Around the World Cooking Challenge – Qatar

Hey everyone, welcome to our very first stop in our around the world journey – Qatar!

I have to say – I was pretty excited that my randomiser decided to give me something interesting to start with. It is really inspiring to start researching for recipes from a country that I don’t know too much about. I guess this will be a common feeling for many of the countries but, nevertheless, this was great!

The flag of Qatar.
  • Location: Western Asia
  • Population: about 2.8 million
  • Capital City: Doha
  • Language: Arabic

Qatar shown on a map.

What I learned about Qatar…

Qatar is located in Western Asia. The only land border of Qatar is with Saudi Arabia, the rest of the country has a 563 kilometres long coastline and is surrounded by the Persian Gulf. Most of Qatar’s area is a flat, low-lying desert and, fun fact, it’s one of the countries that have absolutely no forests! According to the World Risk Report, Qatar is very safe, being a country where a natural disaster is least likely to strike.

Corniche, Doha, Qatar
Corniche, Doha, Qatar. Photo by Rowen Smith.

Qatar is the richest country in the world. Having one of the world’s largest reserves of petroleum and natural gas is the reason for that. Additionally, the unemployment rate in the country in 2019 was only 0,1%, which is the lowest in the world. The promises of a good job in a rich country have flooded Qatar with many immigrants, mostly young and male. For this reason, both their population and gender ratio have been influenced – around 75% of the whole population are men. Furthermore, Qataris are actually a minority in their own country, making up only 10,5% of the total population!

Qatari society tends to be conservative in most respects and is heavily influenced by Islamic customs. The gender roles in Qatar are still relatively distinct, schooling is separated by genders and most marriages in the country are arranged. Adding to that, it is still legal in Qatar to control the whereabouts of a grown woman as well as her curfew time. At the same time, despite really liking to keep their family things private, Qataris are very hospitable towards their guests.

Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar.
Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar. Photo by Florian Wehde.

Cuisine of Qatar

Like in many other countries, meals in Qatar are large family affairs, during which food and drink are prepared and shared. Qatari cuisine is similar to other Arab countries and features fresh fish, many varieties of dates and large amounts of meat, especially beef and lamb. Their foods also involve a lot of heavy spice, the most popular of which are cardamom, cumin, cloves and saffron. Drinks include Arabic coffee or tea. In Qatar, it is typical that each family has its own unique and special recipe for dishes such as machboos that is being handed down for generations. Qataris celebrate the standard Islamic holidays, including Ramadan, which influences their eating habits.

Choosing the Recipes

At first, I was planning to try 3 recipes: Thareed, Luqaimat, and Esh Asaraya. However, when I started reading the Thareed recipe more carefully, I realized that one of the ingredients listed was a specific bread. Well, actually you could choose 1 out of 3 different options but since none of them are widely available in Estonia, then I had to try making it myself! This is the fascinating story of how Khubz entered the list.

There were quite a few other very interesting dishes that I was able to find. I also discovered that many of the foods are common in all of the Middle Eastern countries and it was not always very easy to pinpoint where something REALLY originates from. So I just chose a few that seemed to pop up more in relation to Qatar. You can most likely expect to see some of those dishes appear in the future with other countries. 🙂

Oh, if you’re interested in some more options that I saw appearing more frequently, you might want to take a look at Machboos (here’s a recipe by Will Fly for Food) or a dessert Umm Ali (or Oum Ali; here’s a recipe by 196 flavors).

Without further ado, go check the recipes:

Next Stop…

Of course, we can’t end this post without rolling the dice for the next one, can we? Here we go…

… and it’s Burundi!

What do you know about Burundi and their cuisine? Have you ever tried any of their dishes? Let me know down in the comments!

♡ & until next time,
Helena



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