Dining in the Dubai desert and cooking beneath the sand

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In this episode of Taste, Euronews visits the spectacular desert in Dubai where many nomadic bedouins once roamed and sampled a traditional dish that is slow-cooked in the sand.

Lamb Ouzi is a recipe that has been cooked and handed down the generations for hundreds of years.

In the hot midday sun, it was a necessity for bedouins to travel light – and one way to do this was to create an oven in the sand.

Euronews was invited to dine in the desert and sample Dubai’s famous recipe with chef Musaab Altouhan and conservation guide Eddie Robinson.

Explaining the process of making the special dish, chef Musaab Altouhan said:

“We started with salt, cardamom, black coriander, curry, and cumin.”

Eddie Robinson, the conservation guide, explained how even things like dried lemons can bring so much flavour to the dish.

“So this lamb has been salted, usually for at least a day.

“It used to be much more of a special occasion dish because of the time process. This is cooked underground with charcoal for a whole entire day. So it is ready when the meat just falls off the bone,” he added.

Once the dish, wrapped in palm leaves, is ready, Eddie Robinson said it can then be laid on a bed of rice and then the garnish, called Hasho, goes on.

“It’s a mixture of cashews, pine nuts, and lentils,” he explained.

Eddie Robinson also explained to Euronews how the special dish should then be eaten.

“This is a family dish, it’s a celebratory dish, it’s eating together. And traditionally you eat with your hands. The idea is to be able to grab a chunk of the meat and a bit of the rice together. The rice doesn’t hold together super well. So we actually have yogurt as well to go on board.

“And basically, what you’re doing when you scoop it, you make it into a nice sort of pellet, you’re then pushing it into your mouth with your thumb. A little bit of yoghurt, mix it together a little bit, get yourself a nice chunk of it. A little bit of a pellet,” he added.

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