My favorite place to go during Ramadan and have iftar is Al Nafoura. We have been visiting during Ramadan every year since I first moved to Riyadh. I love the decorations they always have, they have great service and the food, ahh the food it’s just amazing. When you come in they offer you coffee from the dullah and then it’s up the stairs where you’re seated in a private room with a fish tank. You can just go around the huge buffet and get all your favorite foods and eat in privacy and then later on they bring tea around.
Birds Tongue soup is another Ramadan favorite in Saudi and this year is the first time I made it. It is pretty much exactly like chicken noodle soup and I am sure you can see from the picture why they call it birds tongue. In the Middle East every soup and stew is served with fresh lemon and bread and I have grown accustomed to it as well. I have been making a new soup every night for us to break our fast with. Of course I scale my recipes down so my fridge is not overloaded. So far so good.
4 cups chicken broth (or 4 cups water and 2 chicken bullion cubes)
2 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless and cut into small cubes
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 cardamom pods
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In an 8-quart saucepan on medium heat, add butter and onion, cook until onion is tender. Add pasta and carrots, mix and allow to cook for 2 minutes.
2. Add chicken, cardamom, bay leaf, cilantro, salt and pepper, mix. Then carefully add broth. Bring to a full boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Yields: 4 servings
For many years, this recipe was on my to do list and a few years I made it, but it was the first time and I made several mistakes. I really wanted to try it again during Ramadan and finally it turned out just the way I wanted it to. Yemenis use a special iron pot called a madra. I do not have a madra so I just used a regular soup pan, but I really want to try to find one. We have a large Yemeni population here so hopefully I can.
This is most popular dish from Yemen and because of that their is not really one way to make it. You can use chicken, lamb, beef or go vegeterian style. Some add potatoes, okra, eggs or tomatoes. It’s really up to you and your taste. I prefer lamb to beef when it comes to meat, but I use beef bullion cubes over the lamb because they do taste a lot better. So when I need a meat broth I always go for the beef even when using lamb meat.
1 pound small cubed lamb
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves
1 large potato, peeled
1 tomatoe, diced
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups beef broth
1 green chili’s, tops removed and slit lengthwise
1 tablespoon hawaij
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon tomatoe paste
3 tablespoons cooked rice
1. In a food processor add onions and garlic, pulse. In an 8-quart pan on medium heat add onion, garlic, chili’s and hawaij. Cook until onions are tender.
2. Add lamb, mix and allow meat to lightly brown. Then add potatoes, tomatoes, broth, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a full boil then reduce to simmer, cover and cook for 1-1/2 hours.
3. When the stew has finished cooked carefully use a fork to mash the potatoes and shred the meat, this process will thicken the stew. In a small cup add the egg and a few tablespoons of the stews broth, mix then add to the stew. Add rice. Raise heat back up and allow mixture to thicken about 5 minutes.
4. Add hulba on top and allow to come to a full boil.
Yields: 3 servings