Archive for the ‘Entrees’ Category

Fish Curry

I got this recipe from my Bangladeshi neighbor Fatma–Jazaha Allah Khayr. I wanted a fish dish that I could serve with rice, that only had spices. No tomatoes or tomato paste. I had had this a number of times in her home, and I loved it. So, I decided to make it myself. It turned out great. It has all the spices that we are used to in the southern part of Yemen–Aden. Plus of course we love our fish at least 6 times a week. So this appeals to the south Yemeni palette very well. You will need:

1) 2 Tilapia fillets halved

2) 1 big or 2 medium sized potatoes, quartered.

3)  2 medium onions, finely diced

4) 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil –more if you like.

5) salt to taste

6) 1 teaspoon of chilly powder-less if you don’t like it spicy

7) 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

8) 1/4 teaspoon turmeric

9) 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

10) 3 tablespoons of finely cut cilantro

11) green chilly pepper halved, lengthwise

12) 3 minced garlic

13) tsp of minced fresh ginger

To start take ingredients 6-13 [the spices and the garlic and ginger], place in a bowl and add 1/2 cup of water. Leave aside.

In a pan, under medium high heat, add the oil and the onions and brown. Then add the potatoes and sautee for a few minutes. Then add the spices in the bowl and turn the heat down a little and let boil for a few minutes, until the gravy/yellow sauce thickens. Then add the fish and fry in the spices. Turn once. Do not turn too much or else the fish will break. In my culture, it is a sign of a bad cook ha ha ha !

Once the fish starts turning white, add enough water to cover the fish. Add salt to taste and let boil until the sauce thickens to desired consistency. When it starts to thicken add the chilly pepper. When it is ready garnish with the cilantro and serve on a bed of which rice, or rice cooked with lentils.

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This is one of my favorites. It’s pretty easy to make, although might be time consuming for some. For the dough you will need:

1) 2 cups of flour

2) 1/4 tsp of salt

3) 1 tablespoon of oil [I used sunflower oil]

4) water as kneaded to make a soft and smooth dough

Add the salt to the dough and mix well. Then add the oil and mix in as well. Then gradually add water and knead and unit it is transformed into a smooth and soft dough. Soft means that when you poke it it does not bounce back. Cover the dough and let rest for 30 minutes.

When the dough has rested for 30 minutes, divide it into small balls. This amount should be enough for 12 small balls.

Using a rolling pin, open up the balls into small circles. Try to roll them out into approximately the same size. Place them on a well floured surface. Plan on stacking four on top of each other. Now before you stack them on top of each other, take one of circles and add one tsp of oil onto it. Smear it with a spoon. Then sprinkle a little dough. Then place another circle of dough on top of it. Continue until you have four. DO NOT OIL AND SPRINKLE FLOUR ON THE LAST ONE.  Continue with the rest. MAKE SURE YOU COVER THOSE YOU HAVE COMPLETED SO THEY DON’T DRY OUT.Place a flat pan on high heat. The pan has to be very hot.


Now it is time to roll them out. Before you do so press with your fingers around the edges so that they all line up evenly or else you will end up have ones that are shorter than the others. Like this:

Then roll it out pretty thin:


Once you have it all rolled out beautifully, place it carefully on the hot pan. It will start puffing up in a few seconds. Flip on the other side and watch it puff up some more.


The layers will start coming apart. That’s when it is ready. Pull the layers apart with your hands. BE CAREFUL IT IS HOT. Continue until you are done with  all the dough you have prepared.


The layers will be nice and thin like this:


Now for the egg mixture to put in between the thin layers that you just made with the dough.  You will need:

1) 2-3 eggs

2) 4 green onions, finely chopped

3) a handful of cilantro finely chopped

4) green chilly pepper finely chopped –to taste. This will make it a little spicy.

5) salt to taste


Mix all these ingredients well together:


Now oil the pan with about a tsp of oil, then take one of the layers of the prepared dough and place it on top. Then oil the layer  and spread some of the egg mixture on top:


Place a second layer on top:


Cook on both sides until well browned. [If you would like to use more eggs in between you may, but just make sure it is cooked well. Leave it a little longer that is. If you would like to make sure the egg is cooked, you can pierce the dough with a fork and if egg does not ooze out then it is cooked]. Serve hot with Yemeni tea. Enjoy!


