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31 January 2018 03:23 pm

Want to know how to make desert machboos, Qatari-style?

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In this week’s episode of Mama Baba Ganoush, I head to the desert for a real taste of Qatar – a traditional barbecue! The Qatar desert offers a stunning location with its pristine landscape and otherworldly barrenness, and is perfect for grabbing some friends or family for a unique and special day out.

They say that food brings people together, and I was invited by Qatari foodie Khaled Al Rayes (@Khaled_choice) and his family for a true cultural and foodie experience. My adventure started early in the morning buying ingredients and a specially-marinated lamb for Qatar’s classic and popular dish – machboos. It’s a recipe that’s become one of the most beloved dishes in Qatar and uses a blend of aromatic spices, rice, and vegetables for a delicious meal similar to the Indian classic - biryani.

After buying our ingredients and supplies we headed north down the Shamal Road to an isolated spot near Al Khor. Here we set up our camp – including a small majlis – perfect for relaxing and chilling out in the crisp winter sun. It wasn’t long before my hosts set to work – building the fire and preparing the ingredients. It was amazing to watch this labour of love! The whole experience was filled with lots of chatting about culture, people, and Qatar – a fantastic way to learn more about my adopted home country.

Finally, the machboos was ready (Khaled created a twist on this recipe handed down by his family) and the final meal was served on the biggest platter I’ve ever seen in my life – a great way to share a meal among family or friends.

Tips to have an awesome desert barbecue

If you’ve never had a desert barbecue, here are some helpful tips to make your day great!

  • Be sure your car has a full tank of petrol
  • Take plenty supplies of water
  • Take toiletries – remember, there are no bathroom facilities in the desert!
  • Prepare well in advance – make a list of all the things you’ll need including:

Thank you to Khaled Al Rayes and his family for being exceptional and generous hosts! It’s an experience I’ll never forget!

Have you ever had a barbecue in the Qatari desert? Or maybe you have some tips for a great day out? Let us know by dropping us a line in the comments below and don’t forget to like and share this video!

(Words by Kim Wyatt)

(Filmed and edited by Darren Martinez)