Monday, June 5, 2017

Kuwaiti Food Spot - With Thanks to Marybeth Alawadh Ortua

The desert truffle (called faqa in the Gulf) is a prized item that can be found all around the Middle East and Northern Africa. Usually you can find them on the roadside being sold in the Spring when it rains . The faqa is not cheap, but also not as expensive as regular truffles. Truffle hunters go out into the desert after a rain to look for them. You can see a small bulge in the sand and then dig to retrieve it. The truffles are of course sandy since they grow under the sand and you must clean them thoroughly. Faqa is used in local traditional medicine for treating eye, back, knee and leg ailments and is also known for its qualities as an aphrodisiac .

Machboos laham (lamb) with faga 

Recipe for Machboos Laham the national dish of Kuwait

Serves: 6
The meat
  • 1 kg lamb
  • 2½ l water
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 5 pieces cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp ground cumin
  • salt
  • pepper
  • ¼ tsp saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp oil
The rice
  • 1 kg rice (basmati)
  • 2 onions
  • 75 g yellow split peas
  • 75 g raisins
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ground cloves
  • black pepper
  1. Soak the raisins
  2. Preheat oven to 200°C. Cut the lamb into cubes. In a large pot, combine meat cubes with the water, all whole spices, salt and a small onion, quartered.
  3. Bring to boil. Once water has come to boil remove the froth that has come on top with a spoon. Cover and let cook over medium-low heat for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, make the stuffing.
  4. In a small saucepan put split peas, cover with water and add 1 tsp of salt. Over medium-high heat bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes, until peas are tender. Drain and set aside.
  5. Chop the remaining onions and sauté them in oil, until tender and golden brown. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the cooked split peas and drained raisins. Add cinnamon, gloves, salt, sugar and black pepper. Continue to cook for a few more minutes until everything is well combined. Take off from heat and set aside.
  6. After 90 minutes drain the lamb cubes in a colander that is set over a large bowl. Save the stock and discard of the spices.
  7. Mix all the ground spices. (Taste the meat to see if it needs more salt.) Rub the dry ingredients over the meat cubes. Arrange meat on an oven pan.
  8. Mix 1 tbsp of saffron water with 2 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp oil and 1 tbsp of the meat stock. Drizzle over meat, cover pan with aluminum foil and enter oven for 15 minutes while you prepare the rice.
  9. Wash and drain the rice several times, until water runs clear from the rice, cover with water and mix with 1 tsp salt.
  10. Drain rice from water. In a medium non-stick saucepan put rice, pour enough meat stock to cover the rice by 2 cm. Bring to boil over high heat, cover and reduce to medium-low. Cook until rice absorbs all the liquid and is cooked and fluffy – about 15-20 minutes.
  11. When it is time to serve, fold meat with stuffing and serve over rice. Drizzle with remaining saffron water.

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