Photographs here were taken with a Canon ESR, Nexus 6P phone, and my new Google Pixel 2 XL. Thoughts?
Delicious Ramadan Eats from Around the World
By: Ms. Hala for Blasting News
Originally Published May 26, 2018
Publication Source: BlastingNews.com
Journey around the globe to discover some of the delicious dishes served up during the holy month of Ramadan!
Ramadan is once again upon us, and Muslims are as excited as ever for the festive, holiday season! During the ninth month of the Hijri calendar, several dishes are cooked up around the world in time to break one’s fast. So let’s see what’s cooking!
The land where many traditions are still practiced and new ones inspired by its diverse residents. Harees dates back to the 10th century with historical references to Prophet Mohammed’s (PBUH) dining habits.
Harees can be described as a wheat porridge. After simmering pre-soaked wheat in water, straining any excess water and mixing it into a thick consistency. Make it savory by adding meat and salting to taste. Make it sweet by adding cinnamon and sugar to the mix. It’s so versatile; it’s the perfect dish to start or end your iftar.
Traditions as old as time is what makes Ramadan in the Maldives all the more unique and artistic.
The local flair is seafood, and tuna fish reigns supreme. The top local tuna dishes to be had during iftar would be gulha and kulhi boakibaa. Gulha are tuna fish balls, made with coconut, onions, garlic, and ginger. Mixed and rolled into a ball, then stuffed into a light flour dough and deep fried. Kulhi boakibaa are tuna fish cakes, with coconut, rice, ginger, curry leaves, chilies, lemon juice, and turmeric powder, and turned into a thick paste mixture. It spread into a pan and baked until lightly brown, cut into squares for all to enjoy. Fried and baked, the best of both worlds!
Whats the best thing to be served when breaking one’s fast? How about sipping on some sweet aseer or juice during iftar! Iraqis will at times stock up on bottles of juices depending on the season as well as any long-lasting fruits to make fresh drinks at home. Some popular juice shops, such as Mishmish in Baghdad, have been open for over 50 years with Ramadan being their busiest season. What juices shine brightly during the holy month?
Pomegranate, grape, lemon, apricot and of course date juice top the list. These specific fruits all have great health benefits and of course, taste great!
Being a festive season, Comoros serves it up! Anything from grilled manioc, fishes to fried bananas and couscouma. This simple savory treat is a thyme and butter chapati like crepe, extremely thin and light. After kneading the dough, it’s immediately divided into small pieces, rolled thin and pan fried to golden perfection. Crispy yet warm and soft, this savory treat is served with sweet tea. If there are any leftovers (ha!), it’s served as part of the suhour meal.
From the festivities that take place, the popular TV shows and the variations of foods make Ramadan in Egypt unlike any other. The sweet served in almost every home after iftar is a platter of qatayef. Think of qatayef as sweet dumplings, starting off as a small pancake of sorts, stuffed with either sweet cheese or mixed nuts or both! It’s folded into crescents then fried until golden brown, topped with a light syrup and gobbled up!
During the feast to end Ramadan and welcome Eid El Fitr, the dish to be had is opor ayam. Opor ayam is a curry chicken dish originating from the central Java islands, with side dishes such as chili fried potatoes. To make this dish perfect, it’s all in the fresh spices and how they are grounded down and slightly roasted in a saucepan before they are cooked with the marinated chicken to serve up the perfect bowl of opor ayam.
It’s understood that Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) taught Muslims to break their fast with dates and milk which has its health benefits. Dates and milk have just the right amount of natural sugars and vitamins to give your body a good energy boost. Those in dates travel to your liver and digestive tract faster than most other similar fruits which help to restart the digestive process. This is truly a delicious treat that Muslims all over the world indulge in during Ramadan.
