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Author Archives: Menal Elmaliki

Tulip: The Ottoman Obsession

The Tulip design takes center stage in Islamic design and architecture, trip to Turkey will show you elaborate and archaic designs of tulips on every facet of their world, appearing on ceramic dishes, tea cups, plates, tiles, embroidery, carpets, and of course on old and historical buildings, monuments, and mosques. Which begs the question, why is this floral design so popular in Islamic architecture and design. Arab America contributing writer, Menal Elmaliki, explores the geometric shapes and patterns have always been a part of Islamic art and architecture since Islam forbade the drawings of human, from it blossomed a theatrical feat of creativity.

The Stolen Design: The Notre Dame

Arab America contributing writer, Menal Elmaliki talks about France’s most famous architectural masterpiece. It is one of Europe’s finest gothic cathedrals and was first built in 1163 and was finished in 1345. Menal dives deep into the theme of gothicism and the Arab influence of its design and Arab roots. Parts of the building, the twin towers and the rose window were copied from the architectural design of a Syrian church in Qalb Loze. Some historians trace the design to the Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo.

A Street Named Ibrahim Al-Hamdi

On June 26th, Little Yemen hosted its annual Yemeni Day parade. Now in its 3rd year, the parade celebrates Yemeni heritage and culture, and it brings to light the positive aspects of Yemen and Yemenis despite negative media coverage. It is also a celebration of American Yemeni identity. During the protest, Yahay Obeid, a prominent Yemeni American leader and chairman of the Yemeni America Day Parade, hosted the street co-naming ceremony of Ibrahim al-Hamdi. This new street pays homage to the 1970s Yemeni President and is a symbol of hope for Yemenis who see their home country at the point of no return.

Adeni Chai Recipe: A Yemeni Classic

Aden is located on the south of Yemen; it is a major port known for its natural harbor, trade routes as well as its tea. Adeni Tea or Adeni chai is a staple in Yemeni cuisine and is made for breakfast or after dinner for guests and is served with Yemeni desserts. Spice up your plain black tea with this simple recipe. Arab America contributing writer, Menal Elmaliki, shares a secret family recipe that has been passed down generations. Adeni chai is fragrant and delicious, it is made with just a few base ingredients, black loose tea, evaporated milk, cardamon, cloves, sugar, and cinnamon.

How to make Bint al-Sahn: A Romantic Yemeni Dish

Contributing Arab America writer and editor, Menal Elmaliki shows us how to make this popular Yemeni dish/ dessert. This romanticized dessert is called “Bint al-Sahn,” بنت الصحن, translated to ‘daughter of the plate,’ and is symbolic of Yemeni women. It is described as a layered bread dish or honey cake. It is a Yemeni sweet prepared with flour, eggs, yeast, samn (clarified butter), and habbat sowda or black cumin/ nigella seeds. It is the Yemeni version of a croissant, as each layer is covered with butter, and its outcome is a rich and flaky dessert. It is best eaten warm, with honey and served with tea.

Yassin Ghaleb: The Yemeni Artist Who Turned Rubbish into Art

Yassin Ghaleb is a Yemeni artist and an architect of extraordinary talent. His art is somewhat of a balance between surrealism and minimalism. His house located in Sanaa’ Yemen serves as a museum showcasing the artwork of him and his family.  Increased poverty and a lack of a central government have plagued Yemen with rubbish. Arab America contributing writer, Menal Maliki, says despite the raging civil war, he finds means of escapism through his art. 

How to Make Yemeni Ful–Mudammas

Ful is a traditional middle eastern food, its origin dating back centuries. In Yemen, ful is eaten for breakfast, or dinner, and is eaten with rooti–small loaf breads, gamati, or malawah–layered bread. Arab America contributing writer, Menal Elmaliki, explains how this Yemeni breakfast is often cooked in clay and stone pots, and is spicy. It is sometimes called a spicy bean stew, soup, or chili. It’s a common dish in Yemen because it is very affordable to make while also being nutritious. Here is a quick and easy recipe for making this nutritious dish.

House Architecture of the Middle East: The Traditional Syrian Courtyard

Arab America contributing writer, Menal Elmaliki, explores one of Syria’s famous architecture and design, the courtyard house. In the old city of Damascus, a city of rich history and beautiful and unique architecture, lies centuries old traditional houses that date back three millennia ago. Despite the grand allure of a courtyard house, it has become a rarity in modern/contemporary Syrian architecture. What was once an essential part of Syrian culture is now slowly disappearing.

Trader Joe’s and the Dirty Word: Arab

By: Menal Elmaliki / Arab America Contributing Writer In post 9/11 America, the word Arab carries a negative connotation. Over the course of two decades, the representation of Arabs has been and continues to be abhorrent. The public has been bombarded with images of war throughout the Middle East. The constant association of Arabs with … Continued

The History of the Bidet

By: Menal Elmaliki/ Arab America Contributing Writer The bidet is often described as a mythical, ethereal bowl that is half toilet half tub. From the usage of just water, to the pony, to the modern day bidet, the concept of hygiene and cleanliness has evolved over time. The bidet is a modern tool that is … Continued

A Pleasant Peasant’s Dish: Asida

By: Menal Elmaliki / Arab America Contributing Writer Asida or Aseeda comes from the Arabic root, عصد (asad), which means to ‘twist it’. Aseed is made by kneading the dough in a pot over high heat. It requires extra arm strength and muscle to be able to twist the Asida into the perfect consistency and shape. When making … Continued

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