#37: Bahrain

Greetings from The Kingdom of Bahrain

Doesn’t that just sound fancy?! I thought so too. It’s been such beautiful Colorado weather this weekend that it seems a shame to escape to the far away land of Bahrain, but we were no less excited to try out some more Middle Eastern cuisine!

THE DINNER: Two of my favorite things collided when I was doing research on Bahraini food and culture this week: COFFEE and ROYALTY. So to be clear about both of these things, Bahrain is the only Middle Eastern country to reside on an island, which if that wasn’t cool enough, it’s also ruled by a royal family. Which is terribly romantic and coupled with the nation’s full name “The Kingdom of Bahrain” it is magical. I also learned that it is a custom to serve a guest coffee as they enter a home… wait, you’re telling me they have royalty andddd they will give me coffee whenever I enter someplace?! This is my new favorite country. They call this Gahwa (قهوة) and it’s basically the nicest way I can imagine to be greeted.

We wanted to pick a traditional Middle Eastern meal and we instantly gravitated towards Shwarma. For those of you unaware of the pure joy of shaved meat that has been roasted all day, served in a warm naan blanket and smothered in all means of yogurt-y goodness, you are missing out on one of the joys of life. The word “shwarma” is actually Turkish in origin and means “turning” which refers to the way in which traditionally this meat (be it lamb, beef or chicken) is cooked. In markets, street vendors will spit roast this meat, which is pretty cool and labor intensive. It’s the original fast food too, btws. It’s been around for literally centuries and it’s here to stay.

Shwarma Recipe: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/leg-of-lamb-shawarma?xid=pinsharebar

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: One and a HALF STARS out of five this Dinner!
This country could have been really more of a three, but we didn’t make naan from scratch. We definitely could have done this, as naan is not difficult—but we just didn’t have the time to devote this week to that particular step of the process. The overall meal after that is pretty simple. I mean, it’s designed to be a grab-n-go type of meal. You grille the meat and cut up some veggies and add sauce! Done. Done. And done!

Best dish of all time scale: FOUR and a HALF STARS out of five for Dinner.
The idea of shwarma or gryos in general, conjure up imagines of succulent meat wrapped in fluffy bread smothered in tzatziki, hummus or yogurt. I feel like it’s basically the most perfect meal one can have in many respects. It has it all: meat, bread, flavor, veggies. It’s great in theory. This particular rendition only got a four star tip from our hat. The reason wasn’t that it was not delicious, it definitely was. The reason was not that it was difficult, I already covered that piece. The reason was that it had so much potential to achieve a five star status and it feel a little short. It was simple—almost too simple we decided. Upon reflection, we would have loved to add some red onion, Kalamata olive or maybe a falafel. It just could have been a little more dressed up and exciting, but it was incredibly tasty and a solid meal.

We are heading from our perch in the Persian Gulf, leaving our island kingdom of Bahrain to venture to the jungles of Africa next weekend. We are looking forward to seeing what kinds of culinary trouble we can get ourselves into in Madagascar for week #38!

When in doubt always add more butter!
– L & K

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