Arabic Food: Exotic, Mysterious And Bursting With Flavor
Arabic food is essentially a combination of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Indian cuisines, further influenced by the mingling of Arabs and non-Arabs through the years. Turkish cuisine as well as Spanish, Greek, French and Italian cuisines all played a role in developing that wonderful fusion that we know today as Arabic cuisine.
For a cuisine that is so varied and versatile, Arabic food can best be described as exotic, mysterious and bursting with flavor! Most of the recipes are centuries old and feature a distinct lack of bland dishes. With dishes like shawarma, falafel, fattah, kebabs, mezza, baklava… when you indulge in Arabic food, every bite of every dish explodes in your mouth with a delightful cacophony of tastes and flavor that will leave you wanting for more.
Culture is the Cornerstone of Arabic Food
What is most intriguing about Arabic food is that it is steeped in culture and tradition. Food is never just served on the table so guests can serve themselves and eat. That would be considered dishonorable.
Arabic cuisine is based on hospitality and inviting a guest to share a meal is not just a social obligation. It is a time-honored Arabic tradition and an expression of hospitality. An invitation to sit at the table when dinner is set is expressed by the word ‘tafathalo’, which literally translated means ‘do me the honor’.
At formal dinners and grand celebrations, you can expect to see large, seriously large quantities of lamb, which is a must at every celebratory dinner, chicken, stewed vegetables with tomato sauce, flavored or spiced rice or couscous and a variety of dishes marinated in all combinations of herbs and spices. Fava beans, feta cheese, olive oil, rose water, olives and dates are just some of the many ingredients that are used in Arabic cooking that are rarely if ever seen in western dishes.
Most commonly used spices and herbs in Arabic cuisine include garlic, ginger, cinnamon, mind, saffron, onion, yoghurt, thyme, parsley, oregano, sesame seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, cardamom and fennel seeds among others.
No festive meal is considered complete without the obligatory drink of tea or Arabic coffee, which are served throughout the evening or all through the day.
Baklava is the most famous dessert of this cuisine. Other desserts that come from the different regions include klaichah, Halawet al Jibinand and Maamuniya. Each one of these has their own distinct flavors and taste but all are undeniably rich, moist and deliciously decadent.
If you haven’t tried Arabic food yet, it’s time to start. Till you do, you won’t know what you’ve been missing!