thing to have for suhoor.  The original recipe uses wheatberries which is locally called “harees”.  It is a thick porridge made with a few simple ingredients:  wheatberries, choice of meat, water, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.

I met a lady, originally from Iran, now living here in the UAE who once told me that she made Harees using Quaker oatmeal and nobody knew the better of it.  I was intrigued because when I make it, it takes forever and her way sounded much easier.  I never followed through with her suggestion until about 3 weeks ago when another lady on a Facebook group that I am on, shared her recipe for Harees and it included oatmeal…so I had to try it!  It was so easy and tasty to make…even my husband liked it and could not tell the difference until I told him!

So here it is…easy peasy:

Harees Using Quaker Oatmeal

1 kg (2 pounds of meat of your choice) you can use lamb, beef, or chicken.  Note:  if you use beef, I suggest it be 1/2 kg  or one pound.  When I first made this recipe I used 1kg of beef and the harees came out a darker color than usually…it was still very tasty but not so good looking.

3 cups of Quaker oatmeal

1 small onion, chopped

1 small stick of cinnamon

1.5 liters (6 cups of water)

1 tablespoon of salt

1/4 tsp of black pepper

1/2 tsp of cinnamon powder

1/4 to 1/2 cup of melted butter

Directions:

In a large pot, add the meat of your choice, the chopped onion, cinnamon stick, and water.  Bring to a boil and cook until very tender.

Remove meat/chicken…debone if you have to…and then place into a food process and blitz for a few seconds until shredded.  Or you can finely chop the meat/chicken.

Using a strainer, drain the stock into a large pot.  Add the shredded meat/chicken, the 3 cups of Quaker oats, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.  Stir using a whisk.  Add more water if necessary by the cupful.  Bring to a boil and check every 5 to 10 minutes.  Stir each time you check on it.  Add more boiling water if necessary.  Cook for about 40 minutes.  Add the melted butter, stir and then serve.

(Note:  Make sure you stir the Harees every few minutes because it will stick to the pot and become an awful burned mess!)

Thank you Fatema for sharing the recipe 🙂

Vermicelli Rice and Baked Chicken

I made Vermicelli Rice and Baked Chicken for lunch yesterday.

The Vermicelli Rice goes really well with curry and I used this spice rub for the baked chicken which I originally posted about here a few years ago.  I like to use it mainly for baked chicken, grilled salmon, or lamb roast.

Okay on to the recipe…

Vermicelli Rice

1 cup of uncooked vermicelli noodles

2 cups of uncooked basmati rice

2 tablespoons corn oil

Directions:

Prepare the basmati rice according to my recipe  “How to Cook Basmati Rice”

While you are waiting for the water to boil for the rice you can prepare the vermicelli.  In a wok, heat the corn oil and add the vermicelli noodles.

Lightly stir the noodles until they turn a dark golden brown.  Remove from heat and set aside.

When the water boils and you are ready to put the rice in also add the fried vermicelli.

Boil for 5 minutes and then drain.  Put back in the pot and keep warm until ready to serve.

Baked Chicken

Ingredients:

1 kg (2 pounds) whole chicken

1 medium tomato cut into half

1 medium onion quartered

3 cloves of garlic left whole

salt and pepper

spice mixture

Directions:

Wash and pat dry the chicken.  Season the tomato, onion, and garlic with salt and pepper.  Stuff this into the chicken.

Prepare the spice mixture and rub it all over the chicken.

Bake in a 350F oven for 1 1/2 hours or until done and tender.

Kefta and Arayes

The other night I was in the kitchen making Arayes.  My kiddos kept on coming into the kitchen wondering what I was making and when I told them they were totally surprised that I knew how to make it.  They all asked me why I didn’t make them before (it has been well over 8 years?…Wow a really long time!)  and I told them that I totally forgot about it until I got a request via Facebook for the recipe.

This makes a really nice light lunch and dinner when served with a soup and some hummus and grape leaves.  You must really serve this along with hummus so don’t forget!  On to the recipe…I hope that you like it!

