Friday, June 13, 2014

Machboos from Qatar

Machboos is like a Middle Eastern version of paella.  This popular dish can be made with meat, poultry or seafood.  It is the paste that gives it its unique flavour.  I guess you can make it vegetarian by substituting the meat with vegetables.  I first had machboos at the Qatari stand at an international food festival and was hooked.  This recipe is quite simple.  Don't let the many ingredients make you believe it's complicated.
The Paste
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground bay leaves
1 tablespoon paprika
4 cardamom pods
4 whole cloves
6 peppercorns
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
The Dish
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion finely sliced
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 can whole peeled tomatoes
1 stock cube
500g beef/lamb/chicken cut into cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
pinch of saffron
drizzle of yoghurt
To make the paste, put all the ingredients for the paste in a small bowl and grind together.  Next put the oil in a pot or wok and add the onion and garlic.  Saute until soft.  Add the spice paste and mix it in well with the onions and garlic.  Add the meat and brown for about 4 minutes.  Empty in the can of whole peeled tomatoes and add the stock cube.  Add the water.  Let it simmer until the meat is cooked.  Add the rice and stir it in well.  Add the pinch of saffron.  Let it continue to simmer until the rice is cooked.  If you taste and the rice isn't quite cooked, then add a little more water if the water has cooked off.  Make sure that the rice doesn't become overcooked and soggy.  It should have the consistency of the rice in a paella.
Serve in bowls with a drizzle of yoghurt and a salad.
Cindy Vine is a South African currently living and working in Kyiv in Ukraine. She is the author of Hush Baby, Defective, C U @ 8, Not Telling and The Case of Billy B. All her books are available on Amazon in both print and Kindle format.

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