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Oman - Cooking and Food Edit

Overview of Omani Cuisine HistoryEdit

Oman, which is officially the Sultanate of Oman, occupies the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Omani agriculture is situated at the subsistence level; some major crops which grow in this region are melons, bananas and tomatoes. The Omani people have always been known for their hospitality and offers of refreshment. Almost in every house you will find coffee or kahwa, halwa, which is a sweet gelatinous substance with brown sugar, honey, eggs, and spices. Two important religious festivals are celebrated by the Omanis, and these are Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. In Omani cuisine, rice is the main ingredient, together with cooked meats. An example of rice dish is maqbous, which is cooked over a spicy white or red meat. Omani dishes also consist of fish, mutton or Chicken and Omani cuisine is distinct from the indigenous foods which are specific to other Gulf states and is even different within the Sultanate's various regions.

Cuisines of Oman Edit

Map of Oman

Map of Oman- Click to enlarge

Even though one would find it difficult to find some similarities between the dishes prepared in Salalah, in the south, and those prepared in Muscat, in the north, the symbol of Omani hospitality is represented by the ubiquitos dates that are served with Omani coffee or khawa, which is prepared from freshly roasted ground coffee mixed with cardamom powder. There is also a great variety of soups such as Lentil, vegetable, Chicken, or Lamb. As far as salads are concerned, most of the times they consist of smoked Eggplant, fresh vegetables, dried fish, Tuna fish, and watercress. As for the most common dessert, this is called halwa and is made of wheat flour and cooked or several hours on fire. Other Omani dishes are ruz al mudhroub, which is cooked rice and fried fish, and mishkak, meaning skewered meat grilled on charcoal. Regarding vegetarian food, the Omanis also prepare salona, a vegetarian curry with a tomato base.

Preparation Methods for Omani Cooking Edit

Omani cuisine uses elements from various cooking traditions borrowed from their neighbours and developed from their own traditional dishes. While there are no specific or unique preparation methods for Omani cooking, we should point out that attention to detail is important in the Omani cuisine. Using the right amount of spices for example is essential – either for spicing up the taste or for coloring the dish. The diversity of vegetables and cereals found in Oman is also noticed in the delicious dishes belonging to their cuisine. The visual attractiveness of the dish is also important, and a balance between colors and proportion differentiates. Each traditional dish has a special cooking method, which is more or less general in all of Oman’s regions. Meat is one of the main elements of most Omani dishes. Pork products are forbidden in any form.

Special Equipment for Omani Cooking Edit

Ranging from cake pans, can openers, colanders, egg rings, poachers and holders, food dishers & portioners, food pans & food containers to other kitchen utensils, such as food scales, food scoops and fryer baskets & accessories, the Omani cuisine needs a diverse cooking equipment set in order to produce the most sophisticated Omani dishes. You should consider insulated food carriers if you are transporting the food and a full set of kitchen linens and uniforms if you wish to look like a pro. Here are a few other items that will come handy while cooking Omani food: juicers, kitchen knives, kitchen slicers, kitchen thermometers, measuring cups & measuring spoons, miscellaneous utensils, mixing bowls and skimmers & strainers. Essential utensils like serving spoons, spatulas, forks, turners, scrapers and tongs should also be part of your cooking "arsenal".

Omani Food Traditions and Festivals Edit

On festive occasions, especially on the first day of Eid, Omani people prepare special dishes like harees made from Wheat combined with meat; mishkak, shuwa, sakhana, which is a thick and sweet soup containing date, Wheat, molasses, and milk; fatta, and khubz rakhal, which is thin Omani bread. On Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha, the main Islamic religious festivals, the Omanis prepare ruz al mudhroub, maqdeed, muqalab cooked with crushed or ground spices like garlic, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, and cardamom. Other cooked dishes served during Eid include arsia, meaning Lamb meat cooked with rice, or harees. A typically Omani delicious dish is represented by shuwa, which consists of cow or goat roasted for up to two days in a special underground sand oven. The process of preparing shuwa is the following: you marinate the meat with red pepper, cumin, garlic, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, and vinegar, and then wrap it in sacks made of dry banana or palm leaves which are then introduced into the sand oven.

People in Omani Food Edit

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There are many chefs who creatively use the basic ingredients and cooking methods for traditional Omani dishes and create original and delicious food variations. Omani chefs are passionate about their traditional dishes and they enjoy presenting them to foreigners who have never tasted them before. Whether they are cooking dishes that go back in time for centuries or brand new, modern dishes, Omani chefs take pride in what they do, and this is readily noticeable in the unforgettable taste of their cooking.

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