Browsing articles in "Uncategorized"
Jun 27, 2007

To Tip or Not To Tip:That is the Question

Giving a tip at a restaurant is not really been part of the Omani culture, perhaps due to cultural aspects such as the fact that eating out as a family has not been traditionally common here in comparison to other countries or the fact that we do not have many fancy places to go eat at anyway.

Tipping is almost an obligation in some other cultures, it is very common in some countries to have restaurants that explicitly mention in their food menus that service charge is not included (although I really do not understand how they could charge us so much when service charge is NOT included, vegetables and meat are not that expensive) so that the customer has to pay/tip for the service. However, the majority of restaurants in Oman do charge a ‘service tax’ when you dine in, so that does not really matter much in Oman.

So what do you our readers do, at what circumstances do you tip? Do you tip only when you experience an extraordinary service? does it depend on how fancy the restaurant is? does the frequency at which you eat at the place matter? and finally – how much do you tip: is it a specific percentage of bill amount or is it just whatever change you have left in your wallet?

May 10, 2007
del_yahi

Boring Chicken Sandwitch


This was an experiment for making something different this week, the original idea was to make a club sandwich, but we ended up with the result you see above. The boring chicken sandwich was saved by the creamy sauce we added to it. This is a simple snack that you can make, check out the ingredients and method below.

Ingredients (4 sandwitches)

  • 400g of chicken breasts sliced into small strips
  • 1 medium sized onion minced finely
  • 1 red capsicum sliced into thin strips
  • 2 garlic clovers
  • 2 green chillies
  • Nandos crushed spices mix
  • butter 1.5 tbsp
  • half a mug of milk
  • 1.5 tbsp of flour
  • salt and pepper
  • brown toasted bread

Method

  1. In a small pot over low heat melt the butter.
  2. Add the flour immediatly after all the butter melts – make sure to stir the mix while adding.
  3. Add the milk gradually while stirring to ensure that the mix blends properly.
  4. Add half a mug of water to mix and keep on stirring.
  5. Add salt and pepper and stir.
  6. keep stirring. (Now you understand why this is boring) Stir from time to time for a period of 10 minutes. You should get a thick white cream. You can adjust the viscosity of the cream by adding more water. Once done leave covered on the side.
  7. Crush the garlic clovers with the chillies and the Nandos spices mix.
  8. Melt some butter on a fraying pan.
  9. Fry the minced onion and capsicum slices on the pan for four minutes.
  10. Add the chicken to the mix and fry while stirring until the chicken turns white.
  11. Add the crushed spices mix with one tbsp of vinegar to the chicken mix on the pan.
  12. Add half a mug of water, cover the pan and leave for 5 minutes.
  13. Remove the cover and wait for all the water to evaporate before adding the cream we made at the beginning.
  14. Stir the mix until cream is absorbed by the chicken and the mix is creamy.
  15. Take out and serve with toast as sandwitches.
Apr 30, 2007

The Lottery of the Bill Amount

I am amused by the funny feeling I get as I wait for a food receipt when I have no idea on how much the food I ate costed me. Not including the taxes in the displayed price on the menu is so stupid. Do they honestly expect a casual consumer, who could be anything between 10 to 50 years old, to calculate, on the top of his head, how much 4% + 5% would add on the numbers that he sees on the board?

While some of us might be fortunate enough to be able to order from a Hardees takeaway outlet without giving much though about how much EXACTLY it will cost before making the order, that does not necessarily apply to everyone. The extra 150 Baizas that we pay might not break anybody’s back, but I can think of the little kid that had only a RO 2 allowance to spend on dinner on the family’s day out, he was allowed to go and buy his own meal from whatever food outlet he selects in the food court, he checks the prices on the menu above and orders a meal that costs him EXACTLY what he had in his pocket, the cashier says okay, he gets him the order and, makes a couple of clicks and a random number appears on the numerical LCD – which is surprisingly more than what the kid had in his hands.

Was it the mistake of the kid that the menu did not clearly state that the meals actually cost MORE than the amounts mentioned? This is stupid and it should be illegal. It is very likely for any consumer to be misled to think that the prices displayed are those that he has to actually pay. Especially when the price is displayed in a bold big font and there is not sign right next to it stating that a tax is to be imposed upon it.

I think that all restaurants should include the taxes within the price of the meal, I should have the right to KNOW how much EXACTLY I will be paying in advance. While it has been traditionally accepted that service at a restaurant could be charged on a percentage basis depending on what you order – and that cannot be specified in advance, it is crazy to expect a consumer to even estimate how much a 5% plus 4% plus the service fee or delivery fee would be in total.

