Arabic cuisine, origins, ingredients and flavours

Arab cuisine is one of the richest in the world. This is because it combines the culinary traditions of the North African countries and the Arab Gulf states. Thus, it employs ingredients from Mediterranean cuisine along with the rich nuances of Eastern and African spices.

Characteristics of Arab cuisine

Its characteristics are due to its origin and historical trajectory. As you will see, it originated with the nomadic peoples of ancient Arabia. As they were shepherds, they consumed a lot of dairy products and by-products. Logically, the most commonly consumed meat was mutton and, as it follows the rules of halal cooking, pork was not included.

When these peoples traded with Asia and Europe, they enriched their dishes with ingredients and techniques that will be discussed later. From India they also incorporated their countless spices.

The three types of Arab cuisine

This is how the three types of Arab cuisine we know today came about: Maghrebi (western), Levantine (eastern) and Masri (central).

Maghrebi cuisine

This is the cuisine of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania.

Couscous is one of the most common ingredients in this cuisine. Many dishes are made with lamb and poultry. Fish is often marinated in shermoula, a sauce made from coriander, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and spices. Mint is often used for meat dishes.

In addition to couscous in different versions, another very famous dish is tajine, which is ubiquitous in every dining room and restaurant.

It shares with other Arab cuisines the use of legumes, especially chickpeas. It also uses vegetables such as tomatoes and aubergines and fruits such as lemons and dates.

Levantine cuisine

This includes Turkish cuisine and is the most Mediterranean. It often uses olive oil, Greek yoghurt, cheeses, chickpeas and aromatic Mediterranean spices (oregano, thyme, cumin, sesame...), resulting in dishes such as tahini or the spice mixture called zaatar. Vegetables (aubergines, onions, tomatoes, peppers, etc.) and chicken or lamb are frequently used.

Masri cuisine

Also known as Egyptian cuisine. It includes Mediterranean fish, Alexandria prawns, lamb or beef, olive oil, broad beans (for the popular ful medammes dish) and other legumes. A popular dish is molokheya, made with rabbit and a variety of jute, and kushari, which is considered Egypt's national dish and is made with striated vegetables.

It shares with oriental cuisine its variety of fruits (citrus fruits, apricots, oranges, figs, pomegranates...), sweets made with dried fruits and pita bread.

Do you want to try Arabic cuisine? You will find it in our Arabic menu prepared by our chef expert in this type of gastronomy. Enjoy it!

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    Ramesh karki

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