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Unveiling “Bahari”: A Culinary Celebration of Omani Heritage and Zanzibari Roots by Dina Macki

Despite the widespread popularity of dishes like hummus, tabbouleh, shawarma, and tagine from various Arab regions on the global stage, Khaleeji cuisine, originating from the Gulf region, remains relatively overlooked internationally. Cookbook author Dina Macki hopes to reverse this attitude by highlighting her native Omani cuisine in her inaugural cookbook, "Bahari," which also honors her Zanzibari ancestry. The title of Macki's book, "Bahari," which means "ocean" in Swahili, makes sense: the coastal location of Oman, she notes, is responsible for the country's thriving and varied culinary culture.

Growing up in the UK, Macki's upbringing revolved around food, particularly the culinary traditions passed down by the women in her family, including her Zanzibari-born mother and grandmother. "Bahari" serves as an homage to her roots and familial ties, acknowledging the impact of Zanzibar's 1964 revolution, which prompted many to seek refuge in Oman.

Macki's exploration of Oman's culinary landscape revealed distinct regional variations influenced by local climates and traditions. She dispels misconceptions about Gulf cuisine, emphasizing the diversity and richness of Omani dishes beyond commonly associated ingredients like dried limes, cardamom, and dates.

With over 100 contemporary recipes for meat, fish, beverages, and desserts, "Bahari," published by Dorling Kindersley, marks a significant milestone as the first international Omani cookbook authored by a native Omani. Macki views its publication as a groundbreaking moment, elevating Omani cuisine onto a global platform previously unattainable within the culinary landscape.

Dina Macki’s Bahraini tikka recipe from her book ‘Bahari’

Ingredients (makes about 15 skewers)

  • 600g beef tenderloin, cut into 2.5cm cubes
  • 3 tbsp garlic paste
  • 2 tbsp ground dried lime
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing 


  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, and evenly coat the meat with the marinade
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-4 hours to prevent excessive tenderization from the lime's acidity
  3. Preheat the grill or barbecue to medium-high, or heat a griddle pan over medium-high heat and brush generously with oil
  4. Skewer the beef chunks, placing five pieces on each skewer
  5. Grill the beef for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, ensuring it is slightly pink in the center while achieving a nice char on the outside
  6. Enjoy the tikka with your selected side dishes
  7. If prepared in a griddle pan, pour any extra juices from the pan over the meat before serving.

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