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Popular Saudi Recipes that will transport you to Saudi Arabia

Popular Saudi Recipes that will transport you to Saudi Arabia, a popular saudi recipe especially in winter, Popular Saudi REcipes, Top 5 Saudi recipes, famous food in Saudi arabia, arabia dishes, Saudi Arabia dishes, Saudi Arabia dish

Looking to throw around some new spices in the kitchen? Check out these Saudi Arabian flavours that will really rock your taste buds. Saudi Arabia has so much to offer with regards to food, and it's crazy to think that some people have never tried these dishes before! 

1. Kapsa

Kabsa is an exuberant looking family of dishes made from basmati rice, meat, vegetables, and a unique blend of spices. Kabsa originated from Yemen and is served as a traditional dish in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, Jordan and Kuwait. Kabsa can be made in a number of ways, the recipe differs in almost every household!  But as long as it looks grand, you got your kabsa right.


  • 1 kg chicken (cut into pieces)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 sliced onion
  • 12 oz tomato puree
  • 2 medium chopped tomatoes
  • 4 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 2 grated carrot
  • 1 grated orange
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 Cardamom
  • 3 Cinnamon sticks
  • Pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 kg rice
  • ¼ cup Raisins
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds


  1. Saute 2 medium sliced onion until it begins to brown.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, chicken pieces and garlic and stir for 5 min over low heat.
  3. Stir in 3 cups of hot water, grated orange, grated carrot, salt, pepper and spice.
  4. Cook over medium heat for about 20-25 min, until chicken is done.
  5. Set aside to keep warm.
  6. Stir rice into the liquid in the pan and cook.
  7. Cover the pan over low heat for about 35-40 min or until liquid is absorbed.
  8. Put rice on a serving platter, with chicken pieces spread all around.
  9. Toss almonds and raisins over and serve.

2. Baklava

This rich pastry made with layers of filo and chopped nuts, held together by honey and syrup is bound to satisfy your sweet tooth! This beautiful dish drenched in light syrup is a gift from the old Ottoman Empire to the world. Even in the Middle East it is considered a ‘presentation’ dish and reserved for special occasions because of its expensive ingredients. (But don't worry, feel free to make it at home at impress at dinner parties!)



For the Filling

  • 8 oz finely chopped almonds
  • 4 oz finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 oz caster sugar
  • 2-3 tsp bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cloves

For the syrup

  • 1 lb sugar
  • 16 fl oz water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the cover

  • 5 oz unsalted butter
  • 12 oz packet filo pastry


  1. Mix all the ingredients under ‘filling’ in a bowl.
  2. Mix all the ingredients under ‘syrup’ together in a saucepan and bring it to boil, with continuous stirring for the sugar to dissolve.
  3. Simmer for 10 min.
  4. Leave it to cool.
  5. Brush a 12 x 10 baking dish with butter.
  6. Brush 10 sheets of filo with melted butter.
  7. Lay the sheets one by one on the dish.
  8. Now, spread the ‘filling’ in the dish.
  9. Now top it off again with further 10 to 12 sheets of filo and brush them with melted butter.
  10. Score the top layers into large diamond shapes with a sharp knife.
  11. Bake in oven (160 C) for about 1 hour or until the top turns golden brown.
  12. Remove from oven and pour the syrup over the top.
  13. Leave it for 5-6 hours to absorb the syrup.
  14. Serve.

3. Shanklish

Shanklish is a type of sheep’s milk or cow’s milk cheese in Arab cuisine, which is made into very small balls. The balls are then covered in za’atar, a typical Arabic herb, and Aleppo pepper. The balls are then stored and dried for a long period before they can be eaten. It has a strong flavor and odor.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 quarts plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp crushed hot pepper
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • Za’atar seasoning for coating


  1. Combine everything in a saucepan except the za’atar.
  2. Stir and boil the mixture until curds separates.
  3. Stain it through a colander, lined with cheese cloth.
  4. Shape the cheese into small balls, when its cool enough to handle.
  5. Dust a palte with za’atar and roll the shanklish in the spice to coat them.
  6. Refrigerate before you serve.

4. Falafel

Our very own recipe! Falafels from Operation Falafel are crunchy balls or fritters of chickpea or other pulses, deep-fried until golden brown. They are commonly sandwiched in pita bread with tahini sauce and hummus in pita bread (delicious!) You don't know the true feel of a falafel until you have one for yourself. 


  • 1 chopped onion
  • 16 oz dried chickpeas
  • 2 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 3 tsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp flour
  • Salt
  • Oil (for frying)
  • Pepper


  1. Soak dried chickpeas in water for overnight.
  2. Drain chickpeas and place them in fresh water.
  3. Bring to a boil for 5 min.
  4. Let simmer on low for about 1 hour.
  5. Drain water from chickpeas and allow to cool for 15 min.
  6. Combine onion, garlic, flour, chickpeas, cumin, pepper and salt (to taste) in a bowl.
  7. Mash chickpeas and mix the ingredients together.
  8. Form the mixture into small balls (size of a ping pong ball) and then slightly flatten the balls.
  9. Fry at 360 degree in 2 inches of oil, until golden brown.
  10. Serve.

5. Manakeesh

Manakeesh is the Arabic pizza of sorts. It is made of authentic Arabic Lebanese flat breads, topped with an exquisite selection of marinated meat, vegetables, and a multitude of Arabic spices and herbs. It is difficult to think of a lavish breakfast table in the middle east without a manakeesh at its centre. Here is the low down on how to make this delicious Arabic food.


  • 2 ¼ lb flour
  • 2 cup of warm water
  • Fresh zaater oil
  • 2 tbsp dry yeast
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated akawi cheese
  • 1 tbsp salt


  1. Stir yeast in ¼ cup of warm water and leave it aside for an hour to become active.
  2. Add 1 tbsp of salt in flour, along with some olive oil over it. Add the remaining cups of water on it and mix them together into a soft dough.
  3. Roll out the dough into a medium sized thickness and spread the fresh zaater oil all over the surface  
  4. Place the dough on the baking sheet and top it up with 1/3 cup of grated akawi cheese.
  5. Bake in your oven for about 6 min at 650 F.
  6. Serve with fresh tomatoes and pickled cucumber.