Bahrain (Asia) 13 December 2020

Bahrain is located in the continent of Asia. It has Iran to the far north, the Persian Gulf to the east, Qatar to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and Kuwait to the northwest.

The capital is Manama.

The official language is Arabic.

The climate is very humid and hot in the summer, with the winters being much cooler. The staples are fish, meat, rice, dates, chicken, chickpeas, coconut, and much more (https://www.bahrainthisweek.com/traditional-food-of-bahrain/).

https://www.britannica.com/place/Bahrain

MACHBOOS (https://ingmar.app/blog/recipe-the-national-dish-of-bahrain-machboos/):

  • 1- 2 lbs chicken
  • 4 C water
  • 4 C basmati rice, soaked for at least 20 min.
  • 3 onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4” ginger root
  • ½ C coriander leaves
  • 2 TBSP mint leaves
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1-1/2 TBSP Bharat spice mis (see below)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 2 big dried lemons, crushed
  • 6 green cardamoms
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 TBSP tomato paste
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ C vegetable oil
  • 1 pinch saffron, soaked in rose water
  • 3 TBSP rose water

For garnishing:

  • 3 TBSP raisins
  • 3 TBSP almonds
  • 1 carrot

Baharet spice mix:

  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp dried lime zest
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp freshly-grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  1. Grind the garlic cloves, ginger, mint leaves, and half of the coriander leaves.  Soak saffron in rose water.  Soak the rice.
  2. Slice and then fry the onions until lightly brown. Add the ground ingredients and fry well.
  3. Chop the tomatoes and add them followed by tomato paste and the green cardamoms, cinnamon, crushed dried lemons, black pepper, chili powder, Bharat powder, turmeric powder and crushed bay leaves. Fry the spices and add the chicken pieces. Add salt and enough water to cover the chicken.
  4. When the chicken is done (slightly soft), add the rice in and slowly stir adding the remaining coriander leaves, and enough water to cook the rice.  Be very careful when adding water because it you add too much the rice will be very soft. Add the saffron soaked in rose water, slowly stirring.
  5. Cover tightly and keep covered while cooking on low heat for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Start frying the carrot. Blanch the almonds and then add them to the frying pan together with the raisins.
  7. Before serving, stir the rice using a fork to separate the rice grains. The chicken should be intact. Garnish the dish with fried nuts, raisins, and carrots.
Here is how my Machboos turned out. VERY tasty!!

HALWA BAHRAINI (https://www.196flavors.com/bahrain-halwa-bahraini/):

  • 4 C sugar
  • 5 C water
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 5 TBSP unsalted butter
  • 2 TBSP ground cardamom + ½ tsp (for the butter)
  • 1 TBSP ground nutmeg + ½ tsp (for the butter)
  • 10 threads saffron
  • 1 C cornstarch
  • 1 C water (for the cornstarch mixture)
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • 1-1/2 C rapeseed oil
  • 2 TBSP rose water
  • 2 C nuts (pistachios, almonds, walnuts, all toasted)
  • 3 TBSP sesame seeds
  1. Infuse the saffron in 1 to 2 TBSP of boiling water for at least 1 hour.

Flavored brown butter:

  1. Put the butter in a hot skillet over medium heat. Brown for 3 minutes,
  2. Remove butter from the heat. Strain.
  3. Stir in cardamom and nutmeg. Infuse.

Halwa:

  1. Combine cornstarch, rose water, food coloring and 1 C of water. Beat vigorously to remove any lumps.
  2. In a very large pot, pour sugar, water, infused saffron and lemon juice and bring to a boil over medium to high heat.
  3. Stir in the cornstarch mixture while stirring.
  4. At this point, the total cooking time is 45 minutes.
  5. Cover to prevent splattering and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. After 5 minutes, add the rapeseed oil gradually and mix well. Cover and cook 5 more minutes. Then uncover and stir every 5 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes once adding the cornstarch mixture, add the cardamom and nutmeg. Mix well.
  8. Stir in a circular motion continuously for the remaining 15 minutes. Large bubbles will form.
  9. Remove excess oil with a ladle and add the brown butter. The butter must be added during the last 5 minutes.
  10. Stir in nuts and mix well. Remove from heat.
  11. Sprinkle with white sesame seed and dried fruits.
  12. The total cooking time is 45 minutes or when the temperature of the halwa reaches 230 degrees F.
  13. The end result should not be sticky. Its consistency should be soft and a little chewy.
Here is how my Halwa Bahraini looked. It tasted better than I thought it would.

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