Tonight was brought to us by Qatar and was thankfully less chaotic than the past two weeks (posts still to come for Argentina and Armenia!).
Dinner was Lamb Machboo and was enjoyed by all but the one who has now decided she doesn’t like lamb much (all the more for us!). It was an easier meal than many others with less prep work, most of the time spent on the cooking time.
We began by cooking the leg of lamb in a pot of water with whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and cardamom seeds. This cooked for an hour and a half until the lamb was tender. Our son took the lid off the pot and was drooling over the smell.
Once this was cooked we took the meat out, covered it in the baharat spice mix, lime powder, and cardamom powder.
The recipe actually called for bhar spice mix which I couldn’t find, and when I looked it up this is what I found. The mix was made with pepper, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cloves, cardamom, paprika, and nutmeg.
The lime powder was something else I couldn’t find and in fact and never heard of. I managed to find dried limes at an ethnic store just south of Oliver and ground them up myself! It actually smelled really good!
The meat was then browned while we cooked the soaked rice in the leftover juices from the meat. Once the rice was cooked we poured our diluted saffron over and then topped it with the lamb.
The topping was made by frying onions and adding cashews and cranberries (our substitute for zereshk). I wasn’t too sure about adding this side to my dish but it was actually quite good.
We quite enjoyed this flavour, different than many others with the fried topping and the lime. The pot was getting emptied quite quickly as we went back for seconds. This is likely a dish we will try again, though the one would prefer we try it with beef over the lamb.
Dessert was balaleet, a dish made with vermicelli, butter, sugar, cardamom, and an omelet.
I fried half the vermicelli in oil then covered it with water. Once the water boiled I added the rest of the noodles and cooked for a few minutes before draining it.
We then cooked butter, sugar, and cardamom with diluted saffron until the sugar dissolved and then added the vermicelli once again. This was then topped with a plain omelet and served.
The omelet didn’t seem to match the dish in our minds, an odd choice to the sweetness of the dessert, and not something we generally think of for a dessert dish. I finished mine and didn’t mind it but will probably not make it again.
Did you know that Qatar became independent in 1971 and women only gained the right to vote in 1995. “Built up” areas allow for speeds up to 100km/h. Their most popular sports are soccer, handball, and tennis, though robot camel racing is a rising sport where jockeys have been replaced by miniature humanoid robots that are linked to the trainer by a remote control walkie talkie.
Qatar is the richest country in the world but it’s cheaper to refuel your car than it is to buy coffee. There is a total ban on alcohol consumption and in 2018 the unemployment rate was 0.1% whereas Canada’s was 5.8%.
Finally, there is a giant teddy bear with a lamp on its head in the Hamad International Airport, weighing nearly 20 tons, is over 7 metres high and cost $6.8 million.