May 14, 2007

[عيش ودجاج] Chicken & Rice

Rice in Arabic is called A’ruz, but in the majority of the Gulf states nobody calls it by its proper Arabic name and instead refer to it as Aish (3aish), which literally means “the state of living” or “life”.

Rice is a principal element in the Gulf diet and it has to be served for every-single-lunch-meal. Many nationals in the area will not consider a meal they eat around noon time without rice a ‘lunch meal’.

It is interesting to notice the distinction between the naming convention of rice based meals in Arabic and English. In English, the meal is called ‘something and rice’ while in Arabic Khaleeji dialect, the rice always comes first, it is Aish wa Laham (rice and meat), or Aish was Samak (rice and fish). Another interesting fact is the different usage of the word Aish in other Arabic states, such as the Mediterranean Arab states and Egypt, where Aish means bread and not rice, as bread is the principal element of of the majority of the meals served there.

Our dish today is a very basic ‘aish’ meal, check out the ingredients and method on how to make your own ‘aish’.


  • 2 mugs of rice (Uncle bens rice)
  • 400g of boneless chicken diced into small cubes
  • 2 medium onions sliced into short wide strips
  • 2 medium capsicums sliced into short wide strips
  • 2 medium tomatoes diced into small cubes
  • 2 clovers of garlic crushed
  • chili crushed
  • tomato paste
  • mixed chicken spices
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 lemon



  1. Put the chicken in an oiled heated pot and stir until it turns white then add salt, pepper, and mixed chicken spices.
  2. Add the onion, capsicum, tomato, garlic, and chili to the mix and then stir and leave for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and a mug of water. Mix and add the juice of the lemon.
  4. Lower the heat and leave for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. You can add more water to the chicken if all the water in the pot evaporates and the chicken is not yet cooked.


  1. Add only a quarter of a mug of rice to an oiled pot and stir until the rice turns brown.
  2. Add the rest of the rice to the pot and add 3 mugs of water. Add salt to it, stir well, cover and leave for 20 minutes on low heat.
  3. Remove the pot from the cooker and leave on the side for 5 minutes before serving.
May 11, 2007

Review: Hamburger Nation – Muscat City Centre

We went out today to try Hamburger Nation – the new burger restaurant in Muscat City Centre. The restaurant is located on the ground floor right below the escalator if you’re coming down from the horrible Emax.

Just as the name suggests, Hamburger Nation serves burgers and not much else. All their burgers are relatively massive in size and are served in sesame seed buns, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and raw onion rings. Unlike some of the huge burgers served by other places, you can actually hold these in your hands and have a bite without creating a huge mess. I tried the Buddha Burga, which is basically a Thai spiced chicken breast burger, I thought that it was pretty good. Their 2-pages menu also has some beef, lamb, prawn, and some veggie ones as well.

The burgers do not come with anything, you have to order the drink and whatever sideline you wish to have separately. We did not feel adventurous and had regular chips – which was good. On the drinks side, they have milkshakes, soda, and some bottled organic juices.

The staff of the restaurants are all Asian and were very friendly. Burger Nation is your average noisy mall-restaurant, but the place still feels cozy even though it was a little bit tight in space.

The average price for a burger sandwich here costs RO 3, sidelines range in price from RO 1 to RO 1.8, drinks from RO 0.7 to RO 1.5, milkshakes from RO 1.5 to 2.5, and deserts from RO 1.7 to RO 3.0. So the average whole meal with a desert could cost RO 6 to RO 8 per person.

Overall, it was pleasant experience, the burgers were delicious and the service was really good. There isn’t much variety though, it is Burger Nation afterall, the quantity of the chips that we got was a bit questionable, and the 700bz soda was only for one bottle, not a refillable glass. This makes us wonder if the money we paid was really worth the food we got, especially when you realise that it was pretty close to what it would have cost us to eat at Chili’s.

