Maqbous of Oman

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Confession: I messed this dish up terribly. As you suspected or know of Middle Eastern cuisine, you use a multitude of spices. This was my first experience navigating whole spices, including cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon sticks and black pepper seeds. Here’s a tip: if a recipe gives you whole spices to ground up, do not use the same amount in pre-ground spices. Here is a helpful guide.

My meal ended up overly-spiced. The chicken and rice, both cooked in the overly-spiced broth, were mostly inedibly. Eating it anyway to not waste food, we stomached it for a few meals. The actual cooking of this dish, however, was a delight. The smell of spices brewing in the kitchen made me giddy. It’s love.

I was also introduced to a completely new ingredient: Dried black lemons. It’s moments like these that keep me coming back to the project. Dried black lemons are actually limes and have dried out in the sun, losing all water content. They are easy to add to stews and soups, and add a smoky element to dishes. They are also part of the traditional spice mixture baharat, something undoubtedly to appear in later dishes.

Ingredient List

  • Basmati rice
  • 4 1/2 cups Water
  • Whole chicken with skin
  • 2 onions
  • Black pepper seeds
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Bay leaves
  • Black Lemon
  • Saffron
  • Raisins
  • Chana dal – type of bean, staple of Middle Eastern, Indian culture
  • Garam Masala – spice blend

Quick Quotes

Spencer: “Great smelling spices, would have loved a bit more flavor.”

Teresa: “Invest in whole spices. Try adding raisins and chana dal next time!”

Trivial Trifles

  • The capital of Oman is Muscat
  • There are a little over 3 million people living in Oman
  • The official language is Arabic
  • Oman is an absolute monarchy; Sultan Qaboos is currently in power
  • Temperature can reach 122 degrees Fahrenheit in the hot season (May to September)

 

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