10 Traditional Kuwaiti Dishes You Must Try
By: Safa M. Qureshi/Arab America Contributing Writer
Aside from the oil industry and remarkable architecture, Kuwait is also popular for its traditional foods and recipes. Kuwaiti cuisine is a fusion of Arabian, Persian, Indian, and Mediterranean dishes. Typical food in Kuwait consists of rice-based dishes and soups. Kuwait has two sides: the sea and the desert. With that being said, Kuwaiti cuisine is a reflection of both sides.
The food is prepared using special techniques. These techniques include tabeekh (طبيخ), a style where the entire meal is cooked overheat after being placed in a single container. Another special cooking technique that is used in Kuwait is marag (مرق), in which the key ingredients are first fried before the dish is cooked over low heat.
Now that you have a little bit of information about Kuwaiti cuisine, let’s jump into the best part. Arab America has compiled a list of 10 traditional Kuwaiti dishes you must try.
1. Jireesh/Jareesh (جريش)
This is a classic khaleeji (Gulf Arab) comfort food. It’s a porridge-like mixture, usually made of either wheat or lentils mashed with meat. It’s cooked with onions, tomatoes, and spices (such as bay leaves and cinnamon sticks).
2. Mandi Laham (مندي لحم)
Mandi is a dish consisting of either lamb or chicken with basmati rice and a mixture of spices. Traditionally, to make Mandi the meat should be cooked in a tandoor. It is then closed and no smoke is allowed to go outside. When the meat is tender and juicy, it is served with rice and sides such as salad, yogurt, and/or spicy tomato sauces like dakoos.
3. Murabyan/Murabian (مربيان)
Murabyan is a rice dish loaded with shrimp (shrimp is popular in Kuwait since they are found in the Gulf). The dish is flavored with sauteed onions, turmeric, coriander and dried loomi (a dried black lime).
4. Mutabbaq Samak/Mutabbaq Zubaidi (مطبق سمك)
Mutabbaq Samak (Zubaidi) fried fish that is served on a bed of rice. The most common fish used in the dish is silver pomfret (Zubaidi in Arabic). Zubaidi is the national fish of Kuwait. For this dish, the fish is seasoned (sometimes boiled) and then coated in flour and then fried. The rice is cooked separately, and it is often seasoned with turmeric, onions, garlic, sumac, and parsley. The fish is always served on top of the rice, and the whole dish is usually garnished with fresh herbs, as well as raisins and nuts. Daqoos/Dakoos (الدقوس), which is a tomato, garlic, and cilantro sauce, is served on the side.
5. Machboos/Majboos (مجبوس)
This is considered to be the national dish of Kuwait. Machboos is basmati rice with a variety of spices (such as cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, pepper, and ginger) and mutton or chicken and sometimes vegetables. This is a dish that is slow-cooked. The basmati rice is first cooked with rosewater and saffron. Next the meat is slow-cooked separately. The cooked rice is then layered with the cooked meat. Machboos is served with a tasty red sauce called daqoos. The three common types of daqoos are (1) spicy tomato-based daqoos, (2) sebar (tangy tamarind and garlic-based daqoos), and (3) eggplant daqoos.
6. Tashreeb (تشريب)
Tashreeb is the name given to any dish with broth-soaked bread topped with meat or vegetables. This comes from the Arabic word “tashreeb” which means “to soak.” Tashreeb started out as a dish made by the poor who were able to put whatever they had on hand into the stew. It has become a staple in many Middle Eastern households. The way to eat it is to tear bread, place it on your plate/bowl, and then pour the stew over it. The stew incorporates meat and normally either chickpeas or beans with various different spices. With the weather cooling down, this recipe is perfect for the fall/winter time.
7. Kibda/Chabda (كبدة)
Kibda is a dish made with liver and other organs. It is often eaten as breakfast, often fried with onions, tomatoes, and spices. This is usually served with bread (Iranian khobz or naan).
8. Gaboot (قبوط)
Gaboot is made by preparing stuffing which is flour dumplings. Gaboot is a type of stew consisting of Kuwaiti dumplings stuffed with onions and raisins together with chunks of soft meat.
9. Maglooba/Maglooba (مقلوبة)
Traditionally, Maglooba is a dish from the Levant but is also popular in Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Maglooba includes meat, rice, and fried vegetables placed in a pot, which is then flipped upside down when served. Because of this technique, the dish is called Maglooba. Maglooba in Arabic means “upside-down.”
10. Mumawash Rubyan
This rice dish uses dried or fresh shrimp and mash, a type of split lentil. Mumawash Rubyan is usually eaten with daqoos.
These are just a few of Kuwait’s delicious cuisines. which are perfect for sharing with family and friends. Have you tried any of these dishes? If so, what’s your favorite?
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