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This is a staple during Ramadan. Very hearty soup, that is a meal in and of itself. In Sana’a they make it sweet and they add milk. But in Aden ours is very different and we make it either plain which we call  Shurbah Baydha which literally means “White Soup”  or we add a red sauce to it that we make with onions, tomatoes and spices and hence call it Shurbah Hamra meaning “Red Soup”. So here’s the recipe for the plain one. Insha Allah will post the red one, which is not my favorite. This one, on the other hand is very much my favorite in Ramadan and the rest of the year. Let’s start Bismillah. You will need:

1) 1/2 pound of lamb cut into small pieces with bone in [you can also use chicken which will cut down the cooking time]

2) 2 cups of rolled oats [or you can use Old Fashioned Quaker Oats]

3) 3 sticks of cinnamon

4) 1/2 tblsp of peppercorns

5) 1/2 tsp of curry powder

6) 1/2 of a medium onion finely chopped

7) 1 small tomato finely chopped

8) Salt to taste

For garnish: fry some onions in a little oil until golden brown or darker [according to taste] and traditional Yemeni ghee or  olive oil.

In a pot add water to cover the meat completely and place under medium high heat [about 4 cups]. Remove the froth that collects on the surface as the meat starts to boil. Then add the peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, curry powder, onion, tomatoes and salt and let boil for about 20 minutes. If the water has evaporated some, add 1 cup or so. Then add the oats and mix well and cover and let boil under medium low heat. I also like to transfer it to the oven and let it slow cook in there at 350 degrees fahrenheit until the meat is tender. If you place it in the oven make sure you check on it every 15 minutes and stir. If it is too thick add some more water. I like mine thick so I add less water to maintain the thick consistency. But in Yemen there are many who like theirs thinner, so they add more water. So it depends on your taste. Once the meat is tender, that means the soup is cooked and ready to serve. Serve hot with the fried onions and a little ghee or olive oil. Note: we don’t add garlic to this soup probably because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever eats onions, garlic or leeks should not approach our mosque, because whatever offends the sons of Adam may offend the angels” (Muslim). And since this soup is eaten in Ramadan particularly, just before Maghreb [sunset prayer],  garlic is avoided. The onion on the other hand is totally lost in this soup–you can neither smell it or taste it. You will see for yourselves once you make it insha Allah.

*You can even make this in a pressure cooker as well if you want to cut back on cooking time.

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I really wanted to learn  how to make real frothy Yemeni Hulbah [fenugreek]. You will need powdered Fenugreek for this. Yallah Bismillah:

1) 2 tblsp of powdered fenugreek

2)  salt to taste

3) juice of one lemon or lime

4) 1/2 tomato [not over-riped]

5) green chilly pepper [amount will depend on how hot/spicy you like it]

6) 1 clove garlic

 7) 2 tbslp of cilantro

Alright first soak the ground fenugreek in water–about 1 cup. Mix, cover and leave aside for 2 hours. The water will float to the surface and the fenugreek will form a paste at the bottom. Pour out the water–away goes the bitterness of the fenugreek with it. Now take it and freeze it for about 5 minutes– we do not want it to freeze but rather get cold. Take it out and using a whisk briskly [or you can use an electric whisk] and it will become nice and frothy. Add the lemon juice and the salt and whisk some more and it will become even more frothier. Leave aside.

Now  in a blender place the tomato, cilantro, green chilly pepper, and garlic and blend. You can add a little lemon if it is proving hard to blend. Now take this mixture and add gradually to the whisked fenugreek and keep on whisking until it is all incorporated. And there is your frothy fenugreek ready to serve as a condiment or as a dip with bread.


