Chicken Kofta Gulf Style


Your food processor is going to be your best friend when making this recipe because you literally use it to grind everything. The worst possible thing you can do is not use one when making kofta. No one wants big bits of stuff sticking out of one after all. I have previously posted a chicken kofta recipe here on the blog but this recipe is quite different. This is the recipe you will find being made throughout the Gulf countries. When I make these I always serve them with white rice, samboosas and salad.

4 skinless and boneless chicken breast, boiled
1 large potato (or 4 small ones), boiled
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 cup oats
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 small white onion
2 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil

1. In the food processor grind the chicken breast then add into a large mixing bowl. Add the onion, parsley and garlic, pulse in the processor then add into the bowl with the chicken. Next, process the potatoes (skin and all) and add to the chicken mixture.

2. In a large saute pan on medium heat add olive oil.

3. In the bowl add cheese, mayonnaise, oats, salt, pepper and eggs. Mix well. Roll the mixture into golf sized balls and place into the pan (I cooked 2 batches). Cover pan and allow to cook for about 3 minutes until bottom is golden then with tongs carefully flip and allow over side to cook. Place koftas on a paper towel lined dish and serve.

Yields: 25

Cardamom Tea


The first time I tried cardamom tea was seven years ago on the first day of my Arabic lesson at a Yemeni woman’s house whom I had found through the local mosque. This was also the first time that I had tried cardamom and the beginning of my love for the fragrant spice. Green cardamoms are popular throughout the Middle East and are even used as medical aides throughout Saudi Arabia. Cardamom is one of the most expensive spices in the world due to the fact that each individual fruit pod containing the seed spice must be harvested from its flower stalks by hand. I remember in the states it cost $20 for a bottle of cardamom at Wal-Mart (that would be sr75 wow) but thank goodness its much cheaper here.

4 cups water
2 teaspoons loose black tea (or 4 tea bags)
4 green cardamom pods

1. Using a mortar and pestle lightly crush the cardamom pods. Place loose tea in a heat proof tea pot and add water. Add the cardamom and bring water to boil.

2. Remove from heat and allow to steep for at least 5 minutes. Bring mixture to boil again then strain and serve.

Arabic Tea Latte



A latte is a drink that has more milk than the other half (coffee, tea, etc). I thought it would be fun to make a latte out of a popular Arabic tea. Chai karak is a popular drink in the Gulf however not here in Riyadh. I am not sure if some other areas (like the eastern region) drink it or not. Some of my Saudi readers please let us know.

First, I made a strong tea mix since we will be using a lot of milk in the recipe. I used 1/2 cup of boiling water per bag (you can use loose). Make sure you only use black tea and nothing like earl gray. Saudis and well other Arabs make tea with black tea only. Warming the milk helps steep the spices and brings out more flavor and also dissolves the sugar, a must. This drink is so delicious and you may just forget about coffee.

2 black tea bags
1 cup milk
1 cup boiling water
5 green cardamom pods
Pinch saffron strings
Sugar, to taste

1. In a cup add hot water and tea bags. Allow to steep for 5 minutes. Meanwhile on medium heat in a small saucepan add milk, cardamom pods, saffron and sugar. Mix well until sugar is dissolved them remove pan from heat.

2. Divide the tea mixture into two cups. Remove the cardamom pods from the milk mixture then use a blender or frother to make milk froth. You can also put it in a tightly sealed jar and shake like crazy.

3. Divide the spiced froth in half into each of the mugs.

Yields: 2 servings



Sesame seeds are a popular ingredient used throughout the Middle East and in a wide variety of foods from main dishes to desserts. Shaboora (sesame sticks) is a Saudi favorite that is usually served alongside tea or coffee. The store bought ones are always long and skinny but I prefer to always make mine small and fat, the size of a sausage link. You can make up the batter and fry these in about 10 minutes time so they are perfect for last minute needs. They also store really well and you can leave them in the refrigerator for at least six months and the freezer even longer if needed.

You may need to add more or less water to the batch it all depends. You will want to get the dough in the end that you can roll with your hands. Also I have found that it’s best to use a candy thermometer (I use digital) to make sure the oil is the correct temperature.

1 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 tablespoons water (or more)
Sunflower oil for frying

1. In a small sauté pan on medium heat add sesame seeds. Allow to cook for about 2 minutes until golden.

2. In a saucepan on medium heat add about 1-1/2 inches of oil. Allow the candy thermometer to read 345F before frying.

3. In a medium sized mixing bowl add flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and coriander. Add eggs and mix, then add sesame seeds and a water a bit at a time until a dough has formed.

4. Roll into sticks and carefully place into the hot oil. They fry very fast so stay near the pan rotating to get an even color. Allow to drain on a paper towel, cool then serve.

Yields: 16