Arayes (A-ra-yes)

Ingredients for Kefta: 

(adapted from Kofta Kebabs http://allrecipes.com/recipe/kofta-kebabs/Detail.aspx)

 ½ kg (1 pound) ground lamb or ground chicken

1 small onion, chopped

2-4 cloves garlic, chopped (up to you how much you like)

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley (you can use up to ½ cup)

1 tablespoon ground coriander

½ tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground allspice

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

*-*-*-*-*-*

½ cup of corn oil

12  fresh pieces of small (6 inch diameter) pita bread (the thin kind)

Make sure that the pita bread you use is fresh because if it isn’t it will be quite difficult to separate into halves.

Directions:

Place all of the kefta ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth.  Set aside.

 Open up each of the pita bread so that it forms two halves.

 Take about ¼ cup (maybe a little less) of the kefta mixture and thinly spread it on one side of a pita half.  Place other half of the pita on top and press down so that it sticks together.  Set aside.

 

Note:  you need to spread the kefta thinly so that it will cook evenly and quickly.  If you spread it on thickly it might be undercooked when the bread has turned a golden brown.

Do this with the remaining kefta mixture and pita bread.

Once you are finished with all the pita bread, you can either lightly pan fry the Arayes or you can grill them.

If you are pan frying, you will need to cook on very low heat.  If you are grilling the Arayes, then you will need to place the grill on the highest level from the coals.  I much prefer grilling them because you will get that nice smoked flavor.

Lightly brush the Arayes on each side with the corn oil and place on either the frying pan or the grill.  When I cooked them this time I didn’t brush the outside of the pita with oil.  I had just added a teaspoon of oil to the pan and pan fried them that way.

 Cook until the bottom side is a nice golden brown color.  Flip it over and cook the other side the same way.

Once done place them either in a hotpot or on a large platter covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep warm.

Serve with Laban Up, hummus, stuffed grape leaves, and a nice soup.

Enjoy!

Serves 5-6

Print the recipe here.

Arseeyah

Arseeyah (Ar-see-yah)

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.

Ingredients:

2 cups of calrose (short grain) rice

1 kg (2 pounds) of chicken breast or 1200 grams of whole chicken

2 liters of water (about 8 cups)

1 large piece of cinnamon bark

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoons salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper powder

Melted Samen or ghee

Directions:

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.

Cool and then debone the chicken.  The chicken will now need to be cut into finely chopped pieces.

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.

I like to use this heavy spatula to help stir and scrape the Arseeyah.

Every ten minutes you will need to stir the Arseeyah.

Turn off the heat and remove the lid to let all the steam out.

Once, it finished cooking it will look like this…not dry but still moist.

Taste for salt.

With an electric mixer set on high, mix the Arseeyah until the rice and chicken are “melted” into each other very well.

Arseeyah needs to be served hot.

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.

I hope that you try and enjoy my recipe!

Print this recipe.

Harees

Harees bil Dajaj (Harees with Chicken)

Harees is one of the daily Ramadan staples here in the UAE.  It is easy on the stomach after a long day of fasting.  It is a very simple, delicious,and filling dish that can be eaten at Iftar (breaking the fast) or for Suhoor the meal before Fajr (morning) prayers.  It is served either alone as a main dish or as a side dish with all the other goodies during Ramadan.

During Ramadan, you will find this is one of those dishes that is widely shared between neighbors….if you should receive a bit too much or you get tired of eating it, it will freeze very nicely.  Just freeze it in an aluminum container, thaw it out in the fridge, and then heat it up in the oven.

Harees is also one of those dishes that you will find at every occasion…Ramadan, Eid, weddings, engagement parties, any special event…so I would classify it as one of the foods in UAE popular culture.

The “harees” grain is wheatberries in English and can be made with either lamb or chicken.  When my family was living in America, I also used pearl barley for this because it looked so similar to wheatberries and I achieved the same tasty result using it.