What are your Ramadan traditions? Did we entice you to try any of these worldly Ramadan dishes?Publication Source: BlastingNews.com
Top 10 Healthy Eats in Doha
By: Ms. Hala Abdoun for BQ Plus via Zomato
Originally Published: February 2017
Publication Source: BQ-Magazine.com
A new year, a new beginning, a new you! Self-improvement is the top resolution many of us make when we flip a page to the new year. This includes staying positive, being active and eating right.
If you love the food scene in Doha but want to start a healthy eating habit, that kale leaf won’t cut it. The latest collection on Zomato, Healthy Eating, has the top go to spots with delicious, healthy eats. Here’s the top ten rated healthy eats from the collection.
Where: Al Muthanna Complex, Al Hilal
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Lowdown: If you have friends who aren’t really attempting to eat healthy this year, this spot will have you all breaking bread in peace. With a healthy section in the menu listing calories, protein, fiber and carb count, you can chow down at Crepeaway guilt free.
9. Al Jazeera Cafe
Where: Building 4, Katara Cultural Village
Rating: 3.6 / 5
Lowdown: Conceptualized by the Al Jazeera network, you can start your day on the right track. Enjoy your meal with the latest news, interactive setting and beautiful ambiance. Try one of the fruit smoothies, herbal infused teas or grab a bite knowing you’re doing good by your body and global farms.
8. Dine Smart Restaurant
Where: Lulu Hypermarket, Barwa City
Rating: 3.6 / 5
Lowdown: We all love to eat while we shop! And Dine Smart wants you to eat smart while you shop. Whether you’re craving Italian, Chinese, a sandwich or a simple salad, you can eat knowing you didn’t ruin your New Year’s resolution to keep it healthy and within budget.
7. Salad Boutique
Where: Aspire Park, Al Waab
Rating: 3.7 / 5
Lowdown: They aren’t just famous for those large bowls of salads anymore. This will be good news for your anti-salad eating friends of yours craving risotto, pasta or even a burger. You can dine within the bright ambience, lounging in the oversized chairs indoors or dine under the stars in this cool winter weather.
6. Which Wich
Where: Medina Centrale, The Pearl-Qatar
Rating: 3.8 / 5
Lowdown: Where the self-proclaimed “superior sandwiches” are made in the heart of The Pearl-Qatar. Grab a sandwich paper bag and like Aladdin, make wishes for the sandwich genies to grant on the spot. Feeling adventurous? Drop the bread and wish for a lettucewich.
5. Chef’s Garden
Where: Marwan Club, Education City
Rating: 3.9 / 5
Lowdown: The horses in close distance, the greenery all around, the healthy dishes on the table. Where else can you get all three but the Chef’s Garden? Next to the Equestrian Club, you can’t go wrong with the food or view as many of the foodies have raved about in their reviews.
4. Evergreen Organics
Where: Qanat Quartier, Pearl Qatar
Rating: 4.0 / 5
Lowdown: Co-founded by renowned Qatari foodie, Ghanim AlSulaiti, this vegan haven is all about eating and surrounding yourself with wholesome goodness. The very popular fresh pressed juices are now bottled up, so you can take a few on the go until your next visit.
3. Jones The Grocer
Where: The Gate, Dafna
Rating: 4.1 / 5
Lowdown: With a new healthy menu added to the original, it’s no wonder JTG has climbed up the ranks. Already a popular breakfast spot, this JTG branch is still a top favorite with a die-hard Doha foodie following.
2. Zaatar we Zeit
Where: Opposite Souq Waqif Art Center, Souq Waqif
Rating: 4.2 / 5
Lowdown: With many locations around Doha, the Souq branch tops the list for this popular Lebanese chain. This breakfast hot spot makes you feel all the good feels as you feast on a budget before shopping in the historic bazaar.
1. Meesh Me-Time Cafe
Where: Crowne Plaza Business Park, Najma
Rating: 4.5 / 5
Lowdown: The highest rated healthy eat in the collection is a spot with “me time” in its name. It’s that kind of attitude that’s captured the hearts of Doha’s inhabitants. Can’t go wrong with a cafe serving up all kinds of healthy goodness, from its fresh brewed coffee to its latest quick bites menu.
