I doubt most of you have ever heard of sobia it’s a very old fashioned traditional recipe of Saudi. One so old that it’s in fact starting to die with the new generation as time goes on in Riyadh but I have heard the drink thrives on in the Western province. Sobia is a barley drink made in the homes of the older generation during the Holy month every year. Men usually go out after asr and set up a little stand to sell their homemade sobia to the passersby’s to take home and have for iftar. I usually see 4 different colors clear, yellow, red and purple. Some are flavored with raisins, tamarind while others are plain. Sobia is pretty cheap and its sellers do not sell for the money but more so to try to keep a tradition live.

Sobias ingredients include barley, brown bread, cinnamon, sugar and cardamom. The bread and barley is placed in a large pot for 24 hours then the mixture is boiled with the above spices and sits another day. Then the bread is strained and poured and sugar is added into 1-1/2 liter jugs or large plastic bags. This is the recipe I was able to get to share with you all. Personally I am not a fan of sobia I mean it taste like bread and water which is not something I like but those who grew up on it love it.

1 whole wheat pita bread
12 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon oats

1. Cut bread into small pieces. In a large bowl add 6 cups of the water, oats, 3/4 cup of the sugar and bread, soak overnight.

2. Squeeze bread with hands, drain twice with a strainer. Add cardamom, cinnamon and then drain for a third time.

3. Add remaining water and sugar; stir well until sugar has dissolved. Pour into jugs and place into refrigerator.

* I hope you all can see the sobia well enough. My husband snapped this for me on a cloudy day through a dirty window with an Iphone lol.

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Saudi Dates

Saudi Arabia produces more dates than any other country in the world and they are the finest dates at that. The Palm date tree is nothing less than amazing it is the proud symbol on the Saudi flag after all. The Kingdom is home to over 40 varieties of dates. Date Palms produce fruit for over 70 years and offer about 400 pounds of fruit per season. Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said “There is a tree among the trees which is similar to a Muslim (in goodness), and that is the date palm tree.” [Book #65, Hadith #359]

Here is an expat worker unloading fresh dates from his truck by the boxes to sell in front of the mosque next our home. Dates are always popular but especially during Ramadan. People buy boxes and boxes at a time.

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Hummus is
such a delicious treat regardless if you scoop it with fresh warm bread or
crisp vegetables. Luckily it’s also a healthy treat so go ahead and indulge
because this is one snack I personally cannot get enough of. When I have some
extra ground beef or lamb leftover from a recipe I like to toast some pine nuts
and add both on top of a freshly made batch of hummus, its wonderful.

1 (15 ounce) can of chickpeas, drained
4 tablespoons tahini
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of ground cumin
pinch of ground coriander
4 tablespoons olive oil
paprika for topping

1.Place chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, salt, cumin, coriander and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a food processor. Blend until smooth. You can add more water to get a thinner consistency if you would like.

2. Place into a serving platter, cover and place into refrigerator allowing to chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish top with paprika.

Yields: 6 servings 

* You can also add cucumbers, olive oil or pine nuts to the top.

*updated from 12/11/07

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