Category Archives: Eid Dishes

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.

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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!).

Balaleet – Vermicelli and Egg Omelet

 

This is an unusually delicious salty and sweet breakfast dish that is enjoyed on a regular basis.  This is also traditionally served on the Eid holidays along with boiled garbanzo beans and boiled black-eye peas.  Along with the salty-sweet taste your taste buds will be tickled with the cardamom spice.  It is very interesting to eat this for the first time because you think it will not be delicious but it will soon become a favorite of yours too.

 

Ingredients:

 

2 cups of vermicelli

2 tablespoons cooking oil

¼ cup of ghee (or a mixture of 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons cooking oil)

2/3 cup sugar

2 tablespoons cardamom powder

2 generous pinches of saffron soaked in ½ cup rose water

4 eggs beaten with ¾ teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper

 

In a large pot, bring enough water to boil for the vermicelli.

 

Meanwhile, in a wok, or wide pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of cooking oil and add the vermicelli.  With a wooden spoon, constantly stir the vermicelli so it won’t burn.  Lightly fry the vermicelli until it is a dark, golden brown color.  Remove the wok from the heat.

 

Once the water starts to boil, add the vermicelli and cook for just 3-4 minutes and then drain.  Place back into pot.  

 

In another pot, heat the ghee and add the sugar and cardamom powder along with the saffron rose water.  Cook until the sugar melts and then pour over the cooked vermicelli.  Cover the pot with a lid to keep warm.

 

In a pan make an omelet.  Heat about 3 tablespoons cooking oil and then when very hot add the beaten eggs.  Tip the pan around to spread the uncooked egg.  When dry on top, turn the egg omelet over and cook for one minute more.

 

In a large serving dish, spread the vermicelli and top with the egg omelet.

 

Enjoy!  It is very delicious!