Bedouins – people of the desert – are Arabs and nomads who come from and continue to live primarily in the Arabian peninsula and North Africa. They’re found throughout Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and Egypt, and consider themselves as true Arabs and the heirs of the glorious land; but they don’t lead an easy life. One can only imagine how difficult it is to find food, water, and other life necessities on a daily basis, especially when living in the middle of the desert. Wilfred Thesiger described the bedouin life as “hard and merciless…always hungry and usually thirsty.” However, we believe that when there’s a will, there’s always a way. These delicious bedouin dishes are here to prove it!
We rounded up a few famous bedouin dishes that are not only nutritious, but also delicious, showing how creative humans can actually be when it comes to cooking a whole meal with minimal tools and appliances.
Mandi is a traditional Yemeni dish that originated from Hadhramaut. It mainly consists of meat or chicken as well as rice with a special blend of spices, all charcoal cooked, in a dug hole which is caked in clay. Click here to get the full recipe.
Highly similar to Mandi, Madfoon is also one of Yemen’s mouthwatering dishes, it’s actually very popular across the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia. This signature dish is differentiated by a cooking technique; where the meat is marinated and cooked in an underground hole, placed on the sand and surrounded by charcoal. Click here to get the full recipe.
All the way from Yemen, Chicken Mazbi is basically stone grilled chicken with aromatic rice. The difference between Mazbi and Mandi is that the chicken in Madhbi is grilled and not baked like it’s done for Mandi and the rice is soft and more flavorful. Click here to start cooking your own Mazbi!
Maqluba literally means ‘upside-down’. It’s a layered rice cake with vegetables and chicken or meat, all placed in a pot that’s flipped upside down when served. There’s a debate on where it originally came from as the dish is served across the Levant. Click here to get the delicious recipe.
Goats milk mixed with sugar and sheeh
Bedouins call this milk ‘haleeb’. Every morning they take the haleeb and mix it with sugar and sheeh (a herbal wormwood used by the bedouins for both medicinal and culinary purposes) heated by the fire, and enjoyed on its own or with a cup of tea.
Date Aseeda with green tea, a perfect breakfast from Siwa
Simple yet healthy, Date Aseeda or also known as date pudding. It’s date paste made of a cooked wheat flour lump of dough, sometimes with added butter, honey, or sweet syrup. Traditionally served at breakfast time.
It’s a delicious Libyan pasta cooked in a rich tomato broth with veggies, seasoned with various spices, and topped with fresh basil. You can also add meat or chicken with it, but many prefer it with only veggies.