My second “B” country is Bahrain. If you just started reading, I’m cooking dishes from every country in the world A-Z, recipes from GlobalTableAdventure.com. I really wanted to make the Bahraini Shrimp Balls, but I don’t have a food processor. So, I decided to make Rosewater Rice Pilaf and Roasted Eggplant Dip, served with warm Naan bread and bacon-wrapped pork skewers.
The Rosewater Rice Pilaf (Mulhammar) was a very interesting dish to make with three ingredients I had never cooked with before:
- Saffron – I had heard of saffron before, but I had never purchased or cooked with saffron threads. Turns out, they are these nifty little red things that come in glass containers in your spice section, and they ain’t cheap. But like I said, they’re pretty neat… and I feel special for having them
- Cardamom – Carda what??? Turns out this too, can be found in the spice section, and according to Wikipedia, it is the world’s third most expensive spice by weight, outstripped in terms of market value by only saffron and vanilla. And I thought this recipe would be cheap…
- Rosewater – I found my bottle at Central Market on a rack near the beer/wine section. When you open it up and take a whiff, it literally smells like a bouquet of roses. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not too interested in drinking roses…. so this made me a little nervous.
For the Roasted Eggplant Dip (Uukkous Al-Badinjan), I roasted my three eggplants in the oven for an hour, scooped out their insides, and added it to a blender along with the other ingredients. Then, I let it cool down in the fridge for about an hour before serving with my Rosewater Rice Pilaf, Naan bread and pork skewers. I would choose hummus over this any day, but I am glad that I made it and have grown more comfortable handling eggplant. One thing about this recipe I should mention is that it calls for Sweet Paprika. I don’t know how many variations of paprika there are, but the only sweet one I was able to find was labeled “Sweet Smoked Paprika” and ended up giving my dip a slight smoky flavor even though I only used one teaspoon instead of the recipe’s one and a half.
Boundaries: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Persian Gulf