20 Traditional Emirati Recipes “Simply Delicious” in 2024

Traditional Emirati recipes from the United Arab Emirates are extremely healthy and are a great food source for health conscious individuals.

The United Arab Emirates food, also known as Emirati cuisine, has a rich cultural heritage, and it is based on the traditions of the Persian Gulf. Emirati culture can be seen primarily in their cuisine, handicrafts, and architecture. The Emirati food reflects the diversity of people who have influenced its development.

Traditional Emirati food has been greatly modified by various cultures and is now an amalgamation of dishes from around the world, including India and Southeast Asia.

The Emirati food is mainly based on meat and rice. The main traditional Emirati foods in the U.A.E. are Kabsa, Harees, Kafta, Fattah, and Khaleeji rice and biryani with meat from beef, lamb, or chicken.

Traditional Emirati Food

Emirati food is a mixture of traditional Emirati recipes and modern mixes. Yemenite, Iranian, and Southern Asian flavors are blended with traditional Arabic spices in many dishes.

Typical Emirati food appetizers include mixed nuts and crunchy falafel. Red meat is often found in dishes like Kafta, or beef shawarma served on a traditional flatbread called Sbada. The meat is marinated overnight and then roasted on a spit.

Other popular dishes include Kabsa or Arabic pizza served with meat, chicken, or vegetables. Fattah, or mixed vegetables with rice or lentils, is also common in Emirati food.

The staple Emirati food of the entire region is rice. Emirati rice dishes vary depending on where you live, but almost all Emirati dishes include either rice or lentils. This Emirati food is popular during Ramadan. You can find many other Emirati food choice from the Gulf region in the United Arab Emirates, such as shawarma, rice, falafel, and hummus.

When it comes to vegetables, the most popular are eggplant, potatoes, carrots, and okra. Consumption of fish and seafood is very high. Emirati food includes a rich selection of sweets. Popular desserts include maamoul, shorabeh, knafeh, and zalabia.

Besides Emirati food, there is a rich variety of other cuisines from around the world. For example, Emirati fish curry is a dish that combines British seafood curry sauce with seafood from U.A.E. waters. One of the unique about about U.A.E. dining is all of the food is eaten with your hands. Traditional Emirati culture emphasizes the importance of eating with your family and loved ones.

United Arab Emirates Cooking

When it comes to cooking, the U.A.E. is very fond of outdoor grilling and shishas. Grilled or roasted meats are the most popular dishes. Cooking is usually done on a flame or charcoal barbecue, inside ovens, or in tandoor clay ovens. Cooking over an open fire is also common.

Cooking preparations begin with washing and preparing the ingredients. Some Emirati foods are soaked before cooking, while others are cooked in water. Emirati dishes often use a lot of oil and spices.

The sauce is used very frequently in Emirati cooking to add flavor and moisture to the main dish. Many dishes also include a yogurt sauce to bring out the natural flavor of the main ingredients.

Meals are usually served with Arabic bread called Khubz. Khubz differs from region to region, and it is known by different names in various places. For example, it is called khubz in the Middle East, pita bread in Egypt and Iran, and nan in India.

5 Most Popular United Arab Emirates Dishes

A typical Arabian dinner consists of a starter, a main dish, and a salad. Salads are always the first course for dinner. They are usually served with tagine or rice. The common salad is picked, celery and eggplant, lettuce, okra, and tomatoes. These salads are prepared with the traditional Arabic sauce, known as tahina. They are served in special sauce dishes. The ingredients consist of peanuts, garlic, cumin, and lemon juice.

1. Beef Shawarma

This is a popular dish all over the Arab world. It consists of small grilled patties of beef. The most common shawarma is in wraps, but it can be served on a plate if preferred.

2. Chicken Shawarma

It consists of small grilled patties of chicken. It can also be served on a plate. This meal is often served with salad and vegetables.

3. Kafta

This is a popular dish from the United Arab Emirates. It is made from ground beef. It can be served as a main course, but it is more often served as an appetizer. Furthermore, it is served either in a wrap or on a plate.

4. Chicken Curry

This curry is one of the most common meals in the United Arab Emirates. It consists of chicken and a special curry sauce. It is served with rice and vegetables

5. Falafel

This is a popular dish all over the Middle East and Arab countries. It consists of fried balls of ground chickpeas, onions, and spices. It is served with salads, hummus, and pickles. It can also be served with rice or tahina sauce.

The 5 Most Often Asked Questions About Emirati Food

What is the most popular dish in the United Arab Emirates?

The most popular dish in the United Arab Emirates is the classic shawarma. This is one of the common street foods in the region. It is a skewer with the meat, served on a plate.

What food are the Arabs proud of?

The Arabs are proud of the Arabic dishes. More often than not, these traditional dishes are served in special dishes. For example, there is a separate dish for tahina and kafta.

