Moroccan Chicken Stew

Chicken in BowlI was asked to go to Dubai for 2 months in October 2012 and ended up staying two years. But as I was so busy I didn’t write much on my blog, even though I was being exposed to some amazing foods and great restaurants. My passion never left, but I just didn’t have time to write much

So, what is my first post about, is it about the local Emirati food, or the spicy flavours from the large Indian or Pakistani population or even some exotic Filipino recipe – no of course not, although this is a middle eastern dish, but it’s roots are more Moroccan than Emirati.

It’s a very simple recipe – but it does need at least an hour to cook and as I’m using dried chickpeas, they need to be cooked for about 90 minutes after soaking for 8 hours. So this recipe needs a bit of planning.

  • 75g dried chickpeas
  • 75g blanched almonds
  • 500g diced, skinned and boned chicken
  • 50g butter/margarine
  • ½ tsp saffron threads
  • 2 Spanish onions (red onions if you can’t get Spanish)
  • 900ml hot chicken stock
  • 1 Cinnamon stock
  • 4 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • lemon juice to taste
  • salt and pepper to season

Put the dried chickpeas in water and soak over night or a minimum of 8 hours

Once soaked, drain and rinse. Take the chickpeas and blanched almonds and place into a pan of cold water. Bring to a rapid boil for 10 minutes and then turn down the heat and simmer for another 80 minutes. Once cooked, drain and place to one side.

Place the diced chicken, butter and half the saffron into a casserole dish and heat until the butter has melted.

Place in the onions and stock and bring to a rapid boil

Once boiling add the chickpeas, blanched almonds and cinnamon stick.

Chicken in Pot

Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for 40-60 minutes.

Once cooked, take out the chicken and place to one side and keep warm, being careful not to carry on cooking them as the chicken will dry out.

Turn up the heat to a rapid boil and bring the liquid to half the amount.

When you have reduced the liquid, throw in the chopped parsley, the other half of the saffron and lemon juice.

Put the chicken on a plate and pour over the liquid.

Place the chicken back in and serve, with rice, couscous or as I am doing roasted vegetables with quinoa.

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Poached Mackerel

Poached Mackerel with VegetablesSince I am on my own in Dubai I have been able to eat lots of foods that I would find difficult to be able to eat when at home because my partner would not like them. One thing that I have really been enjoying is fish and I’ve been making the most of it. In the UAE, like the UK the array fish is vast and but most of I’ve not heard of before, like milk fish, king fish to name a couple. So it was nice to see Mackerel in my local supermarket as it reminded me of home. Although these mackerel where smaller, they still had the beautiful marking as the ones in get in the UK.

When I get to cook a wonderful fish like Mackerel I like it plain and simple. I would just place the fish into foil sitting on some lemon slices, add some seasoning and then just throw into oven for about 10-15 minutes. This time I wanted to do try something different and decided to try poaching which I have never tried before. This is a very simple recipe and works well with Mackerel. I’m serving it with grilled potatoes wedges (a healthy version of chips) and steamed vegetables, as I wanted simple accompanying flavours to allow the fish to shine. Apologies for the photos – not my strong point.

Two things though, do not steam the vegetables over the poaching fish and it’s mackerel so expect a LOT of bones – but worth the pain :-)

  • 4 small or 2 large mackerels
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • (serves 2)

Just place all the ingredients in a pan with cold water.

Mackerel Poaching

Bring to the boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer for 15 to 30 minutes and serve.

See I said it was easy…..

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Where Has The Time Gone

Okay, will someone please tell me where the time has gone. I decided to take a short break from writing on my blog, because frankly I’ve got a bit boring since being in Dubai. What I mean is, my passion for food and eating is still there, but what I’ve been eating has become boring. I’ve always enjoyed a great curry, but since I’ve been in Dubai it’s got so bad that it’s nearly all that I am eating. There is such a large India, Pakistani, S.E Asian community here the ingredients are so easy to get hold of and it is so much cheaper than other foods why wouldn’t I take advantage of it.

Masala Dosa

Masala Dosa

Also petrol is so cheap here that everything can be delivered, from medicine, to bottled water and my downfall DOSA’s. These are pancakes served with a “gravy” and I don’t mean Bisto :-). The “gravy” tends to be a light curry sauce, sometimes with vegetables but mostly just lentils. These are actually normally eaten at breakfast, but you can get Masala Dosa’s which are the pancakes filled with potato curry and when only 8AED (dirhams), about £1.10, it’s very hard not to eat them every lunchtime, it’s cheaper than a sandwich and much tastier. I will talk about these in another post as this paragraph cannot do them justice.

Fresh Gamboge

Fresh Gamboge

Dried Gamboge

Dried Gamboge

Even though I’ve been eating a lot of curries, I have been introduced to some new ingredients and recipes, like gambogee, a fruit, from Indonesia and Kerala in India, that is dried and then added to a curry to make the sauce sour, like tamarind. I’ve actual found a tamarind stock cube that can give a flavoursome twist on a lamb stew. I’ve been introduced to a wonderful Filipino recipe called adobo, which can be made with chicken or pork, although my first attempt to make the dish was disgusting, but with more practice I’ll get there. It’s made with vinegar and my mistake was to stir the dish and apparently once you add the vinegar you shouldn’t stir it – guess more practice is needed.


Sandwiches At The Burj

Sandwiches At The Burj

Gawping At Cakes At The Burj Al Arab

Gawping At Cakes At The Burj Al Arab

I have also been eating out a lot and some good and not so good restaurants. In Dubai they have a thing called Friday brunch. Where the restaurants serve mostly buffet style food at a standard price, with or without alcohol. This is another of my downfalls – If you talk to people they go for a brunch maybe once every 6-8 weeks. I’ve now been five weeks in a row. It’s a great way to try a vast array of foods and flavours.

When people first move to Dubai, they say you get the Dubai Stone, which means that you put on a stone in weight (14lbs or 6.3kg) in your first month and I certainly did that. With all these brunches and curries I’m having to train about 5 times a week at the gym, otherwise I would be a lot bigger than I am now and would be very unhealthy. It’s a small price to pay to allow me to stuff my face on some great new foods.

Chicken Adobo

Chicken Adobo

I have also been doing a lot of reading and below are some links of recipes and websites I’ve been looking at and hopefully you’ll enjoy them also. As these are external links I do not have any jurisdiction over them I just read them as I found them interesting, so don’t blame me if you don’t like them. :-).

But as I said at the beginning, where has the time gone and I’ll have to get my act together and start blogging again.

Happy Eating……

and one of my favourites –

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