Fahad Inc. Dishes

    Fig-aa / Zu-ba-dee~ Wild Desert Truffles

    Serves 6

    The people of France may boast about the richness of their leading delicacy, the truffle, but they may think twice after tasting those found in the UAE.
    The wild truffle, discovered in the desert areas of the UAE, amidst the bracken, are indeed a much sought-after delicacy . Usually found after the heavy winter rains, around March or April each year, they are not easy to find. These truffles like to hide amidst the sand under bushes and it is quite a common sight to see whole families methodically combing an area in search of their prize. The truffles are brownish in colour, with a fungus type appearance and can sometimes be up to 4" (10cms) in circumference.
    For those who don't have the patience to search, truffles are also imported in the early spring from Qatar and Kuwait - but they are highly expensive! They must be washed well as they are full of sand and grit and sometimes it is necessary to immerse them in water to remove all the dirt.
    Then they are either chopped or sliced to prepare them for cooking. For this recipe, I suggest they be chopped coarsely. While most commonly served as the following dish, they can also be made into saloona or match-boos. The truffles are generally accompanied by sliced limes, rice or bread and a fresh green salad may also be served, along with dates.

    2 lbs (900gms) wild desert truffles
    2 medium tomatoes
    1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
    salt to taste
    1 teaspoon bezar
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/2 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
    2 medium onions
    2 teaspoons dried loomi
    1/2 cup corn oil

    Clean and cut the truffles, slice the onions, chop tomatoes, grate the ginger. Brown onion in oil, add spices, ginger, loomi, tomatoes and tomato paste. Fry well and taste for seasoning: adjust accordingly. Add truffles and fry. Add just enough water to make thick gravy.
    Reduce the heat to very low and allow to simmer until tender. Taste again for salt. Continue cooking, until the gravy evaporates and the mixture is almost dry. Serve hot.

    From the book "The Complete United Arab Emirates Cookbook"
    by Celia Ann Brock- Al Ansari
    Copyright © 1994 by Celia Ann Brock-Al Ansari

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