Also, you can add as much or as little chicken or lamb as you wish.  For the 2 cups of harees, I will usually use 1 kg of meat.  Of course, the more meat you use the more richer the dish.  But for economic reasons the harees would be more.  If you are using lamb this is a good time to use those bones and make a stock from it and debone what you can use.

Harees (wheatberries) up close

I made Harees Laham (Lamb Harees) just the other day and I experimented using the crockpot/slow cooker.  It is summertime and the temperatures outside are at least 45C.  During Ramadan in the summer, I want to spend as little time in the kitchen!  The results…I think it turned out better in the crockpot than cooking it over the stove top!

Okay now, on to the recipe:

Harees  (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:

2 cups of harees (wheatberries) For best results, you will need to soak the harees (wheatberries) overnight or for at least 8 hours.

1 kilo (2 pounds) of chicken or lamb

2 sticks of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of black pepper powder

2-3 teaspoons of salt

water

samen (local-made clarified butter) or melted butter

Directions:

First of all, you will want to boil the chicken or the meat until tender.  After boiling until tender, debone your chicken or lamb.  Save the stock to use later on in this recipe.

In a large pot, add the harees, deboned chicken or lamb, cinnamon, salt, pepper, and the stock.  Add water if needed.  The stock/water need to cover the harees  by about 2 or 3 inches.

Bring to a boil and then turn down the fire/heat to low.  Let it boil, boil, boil until it reduces to a watery oatmeal-like consistency.  Total cooking time will be about 1 hour…I didn’t time it.

(Note:  Be sure to check every 10 minutes and just stir the pot so that the harees won’t burn at the bottom.)

Now you are ready to blend the harees.  Using a hand mixer, blend the harees in the pot until smooth.  It won’t be entirely smooth.  You can also use one of those hand blenders to do the job.

The harees when ready will have a thick consistency.  Serve on a small platter and spoon the samen (clarified butter) or melted butter on top to cover.  Some people will decorate the top of the harees with powdered cinnamon in a simple pattern.

Harees bil Laham (Harees with Lamb)

Cooking Harees in the crockpot or slow cooker:

This was my experiment:  If you cooking the harees using a crockpot, you will just need to add all the ingredients to the crockpot.  Add enough stock and water to equal 3 liters (12 cups).  I cooked this on high for 6 hours.

I added the lamb without deboning (I don’t think I will do that again).  I had to add a little more water so that I could blend it and then let it cook a little bit more (maybe an hour).

I will be making the harees again this way today because I think that it turned out much better than on the stovetop.  This time though I will be using already cooked and deboned lamb.

Harees at the end of cooking time. I just needed to add a bit of water to blend.

How to Cook Camel Meat…

Hello all,

I have only had camel meat three times in my life, twice was at a bedouin family’s wedding in Al Ain and the other was at a party at my sister-in-law’s house.  To me it tastes just like lamb…but it isn’t fatty like lamb meat.  The way that the camel meat was cooked when we had it at the wedding was quite delicious and hard to forget the succulent taste and the tenderness of the meat.

The best camel meat to use for cooking is from the younger camel because the older the more tougher.

Well, to tell you the truth I have not cooked camel meat at my home but for the purpose of this post I will use lamb meat which is the same method used for cooking camel meat.  The way that I am cooking this meat is the same way the meat (lamb, chicken, camel) is prepared when making it for special occasions (wedding parties and Eid).

This is just a basic recipe.  You can adjust the seasonings and add others to your liking later on.  Okay, on to the recipe…

Fried lamb layered over Lentil Hashwa and Yellow Rice

Ingredients:

2 kg, or more, of camel meat best if it is a whole piece like a roast or cut into big chunks like in the picture above

1 tablespoon tumeric powder

2 dried black lemons (loomi)

1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns

8 pods of green cardamon, crushed

1 teaspoon of whole cloves

1 large piece of cinnamon bark

3 bay leaves

1/4 cup of salt (to be added towards the end for flavoring)

oil for frying

Directions:

In a large pot, add about 2 tablespoons of corn oil.  Heat it up and lightly brown the meat to seal in the juices.