What meat do people from U.A.E. eat?

The United Arab Emirates is famous for sheep. By tradition, lamb is the favorite meat in the region. The reason they serve it with rice is that lamb can be a bit dry and tasteless without some carbohydrates. Lamb is also served in many different ways.

What is the common drink in U.A.E.?

The most common drink in the United Arab Emirates is milk. They have a different drink for almost everything. For example, they have a special drink to represent Coke and Pepsi, or when they are at an event, like a wedding or festival, they serve extra cups of coffee and tea.

Is Emirati food healthy?

The traditional Emirati food is very healthy. It contains many natural ingredients and spices. The Emirati food often consists of various dishes made from chicken, lamb, beef, and falafel.

Braised Lamb Shank

20 Traditional Emirati Recipes “Simply Delicious”

check out our video

1. Fish Machboos

Fish Machboos Traditional Emirati recipes

This is a traditional Emirati recipe for Biryani which is almost similar to the Indian Biryani. It is cooked either with fish, mutton or chicken. This is the former version. I have used King Fish but it can be prepared with the popular Hamour fish too.

2. Chicken Majboos Recipe

Chicken Majboos Recipe Traditional Emirati recipes

Chicken Majboos traditional Emirati recipe is an Arabic spiced rice dish that is serve with chicken. It is considered a national dish in Arabian Gulf State in the Middle East.

Chicken Machboos, also known as Majboos, is their national dish of Kuwait which is commonly served with a local tomato garlic sauce called Daqoos. Furthermore, in the Arabic Gulf State, Majboos also has another name which they called it Kabsa.

3. Emirati Machboos with Desert Truffles

Emirati Machboos with Desert Truffles

This traditional Emirati recipe made with the desert truffle is found in East and North Africa and the Middle East, from Morocco to the UAE. They are highly prized but much cheaper than European truffles.

The desert truffle is traditionally found in souks or markets from January until April. They grow in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle east, and depend on rainfall in order to grow. They are a type of edible hypogeous fungi, a subterranean ascomycete fungus that grows entirely underground. The desert truffle enjoys a symbiotic relationship with the roots of the helianthemum, or sunrose.

4. Assyrian Bean Stew With Lamb (Masheh)

Assyrian Bean Stew With Lamb (Masheh)

Bean Stew with Lamb or “Masheh,” is a popular dish in the Middle East. Beans are simmered with lamb or beef in a tomato-based stew, until tender. This stew is usually served over a plate of vermicelli rice, or with bread.

I’m not sure why I don’t cook authentic Emirati Recipe for bean stew more often, but it’s probably because I’m always on a diet, counting carbs, and avoiding rice like the plague.

Today I decided to live a little; I invite you to do the same. After all, life is too short to never eat your favorite food!

5. Chebab Recipe with Saffron

Chebab Recipe with Saffron Traditional Emirati recipes

This Chebab/Chabab/Shebab traditional Emirati recipe is one of the most known Arabian pancakes which is eaten for breakfast simply with butter, honey, sugar, jam or else with date syrup. Chebabs are yeasted pancakes and they are the most liked breakfast of many in Arabic countries.

These chebabs have their own place even in Ramadan meal. Flavored with cardamom and saffron, these pancakes are simply fabulous to indulge with some buttery honey sauce.

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6. Emirati Hummus

Emerati Hummus Emirati recipe

When talking to Hannah, one of the things she mentioned that she would miss about Dubai was Arabic cuisine, especially the hummus. She explained how hummus is basically a food group in the Middle East and she would miss having access to some of the best hummus in the world.

However, she mentioned, that she had practiced her hummus making skills and had developed her own recipe. I asked Hannah to share this recipe so we too can get a taste of life in Dubai. This is a traditional Emirati recipe from her time there.

7. Mopla Kozhi Biriyani ~ Mappila Chicken Biriyani

Mopla Kozhi Biriyani _ Mappila Chicken Biriyani

As per the description given for this traditional Emirati recipe for biriyani, it did mention that this biriyani is featured during the Mopla (meaning Muslim) weddings in the north of Kerala. Actually speaking, this is one of the easiest biriyani I have made, and tasted really good as well.

It is interesting to note that there is no “dum” involved in it, it’s a cook and mix kind of a biriyani. Off to the way that I made it…

8. Dejaaj Murragg/ Saloona/ Dejaaj Salona ~ Emirati Chicken Stew

Dejaaj Murragg Saloona Dejaaj Salona _ Emirati Chicken Stew

The Saloona is traditional Emirati recipe somewhere hybrid between a soup and a stew. You can make it go anyway, or keep it in the middle! 😉 The best part about the saloona is the use of vegetables along with the chicken, making it easy to include the otherwise-not-so-attractive veggies to go in and getting your kids to eat them!

I have used only potatoes and carrots, but I have seen other recipes that use zucchini and brinjals, so you can add them as well.

