Bahraini cuisine is a unique blend of Arabic, Indian, and Persian influences, reflecting the country’s strategic location in the Persian Gulf. The cuisine is characterized by its use of aromatic spices, fresh herbs, and bold flavours. Popular ingredients in Bahraini cuisine include rice, lamb, chicken, fish, dates, and a variety of vegetables and herbs.
One of the most iconic dishes in Bahrain is machboos, which is a rice-based dish that is often made with a variety of meats, such as chicken or lamb, as well as a range of vegetables and spices. Other classic Bahraini dishes include stuffed vegetables, such as vine leaves and bell peppers, as well as grilled meats and seafood.
In addition to traditional Bahraini cuisine, the country also features a range of international restaurants, serving everything from Italian pasta to Japanese sushi. The country is also known for its street food, with vendors selling everything from kebabs and shawarmas to falafel and hummus.
One classic Bahraini dish that is beloved by locals and visitors alike is muhammar, which is a sweet and spicy rice dish that is often served during special occasions and holidays. Here’s a recipe for muhammar:
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound chicken or lamb, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon baharat spice blend (a mix of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped dates
- 1/2 cup chopped raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup rose water
- Rinse the rice in cold water until the water runs clear. Drain the rice and set aside.
- In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until softened.
- Add the chicken or lamb to the pot and cook for 5-7 minutes or until browned on all sides.
- Add the baharat spice blend, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, and black pepper to the pot. Stir well.
- Add the chopped dates, raisins, almonds, and pistachios to the pot and stir well.
- Add the rice to the pot and stir well to coat with the spice mixture.
- Add enough water to the pot to cover the rice by about 1 inch.
- Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid.
- Cook the rice for 20-25 minutes or until tender and fluffy.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and rose water until the sugar has dissolved.
- Pour the sugar mixture over the cooked rice and stir well.
- Serve the muhammar hot, garnished with additional chopped nuts and dates, if desired.
Enjoy this delicious and festive Bahraini dish, perfect for a special occasion or holiday!