Monday, February 28, 2011


NOTE: There, at a future date, will be some clarifications to the Bahamas.  Not going to be doing that yet, though.  Want to keep you waiting.

Also, if you have problem posting comments, let me know.  If you are on the general blog, you should be able to click on the number of comments and it will bring you to a screen where you can enter more.


Note on history: In 1783, the al-Khalifa family captured Bahrain from the Persians.
Location: Archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia
Land area: 760 square km, 187th in the world
               3.5 times the size of DC
Irrigated land: 40 sq km
Natural disasters: Drought and dust storms
Population: Over 700,000; 163rd in the world
Adjective: Bahraini
Religion: Over 81% Muslim
Capital: Manama (do dooo do do do...manamana)
US Embassy: The CIA factbook notes that the ambassador from the US lives next door to the Al-Ahli Sports Club
GDP Per Capita: Over $40,000; 19th in the world
Women's Rights: Women were granted the ability to vote in 2002

One of the best parts of this adventure is it makes me more aware of what is going on.  This has been especially apparent with Bahrain.  Before I got here, I was mistaken about where Bahrain was.  I think I was getting is confused with Bangladesh and Burma.  Now I not only know where it is, but I am more likely to read news articles on it.  It brings me a bit closer.

And yes, I tried e-mailing the ambassador, but I think they have some other concerns on their mind.

Most of the searches I did pointed to Machboos as being the national dish of Bahrain, so I decided to try to find a recipe for that.  I wasn't really sure what it was at first, but hey, I'm here to learn, right?

I decided to go with this version after some searching.  It seemed like the most legitimate one I could find, plus it would get me to try some new things I hadn't before.

First of all, the most important tool I had for this recipe:
Yay wedding gifts!
Part of the recipe calls for buharat spice mix, which I had to make.  Since it was going to make WAY more than I needed, I quartered the recipe.  There was a lot of converting.  Speaking of spices, that was the main theme in this recipe.
Cloves after grinding.
Inside a cardamom pod, which I thought would be very difficult to grind.
Up close and personal.
It was not difficult at all!
10 little spices, standing in a line...
It just kept getting prettier and prettier.
Mmmm spicy.
 By now my kitchen was full of wonderful smells.  Now it was time to do that do the chicken.
I used chicken breast, because we already had some.  The recipe did not specify.
There was also some chopping that needed to be done, and I had a lovely assistant.  It was Kevin's birthday, so I promised to not take any pictures of him playing video games.
Pepper that didn't end up being spicy.
I was unable to find black limes.  The person at Whole Food recommended I find an Asian market, but we ran out of time.  I don't know how much of a difference it would make.  Notice the ever-present onions, though.
He knows how to handle his ginger.
Peel!  It didn't really specify how much a slice was, so we kinda had to guess.
Mix it all together and what do you get?
Have you ever "washed" rice before?  It is kinda weird, and bizarre how much stuff comes off of it.
And to drive the point home, some more pictures of Kevin being helpful.
Notice the flowers he got me for Valentine's Day.
Chopping cilantro.  This is called "coriander leaves" in the recipe.
Then we hit our ambiguity.  It tells you to put the chicken on a pan and grill it until golden brown.  We were thinking broiler pan, but weren't sure.  Luckily MyHungryTum was doing the same recipe, and came to the same conclusion!  It is nice to have someone back you up.
There was one ingredient that I was able to find at Whole Foods that was a bit "strange": Rose Water.  The person helping me knew where it was, though, so I added it to everything else.
Smells like roses.  Really.
Ready to simmer.
 Then there was some waiting.  Due to Kevin's birthday, Tesla was being adorable.
I see you!
And I might try to pounce you soon.
But I must always remain sneaky.
Okay!  We are done!  Rice has simmered, and the chicken has cooked (for not very long).  Let's set the table and taste some spice.
Cooked-on cinnamon.
The rice soaked everything up very nicely.
Nice serving platter, eh?

I really liked it.  I thought it was very flavorful and interesting and different than what I would normally do.  I really liked making rice that way.  It was like eating the rice from a restaurant or something...I didn't think I could do that.

The only problem was that the chicken got very dried out.  I think this would be solved by using bone-in chicken, rather than chicken breasts.

This also made more rice than I have any idea what to do with.  Over a week later, there is still a lot of it left.  It is good as a side, but it will start getting dried out soon.  If you're going to make this, maybe do less rice?  Or more chicken?  Or at least bone-in chicken so there are more pieces?

Bahrain, I salute you and your delicious chicken.  Good leftovers too.  Like the leftover wrapping paper Tesla continued to play in.
Last time: (The) Bahamas
Next time: Bangladesh


  1. Looks soooooooooo delicious.

  2. It does look good. And yay, Bahrain for having a good recipe. Perhaps not so much the yay for an unstable government and REALLY. REALLY, Bahrain 2002?!

  3. I just found you. First of all I want to tip my hat off to you for this culinary journey. Awesome! Not sure what you have done these past four years! I am an Amerucan living in Oman. The chicken should have been a whole cut up chicken. That would indeed solve the dryness of the breast! I'm off to check your other posts!!! Thank you!!!