9. Mutton Karahi & Lamb Karahi Recipe

Mutton Karahi & Lamb Karahi Recipe

There are some dishes in Emirati and Pakistani cuisine that really don’t need an introduction. Biryani, Pilau, Korma… they all speak for themselves. A traditional Emirati recipe for mutton Karahi also comes in this elite category.

Often found on the menus of dhabbas and restaurants all around Pakistan, served on special occasions and get-togethers, Mutton Karahi is just the epitome of good Pakistani food.

10. Emirati Balaleet

Emirati Balaleet Emirati recipe

Balaleet is a traditional Emirati Recipe that is a delicious salty and sweet breakfast dish that is enjoyed on a regular basis in UAE and common to all Gulf countries.

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11. Harees Recipe

Harees Recipe (1) Emirati food

Harees recipe is a traditional Arabic one pot dish made with wheat and chicken. You can even make this amazing recipe with boneless lamb too.

A traditional Emirati recipe that is made in almost all the Arab households, the Harees or harissa is made daily during Ramadan.

Whether it is for suhoor or iftar, Harees Recipe or harissa is a must have during Ramadan. With minimal spices, it is light and easy on the stomach. Harees or harissa recipe is a simple, filling and delicious dish.

12. Emirati Jisheed

Emirati Jisheed Emirati food

A traditional Emirati recipe for Jisheed. Minced shark meat cooked in turmeric, bezar, and lime juxtaposed nicely with the bed of of aromatic basmati rice on which it was served. To the side of the neatly constructed cylinder of fish and rice, a rich tomato sauce unified the dish.

13. Roasted Eggplant with Meat Sauce

Roasted Eggplant with Meat Sauce

Traditional Emirati recipe for eggplant covered in meat sauce. Roasting eggplant does take some time (about an hour), so I had plenty of time to make my own meat sauce. If you want to make this recipe even easier, you can always sub the homemade meat sauce for your favorite jarred sauce, but I just want to stress how easy the meat sauce is to make yourself.

14. Tharid (Emirati Lamb Stew)

Tharid (Emirati Lamb Stew) Emirati food

Often referred to as the Prophet favorite dish, this traditional Emirati recipe for a satisfying lamb and vegetable stew is served over thin, cracker-like bread called regag to soak up the rich juices (although we found store-bought, toasted roti to work just as well). To make the preparation easier, have your butcher cut the lamb into pieces. Todd Coleman

15. Emirati Sweet Vermicelli and Egg Omelet

Emirati Balaleet

Balaleet (Emirati Sweet Vermicelli and Egg Omelet) for a breakfast created from a traditional Emirati recipe! Toasted vermicelli noodles are tossed with sugar and spices, then topped with an egg omelet for a delightful contrast of sweet and savory.

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16. Emirate Ouzi

Emirate Ouzi

Emrate Ouzi is a traditional Emirati recipe sn is one of the most popular dishes to make for Eid, especially in the season of peas, and it is a traditional Emirati recipe that anyone can prepare easily.

If you are confused in choosing the dish of the day, and you want an easy and quick recipe due to lack of time, we present to you the Ouzi method, a recipe that will not take more than half an hour, but it will be a hearty, delicious meal and suitable for the family.

17. Emirati Lamb White Bean Stew

Emirati Lamb White Bean Stew

Whatever said and done, I must say this traditional Emirati recipe for gravy is delicious! I have loved each and every gravy that I have cooked to feature under the Emirati Cuisine section and this one is no different. In fact, I guess I would choose this one as one of the contenders for my favorite. The stew has some very interesting flavors of the bezaar, loomi and the zaatar.

18. Braised Lamb Shank and Okra Stew

Braised Lamb Shank and Okra Stew

Traditional Emirati recipe also known as okra salouna, this flavor-packed Emirati stew combines two beloved Arabian Gulf ingredients: lamb and okra.

19. Bzar ~ How to make Emirati Spice Mix

Bzar _ How to make Emirati Spice Mixh3

Bzar Spice Mix is an Emirati Spice Mix, similar to our Indian Garam Masala. For the traditional Emirati recipe we blend the spice mix with butter and drizzle over soups, stews, etc.

Bzar is an integral part of Emirati Cuisine. They add this spice in dishes like Emirati Foga. It is a rice dish which has meat topping and finally they add a drizzle of this spice. They refer to stew-like dishes as referred to as Saloona or Marag.

20. Easy Samosa Recipe

Easy Samosa Recipe

Samosa is one of the most popular and elegant appetizers -specially in Ramadan- in the Arab world, Pakistan and India. For the traditional Emirati recipe we buy Samosa or Sambosak ready dough and fill it with various types of stuffing. Samosa is a very thin, long sheets of dough close to the egg roll’s dough and shaped like triangles and then deep fried.

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