In Southern Saudi the winter is really cold; due to many cities located above mountains. The South is always cloudy, you feel you are flying between the clouds heading to to mountain tops! it is a dreamy region with many green lands crawling down from the top of mountains down to the lowest points of the valleys.
The weather is very nice in Summer too! it is considered number 1 summer detestation locally, and known for the expensive rentals over summer season as well. As it is cool in the afternoon with peaceful cold breeze in the evening.
As a result to it’s location and Terrains, they have their very distinguished and unique dishes (savory & sweet). I am more aware of the sweet winter dishes, and that’s what am going to write to you about in this Article!
What can best warm our bodies during cold, maybe wet rainy days too? True! FAT, FAT, FAT! Speaking of that, it is a will known region for producing pure Cow/sheep Ghee. Also very famous in producing Honey, they even have types of honey not produced anywhere else in the world; with specific texture properties that suites their dishes and storage conditions.
The sweet dishes are considered as meals! they could be eaten any time during the day; preferably morning or lunchtime. They will make you super full for many hours later, BUT! you will be drowsy for sure; so keep some coffee around. Most of them are prepared with same foundation ingredients but differ in the additional ingredient which will play an important role in the : 1-Texture, 2- Color, and of course 3- Flavor.
Foundation ingredients are: Brown or White flour, Ghee & Butter, Milk or Laban (drinkable yogurt). Question, why some are so white and some are so brown? Read the following 2 most popular dishes to know the answer
Areekah is the brown one, as it is made by brown flour. Simply mix water with flour, knead them together and then bake them in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Once baked then knead them again to form a softer dough. During this time, boil your ghee & butter until you see them turning white and bubbly, if it makes the whole house smells like heaven, then it is ready to be used. You will put your dough in a plate with a hole in the middle to pour the butter. Pour some honey, and decorate with some dates. It is chewy in the mouth, sweet, doughy with ghee notes; These all together are very difficult to describe even for me!
The white one! The reason is the dairy and the white flour. Personally i prefer the Laban it will give the sourness & saltiness without the need to add them as ingredients. Basically, add the flour to the Laban, mix them, then cook them for 30 minutes on low heat. The texture will get thicker (slightly thicker than béchamel sauce). Ghee & butter preparation is same as mentioned above. Once cooked, you will pour some in a plate and also pour ghee & honey on top of it. Now this one is eaten with a spoon. It is sweet (lactose sweetness + honey sweetness), sour & salty, lumpy a little bit but dissolves in the mouth quickly, and rich in fattiness for sure!
The most fun part about these dishes is the eating experience itself. for Areekah, you will try to form small bowl from the dough, then dip it in then ghee with honey. Yes it will be dripping everywhere, but i promise you, it’s so fun!
If you are visiting Riyadh soon, contact me i could suggest some amazing places serves these authentic dishes