All posts filed under: Yemen

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Honeymoon Smoothie | عصير المتزوجين

How do you know it’s springtime in Yemen? So much of Yemen is dusty: sand overwhelms the northern stretches in an area called “Rub’ al Khali” or the “Empty Quarter”; even ancient skyscrapers are made of sun-baked mud, as can be found in the town of Shibam. But… like a mirage, there’s another, glimmering view of Yemen. Between the dusty cliffs of the Hadramout desert lies a valley of prickly trees and honey bees, where one of the world’s great aphrodisiacs accumulates in golden pools. This is Sidr Honey, a.k.a. jujube honey. Every year, semi-nomadic beekeepers flock to the Do’an Valley, where the sweet fragrance of the jujube tree sets the bees into motion. The resulting honey is said to be a tremendous aphrodisiac. And what do you do with an aphrodisiac? You drink it, of course. Honeymoon Smoothie عصير المتزوجين is a love potion of sorts – a honey-laced smoothie meant to sweeten marriage and to help single folks find true love. I call it a “honeymoon smoothie,” though I read that the literal translation is “married couples juice.” Inside you’ll find everything …

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Monday Meal Review: Yemen

“Oh yeah…” Keith says, chewing thoughtfully. “These are good!” I look at him a moment, scanning his eyes, wondering if he is being truthful. Then I look down at the plate to check if he’d eaten the right thing. Sesame coated, almond stuffed dates. Yup. Could he really think the Stuffed Date Balls are good? To be fair, he had no idea what they were when he ate them, except I did warn him that the crunchy thing inside was an almond. Still, these date balls seem more challenging to me than sushi, more challenging that the raw beef soup for Laos, more challenging than the frankincense ice cream. More challenging for me, at least. We all have our difficulties when it comes to certain textures and flavors. And dates have always been mine. Could it be that we project our fears onto our friends and families, expecting them to react the same way we will? If so, no one has a chance. The favorites have been decided before anyone takes a bite. The funny thing? …

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Almond Stuffed Date Balls

When I made the amazing Pistachio Date Balls for Iraq, I thought I’d seen the easiest recipe in the world.  It only uses two ingredients (third if you feel like getting extra fancy), and there’s no cooking. Well, today’s date balls are even easier: they don’t require a food processor. Boom! Even as simple as they are, the flavor is amazing – as though from a much more complex recipe. There’s a sweetness from the dates that transports me straight to Yemen… I mean, forget it. Let’s just lay under some Yemeni trees for a while, before we get around to making this recipe. Okay? Now, maybe this sunny afternoon in Yemen has you wondering: why include almonds and sesame seeds? Why not just eat straight dates? Well, you know how good peanut butter is with jelly? The balance of the nuttiness with the fruity date in this dessert is similarly satisfying. And addicting. Before I knew, I ate three of these. And to think. When I started this adventure, I (thought) I hated dates. …

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Spiced Skillet Eggs | Yemeni Shakshouka

Eggs. In the shell, they seems so… ordinary. But glowing, too, like they’re full of potential. Like they’re ready to become something more. When it comes to breakfast, Yemen knows how to dress them up – as Shakshouka. Shakshouka is a beloved skillet egg dish popular all over North Africa and the Middle East. We’ve made shakshouka before – the kind that is rather like a tomato sauce with poached eggs inside (and, by the way, yum!) – but Yemen makes shakshouka differently. For starters, they include spices like cumin, turmeric, cardamom, and clove. They also add hot green chili peppers for kick. Anything from an anaheim to a jalepeno would work well for this recipe. I’m a half hot pepper kind of gal. Keith’s more of a whole hot pepper. If you’re a no pepper person, that works too – though a touch of heat does add a layer of authenticity to the dish. But the biggest difference of all  with Yemeni shakshouka is that, in Yemen, the eggs are scrambled, not poached. The result is …

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Ava-halloween

Menu: Yemen

Yemen happens to coincide with Halloween. Halloween means trick or treating. Tons of candy and dressing up as a dream – as someone else. Or something else. This year, Ava is going as “the night sky and harvest moon.” Because, well, why not!? We made her dress with tulle, and she sewed her moon together from felt. I helped affixed it to the front of her dress. In the spirit of Halloween, we dressed up eggs and dates for our Yemeni menu.  I’m not sure either recipe would work for the average trick or treater. What about at your house? Both recipes and the meal review will be posted throughout the week. Yemeni Shakshouka [Recipe] Ava loves eggs. So, when I learned Yemen had their own version of Shakshouka, I knew we had to try it. While most North African and middle eastern shakshouka uses poached eggs, the Yemeni version is a scrambled egg treat prepared with tomatoes, onions, and peppers. The key is in the spices, a blend of cumin, turmeric, cardamon, and clove. Stuffed …

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Footbridge in Shaharah, Yemen. Photo by Bernard Gagnon.

About the food of Yemen

“Work like an ant and you’ll eat sugar.” Yemeni Proverb I can’t decide if the country of Yemen looks like a check mark or a bow tie.  It depends on the map.  Still, every time I thought about how to begin this post, I kept coming back to that check mark – the kind you get when you do a good job on your homework. Probably because Yemen is the third to last country on our list of countries. Check, check, check. I can’t. believe. it! But there is, indeed, more to Yemen than her shape. This mountainous country is situated on the Persian Gulf,  across  from Africa.  The Yemeni people enjoy ful medames, the breakfast bean dip we sampled for Egypt [recipe], kebab, lentil soups, and lahooh, the leavened “pancake” like bread we enjoyed for Djibouti [recipe]. Shakshouka  [Recipe] is another beloved breakfast item in Yemen, which is popular throughout the gulf and north Africa. I noticed a lot of yogurt when researching recipes, too, which can be used in drinks or dips. One interesting recipe …

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