I am always asking my mother in law for old traditional recipes so that I can make at home and share here on Ya Salam Cooking with you all. As she was going through everything I had them all and she jokingly laughed and told me that I know more Saudi recipes then she does. She then remembered Daghabees and I was intrigued with the recipe and story about it. Daghabees is a traditional recipe from Southern Saudi. The recipes in the Southern region are nothing like the recipes here in central Saudi where you have dishes full or meat and rice. They actually do not eat a lot of rice in the south and the dishes are much more basic.

Dagabees is a three part meal and is served the same way. A bowl is filled with the broth then on another plate you have the dough (kind of like dumplings to use in the West) and on a another plate is the meat. The three are then set in the middle and everyone just kind of digs in. Many homes also make the dish without the meat and use black lentils in its place since not everyone was able to afford meat. I am personally not a big fan of black lentils since they stay kind of crisp and not soft like red lentils.

My mother in law told me that when she was a little girl she would have to stay up late making tons of the dough rounds for this dish for her large family and that her mom would tell her that if she did not get it all taken care of she would not be allowed to go to school the next day. Could you even imagine telling that to a kid today? They sure are spoiled!

Traditionally lamb pieces with the bones still on (for flavor) are used for this dish but I am aware that lamb is not easily available to all of you so replace it with beef. You can also just use brown flour instead of Dubai brown (which my mother in law insisted was the best for this recipe). She also uses only chicken bullion cubes even in meat dishes because she says the meat cubes do not taste good so I just go with her on that one with my dishes as well because her food is amazing and she knows what she is doing. I also chopped my tomatoes, garlic and onion in my food processor because I hate big chunks of stuff in my food plus it really brings the flavor out.

Lamb pieces with bones (I used 8 big pieces)
1 large white onion, diced
7 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
6 green cardamom pods, bruised
2 tomatoes, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
2-1/2 chicken bullion cubes (Maggi)
3 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups brown flour (Dubai brown)

1. In a stock pot add oil, cumin, cinnamon, salt, pepper and cardamoms. All lamb and brown on all sides then add tomatoes, saute and cover water. Add lid half way propped open on top and allow to cook for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, make dough. In a a large mixing bowl add flour and a little bit of water until a dough consistency has formed. Make fluffy rounds the size of a tea saucer. When stock has cooked carefully drop dough rounds into the pan. Cover and allow to cook for 15 minutes carefully flipping dough every 5 minutes. Then remove from heat.

3. To serve add broth in one bowl, dough on one plate and meat on another plate.

Yields: 3-4 servings

2 Responses to Daghabees

  • I asked my grandmother about this and she told me all about it and wow I can not believe I never heard of it but I want to try and thank you for these stories.

    • I did not think I would really care for this recipe but it is a keeper for sure. My husband and I ate the entire thing and just loved it.

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