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You Have To Try These 22 Most Popular Dishes From Every Arab Country

posted on: Sep 23, 2020

By: Yasmina Hage/ Arab America Contributing Writer             

All Arab countries have dishes in common, but they vary from one place to the other depending on the regional spices used. Typically there is one major dish that stands out, and many of the countries will share the same favorite. For Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, couscous unites them in their culinary tastebuds. For the Levant countries, it is Kebbeh, and for the other Arab countries of the Middle East, it could be something as delicious as Mochboos!

In the difficult task (I enjoyed every moment of this assignment) of finding the best of the best, I volunteered myself to sample as many different dishes as I could, all in the name of presenting to you the 22 most popular dishes from every Arab country. Sahtain!

Algeria: Algerian Couscous

Algerian Coucous, Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This dish is composed of small pellets of steamed semolina topped with meat, vegetables, and various spices. Couscous offers considerable freedom in its selection of ingredients. However, in Algeria, the most popular meat and vegetable accompaniments for couscous are chicken, carrots, and chickpeas.

Bahrain: Machboos

One of the most famous Bahraini dishes is Machboos, which is made up of meat or fish served with rice. Bahrainis often think of it as their national dish, and this dish is eaten at almost any and every occasion. 

Comoros: Langouste a la Vanille

Langouste a la Vanille is a famous dish that is prepared in the Comoros Islands. It’s made with fresh South African lobsters that are caught regularly in the Comorian waters and newly harvested vanilla beans, which is a major agricultural crop there. The dish has its origins in French cuisine.

Djibouti: Skoudehkharis

Skoudehkaris is a rice dish seasoned with cardamom and cooked with lamb, although chicken, beef, or fish can sometimes substitute lamb. This thick, spicy stew is enriched with cumin, cloves, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and tomatoes.

Egypt: Kushari

This dish is considered the national dish in Egypt. Kushari is made with rice, macaroni, and lentils mixed, topped with a spiced tomato sauce and garlic vinegar, and garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions.

Iraq: Kebab

Many variants of Kebabs are popular around the world. The Arabic word kabāb means roasted meat. Kebab is meat and vegetables on a skewer that gets grilled on an open fire. Shish Kebab can be chicken, fish, lamb, beef. It can also be grilled vegetables, green peppers, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms.

Jordan: Mansaf

Mansaf is Jordan’s traditional and most common dish. It’s a traditional lamb-based dish cooked in a fermented, dried yogurt sauce and served with rice or bulgur. The name of the dish comes from the term “grand platter.” 

Kuwait: Mutabbaq Samak

Muttabaq Samak is a delicacy where fish is served over rice cooked in a spicy fish stock. In Kuwait, Muttabaq Samak is served with Zubaidi fish (i.e., pomfret), known as Kuwait’s national fish.

Lebanon: Kebbeh

Kibbeh, Lebanon’s national dish, it’s a mixture of soaked bulgur wheat and other ingredients, typically lamb meat. Kibbeh can be raw, baked, fried, stuffed, or prepared in a vegetarian version, that is to say, stuffed with potatoes, pumpkins, and tomatoes. It’ s sometimes eaten with Laban (Yoghurt)

Libya: Bazin

Bazin is a famous Libyan unleavened bread made by boiling barley flour and salt in water and beating it with a stick called Magraf until it develops into a dough, which is then baked or steamed.

Mauritania: Thieboudienne

Thieboudienne is considered the national dish of Mauritania. It’s prepared with fish, rice, and white or red tomato sauce cooked in one pot.

Morocco: Tajine 

Moroccan cuisine is typically a mix of Berber, Arab, Andalusi, and Mediterranean cuisines, with slight European and sub-Saharan influences. In Moroccan cuisine, tajines are slow-cooking stews braised at low temperatures with aromatic vegetables and sauce. They are traditionally cooked in the tagine pot.

Oman: Mashuai

Mashuai is a traditional Omani fish specialty made by spit-roasting a whole fish that has been rubbed with oil and spices. It consists of grilled kingfish with a special savory lemon sauce. 

Palestine: Musakhan

Musakhan is often considered the national dish of Palestine, and it’s composed of roasted chicken baked with onions, sumac, allspice, saffron, and fried pine nuts served over taboon bread. 

Qatar: Balaleet

Its is sweet pasta made in a way where it can be eaten both cold or hot. Balaleet is an Indian-influenced dish that includes fried vermicelli topped with a saffron omelet. In Qatar, they eat it not only for breakfast but also for dessert.

Saudi Arabia: Kabsa

Kabsa is a mixed rice dish that originates from Saudi Arabia. It’s made with rice, meat or chicken, vegetables, and a mixture of spices.

Somalia: Baasto

The Italians introduced pasta to Somalia in the 1880s when they colonized the country. This dish is so popular with Somalis that you will find it served in households all over the country. However, Somalis have really changed their pasta! Somalis often add spices to the pasta sauce, and it is common to find ingredients such as coriander and cumin included.

Sudan: Kisra

Kisra is the staple food of Sudan and the second staple food of South Sudan. It is a thin leavened bread made from fermented sorghum flour and small amounts of wheat flour.

Syria: Muhammara

Muhammara is a creamy Aleppo pepper dip. The main ingredients are usually fresh or dried bell peppers, chopped nuts, bread crumbs, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. It can also contain pomegranate molasses and sometimes spices such as cumin. 

Tunisia: Brik

It is a pastry called Malsouka, which is fried and stuffed with eggs, parsley, and tuna. It is served with lemon and the technique for eating it is to take a few bites until you are about to reach the egg, and when you are there, you have to swallow it, so you don’t spill the liquid from the egg.

UAE: Shawarma

Shawarma is a kind of Middle Eastern sandwich. It’s made from slow-roasted and spiced meat. Usually, people put chicken or lamb with it, and it can be served with vegetables, fries, tomatoes, pickles, and garlic sauce.

Yemen: Mandi

Mandi is the national dish in Yemen. It consists of lamb or chicken meat, fragrant basmati rice, and a mixture of various spices. It is served with rice and accompaniments such as salads, yogurt, and spicy tomato chutneys. Mandi is often served for special events, such as feasts and weddings, and is Beloved in Yemen and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula. 



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