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Archive for the ‘Rice’ Category


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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Since Aden is a coastal region, we eat fish pretty much on a daily basis. We also have many rice and fish dishes. This one is called “Sayadiyyah Hindiyyah” which literally means “Indian Fish and Rice” maybe because the locals picked it up from the Indian communities in Aden . It’s one of those dishes , that you have to make a lot of the components separately and then assemble and cook together for the grand finale.

Here are the instructions with pictures to help in the process: 

1) Fry a medium onion,  by first cutting into slices, mixing in one tblsp of flour, and then frying in oil until browned. Take out and let drain of oil on a paper towel.

Check if oil is hot!

2) Quarter a big potato and brown in oil [you do not want it to cook through, you just want it browned on the outside, so make sure the oil is hot enough. Take out and keep aside.

3) 3 pieces of salmon. Each piece was the size of my palm and about 3 fingers thick. If it’s very thin it can break easily. You want fish that will withstand the cooking. We also use King Fish for this dish, but I couldn’t find it fresh.  Marinate the fish in some red chilly pepper sauce [Bisbas Adani], 1/2 tsp of ground coriander, 1/2 tsp of ground cumin, salt to taste, 2 cloves of garlic finely minced. Fry the fish in 3 4 -5 tbslp of oil until browned on the outside. Take out and keep aside.

4) In the meantime,  half boil a cup and a half of rice in salted water. Keep your eye on it, lest the rice cook through. Drain the water from the rice, and leave aside.

half-boiled rice

5) In a pot add 3 tbslp of olive oil and fry a medium thinly sliced onion until golden brown.

Onions browned

6) Add 1 tbslp of red chilly sauce

7) Add 2 cloves of finely minced garlic to the onion.

8 ) Add the spices:

a) 1/4 tsp of tumeric

b) 1 tsp of ground cumin

c) 1 tsp of ground coriander

d) 1/8 tsp of ground cardamon [or a 4 crushed pods]

e) 1/2 ground cinnamon

Add salt to taste and let all of these come together–or as my mother says “enjoy the aroma of the spices coming together’

9) Add one small diced tomato

10) 1 tsp of tomato paste and let the sauce thicken.

11) Now it is time to assemble. In an oven safe dish, first layer is the sauce. Arrange the fish on top of the sauce, then the potatoes and half of the browned onions. Then all of the rice comes on top. To finish it off, sprinkle some orange or yellow food coloring, a quarter of a cup of water, and 2 tbslp of olive oil on top. Cover with foil and place in 350 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes. 

Serve and enjoy!

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