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This is another Adeni dish that is very popular. We usually make Khobz and frothy hulbah with this or eat with white rice. You will need:

1) 2 Salmon fillets

2) 1/4 tsp of fenugreek [whole]

3) 2 tbslp of oil

 4) 2 tomatoes peeled and diced

5) 3 cloves of garlic crushed

6) green chilly pepper [Sarano pepper] slit lengthwise and halved

7) 1/2 tsp of ground cumin

8) 1/2 tsp of ground coriander

9) salt to taste

10) 1 and 1/2 tbslp of tomato paste

11) cilantro for garnish

12) Bisbas Ahmar [red chilly pepper sauce]

Alright let’s start, “Bismillah.”  Place a frying pan under medium high heat and add the oil. Then when it is hot add the fish and the fenugreek seeds. Let cook for 1 minute, then add the garlic, green chilly pepper, red chilly sauce, cumin coriander, salt, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add 1/4 cup water and shake the frying pan so everything is evenly spread out, or gently with a spoon mix [but be careful don’t break the fish]. Leave on medium low heat until the sauce thickens–I sometimes stick it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until the sauce has thickened. Serve with Khobz [South Yemeni bread] and Hulbah or on a bed of rice.

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My husband Khaled cooks for me once a year. The very first time he made this Kabsah [it’s the only thing he really makes besides steak] I was blown away with its deliciousness. It is quick, easy and does not sacrifice taste.  When I am crunched for time, this is what I usually make. I asked him where he learnt this and he told at the Yemeni Bachelor pad he stayed in before we got married. He added, “We made it every day! Different person every day but the same recipe.” What makes it convenient is that you can use any spice mix for this, but Hawayej Shirkah [mixture of ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamon, pepper, and sometimes turmeric] is the one typically used by Yemenis for this one. I am sure before Yemeni brothers migrate from Yemen their mothers, sisters or wives send them with a big bag of this mixed spice.  But you can use any spice mix–Garam Masala or even Biryani mixes work equally well. They usually use one pot that they can start on the stove and then place in the oven.

You will need [serves 4] :

1) 1 chicken or 1 lb of lamb cut into medium pieces. If you are using lamb then boil it until it is well done.

2) 1 cup and a 1/2 of rice half boiled [which means boiled until almost done, but not quite]

3) 1 tsp and a 1/2 of the spice mix of your choice

4) 2 clovers of garlic roughly crushed

5) 1 tomato roughly chopped

6) 1 green chilly pepper roughly chopped

7) 1 tblsp  of cilantro roughly chopped

8) 2 medium potatoes quartered

9) yellow / orange rice coloring

10) medium onion roughly chopped into slices

11) 2-3 tbslp of oil

Alright let’s begin! In the pot, under medium high heat, add the onion slices and let brown a little. Then add the oil and potatoes. When the onion has browned, add the meat, garlic, spice, tomatoes, green chilly, and cilantro. Let cook for 5 minutes and then add 1 cup of water and let cook until the potato is almost done [but not quite]. Layer all the rice on top. Sprinkle a little of the food coloring and about 2 tbslp of water and place in oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s done. Serve hot with your favorite salad.

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You might have come across this dish in Yemeni restaurants. Usually it’s meat [beef, lamb or chicken] with vegetables [popularly with potatoes or carrots]. You can add any vegetables you like. I added green beans and potatoes. Alright Bismillah let’s start. You will need:

1) 2 pounds of lamb cut into 2 bite-size cubes with or without bone

2) 2 medium onions diced

3) 3 tbslp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4) 1 red chili pepper cut down the middle

5) fistful of of green beans

6) 3 medium potatoes halved or quartered [you don’t want them to look bigger than the meat so eyeball how  you should cut them]

7) 3 cloves of garlic finely minced

8) 1 tsp of ground cumin

9) 1 tsp of ground coriander

10) 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon

11) 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper

12) 1/4 of a cube of beef or chicken bouillon

13) tomato peeled and diced

14) salt to taste

15) 2 tblsp of cilantro finely chopped

I used a pressure cooker to cut on cooking time, but you can use a regular pot of course. Add the oil to the cooker/pot and let them saute. Add the garlic and let that cook, but make sure it does not burn. Then add the meat and let it cook for a little. Then add the rest of the ingredients except for the potatoes and let cook for about 5 minutes. Then add the potatoes and cook for 3 minutes, and then add a cup of water and close the pressure cooker, or cover if you are using a regular pot. Cook under medium low heat until meat is tender. Serve hot with bread.


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