Looking to throw around some popular dishes in KSA? Check out these Saudi Arabian flavors that will really rock your taste buds. Saudi Arabia has so much to offer with regards to food, and it’s crazy to think that some people have never tried these dishes before!
Jalamah is a lamb specialty that has traditionally been prepared in the Saudi Arabian region of ‘Asir. It consists of pieces of very young lamb meat that’s cooked with fat, onions, and a blend of Arabic spices such as cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, and black pepper.
The dish is usually accompanied by rice or flatbread on the side to soak up the flavorful gravy. This specialty is usually prepared on festive occasions such as the Eid al-Adha festival.
Hailing from Hejaz, saleeg is a traditional Saudi Arabian rice dish consisting of creamy, porridge-like short-grain rice and roasted meat. Chicken is the most common meat choice, and it is typically boiled in water with spices before it is roasted.
This dish uses a combination of the broth in which the meat has been cooking, hot water, and optional mastic tear to boil the rice. The boiled rice is then combined with milk and ghee or butter, and cooked until it reaches the desired consistency.
Martabak is a roti-like stuffed and fried pancake which is often served as a popular street food item in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Although the fillings may vary, some of the most popular ones include ground meat, eggs, garlic, onions, peppers, curry, and ghee.
Fresh herbs such as coriander and mint are often used for additional flavoring. The flatbread dough is supposed to be extremely thin and requires a lot of expertise. Another name for the dish is mutabbaq, an Arabic word meaning folded, referring to the way in which the stretchy dough is folded around the filling during cooking.
This traditional Arabian dish is most often described as a spicy lamb stew thickened with barley bread, though the word tharīd also refers to a large earthenware bowl. According to legend and several Hadith teachings, tharīd was one of the Prophet Muhammad’s favorite dishes, even though its origins are said to date back to the pre-Islamic times.
Today, this satisfying dish is prepared with a variety of halāl meats which are stewed with vegetables and ladled over thin, unleavened bread. In Islamic countries, tharīd is typically enjoyed for al’iiftar, the evening meal served at sunset when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast.
Hininy is a traditional Saudi Arabian dish consisting of dates, butter, and brown bread. The whole concoction is then additionally flavored with spices such as saffron and cardamom. The dish is a specialty of Najd, where it is usually prepared during winter.
Gursan is one of Saudi Arabian national dishes made by placing dry, paper-thin sheets of bread atop meat and vegetables in a broth until the bread pieces soak up all of the flavorful juices. The final result is not soupy, but thick, nourishing, and hearty, which is why the dish is loved throughout the country.
A staple during the month of Ramadan in numerous Middle Eastern countries is a plate of harees, a satisfying meal which combines coarse wheat and meat. This centuries-old dish probably originated in Saudi Arabia, but has since spread throughout the entire Middle East and India.
Kabsa is a rice dish that is enjoyed throughout the Gulf States of the Arabian Peninsula. Heavily influenced by Persian and Indian biryanis, kabsa makes use of the water that was used to cook fish or meat and re-using it to cook the spiced, long-grain rice in it, perfectly blending all the flavors and spices.
The dish can be made with chicken, lamb, camel meat, fish, or even shrimps. The meat or fish is usually placed on top of the rice, and the whole dish is served on a large platter, meant to be shared and eaten by hands. Although it originated in Yemen, this traditional combination of rice and meat is incredibly popular in Saudi Arabia, where it is considered a national dish.
Across the Arabian Peninsula, kabsa is also known as machboos.
Mandi is Yemen’s national dish, native to Hadhramaut province, consisting of lamb or chicken meat, fragrant basmati rice and a mixture of various spices. If lamb is used in the dish, it should be small-sized and as young as possible, to further enhance the flavors.
To make Mandi, the meat should be cooked in the tandoor, a specially designed hole in the ground covered with clay and charcoal, acting as an oven for the suspended meat above it. It is then closed and no smoke is allowed to go outside as it flavors the meat instead.
When the meat is tender and juicy, it is served with rice and accompaniments such as salads, yogurt, and spicy tomato chutneys. Beloved in Yemen and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, mandi is often served for special events, such as feasts and weddings.
Matazeez is a rich stew of meat, vegetables, tomato sauce, and spices with whole-wheat dumplings cut into egg-sized piece, flattened, and then placed inside the pot.
The most common meat is lamb and the dish can include a combination of vegetables such as carrots, onions, cauliflower, eggplant.
The most common mix of spices is cumin, cinnamon and loomi (dried limes), cardamon, cloves, and nutmeg. The dish is similar to margoog but less soupy in consistency.