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Soul Satisfying Dishes from Abha in Saudi Arabia

Delectable national dishes to add your iftars during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Saudi Arabia is home to a diversity of peoples and a rich history spanning centuries. So, it comes as no surprise that its tables are often an assorted fare of flavors, colors, and aromas, with each region boasting delicious gastronomic experiences in every bite. Today we’re taking a culinary trip to the Kingdom’s Abha region – known for its stunning natural landscapes, abundance in agriculture, distinct heritage, and, of course, food – to look at three of the region’s favorite dishes.

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For those with a craving for something sweet, Saudi Arabia’s arika is must-try. This is a favorite for many in Saudi Arabia’s south and it’s no wonder why: it’s simple, easy to make, and satisfies the soul. It is essentially a dough made with brown flour, warm water, oil, and ghee, kneaded well, baked in a hot oven or cooked in a pan, then drizzled with honey and cardamom, and decorated with dates. There are many variations of this sweet plate and for many, it is a breakfast choice, but we say eat it whenever your heart and stomach desires.

Image via Cooking with Tasneem on Youtube

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As Abha is located in the southern region of Saudi Arabia, it shares a lot of its cuisine with its close neighbor, Yemen. So, it only makes sense that both nations share a love for haneeth, or haneed, a slow roasted lamb dish – and by slow, we mean slow, hours slow. The lamb or mutton is cooked in a special fire pit called munanath, its bottom filled with first charcoal and then leaves called marakh. The meat, sometimes coated in a special spice mix, is placed over these two layers and covered with a cloth, the pit is then sealed and the lamb left to cook slowly. The resulting roast is a delicate. tender lamb that melts in your mouth, served over some deliciously cooked rice and nuts.

Image via Line blog

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