It’s World Cup season which means fans across the globe are watching in anticipation as their favorite teams battle it out on the soccer field. Fans have so many options when it comes to watching the games whether it’s full-fledged fan zones or bustling sports bars. If instead, you are the kind of person who enjoys the more intimate setting of an at-home watch party then you will probably need to up the experience with some mouth-watering snacks. As there are several Arab countries competing in this year’s World Cup, we thought it would be fun if we’d pair each snack with the team’s nationality and culture.
Walking along the streets of any of Tunisia’s cities, the blended savory scent of garlic, cilantro, and olive oil will waft out of street food kiosks selling the infamous Fricasse sandwich. An adored lunch staple or warm snack during a leisurely picnic, these kinds of sandwiches are known for their warm crispy fried bread and delicious rich filling of tuna, boiled eggs, harissa, olives, and potato.
To truly re-create this special snack at home, it’s mainly about making the bread from scratch. You’ll get some dough and using a round cookie cutter, cut out small discs which you’ll then roll out into several oval-shaped discs. Leave them to rise and then later, fry each disc on both sides to make them crunchy. With the bread ready, you will merely need to prepare the filling. For a complete recipe, you can check out LD Mum’s blog to make some Fricasse sandwiches at home.
Moroccan Sigarim’s or cigars are these delicious fried phyllo pastries filled with ground lamb or beef, onions, garlic, and a rich blend of spices including cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and nutmeg. Their name stems from their signature round cigar shape and golden brown color. Once they are ready, they are usually eaten as an appetizer with a special dip of sumac yogurt.
These crispy cigars can also be turned into a dessert by going for a sweet filling of almond paste that is sweetened with honey and scented with orange blossom water. They can then be dipped into a simple sugar syrup for that added sweet kick. To make this special snack, you’ll need to cook up the minced meat or lamb in some hot oil, adding garlic and water. Then, mix together the ingredients for the filling in a food processor, roll out the cigars, add in the filling and then fry up each roll. To re-create these snacks at home, try out Taste Life’s recipe.
Within every Qatari household, there is one particular dish that is so well-loved that it has been passed down from one generation to the next. That infamous dish is known to many as Madrouba, a spicy porridge made with chicken, overcooked rice or wheat, and a plethora of spices. Its name is derived from the word “Darb” which means hit in Arabic as that is actually how this dish is made. Usually, it would be smashed with a wooden spoon to make it softer and to help mix it in with the other ingredients.
Madrouba is known to be a one-bowl comfort meal but it can also be enjoyed with some spiced bread like crostini. To make this special dish, you’ll need to cook a whole chicken and then mix it in a rich blend of spices ranging from turmeric and ginger to coriander and cayenne. Rice is then added at the very end to soak up all the flavored liquid. For the full recipe, you can check out chef AlMaha AlKaabi’s take on the classic Madrouba.
Saudi Arabian Ma’amoul
When it comes to Saudi Arabia, ma’amoul is a common delicacy strongly associated with the Kingdom. These cookies are quite rich and buttery and can be filled with everything from dates to mixed nuts. If you are going to go for this snack while watching any of Saudi’s matches, we’d recommend eating it after you’ve already had your lunch and pairing the snack with a hot cup of tea.
Making ma’amoul involves a long process with a series of steps so you will need to prepare it a few days before any of Saudi’s scheduled matches. There are two stages when it comes to making these cookies, the first is for the actual semolina cookie while the second is for the filling. We’ve picked out a simple recipe from Amira’s pantry to re-create this special dessert.
With that, you have many options when it comes to picking out unique snacks to pair with every match whether it’s the savory sigarim or the sweet ma’amoul. If you are going to try out any of these recipes, let us know if they upped your World Cup experience.