The Republic of Yemen is a country located in the Arabian Peninsula. In the past, before the war broke out in this country, the Republic of Yemen was a fairly large and beautiful country. This country has a rich cultural and culinary heritage. Yemeni food bears similarities to other countries in the Arab world, but there is always a Yemeni touch.
Yemeni food is as varied as the beauty of the country. Popular dishes such as maraq include delicious lamb stew, matfaiya, which is a delicious piece of kingfish, and saltah, a warm soup that is often eaten at lunch. For those of you who are curious about the cuisine from the country of Yemen, check out the following review!
- Bint al Sahn
Bint al Sahn is a typical Yemeni food in the form of a sweet dish. Although the dish itself is very simple the taste and texture are amazing. However, it takes patience to prepare this dish and get a layer of bread with the perfect consistency.
Bint al Sahn is a bread consisting of several layers and the top is doused with honey and sprinkled with black cumin seeds. Honey and black cumin seeds in the Islamic tradition when combined become a “cure for all diseases.”
The best bite of this dish is when the bread is completely submerged in honey. And if the bread lacks honey, you can pour more honey on top. Black cumin seeds are very good for sweetness so they balance the taste of bread and honey.
Yemen’s national dish is called saltah. This is a warm soup that is generally eaten for lunch. Saltah can be prepared with meat or not. The main ingredients used in saltah are hilbeh, zhug, fenugreek, and a seasoning consisting of cumin, chili, garlic oil, and coriander.
Brown stew plus hilbeh and zhug. If using meat, the contents of this stew are often lamb or chicken. Rice, potatoes, tomatoes, vegetables, and scrambled eggs are common saltah accompaniments.
Often saltah is served hot in a metal or stone bowl and eaten with Yemeni flatbread. The bread can serve as a tool for scooping food.
- Take a shower
The name of this Yemeni food is also in Indonesian but has a different meaning. Mandi is a filling and delicious dish consisting of rice, meat, and spices. The name “Mandi” comes from the Arabic word meaning “dew,”. This refers to the dewy texture of the meat.
The meat is first boiled with spices. The water used to boil the meat is later used to cook the rice so that the rice has a meaty taste and spices. The final stage is roasting the meat over charcoal until it’s crispy. The process of cooking this diverse mixture gives the bath a great taste.
Although originally from southern Yemen, namely in the Hadramaut area, bathing is already popular throughout the Arab world. So this Yemeni food can be found in various other Arab countries such as the United Arab Emirates.
Zhoug is a traditional Middle Eastern sauce and condiment that is believed to have originated in Yemen but is also very popular in Israel. Usually, the sauce is made from green or red chilies, coriander, garlic, cumin, salt, cardamom, and various spices.
There are many versions of this sauce, so people often add other ingredients to it, such as lemon juice or mint. The important thing for zhoug is that this sauce should always be hot or spicy. Once prepared, Zhoug is often used as an accompaniment to grilled meats, such as a topping or sauce for vegetables, and is sometimes used as a dip in sandwiches.
One of Yemen’s favorite dishes is an authentic local dish. This makes shafoot different from other middle eastern foods which are usually influenced by neighboring countries such as the Levant, Northeast Africa, Iraq, and the Arabian peninsula.
Shafoot is made from yogurt and has an amazing savory and sour taste. The yogurt in this dish is the medium that holds all the other ingredients together.
The basis of this dish is sourdough bread soaked in yogurt. However, if this type of bread is not available, it can be replaced by using plain white bread. In the end, this Yemeni dish is topped with a variety of vegetables and sometimes minced meat.
Maraq is a soft and aromatic Yemeni chicken or lamb broth soup. This dish is traditionally served at the start of a meal. Each family and restaurant has its maraq broth, so it may be stewed with garlic, onion, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, or pepper depending on personal preference.
This broth can also be used as a base for a variety of other dishes, such as Salta. Salta is a stew that is also a Yemeni specialty. Maraq is also a natural remedy for those who are sick and is often served to women who have just given birth to strengthen them. To add flavor, generally, soup is served with a fresh lemon wedge that must be squeezed.
Madfoon is one of the many Arabic specialties made from a combination of meat and rice. What sets this dish apart is the cooking technique. The way marinated meat is cooked in a hole made on the dug sand. Then the food was put in and put charcoal on the sand.
Slowly the smoke and heat make the meat cooked, but still fresh and tender by giving it a slightly smokey taste and aroma. It is believed that this cooking method is inherited from the nomadic period when traditional ovens did not exist and cooking meat underground was the best way.
This method takes advantage of nature and keeps the meat protected from hungry predators. Today, the madfoon technique, which is usually associated with the Yemeni city of Al Hudaydah, has been slightly modernized, but still produces the same authentic dishes.
This modernized dish is made of chicken and lamb with the meat remaining on the bone and then seasoned with coriander, cumin, cloves, turmeric, and pepper. After a few hours of cooking, the meat will be tender and moist and have a spicy taste.
The meat is served over turmeric rice and is usually accompanied by yogurt and hot chili sauce. Madfoon can only be found in specialty restaurants throughout the Arabian Peninsula because it takes a lot of time to prepare and cook it.
This delicious dish is called matfaiya. This Yemeni dish is made from pieces of kingfish and mixed with a thick and rich tomato sauce, spices, and vegetables. Other ingredients added are chicken stock, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, tomatoes, onions, vegetables, and water.
The fish is fried on both sides in a large saucepan until it is brown and crispy. Then prepare the tomato sauce in a large bowl. After that, before serving, pour the tomato sauce over the fish.
This popular Yemeni street food is served in clay pots called madras. Fahsa is a soup made from sliced lamb and is quite spicy. This Yemeni food should always be served hot.
To prepare the fahsa, you will need ingredients including canola oil, cumin, chopped shallots, coriander, cubed lamb chops, hulba paste, pepper, minced garlic, salt, turmeric, and water.
Meanwhile, to make hulba paste, the ingredients needed are garlic, lemon juice, green chilies, tomato puree, salt, and water. Fahsa, which is a variation of saltah, is cooked over a much higher heat until the lamb comes off the bone, simmering in a garlic and onion soup.
The cooking process ends by adding fenugreek paste mixed with tomatoes which are cooked separately on top of the dinner menu.
Aseda or acid is a moist dough made from wheat flour, yogurt, water, salt, and sunflower oil. Then it is topped with rich chicken stock. This broth consists of cooked chicken, onions, garlic, pepper, cardamom, cumin, coriander, water, and salt.
The wheat dough and broth are served hot and generally, this dish is eaten without the use of any utensils. Aseeda is eaten using only one finger from a bowl and eaten communally. When preparing this Yemeni dish, care must be taken and stir constantly so that there are no lumps.
In the 13th century, one of the earliest recipes for this unique dish was discovered. Now, aseeda is eaten for breakfast, and dinner as well as during traditional celebratory ceremonies such as aqiqah.
That’s the typical food of Yemen, this conflicted country. The food is similar to food from other Arab regions. That’s because this country is located in the Arabian peninsula. Then it is very possible to find Yemeni food in its neighboring countries.
However, Yemeni food has its characteristics. Well, if you are interested in Yemeni food, you can try one of the foods above.