Aramco ExPats

Category Archive: Aramcon Recipes

Chicken Maqlooba

3 September 2013 | comments (0) | Aramcon Recipes | by

Chicken Maqlooba

This is a very famous dish in the Arab world with many variations which include other meats like lamb or beef and different vegetables. “Maqlooba” means upside down or flipped. Once the dish is cooked, the entire pot is flipped onto a serving plate and the dish is served family style. A special seven-spice blend called Baharat can be found in most Middle Eastern grocery stores or sections, but we’ve included a recipe for that ingredient.\


  • 2 medium size eggplants, peeled and sliced into thick rounds
  • Salt, for divided use
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder, plus extra as desired
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 kilogram chick, lamb or beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon baharat*
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 cup chopped, fresh parsley
  • Sliced almonds and pine nuts (optional garnish)

Salt the sliced eggplant and let sit for two minutes. Rinse and leave to dry on paper towels.

Place rice in a large mixing bowl and add two cups of warm water, two pinches of salt and 2 teaspoons turmeric powder. Stir and let sit for 30 minutes.

While rice is soaking, fry the cauliflower and eggplant until lightly browned on all sides in a large sauce pan. Remove from pan and place in a colander to drain any juices. (Alternatively, these can be roasted in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning once during cooking time.)

Add chicken (or other meat) to a large stock pot and fill with enough water to cover. Add onion, bay leaves, and baharat and cook over medium heat until the meat is cooked through, approximately 30 minutes. Remove the meat and season with salt. Pour broth into a large measuring cup or bowl for later use.

In the large stock pot used to cook the meat, layer the cauliflower and eggplant pieces in desired pattern. Top with the meat and then garlic cloves. Drain the rice (discard soaking water) and spread it over the top to form the next layer.

Add salt, extra turmeric, and cumin powder to the reserved broth then pour over the rice. The rice should be covered by about 2 cm of liquid. Cook over high heat for 7 minutes. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated and the rice is fully cooked. Remove from heat and cool.

While maqlooba is cooling, in a dry skillet over medium heat, toast almond slivers and pine nuts until fragrant and lightly brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove lid from maqlooba and press the mixture down with the back of a large spoon or spatula to compress the layers. Place a flat serving dish upside down on top of the pot. While holding the plate and the pot, carefully flip it over so that now the pot is resting upside down on top of the plate. Tap the pot on the bottom and carefully lift it straight up. Garnish with parsley and toasted nuts.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

*Baharat is available in most Middle Eastern grocery stores or markets, but it’s easy to make. Combine ground black pepper, paprika, cumin, ground coriander, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon and ground cardamom. Tip: Add the cardamom last and a little bit at a time as the flavor is strong.

Recipe submitted by Rania Bassam

Libyan Couscous with Lamb and Onion Chickpea Sauce

27 August 2013 | comments (0) | Aramcon Recipes | by

Libyan Couscous

This tender-to-the-bone lamb dish is full of traditional North African ingredients such as chickpeas, couscous, and spices that fill your kitchen with mouthwatering aromas.

A couscoussier, or couscous pot is used to cook the couscous, but no need to go out and purchase one. A heat proof colander will work as well.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, for divided use
  • 23 medium onions, minced, for divided use (20 onions in chickpea sauce, 3 in lamb sauce)
  • 1 (15-ounce can) chickpeas, drained
  • 3 small cans tomato paste, for divided use
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, for divided use, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 1/3 cups water, for divided use
  • Blossom water, such as rose water or orange blossom water, for sprinkling
  • 1 kilo lamb cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 to 4 pods cardamom
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne or chili pepper
  • 2 boxes (500 grams) medium sized couscous

To prepare the onion and chickpea sauce heat ¼ cup oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the 20 minced onions and cook, stirring often, until they are golden in color, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and one can tomato paste. Season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Add ½ cup water and stir to mix. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 55 minutes. Sprinkle with blossom water and dust with cinnamon. Cover, remove from heat and set aside.

To prepare the lamb, heat remaining ¼ cup oil in the bottom of a couscous pot or large stock pot. Add the remaining minced onions and cook, stirring often, until they are golden in color, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add lamb pieces, cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and bay leaves. Stir to combine and cook over low heat until meat is browned and juices have evaporated from the pan. Add 1 ½ cans of tomato paste and cayenne or chili powder and stir to coat the lamb. Stir in 2 ½ cups water and bring to a low boil. Save the remaining ½ can of tomato paste for another use.

In a medium bowl, stir together the couscous, 1 teaspoon salt, a sprinkle of blossom water and remaining 1/3 cup water.

Place the second layer of couscous pot (or heat proof colander) above the meat mixture. Add couscous mixture to the second layer and continue to cook. The steam from the meat sauce in the bottom layer of the pot will cook the couscous in about 35 to 40 minutes.

Spoon about ¼ cup of the meat sauce into it and stir to combine. Cook for an additional 20 minutes. Repeat the step above, this time adding ½ cup of the meat sauce. Reduce heat and cook until the lamb is fully cooked. Remove and discard bay leaves.

Stir remaining cinnamon into and ¼ cup of the meat sauce into the couscous.

To serve, transfer the couscous into a large, deep, serving bowl. Pour the the onion and chickpea sauce over the couscous and top with lamb pieces.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Recipe Submitted by Fadwa Dawad.