What are you waiting for? Download the Zomato app today and bookmark these restaurants to keep that healthy New Year’s resolution going strong!All images courtesy of BQ Plus Magazine unless otherwise noted.
International Comfort Food
By: Ms. Hala Abdoun for BQ Plus via Zomato
Originally Published for the January 2017 Issue
Publication Source: BQ-Magazine.com
Winter is here! A relatively warm winter but, this is the season we crave something to make us feel all warm and fuzzy. It’s why they call it comfort food!
Let’s discover some of the world’s favorite comfort foods and where to get a taste of it.
Spaghetti Carbonara – Italy
Can’t start this list without the world’s favorite dish, pasta! And the one Italians call to for comfort is spaghetti carbonara. Originating from Rome in the 20th century, this dish has comforted the masses as it has evolved in different parts of Italy and in different forms of pasta.
Sticking with the classics, the spaghetti dish is made with eggs, cheese, bacon and seasoned with black pepper to taste. You can’t go wrong with a classic!
Slurp on some spaghetti carbonara at Lo Spaghetto in Al Saad.
Pho – Vietnam
Not only is pho the star of Vietnamese food, but it’s one of the most popular soup dishes in the world. Pho dates back to the 20th century and was introduced to the world through migration and tourism.
Pho consists of rice noodles, either chicken or beef, cooked in broth with a few herbs and seasonings. It’s all the basics in one pot!
Try a bowl of pho at The Rice Room in The Gulf Mall.
Poutine – Canada
Ask any Canadian and they’ll tell you that poutine is what warms their soul. Originating in Quebec in the 1950s, the word “poutine” is French for “mess”. Who knew messy can be so good? Canada did!
This messy street food quickly took over the nation with just three ingredients. Fried potatoes topped with cheese curds and gravy. That’s it!
Get messy with platter of poutine at Lord of the Wings at The Pearl-Qatar.
Pav Bhaji – India
Some say dosas, others say choles, we say, “can we have them all?” Indian cuisine is so beautifully diverse, we can’t pick just one. However, pav bhaji was the dish that stood out from almost every corner of India.
Potato based vegetable stew, all mashed together with fragrant spices and served with light, fluffy buns.
Get yourself some finger licking pav bhaji at Saravanaa Bhavan in Al Ghanim.
Koshary – Egypt
Talk about making something out of nothing! In the 19th century, whatever was leftover in the pantry at the end of the month, got all mixed together to make room for the new. And from there, koshary was born.
Today, it’s the ultimate comfort food in Egypt, sold from street carts to five-star restaurants. It started with rice, lentils and pasta topped with spicy sauce, vinegar and crispy onions. It has since evolved to include chick peas, garlic and oil.
Grab a bowl of koshary at Layali Al Qahira in Souq Waqif.
Macaroni and Cheese – USA
Whoever came up with this baked dish, thank you! Of course, this isn’t a historically American dish but it has become one over the last couple of centuries with the flood of immigrants altering their own favorite comfort foods.
With small pasta and a whole lot of cheddar cheese topped off with some bread crumbs and baked in the oven for about 15 minutes. The end result is crispiness on the outside and gooey goodness on the inside. This is why America is great!
Try a fishy take on the classic at Red Lobster in Fereej bin Mahmoud.
Kare Kare – Philippines
The thick stew of kare kare is another rendition of putting everything in one pot. Originating from Pampanga and spreading across the islands, kare kare is a stew like no other.
It starts with a base of stewed oxtail and can have anything from calf feet to leftover meat, and seafood to all kinds of vegetables. Thickened with rice and topped with peanut sauce, this stew brings the essence of comfort in a bowl.
Try a bowl of kare kare at Max’s Restaurant in Al Saad.
