2 cups yogurt
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Combine yogurt and salt. Pour into a muslin sack, tie up, and suspend over a large bowl. Let drain overnight. The bowl will catch the dripping liquid. In the morning, discard the water. Unwrap the cheese and use as a spread on pita or form into small balls and serve with olive oil and chopped fresh mint or with black olives.

Yields: 1/2 cup

Omani Coffee

4 cups water
1/3 cup freshly ground coffee
4 tablespoons cardamom, ground
4 whole cloves

1. In a 4-quart saucepan bring water to boil, add cardamom and ground coffee. Continue boiling for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the stove and cover the pot. Allow to sit for another 3-4 minutes. Put the whole cloves in the coffee thermos or pitcher. Strain the hot coffee into the coffee thermos or pitcher.

2. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. Avoid shaking the thermos, as some coffee grains and the cloves will settle to the bottom and you do not want to pour these grains into the coffee cups.
Variation: Add 3 tablespoons of rose water or a large pinch of saffron threads to the coffee thermos.

Yields: 8 servings

Gulf Biryani

Biryani is a popular dish of India and an all time favorite all over the world. With the Asia and being so close to India you can not help but see why so many Asian and gulf countries have adapted their on version of biryani. I have yet to meet a biryani that I did not like. Here is my version of a gulf style biryani.

2 large chicken breast, skinless
1/3 cup peas
1 tablespoon ginger, grated
1 tablespoon garlic, diced
2 medium red potatoes, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 green chili peppers, diced
1 large zucchini, diced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon amchur
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup onions, diced
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 mint, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
1 cup basmati rice, cleaned and soaked for 30 minutes
2 cups water

1. Boil potatoes in 4 quart pan on medium for 15 minutes, when done pee and dice. Set aside. In a 10” skillet heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium-high heat. Add onions, carrot, zucchini, ginger, garlic, potatoes and peas. Cook vegetables until golden and then lower heat to low-medium. Set aside.

2. In a 10 inch skillet on low-medium heat add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, cumin seeds, coriander, curry powder, chili powder, garam masala, cinnamon, cardamom, amchur, salt and pepper and green chilies. Saute for 2 minutes then raise heat to medium and add chicken breast, cook covered for 15 minutes on each side. After 30 minutes then reduce heat to low-medium adding vegetable mixture then mix parsley, mint, lemon, tomato paste and yogurt, add. Cook mixture on low for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a 2 quart saucepan add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 cup of basmati rice and 4 whole cloves with 2 cups water (water should be only about a 1/2 inch above the rice). Boil, and then reduce heat to low and cook 10 minutes. 
4. In a 4 quart saute pan add rice and chicken mixture, mix. Simmer on low for 15 minutes covered.

Yields: 4 servings

Mandy Spice Mix

2 tablespoons cardamom pods
2 tablespoons cloves
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon ground kholegan (if this is not available use ginger but reduce to half the amount)
4 bay leaves

1. In a coffee grinder or food processor finely blend all spices together until in powder form.

Yields: 1/3 cup