Dhahran Dining Hall Musakhkhan

23 August 2013 | comments (0) | Aramcon Recipes | by


This traditional dish features a familiar Middle Eastern spice – sumac. The lemony flavor of sumac combined with the sweetness of the caramelized onions offer a nice balance to the taste of the dish. The tender-to-the-bone chicken and crunchy pine nuts add extra texture to this popular main course meal.

  • 2 chickens (1 ½ kilos each) cut into 4 or 6 pieces
  • 2 cups plus one tablespoon olive oil, for divided use
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 to 8 large onions,  diced, for divided use
  • Salt and pepper taste
  • Ground cardamom to taste
  • 4 tablespoons sumac
  • ½ cup pine nuts, raw or toasted*
  • 4 to 5 pieces Taboon or Iranian bread

Wash chicken and pat dry. Rub the pieces with 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice. Place chicken in a large stockpot. Add approximately ¼ of the diced onions and enough water to cover the chicken. Season with salt, pepper, and cardamom. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fully cooked.

While the chicken is cooking, add, remaining 2 cups olive oil and diced onions to a large skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until the onions are translucent and tender, but not mushy, about 25 to 35 minutes. Stir in the sumac and cook for 2 minutes. Add the cooked chicken and cook for 10 minutes. Reserve the broth for later use.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove chicken from onion mixture and keep warm. Bake the onion mixture until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Heat broiler.

Soak the bread in the chicken broth for 1 minute. Place one layer of bread in an oven-safe dish. Spread 1/4 of the onion mixture on top of the bread followed by 1/4 of the pine nuts. Broil until golden in color. Repeat with another layer of bread, onion mixture, and nuts to form three layers. Top with another layer of bread, then chicken, remaining onions and nuts.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

*Toasting nuts really intensifies the flavor and the crunch. Simply put the nuts in dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently until golden in spots, about 3 minutes. Alternatively leave spread the nuts on a baking sheet and bake in a 325 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent over browning.

Recipe submitted by Rania Bassam

Chicken Kabsa

19 August 2013 | comments (4) | Aramcon Recipes | by


Often called the national dish of Saudi Arabia, this favorite gets its flavor from a mixture of intense spices. There are many variations of kabsa. Besides chicken, it can be made with goat, lamb, camel, or seafood. Some recipes call for adding almonds, pine nuts, or raisins (pictured here). Serve kabsa with dakkous, a quick and easy hot sauce (Recipe follows).


  • 1 uncooked chicken (about 1 ¼ kilos), cut into four pieces
  • 4 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 medium onion peeled and left whole
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 whole, dried black lemons
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed kabsa spices
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (135-mg) boxes of tomato paste
  • 2 hot green chili peppers
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained
  • 3 cups uncooked basmati or other long grain rice


  • Place chicken in a large pot and fill with water to cover. Bring water to boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, discard water, rinse chicken and refill the pot with fresh water. Add cardamom and whole onion and heat to boiling. Cook for 1 hour or until chicken is done, adding more water if needed.
  • Remove the chicken to an ovenproof dish, cover with foil, and set aside. Reserve chicken broth for later use. Preheat oven to lowest setting.
  • Heat oil in a large stock pot. Add diced onion and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken, whole black lemons, cinnamon stick, coriander, cumin, kabsa spices, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. Add 1½ boxes of the tomato paste, chili peppers, shredded carrot, and chickpeas (Save the remaining tomato paste for another use). Mix well and stir in ½ cup of the reserved chicken broth, continuing to stir until well mixed.
  • Add an additional 4½ cups chicken broth, bring to boil and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. NOTE: Rice to liquid ratio is 1 ½ cups liquid to 1 cup rice. If necessary add water to reach the correct amount of liquid.
  • Remove chicken pieces to an ovenproof dish and cover tightly with foil. Place in oven to keep warm. Add the rice to the mixture and stir to combine. Return to a boil, cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.
  • To serve, remove and discard the cinnamon stick, put the rice on a large serving plate, top with the chicken pieces and serve family style. Serve with dakkous if desired.

Makes 4 to 5 servings.


  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic (add more if desired)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 or 2 hot green chili peppers
  • 3 sprigs of parsley

Place first five ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until the mixture is smooth. Add parsley and pulse three times. Serve with the kabsa.

Recipe submitted by Lena Tawfiq.

5-6-7-8! Chocolate Cake

12 November 2009 | comments (1) | Aramcon Recipes | by

Dhahran Theatre Group Cookbook, 1993


1/2 Cup butter or margarine, melted
4 Tablespoon cocoa
4 Eggs
1 Cup chopped walnuts
2 1/2 Cups flour
1/2 Cup of flour
1/2 Teaspoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon vanilla


1/2 Cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 Cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1 Teaspoon rum extract (or something similar)
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon cocoa (if you like bittersweet taste; otherwise, omit)



Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and blend for another 30 seconds. (This will give you time to do 4 grande plies, 4 high kicks on each leg, and one review of the complicated tap step).

Pour batter into a buttered 10-inch spring form pan and bake at 350? F. for 25 minutes or until a cake tester, inserted in center, comes out clean. Do not over bake. Cool cake in pan.


Beat butter till light and creamy, beat in the melted chocolate, run extract and vanilla until blended. Swirl on the top and sides of cake.

Cake can be prepared 1 day earlier and stored in the refrigerator. However, serve at room temperature.

Nancy Ackerman

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