Dejaj Salona | Emirati Chicken StewFriday, April 01, 2016
Another experience from MENA Cooking Club! This time the club explored UAE (United Arab Emirates) Cuisine. We received the club email on 8th of March and had almost a month to try and make any one or all three of the dishes that our host Tamar chose for UAE.
Main: Ro-be-yann nashif (shrimp)
I actually just got back from Dubai last month and met my brother and his two munchkins! It was my first visit to UAE but Dubai doesn't represent UAE, it is a global city with people and food from all over! UAE is one of the Middle Eastern countries with almost 80% of its population as expatriates. The same reason why their authentic cuisine is hard to differentiate as it is diluted with all the foreign influences. Even during my stay there, I had Afghan, Peruvian, Indian cuisine, and once they served dates with different fillings which was the closest to Arabian food! :-D That is how food world has become in Dubai!
Dejaj Salona is a Chicken stew with lot of vegetables. What makes it Emirati is the Spice mix called Bezar. Just like how there is no rule for any of the numerous spice mix of India, there is none for Bezar too. I spent hours on the internet to find two matching recipes so that I can be confident in using it. Though I found similar recipes of the mix, they were from the same source! I also read that each family has their own magic mix.
Dejaj Salona | Emirati Chicken Stew
For Bezar Spice Mix
Yields: 3 to 4 tablespoons
3 green chillis, slit
1 red hot pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
Dry roast all the seeds and sticks until fragrant and let it cool. Once cooled, add them into a spice blender along with turmeric powder and grind until fine powder. Keep in an air tight container.
In a deep sauce pan, add water, chicken pieces, and the whole spices and bring it to boil. Once it boils, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the water is reduced to half the quantity. Switch off and keep aside.
Heat the oil in a curry pot on medium-high heat. Add onions, and sauté until golden. Stir in ginger, garlic and green chillies and sauté for a minute and then add in tomatoe paste, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, loomi. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes.
Note: The more you simmer, the more better. You can thicken the stew by simmering for longer period. Chicken on bone is better as it gives rich broth. Vegetables are totally your choice, you can add in any vegetables like carrots, zuchini, etc. I had to keep it to minimum else F will tag it as a vegetarian dish which will become hard for me to sell. :-D
Check out what the other MENA Cooking Club members made: