World Cooking – Qatar

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Qatar
Progress: 105/193

Okay so it hasn’t been too long since I last cooked something from a Middle Eastern nation, however I found myself unable to source appropriate ingredients for another country and Qatar worked as a good back-up. I mean, it’s nice to cross off another one of those smaller nations to make it a smoother ride to the finish line eventually.

A fair bit of what have said for other nations in this area still stands. Qatar is a very small nation on the coast of the Arabian peninsula whose only land border is with the far larger Saudi Arabia – which acts as the main influence on their cuisine. It very much comes under the umbrella of Arab cuisine, even though it is a short boat away from Iran and any possible Persian influence on food.

Like with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which I am yet to find recipes for, there is a specific list of dishes that Qatar has among their recognised foods and so am having to carefully parcel them out. I really hope I don’t regret doing this dish too early, but in the end I needed a win this week.

Main: Machboos

Now, when I crossed off Kuwait, machboos is a dish I explicitly mentioned that I would not be cooking as I felt it would be better suited for Saudi Arabia. Well, here we are with me cooking it for Qatar as it is their national dish and I am sure I’ll be able to find something else to cook for Saudi Arabia when the time comes for me to cross it off.

The name machboos pretty much means ‘spiced rice’, so I think that my end product ticks that box pretty well. I mean, other than the sprinkling of parsley on top, I think that my own bowl doesn’t look to different to the one on Food52 whose recipe I used. Having a husband who doesn’t like chicken or meat on the bone made this interesting to dish up, but for me I just gnawed away on the tasty meat as it was in the picture.

One thing that I wish I had with this meal was some sort of acid or moisture to go with the rice. I was thinking some sort of yogurt sauce would have worked really well, or at least a squeeze of lemon so that the rice wouldn’t have felt as dry as it did. The earthiness of the spice mix probably did not help here. I mean, as a meal it was fine but I was hoping for a bit more than what I got.

It’s back to Africa with the next food country and I think I might have some really nice recipes to make – including a dessert, which is a rarity when it comes to my dives into African cooking. It’s one of those countries that I’ve been saving up for a while, but I think that I have done so many of the more difficult ones recently that I am due to go for something that requires a lot less research.

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