May 10, 2007

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


  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

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
  • 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


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


  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

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


  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 24, 2007

Pollo Della Pasta De Roma

I envy you Italians for your beautiful country, your excellent football tournaments, and most of all, your amazing cuisine. As I am the biggest fan of the world’s greatest football club Juventus, you might assume that I dislike supporters of other teams, but I actually enjoy staying in touch with all Italian fans around here, so I invited a fan of the club AS Roma for lunch to have the favorite meal of Italian fans: pasta!
As a token of my Italian love, I named this recipe “Pollo Della Pasta De Roma” or the chicken pasta of Roma in English.

Ingredients: (for 3 persons)

  • 300 grams of penne(tube) pasta
  • 3 large chicken breasts – chopped into small pieces
  • 3 medium sized brown onions
  • 4 medium sized capsicums (green, yellow, red, and orange)
  • 4 clover of garlic crushed
  • some parsley
  • 1 tablespoon of wheat
  • 100 grams of tomato paste
  • salt/pepper
  • butter
  • Nando’s hot peri peri grind (crushed spiced)
  • Nando’s wild her peri-peri souce (hot sauce)


  • Pasta
  1. Boil water in a pot. When the water starts boiling add salt, pepper and oil while stirring.
  2. Add the pasta to the boiling water and keep for about 10 minutes.
  3. Drain the water from the pasta.
  4. Chop 3/4 of the 4 kinds of capsicum and an onion into small short strips.
  5. Fry the capsicum and the onion in on an oiled frying pan until the onion turns yellow and capsicum softens.
  6. Add the pasta to the pan with capsicum and onion while stirring. Add some of the Nando’s crushed spices while stirring. Stir the pasta mix for five minutes and then serve it with the chicken.
  • Chicken and Sauce
  1. Crush the remaining capsicum and the2 onions into fine little.
  2. Put some oil on a hot cooking pot, add some butter. When the butter melts in the oil add the crushed mix of capsicum and onion. Keep stirring the mix until the onion turns to a golden color.
  3. Add the chicken pieces to the mix and stir the mix until the chicken turns white.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and the Nando’s crushed spices. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes.
  5. Add the Nando’s wild herb sauce and some fine chopped parsley. Keep stirring for another couple of minutes.
  6. Add the tomato paste and the wheat while stirring.
  7. After mixing everything together add a mug of water and stir the mix well. Cover the pot well and keep it on a low heat until the chicken is cooked. If all the water is gone and the chicken is not cooked add little more water and wait until it is cooked.
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


  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!
Feb 25, 2007

No-Mozzarella Chicken Rolls


  • 2 medium white onions
  • 4 capsicums (green, red, yellow, and orange)
  • 3 garlic clovers
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 4 Irani flat bread (or any type of wrap-able flat bread)
  • 1 teasp lime
  • salt/pepper
  • chili powder
  • cinnamon powder
  • mixed arabian spices
  • 1 teasp vinegar


  1. Chop onion and capcicum into rings, crush garlic, and slice breast into long strips.
  2. Heat the frying pan and add little of vegetable oil. When the oil is heated up put the onion and keep stirring until it gets golden.
  3. Add the chicken to the onion until it whitens. Then add(while stirring) the mixed arabian spices, salt, chili, pepper, and little of cinnamon. Add the vineger and the crushed garlic to the mix and keep stirring for two minutes.
  4. Add the chopped capsicum and the lime and stir until the chicken and the capcicum are properly cooked.
  5. Once ready, spread the bread and put the chicken in the middle then wrap it well. Get a clean frying pan and dry fry the wraps until they go browny and crispy.
  6. Preferred additional fillings with wrap ( sweet onion sauce )

Serve with potato wedges or chips, and marina sauce.

Jan 19, 2007


The Modern Omani Cuisine blog covers the adventures of a group of young bachelors stuck starving in Muscat searching for some decent food to eat. We shall report to you random recipes of meals we invent, reviews of restaurants we dine in, and the latest news and happenings in the food scene in Oman.