A Quick Review of Popular Arab Food Traditions

modern arabic cuisine

The term “Arabs” literally means “people of the smelling smoke”. This is because the first dishes to be served in this country were created by the Berbers of Morocco. These early cooks relied on their knowledge of the local flora and fauna to create a unique cuisine unlike anything else in the world. The resulting meals were considered to be rich, aromatic and tasty, and as a result, when the first civilizations settled in the Arab world, they were very impressed with this new way of cooking. Their culinary expertise soon spread throughout North Africa and the Middle East, and from here it spread to areas as far east as India and China.

An Overview

A large ship in a body of water

Traditional Arabic cuisine is primarily composed of rice, fish, meat and vegetables. Rice is always accompanied with onions and tomatoes. Meat is usually either grilled or stewed, while vegetables are either boiled or grilled. Soups are frequently made with onions, beef, lamb or chicken stock, garlic, spices and salt, and sometimes tahini or honey.

The Chefs

A person standing in a kitchen

“Ramsay’s Arabic Gastro-Occasional”, a famous British chef, is said to have invented the modern-day version of the Arab food. In this creation, which became a staple diet of millions of Arabs all over the Middle East and North Africa, the mixture of meat, vegetables and spices was heated in the presence of a fire. This was then allowed to slowly stew and blend in with the other ingredients. Only the finest quality of these meals was saved and eventually found its way to France and eventually to America.

A number of chefs from various countries such as Israel, Britain, France and the United States have contributed to the evolution of modern-day Arabic cuisine. In fact, many prominent chefs in the US and Europe have gained a great deal of international fame through their contribution to the evolution of this popular dish. For instance, Yospeetoni, a famous Egyptian chef, gained worldwide popularity when he was chosen as one of the chefs on the Oprah Winfrey show. Others who have gained recognition include: David Banks of New York, absentee, hairdresser, Delmonico and Yusef Islam of Los Angeles, CA, Mortimer Katz of New York, Chefs; Homa Dezhaini and Michael Zamir of New York, NY and Richard Foos of Beverly Hills, CA.

The Variety Of The Cuisine

Another notable variety of the Arabic cuisine is that of the mr. dal or English chicken. The name, in fact, is misleading as it is actually a chicken cut from an arid semi-arid part of the country. However, the arid parts of the country, mainly from the western deserts, produce the best quality of this chicken. This variety is served with typical English curry dishes.

A lesser known type of the Arabic cuisine is the kebab or hummus. Although it is generally called a “food,” it is actually a snack which is prepared by mixing ground meat, onions, garlic and various spices, with oil or vinegar in a large non-stick frying pan. The name kebab comes from the word “kebab,” which means bread. A variation of the kebab is the so-called kebab sandwich. The word “sandwich” comes from the Arabic term “kaab,” meaning bread.

The influence of the anarkali and khichuri cuisines from India and Nepal is also seen in the modern Arabic food. The most popular dish of this type is hummus. The anarkali is an unleavened preparation of chick peas, onions, tomatoes and spices mixed in water or dry medium. Khichuri is a spicy Persian dish of meat, vegetables, beans and spices, which is served with rice.

In The End

Modern Arabic cuisine has gone through many changes and innovations. However, the basic ingredients and the main styles of preparing the food have remained the same for centuries. This article gives a brief overview of the most popular types of Arabic foods and their different appearances in the streets of every Arab country.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter