All posts filed under: Saudi Arabia

Monday Meal Review: Saudi Arabia

“If I am a prince and you are a prince, then who will lead the donkeys?” – Saudi Proverb We sat in the middle of the tight, woolen rug, cross legged, our toes bumping the edge of the soft cotton table cloth. Without a table to drape upon, the cloth looked like a slack sail, hungry for the wind. Sunlight streamed through the windows, massaging our backs. It felt good. If I shut my eyes, the windy, freezing day that clattered against our window almost disappeared. In fact, if it weren’t for the glittering Christmas tree at our side, there’d be no sign this was winter. The scent of black cardamom and fennel in our Saudi pizza dough made the room smell sweet and woodsy, while the ground lamb and green onion topping felt like an early spring. My friend Becky and her mom joined us for lunch. I hadn’t seen Becky in more than a year and I hiccuped a tiny laugh, despite myself, when I opened the door to find the entire door frame full of …

Read More

Saudi Lamb “Pizza” | Aysh abu Laham

In Saudi Arabia, there’s an old saying “A friend is known when needed.” In other words, when you need help, true friends show up. They might ask “Can I do anything?”, but more than likely they’ll simply roll up their sleeves and get to work. Because the answer is clear, yes, you need them. A true friend quietly brings over a covered casserole after you’ve given birth to your first child. They take your child to the park so you can sleep off a fever. They silence their phone and hold your hand until you’re done crying. Their heart breaks when your heart breaks. They laugh with you until happy tears roll down your cheeks again. That’s true friendship. As for the rest? They’re just there for the pizza.  Oh, don’t lose hope. One day this, too, could change.  After all, pizza is the gateway food for true friendship. All good friendships have a slice or two in their history. Pizza is one of those late night, snacky bites that magically draws community around it. The simple act of reaching …

Read More

Sweet Semolina Cake with Lemon & Rose water | Basboosa

Love’s every whimsy can be found in the tender, fragile curve of a rose. Arab cooks must know this in their hearts, as they imbue many of their desserts with the essence of this great flower. Rose water is made from hundreds (thousands!) of rose petals and I’m convinced there is magic in every drop. Today’s cake, called Basboosa (also called Basbousa), is heavy with such magic. This sweet cake is conjured up with durum semolina, then soaked in a pool of syrup made with sweetened rose water and fresh lemon juice. Some versions are dense while others are fluffy – I’ve provided options for both below. No matter how you slice it, each bite is like a garden at sunrise. The dreamy perfume of roses and lemons unite, overflowing the senses like King Fahd’s Fountain in Saudi Arabia (the tallest fountain in the world… “The water it ejects can reach a speed of 233 miles per hour and its airborne mass can exceed 18 tons.” Wiki). This magic is glorious with a cup of strong tea (I’m talking …

Read More

Menu: Saudi Arabia (with Giveaway)

Saudi Arabia is all about love of family and strong relationships. That’s why this week at the Global Table  is all about party food.  Not crazy, New Year’s Eve party nibbles (been there, done that), but goodies that will pull family and friends together around the table (or, as the case may be, the floor mat). These bites make a festival out of even the most ordinary day (I know because we enjoyed their bright flavor in the No Man’s land between Christmas and New Year’s with my dear friend Becky and her mama). So go on, invite some friends over and create an afternoon filled with animated, laughter-filled, buoyant spirits. And when the fun is done, sit back and smile. Saudi Lamb “Pizza” | Aysh abu Laham [Recipe] A hearty round of fennel and black caraway infused flatbread, topped with lamb, green onion and a lemon garlic tahini sauce. Phew.  Sounds weird. Tastes amazing. Sweet Semolina Cake with Lemon & Rosewater | Basboosa [Recipe] A sweet, incredibly moist semolina cake perfumed with lemon and rosewater, topped with almonds. …

Read More
Rub al-Khali desert in Saudi Arabia. Javierblas.

About the food of Saudi Arabia

Let’s rub the glitter of the New Year out of our eyes and spend this week feasting on Saudi Arabia. If, perhaps, you over-indulged during the evening’s festivities, this alcohol-free country will be apropos. Dotted along her sandy slopes and rubble-tumble mountains, from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf, we find groups of people sipping on hot tea, enjoying richly spiced lamb stews, and riding camels. But let’s not stop there… My friends, we also find groups of people zooming along in cars, processing petroleum fields, and eating pizza. Or shall I say…  “pizza”… This is a land of duality. Take this “pizza,” for example. Otherwise known as Aysh abu Laham, we’re talking spiced flatbread topped with lamb, spring leeks, and lemon-tahini sauce. This dish, like much of Saudi Arabia, has elements of the familiar (hello, pizza shape), but taste entirely different to a westerner (goodbye tomato sauce; this is all about fennel, black cardamom, and tahini). Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still find Domino’s in Saudi Arabia… but in people’s homes, it’s all about …

Read More