After the meat has that nice golden color add the tumeric, dried lemons, peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, and bay leaves.  Add enough water to cover the meat.  Bring it to a rolling boil, lower the fire/heat so that it simmers, and cover the pot.

Cook it this way for about 1 hour and then add the salt.  Keep simmering until the meat becomes tender.  Take the meat out of the pot and set in a colander to drain.  At this point, you can save the stock to prepare some rice.

You will now need to lightly fry the meat.  So add enough oil to a wok or deep-sided frying pan, heat it up and carefully add the meat.  Be careful because it is going to splutter.  You just want to lightly fry the meat until it gets a nice golden color.  Remove it from the oil and let it drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

That’s it!  This is then layered over rice such as Yellow Rice and Lentil Hashwa (recipe for the Hashwa is upcoming!).

Chicken Makhtoum

My friend Noor over at Ya Salaam Cooking has a wonderful collection of tasty recipes available, MashaAllah.

A few weeks ago I tried her recipe for Chicken Makhtoum and let me tell you it is delicious!  I have cooked it at least twice already and my DH just loves the taste of it and this is what I am making for lunch today.

I double this recipe (it doubles very easily) whenever I make it because of my big family, MashaAllah.  I have made a few tweaks here in my version…I sauteed the tomatoes and added frozen garden peas for a little bit of color and also decreased the amount of tomato paste because my DH is not too keen about tomato paste.

I served this delicious chicken dish with Indian Vegetable Rice (recipe to follow in the next post).

Chicken Makhtoum (adapted from Ya Salaam Cooking)

2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped

1 tablespoon corn oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

1 cup of yogurt

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon Arabic spice mix

2 tablespoons corn oil

700 gram  whole chicken, cut up into 4 pieces

1 cup of frozen garden peas

In a medium frying pan, saute the chopped tomatoes in 1 tablespoon of corn oil until mushy.

In a blender, add the sauteed tomatoes, onions, yogurt, salt, Arabian spice mix, and tomato paste and blend until smooth.

In a large pot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of corn oil and once it is hot add the chicken pieces and fry until golden brown.

Add the yogurt mix.  Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes and reduce the heat to low.

Add the frozen garden peas, gently stir in and then cover and let cook for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink.

Serve with basmati rice or nice and hot parathas.  Enjoy!

And Noor is right, this recipe would be really delicious if you substituted lamb or shrimp for the chicken.

Tangy Baked Chicken

 

This baked chicken recipe pairs well with my Spiced Tomato Rice recipe.  It was an experiment in the combination of spices I used.  I first made this dish over 11 years ago and it has become a dish that I make often.

 

In this recipe, I use black lemon powder.  This tiny dried lemon is a staple pantry ingredient here in the UAE home.  It is a key lime and is dried out in the sun and then used whole or in powder form in cooking for stews and mitchboos rice dishes. The dried lemon will either be black or brownish in color.  I prefer to use the black lemons.  If you live in the UAE or other Gulf countries then this is called Loomi Aswad and can be bought in either whole or powder form.  If you live in the States, this dried lemon is available whole and can be bought at any Arab supermarket.  When you get home just break a whole bunch of them open and take out the seeds and then grind them in a spice grinder.

 

The ingredients I give are for one baked chicken.  I have a big family and I usually make three fresh chickens 600 grams each!  Any leftovers make delicious cold sandwiches of course!

 

1 kg (2 pounds) of fresh chicken

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon paprika powder (OR 1 teaspoon Mexican chili powder seasoning)

1 teaspoon oregano or mixed Italian spices

1 teaspoon ground black lemon

1 teaspoon vinegar

1 tablespoon olive oil (or more to make a paste)

 

Clean your chicken very well inside and out.

 

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well to form a paste.

 

Scoop up a bit of the paste and you will now coat the chicken inside and out with this paste.  If you have any paste leftover you can add it to the two pockets between the skin and breast meat area near the thigh.

