Kuwaiti food portrays the amalgamation of culutres and eating styles of the inhabitants of this tiny state. A rich ancestry of Bedouin, Persian, Indian and Eastern Mediterranean is very evident in the rich Kuwaiti food and cooking style that is both functional and filling at the same time.
The state had a predominantly Bedouin culture. In addition to this, the regional influences in the form of Persian cooking methods, Indian spices, Mediterranean ingredients and Najab cuisine has created the present style of Kuwaiti cooking.
Commonly Used Ingredients
Lamb or chicken in used commonly in Kuwaiti food and the dishes are cooked with some version of rice or unleavened bread. A spice mix called as Baharat is used that contains a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, coriander, ginger, mace, nutmeg, black pepper and paprika, though the exact ingredients of Kuwaiti food will vary from region to region.
Popular Cooking and Serving Methods
Traditionally, lamb or goat was cooked and served on top of rice along with grilled meat called as kebabs. A communal meal of several people eating from the same serving cum eating dish was common. Bedouins also preferred to have a tabeekh or coal based method of cooking food on a closed pot. Meat and vegetables were added to the pot first and browned. To the same pot additional ingredients were added and everything was cooked together. This form of cooking is still used in Kuwaiti homes to cook their traditional recipes for festive occasions. Over time, this cooking method evolved to form marag, where individual ingredients where cooked separately and then added to the main recipe.
Traditional Kuwaiti Recipes
There are several local Kuwaiti foods that are popular like -
• Machboos which is a special festival dish of meat or chicken cooked along with rice. The rice is usually cooked in the broth formed by stewing the meat.
• Harees are a Kuwaiti meat dish stewed with wheat and then topped with cinnamon and sugar.
• Jiresh or a cooked mash of spelt served with chicken, meat or tomatoes.
Kuwaiti Food Restrictions
Kuwaiti cuisine is predominantly Muslim based and pork is taboo. Pork recipes are also not available in the Kuwaiti food repertoire.