3 Staple Ingredients To Try: The Omani Kitchen

Omani kitchen boasts a number of exotic ingredients that lend the cuisine a unique, rich flavour. If you love diving into plates of juicy meats bedded on basmati biryani and Qabooli rice dishes or savouring a crispy treat such as the famous ragag (also called rakhal) flatbread, then you must try some of these three local staple ingredients.

1. Rose Water

Let’s start off with something sweet for the palate. Rose water has a fragrant aroma that lingers after each bite, serving an aftertaste to remember. In the Omani kitchen, rose water is mostly used for making desserts such as the traditional Halwa. You can also add a couple of drips to your lemonade for a thirst-quenching perfumed sip, and if you are a chocoholic, then blend it in your cocoa dip. It also pairs well with spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, as well as citrus fruits, peaches, and a variety of nuts.

2. Dates

Dates are not only Oman’s symbol of hospitality, but they are also key ingredients in a number of traditional dishes, and now are part of the global culinary world. Traditionally, the dates are used in a sauce called tarsha (a sauce served with Ursiya, a ceremonial dish made of mashed rice and meat), where the dense, sweet flavour of the fruit takes centre stage. You can also incorporate this cultural fruit in your favourite dessert as a date honey (also called date syrup, or dibs in Omani). The date syrup works as a perfect alternative to maple syrup. You can pour it on your stack of pancakes, mix it with your oatmeal, or even have it with the Omani flatbreads. It’s finger-licking good.

3. Omani Ghee

Known for having quite a distinctive flavour, the Omani ghee is one of the most celebrated staple ingredients in town, sold at various local vegetable market, souqs and select shops. Unlike the typical purified butter, the Omani version is made with a bunch of spices that add an interesting taste. Ingredients such as cumin, red chilis, and coriander are blended with the animal fat, which makes for an impeccable addition to any local dish. This particular item is sometimes consumed with food as a condiment, but it is mostly known for being a key ingredient in traditional flatbread recipes. It’s downright appetising, especially when devoured with hot cardamom sip of Karak.

Written by Salim Al Afifi

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