How to make harissa (spicy North African red chili paste)

Photo Jul 05, 21 42 02Harissa – a red chili paste made of peppers, oil and spices like caraway – is one of the most popular condiments across North Africa. In Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, harissa is served as a dip alongside just about everything, from fish to cous cous to French bread.

For more on this amazing Maghrebian wonder sauce, see here.

Although it’s possible to find homemade (and squeeze-tubed) harissa in many grocery stores in the United Arab Emirates, it’s just as easy – if not better – to make it at home.

Here’s a simple recipe for very thick and very spicy harissa. Continue reading

Sofra Istanbul: Three feet of meat in Abu Dhabi

Photo May 31, 18 51 29
Sofra Istanbul is one of the best restaurants in Abu Dhabi – and not just because it serves fresh Turkish food in an authentic and friendly environment reminiscent of any of the best kebab houses in Gaziantep or Izmir.

The reason an evening at Softa Istanbul is such a memorable experience is because of the meaningful attention to detail in the restaurant, from the food to the layout and design of the place.
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How to find Tapatio in the Middle East

20140526-212421-77061225.jpgAs far as hot sauces go, Tapatio isn’t actually very hot. The American-made “salsa picante” only registers around 3,000 on the Scoville heat scale, which is about three times hotter than the very mild, yet similarly flavored, Cholula sauce.

But Tapatio is one of those all-purpose hot sauces that you should keep on hand in your kitchen.

Tapatio, which means ‘one who hails from Guadalajara,’ Mexico, (even though the sauce is actually produced in California), is an excellent companion spice for just about anything: salads, eggs, chicken and meat, nachos, etc. They even make Tapatio-flavored Doritos and Fritos.

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Taqado: A Mexican food truck for Abu Dhabi?

20140526-212419-77059990.jpgTaqado is a unique restaurant concept in the United Arab Emirates; it serves healthy Mexican food in a modern environment that is technically fast food, but still fancy enough to draw a wide base of customers. Taqado is one of several new locally-owned chain restaurants in the region, illustrating a growing entrepreneurial creativity in the culinary world of the UAE.

The concept at Taqado is simple: well-prepared Mexican cuisine meets the authenticity and flavor of roadside taqueria in a place like Guadalajara.

“We want to recreate the atmosphere of the street,” said Isaac Mendoza, the manager of Taqado. “In Mexico, you can go to small restaurants on a street corner, eat tacos on the hand, standing up. This is what we want.”

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Bukhari: Saudi Arabia’s specialty rice

imageThere’s a new Saudi Arabian food restaurant in Abu Dhabi, and there’s only one thing on its menu: bukhari.

Introducing The Royal Bukhari, a Gulf-style fast-food restaurant that offers several variations of barbecued lamb, chicken and fried fish dishes all served with a Saudi specialty called bukhari.

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