Posts Tagged ‘كبسة’

Abu Dhabi GP – Trying out some Emirati cuisine

November 14, 2011

As a result of the cancellation of the Bahrain GP this was Formula 1’s first visit to the Persian Gulf this year and therefore my first chance to try out the cuisine of the region.  The cuisine is traditionally a fragrant one of rich spices, rice and meat.  I cooked two dishes over two days.  The first (for the Saturday qualifying) was from the modern cuisine of the regions, a Shawarma chicken kebab.  For the race itself I made something a lot more traditional – a chicken Kabsa (كبسة).

So, my Saturday night ‘Quali kebabs’ (my partner works Saturdays so I catch up on quail in the evening).  For these I used:

  • 2 breasts of chicken
  • Lebanese flat breads (or any Arabic bread or pitas)
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Harrisa powder
  • Lemon juice
  • Garlic
  • Yogurt
  • Dried mint
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes

Despite this long list of ingredients this is a really simple dish to make and it took about 10 minutes start to finish.  I began by flattening my chicken breasts, coving them in cling film and hitting them with a rolling pin.  Next I prepared the spices to go on them.  I mixed ½ teaspoon each of cumin and coriander with ¼ teaspoon each of cinnamon and harrisa (I bought my harissa several years ago in Morocco and it’s incredibly strong so you may want to use more!). To this I added 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and another or oil (I used peanut) and smothered the resulting marinade over the chicken.

I then cooked the chicken in a griddle pan for ¾ minutes each side so that the chicken was cooked but still moist.

While the chicken was cooking I quickly whipped up the accompaniments.  Some cherry plum tomatoes were sliced and some lettuce was shredded!  For the sauce I combined half a little tub of yogurt (about 60g) with ½ teaspoon of dried mint and a good squirt of garlic puree (I would guess about 2 cloves worth).  Finally I sliced the cooked chicken into strips about 1cm wide and it was time to assemble the kebabs!

Onto each flatbread went the shredded lettuce and chopped tomatoes.  The chicken went onto and then plenty of garlic sauce finished things nicely.  The amounts I have given made three kebabs, two for the hungry boy and one for me, but you could also make two deep filled kebabs!

I really enjoyed these kebabs, they were quick to make and fine to eat.  The bread I had let things down a little, it was quite dry and sweet, but that’s my own fault for buying the pre-packaged version as the fresh was sold out.  The chicken itself was wonderfully tasty and the garlic sauce was to die for.  I think that it may soon be accompanying many of my meals.

The chicken Kabsa was not so quick to make, but still pretty straight forward.  For two I used:

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • A carrot
  • A tomato
  • An onion
  • A small tin of tomato puree (140g)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Orange peel (Satsuma peel in my case)
  • 8 ounces of long grain rice
  • Flaked almonds
  • Raisins
  • Two cardamom pods
  • Two small cinnamon sticks
  • Two cloves

The cooking started, as so many great dishes do, with the browning of the onions.  To the onions I added the chicken thighs, the chopped flesh of the tomato, two crushed garlic cloves and the tomato puree.  This combination was stirred and left to cook for 5 minutes.

Next into the pot went the carrot, which had been grated, the satsuma rind and the spices along with 375ml of hot water.  The lid went onto the pot at this point and everything was left to simmer for 25 minutes.

Once the chicken was cooked I removed it from the pan and placed it, covered, in a dish in a warm oven to keep it hot.  The rice was then added to the cooking liquor and the lid went back on for another 30 minutes for the rice to cook and absorb all the juices.

When the rice was done it was time to serve.  The chicken thighs were retrieved from the oven and served on top of the rice, then the sliced almonds and raisins were sprinkled on top.

I really enjoyed this dish.  The chicken was wonderfully soft and the rice had loads of flavour.  My partner wasn’t particularly keen on the fruitiness that resulted from the peel, but I loved it (spicy fruity couscous is one of my favourite meals, but he won’t go near it!).  This dish had no spice, but it still had plenty of flavour.  The amounts I’ve given should have served two, but it produced loads of rice!  With a bit more chicken it would go much further and as it is I will be using the spare rice as a lunch this week.

As for the race, Vettel didn’t win for a change.  Unfortunately this wasn’t because he was fairly beaten but because he fell off the track at the second corner with an unexplained right rear puncture which ended his race.  Hamilton was quick to take advantage of this and speed off into the lead, with Alsono in pursuit with both of them barely seen for the rest of the race.  The top end of the field was mainly about strategy, with not much overtaking, the main highlight being Buttons intermittent KERS system .  Further back there were plenty of squabbles as the lower teams fought hard for non points places in an effort to secure their seats for next season.  All in all this wasn’t the most exciting of races, but it wasn’t the worst either, and hard though it may have been on Vettel, it was great to see Lewis back to his winning ways.

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