 

Bake the chicken for 45 minutes to one hour or until done.

 

Enjoy!

Mitchboos, Machboos, or Makboos with Chicken or Lamb

Mitchboos, as I call it, is actually the boiling of rice in stock.  It can be made from chicken, lamb, fish or shrimp.  Mitchboos is delicious using any of the mentioned meats.  The recipe is quite simple and uses ingredients that are readily available here in the UAE or can easily be found at your local Indian grocery store. 

 

Ingredients:

1 chicken (750grams to 1kg) cut up into 8 pieces or 1 kg of lamb stew meat with bone

 

2 cups of chopped onions

3 cloves, or more, of grated garlic

1 inch cube of grated ginger

2 cups of chopped tomatoes

½ cup of chopped cilantro (kuzbara)

1 green bell pepper, chopped

 

1 teaspoon of Madras curry powder (I use the Ship brand)

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon tumeric powder

1 teaspoon of dried black lemon powder

½ teaspoon cardamom powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

¼ teaspoon red Kashmiri chili powder

2 Maggi chicken stock cubes

1 teaspoon of salt, optional

 

1 green chili pepper

1 whole dried lemon ball

3 cups of water

 

2 cups of Basmati rice (gently rinsed three times and left to soak for at least 30 minutes)

 

 

In a large pot, sauté the onions and the chicken (or lamb) until nicely browned.  Avoid burning the onions.

 

Add the garlic, ginger, tomatoes, cilantro, and bell pepper.  Mix the ingredients well and sauté for about one minute.

 

Now add the spices and stir very well.  Turn the heat to low and cover with lid.  Leave it to cook for about 10 minutes.

 

Now add the green chili, the whole dried lemon, and the water.  Let this stew gently boil for 45 minutes if you are using chicken (or 1hr 45 minutes if you are using lamb).  You will want the meat you are using to be thoroughly cooked and tender.

 

Now you will need a colander and another pot because you will strain the stew.  Put the meat mixture back into your cooking pot.  Add the rice.  Do not stir!

 

Measure the stock and it should be 3 cups of stock, if not, add more water and stir.  Now add this to the pot with the meat and rice.  Gently stir because you do not want to break up the rice kernels.

 

Bring the mitchboos to a boil and then turn the fire to lowest setting (I call it turning the fire to low-low).  Simmer on this very low fire for 17 minutes.  Turn off the fire and remove the lid so that the steam will escape and will the mitchboos will not turn soggy.

 

Gently remove the mitchboos onto a large platter.  Gently break up the rice so it will not look packed together on your serving plate. 

 

Serve with pickled onions, a plate of fresh greens (locally called roowaid, jarjeel).

 

Enjoy!

Chicken Soup

I experimented with this soup during Ramadan 2008 and came up with a soup that has a very rich taste, and silky texture. It is absolutely delicious. Other ingredients can easily be added to it such as corn, diced chicken breast, mixed vegetables, or vermicelli noodles. The stock for this soup comes from the Fried Chicken Emirati Style and Yellow Rice recipes.

Chicken Soup

Strained stock from the above two recipes
5 tablespoons oatmeal
generous pinch of saffron
juice of one lemon
two Maggi chicken stock cubes (optional)
one cup of vermicelli noodles

The stock that you will have from the Yellow Rice recipe will fill a huge pot. Boil the stock until it reduces to half a pot.

Put the oatmeal in grinder to turn it into a powder. Add water to the oatmeal and stir until there are no longer any lumps. It should be smooth and watery. Add this to the chicken stock and stir with a large whisk.

Add the saffron, lemon juice, stock cubes, and noodles (optional but I like to add it). Stir well. Bring to a boil and then turn the fire to low.

At this point, you can feel free to add a cup of diced chicken breast, 1/2 a cup of corn, or 1/2 a cup of mixed vegetables.

Let simmer for at least 10 minutes so the noodles can cook.

That’s it! Very easy and very tasty. I hope that you enjoy it.