Harees – Qatar
Coming back to Qatar, many don’t realize harees has history. This simple wheat dish dates back to the 10th century as documented in ‘The Cooking Book’ by Ibn Sayyar Al Warraq. Many even say there’s evidence of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) eating harees.
Harees is not soup, it can fall between a stew and porridge. After simmering pre-soaked wheat in water, it can be made savory by adding meat before it’s strained and beaten to a thick consistency then seasoned to taste. Make it sweet by excluding the meat and season with cinnamon and sugar.
Discover the flavors of harees at Muglat Harees Al Waldah on Salwa Road.All images courtesy of BQ Plus Magazine unless otherwise noted.
Affamé? Pardonne moi. Oh, we meant to ask, “Are you hungry?” Better still, are you craving something French but not sure where to begin? Save that airline ticket for now because there are many options to choose from, be it luxurious to casual, in Doha itself.
Let’s take a gastronomic adventure around Doha and dine like the French at these top five spots.
Where: K 108 Hotel
Lowdown: Being the only boutique hotel in Doha that donates all their proceeds to charity, Yum Yum restaurant serves up some of the most buzzed about fusion French dishes in town. Go for dinner or escape the office for lunch in a hidden gem overlooking the city.
Where: Gulf Mall
Lowdown: All things French and a little bit more when it comes to the offerings at Brioche Dorée. With a full menu on hand, you can indulge in a three course meal and coffee in a casual atmosphere. According to the foodies, it’s all about the breakfast and desserts.
Where: Barwa Towers, Suhaim Bin Hammad Street, Al Sadd
Lowdown: Serving both French and Italian cuisine, you harmoniously savor the best of both worlds. It’s well known for not just it’s authentic cuisine but it’s courteous staff. The buzz around town claims French Olive is serving up a business lunch like no other.
Where: Villaggio Mall
Lowdown: With many locations around Doha, the branch in Villaggio tops the list for this French chain. Head to Paul for coffee and fresh baked pastries or eat your heart out from the simple yet fulfilling menu. Foodies not only rave about the food but the “feel good experience” they have.
Where: Tornado Tower, Dafna
Lowdown: One of the first French restaurants to offer business lunch to the masses working in Dafna. Serving a delectable menu while overlooking Doha’s scenic Corniche is no wonder La Varenne continues to be a favorite amongst the foodies.
Where: Suhaim Bin Hammad Street, Al Sadd
Lowdown: Foodies rave about French cuisine being served in a casual atmosphere, perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Feast amongst the city lights outdoors on a cool winter’s night or within Lenôtre’s sophisticated design on a hot summer’s day.
IDAM by Alain Ducasse
Where: Museum of Islamic Art (MIA)
Lowdown: Art comes in many forms and IDAM celebrates art in the form of French Qatari fusion cuisine, modern classic Islamic decor and a view unlike any other. One of the few luxury restaurants with changing seasonal menus based on what’s locally available. Foodies admit it’s one of the few restaurants in town that really challenges one’s palate.
Where: Ezdan Mall
Lowdown: Without a doubt, a cafe in a mall is the super pick-me-up for anyone going through retail therapy. When one breaks in between sales, Lina’s serves up therapeutic quick bites and desserts with a French twist to makes one’s day just a little bit better.
Where: The Gate Mall
Lowdown: Don’t want to fly to Angelina in Paris for the best hot chocolate in the world? The same creamy, rich hot chocolate is served in the Doha branch! Served along side any of your favorite desserts or meal, these decadents gives a whole new meaning to “pinkies up!”
Where: Villaggio Mall
Lowdown: All that’s missing at this cafe, is a French violinist whilst you dine. Ladurée serves up what seems to be Doha’s favorite macarons, with flavors such as rose, pistachio, raspberry and chocolate. It’s true what the say, “dessert goes straight to the heart.”
All images courtesy of Zomato Community Blog unless otherwise noted