Bahrain is know as the island of one million palmtrees, ancient sights lead the eye to the modern skyline filled with skyscrapers nowadays. It is a land of contrast. The name Bahrain comes means 2 water probably because the sea around Bahrain is so special, fresh water bubbles up from underground springs straight into the sea. A lot of ancient legendes are about the mysterious water springs.
and the first country in the Middle East to discover oil in 1932.
Here are some more facts about Bahrain:
- Many people believe that Bahrain is the Garden of Eden from the Bible (You know the place where Adam & Eve lived)
- Four-fifths of the population lives in cities, the majority in Manama which is the capital and the largest urban center. That city stands on a seabed, parts of which were recently reclaimed from the water.
- Only 1 percent of the land is fertile, the country is unable to produce enough food for its population and relies almost entirely on import
- Political parties are prohibited, but there are several small underground leftist and Islamic fundamentalist groups.
- While arranged marriage is still common, the bride and groom often have a chance to meet before they marry. While it was traditional for girls to be married at twelve or thirteen years of age, they now tend to wait until they have finished their education and have a job. Upon marriage, a sum of money is paid to the bride by the groom’s family. (Well a least they are trying).
Ingredients: 2 large onions, 3 tablespoons of butter, 1 1/2 table spoon baharat (ingredients and recipe below), 1 tablespoon of turmeric, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, combination of chicken thighs, legs and breasts, 1 hot green chile, seeded and diced1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced, 5 large cloves or garlic thinly sliced, 2 large roma tomatoes diced, 2 or 3 limes sliced, 5 cardamon pods, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2½ teaspoons salt, 2½ cups chicken stock, 2 cups basmati rice (soaked for at least 15 minutes, then rinsed and drained), 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
Ingredients Baharat (you can buy baharat in a jar, but I had everything so I just made it myself): 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon whole cloves, ¼ teaspoon green cardamon seeds, 1 tablespoon paprika powder, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Set the paprika and nutmeg powders aside. Place all remaining ingredients (whole seeds, cinnamon stick and cloves) in a small frying pan and dry roast over medium-high heat, tossing regularly to prevent scorching, for 3-4 minutes or until very fragrant. Transfer to a spicegrinder and let cool. Add the paprika and nutmeg and grind all the ingredients to a fine powder. Store left over baharat in an airtight jar.
Recipe Chicken Machboos
Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and fry the chicken pieces on both sides until the skin is brown and crispy. Transfer the chicken to a plate and leave the remaining oil in the Dutch oven. Add the ghee (or butter), reduce the heat to medium, and fry the onions until starting to brown, about 10-12 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and green chile pepper and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the baharat and turmeric and cook for another minute. Return the chicken pieces to the Dutch oven along with the tomatoes, limes, cardamom pods, cinnamon and cloves. Add the chicken stock and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for one hour. Add the cilantro, parsley and drained rice and stir to combine. Return it to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for another 15-20 minutes until the rice is done and has absorbed the liquid. Transfer the chicken and rice to a serving dish (either leave the chicken pieces tossed in with the rice, or place the chicken on top of the rice)