Arabic Inspired Dishes

Mr E and I decided to stay home today so we can welcome whoever in the north east area. Just call and drop by ok. icook. 

Since yesterday was ibu’s birthday, I decided to cook something special today.

They Eat . They Sleep . They Go Home. Tsk

This bunch 👍🏻. We did not manage to take photo with Dean as he had to rush off. We were busy talking (being a grown up we talked about life, relationships and stuff like that 😜) to Dilz & Ronnie and forget to take photo.

No. We cannot gather half a day as there’s a lot of updates and sharing and I missed them so much!!!!! So Redang? I wanna go Redang they want to go San Fran 😕. 

For the hawaij mix I prepare it way before hand and marinade the chicken on Saturday.  The hawaij mix really smell so good when the ingredients are toasted before blending. It perfumed the whole kitchen.

This is my first attempt to cook these dishes expect the Sabsuka. I’ve prepared Sabsuka a couple of times before. 

Alhamdulillah all the dishes turned out ok.


  • Chicken, either 1 whole or split into halves is best
  • 1 tsp. hawaij spice mix
  • 1/8 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter for the chicken marinade
  • a pinch of saffron threads soaked in 1-2 tbsp. water
  • 4 cups of rice (I like a lot of rice, but you can half it to 2 cups if you like)
  • water for rice (approx. 5-7 cups, I used 6) you need less water than usual
  • salt to taste ( i used 3 tsp. in the rice)
  • 2-5 green chilis (to taste)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • cardamom pods
  • whole cloves
  • whole peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp. oil for the rice
  • cinnamon stick
  • food coloring (optional)
  • a piece of natural coal
  • bay leaves

1. The night before (or several hours) place the saffron threads in a couple tablespoon or so of warm water. Let this sit until the water turns deep orange.

2. Mix together the hawaij spice mix, turmeric and melted butter. Spread this generously over the chicken, cover and marinate for a couple of hours.

3. In a large pot, sautee the onions in oil over medium heat until soft. Turn off the heat and add the rice, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, chilis, salt, and water.

4. Place a wire rack over the pot of rice and then place the chicken on top of the wire rack, making sure that the pot is larger in diameter than the chicken. Place both in the oven at 425 F. 218C for 15mins

5. Start off cooking the chicken/rice for 15-20 minutes so that the outside of the chicken starts the browning process. Then lower heat to 325f (165C) 45mins to cook it through nice and slowly which will give the chicken a nice texture and fall off the bone. Cook it until the juices run clear or internal chicken temp is 165 F. I recommend using a thermometer especially if this is your first time cooking a chicken. Mine whole chicken took about 1 hr. 45 min.

6. Remove the rice and chicken and let sit for a few minutes before cutting the chicken. Fluff the rice. Now is also the time to add the saffron and/or food coloring to the rice.

7. Cut the chicken and place it in the rice pot. Place a small ramekin in the middle with vegetable oil inside. Then add the red hot coal inside the oil and cover the pot with a lid. It should smoke, giving the rice a smoky flavor.

Arabic Salad

  • 4 small English seedless cucumbers
  • 4 medium tomatoes
  • 1⁄2cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 small finely diced onion (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 medium lemon, juice of
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)
  1. Dice cucumber and tomatoes.
  2. Place in bowl.
  3. Add parsley and onion.
  4. Just before serving, add the salt, lemon and olive oil and combine all ingredients.
  5. Serve in small bowls to accompany rice dishes.


  • 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas (reserve the liquid and a few chickpeas for decoration)
  • 4 tsp tahini
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp crushed sea salt
  • 6 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling)
  • 3½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Paprika (optional)
  • Coriander or parsley leaves (optional)
  1. Rinse the chickpeas in cold water and tip into the food processor. Add the tahini, crushed garlic, salt, lemon juice and seven tablespoons of the reserved liquid from the cans. Turn on the food processor and slowly pour in the oil while it runs.
  2. When the mixture is fully combined and smooth, tip it into a serving dish. Drizzle with some more extra virgin olive oil and decorate with a few whole chickpeas. Sprinkle with paprika and finely chopped coriander or parsley leaves, for colour.


  • 1/2 kg minced beef/minced mutton
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 diced onions
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 bowl blended chili
  • 2 tbsp fennel seed powder
  • 1/2 bowl tomato sauce
  • 1 bowl tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp chili sauce 
  • 2 diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Blackpepper
  • Chopped corriander leaves and fried shallots
  1. Mix minced meet with ginger, garlic and blackpepper and put aside.
  2. Fry the blended chili for 10-15mins then add in cinnamon stick and the minced meat earlier. Until the meat is cooked.
  3. Add in diced onion, tomato puree, tomato sauce, chili sauce, fennel seed powder and water.
  4. Once it cooks through and dried up a little, add in the ghee. Lastly sprinkle some fried shallots and chopped corriander leaves.
  5. Serve it with sunny side up and a few pieces of bread.

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