- 3 cups rice
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon cardamom (ground, not whole pods)
and pepper, to taste
- 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
- ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
Note: To toast pine nuts and almonds, heat a small amount
of olive oil in a skillet. Add nuts and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until nuts are golden in color.
rice into a bowl, cover with cold water, and allow to soak for 15 minutes.
cook onions and garlic in oil over medium heat in a large saucepan.
the rice has been soaking for 15 minutes, add it with tomato paste and raisins to the meat mixture.
- Add seasoning (cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and pepper) and stir to combine. Lower heat and cover.
- Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Check to be sure the mixture isn't too dry.
If there is no more liquid visible, add a little more water (½ cup at a time).
- Continue simmering for about 10 more minutes, until rice is tender.
- Serve dish garnished with the toasted nuts and accompanied by plain yogurt.
The people of Saudi Arabia are very traditional and eat the same foods they have eaten for centuries. The
average meal of the Bedouin nomads who remain in Saudi Arabia is much simpler than that of the urban Saudis who make up the
majority of Saudi Arabia's population today. However, the basic ingredients are the same: fava beans, wheat, rice, yogurt,
dates, and chicken are staple foods for all Saudis. Saudi Arabia has over 18 million date palms that produce 600 million pounds
of dates each year.
Saudis rank as the highest consumers of broiler chickens in the world, eating an
average of 88.2 pounds of chicken per person per year. Saudis are strict Muslims and, following Islamic law, do not eat pork
or drink alcohol. Lamb is traditionally served to honored guests and at holiday feasts. According to Islamic law, animals
must be butchered in a particular way and blessed before they can be eaten, so Saudi Arabia is the world's largest importer
of live sheep.
Camel (or sheep or goat)
milk has long been the staple of the Bedouin diet, and dairy products are still favorites with all Saudis. Yogurt is eaten
alone, used in sauces, and made into a drink called a lassi. Flat breads— fatir, a
flat bread cooked on a curved metal pan over a fire, and kimaje, similar to pita—are the other mainstay
of the nomadic diet that are eaten by all Saudis. These breads are used at every meal, in place of a fork or spoon, to scoop
up other foods.
- 2 Tablespoons
of olive oil
- 1 small to medium onion,
- 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 can (about 2 cups) chicken broth
- 1½ cups water
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 6-ounce can of tomato paste
teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Salt to taste
- 1 small snack box of raisins
- 1 package of skinless, boneless chicken (4 breast halves
- 1 package of skinless, boneless thighs (4 to 6 thighs)
- 1½ cups white Basmati rice
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
chicken thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
- Put chicken in a baking dish and bake in preheated oven until fully cooked (about 30 minutes).
- While the chicken is baking, heat oil (medium-high) in a
large pot. Add chopped onions and 1 teaspoon of cardamom, stirring constantly until browned.
- Add chicken broth and 1½ cups water to pot. Add remaining 2 teaspoons of cardamom,
tomato, tomato paste, garlic powder, lemon rind, cinnamon stick, salt, and raisins to the browned onions and water.
- Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 2–3
minutes. Add the rice.
- Bring to a boil
then immediately turn the heat down to low. Cover the pot tightly and simmer for 15 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, check the rice to see if it has absorbed all of the liquid.
- If the rice is dry but not soft yet, add a little more water
and continue to simmer. Do not stir the rice! The rice is done when all the liquid has been absorbed and
the rice is soft.
- When both the rice
and the chicken are cooked, place the rice on a platter and put the chicken on top in the middle.
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You Don't Want to Know
At a lot of
restaurants, the special is whatever they need to sell before it goes bad. Especially watch out for the soup of the day. If
it contains fish or if it’s some kind of 'gumbo,' it's probably the stuff they're trying to get rid of.
-Kathy Kniss, who waited tables for ten years in Los Angeles