Even though it can be nice while waiting for the bill to come to have a bet on who actually manages to guess how much the bill would be, it is obviously not right as this is not a lottery.

Apr 30, 2007
del_yahi

Fish Time!

A bachelor living in Oman is usually much used to eating chicken, and I mean here a lot of chicken. There isn’t much to choose from as 90% of edible food served in casual restaurants around muscat is chicken-this and chicken-that. A few restaurants in Oman serve decent fish, and that really is weird when you think about as Oman has a coast that is more than 1500km in length and fish is one of its main exports.

Sick of the oil-soaked friend fish served around here, and in hope that our blog does not turn to the Omani Chicken Cuisine, we decided to have fish this time. Hope you like it!

Halibut Fish
Ingredients
  • Halibut Fish, 250g
  • 3 clovers of Garlic
  • 1/4 teasp of crushed Ginger
  • Olive Oil
  • Vinegar
  • green Chili
  • 1/2 teasp Oregano powder
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt
  • 1/2 teasp Cumin
  • parsely

Method

  1. Crush the garlic and the green chili. Add the ginger, cumin and the oregano to the crushed mix.
  2. Add the olive oil and the vinger to the mix. Get the lemon and peel some of its skin to get the lemon zest. After getting the zest add the juice of the lemon and some finely chopped parsley to the mix.
  3. Clean the slices of the halibut fish well then put them in the mix to marinate for one hour.
  4. Heat up a non-stick pan. Fry the slices of Halibut with marination mix. Fry the halibut until both sides get red as seen in the picture. Add a little amonut of water to the fish to make sure it is done.

The Fish is served with Saiadia Rice and potato salad

Saiadia Rice
Ingredients
  • 1 mug of Rice (Uncle bens rice)
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 tomato
  • salt
  • 1/2 teasp cumin
  • Pine seeds

Method

  1. mince the onions and fry them in an oiled pot until the onions turn brown (very brown just a degree before they turn black).
  2. Add the minced tomato to the onions and keep heating the mix for a while.
  3. Add the rice, salt and cumin. Mix the rice with rest of the ingredents well.
  4. Add 2 1/4 mugs of water. Give the rice a last stirr then close the lid, leave it for 20 minutes until it is cooked.
  5. Fill a bowl with the rice then flip it over on a plate to have the round shape seen in the picture above. Garnish the rice with fried pine seeds.

Potato Salad
Ingredients

  • 1 medium Potato
  • 1 clover of Garlic
  • Parsley
  • 1 tspVinger
  • Salt /Cumin ( As desired)

Method

  1. Cut the potato into cubes and boil them in water until they are done ( do not over cook the potato)
  2. Drain the potato cubes. Minced the garlic and finely chop the parsley.
  3. Add the garlic, parsley, vinger, cumin and salt to the potato and mix the will without crushing the potato cubes.
Mar 5, 2007

Cardiff Cabsa

I hate it when people make cooking sound like a complex job that requires knowledge of specific mysterious formulae. Anybody can cook. As long as you do the very basics right, whatever else you do is optional and rarely anything will severally affect the way your food tastes. This meal is one of those really easy ones to do. The Cardiff Cabsa is what we used to cook all the time during uni days in Cardiff, I learnt how to make it there, the recipe could not be traced to a single Gulf or Indian country because guys from different places in the Gulf chipped in their own additions and twists over the years. Check it out here:

Ingredients (For Four People):

  • 2 mugs of basmati rice
  • 1 whole large chicken, sliced into 6 or 8 pieces, skin removed optionally
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 chili, chopped into small rings
  • 1 garlic clover, crushed
  • tomato paste
  • 1 chicken stock (Maggi cubes)
  • 1 tablespoon of mixed arabian kabsa spices
  • 1 tablespoon of turmeric (kurkum)
  • 1 teaspoon dried lemon poweder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper

Method:

  1. In a large oiled pot fry onion until colour turns to redish yellow, add chopped tomoto, chili and crushed garlic and stir until juicy syrup is created.
  2. Add chicken, turmeric, spices, and stir to cover all chicken pieces with spices.
  3. Add tomato paste and stir.
  4. Add 4 mugs of water, wait to boil for a while, add the chicken stock.
  5. Heat on high heat for 20 minutes, check using the knife test to see if chicken is cooked.
  6. Lower heat, add rice, cover the pot using the lid and wait for 20 minutes. Make sure not to lift the lid so that the steam does not escape.
  7. Take out and eat!