Almost everyone is familiar with the delicious and varied Arabic cuisine, but what about Omani cuisine? Have you ever heard of “Shuwa”, “Halwa”, “Majboos” and “Luqaimat”? In the following I would like to introduce you to a few Omani delicacies that you absolutely have to try on your next Oman vacation.
Let’s start right away with the highlight of Omani cuisine: the absolute holiday meal – called “Shuwa”. Shuwa is typically only prepared on special Islamic holidays or for weddings. The preparation process is spectacular and usually brings the whole family or even the whole village together. Shuwa is usually made from lamb, more rarely from goat or beef. To do this, the meat is rubbed with oil and a variety of Omani spices, then wrapped in banana leaves and finally placed in a hole under the ground, in which it cooks for at least a day. The slow cooking makes the meat tender as butter, the oil and spices create a crispy crust. Shuwa is served with rice or Omani bread.
Omani cuisine has many delicious rice dishes to offer. A vegetarian variant that I would like to introduce to you in more detail is “Majboos”. Majboos comes in countless varieties and, as mentioned above, consists primarily of rice. In the meatless version, the rice is refined with red onions and tomatoes or tomato paste as well as various spices such as garlic, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon and black pepper.
THE dessert par excellence in Oman is Halwa. It is usually given to guests in combination with a coffee. A large production facility for Halwa can be found in Nizwa just behind the souq. 13 stone ovens are fired with acacia wood and heat large vats in which the Halwa mass simmers for 3.5 hours while stirring constantly. Halwa consists largely of corn starch, sugar and ghee. It is refined with numerous spices, depending on the taste. These include e.g. Cardamom, saffron, rose water, dates and almonds.
My absolute favorite dessert is the sweet bomb “Luqaimat”. Luqaimat means something like “small bite” and is one of Oman’s traditional desserts. The small balls are made from flour, yoghurt, salt and yeast and are briefly fried in oil. Depending on your preference, they are then sprinkled with honey, date syrup or a saffron / cardamom mixture. Mmmmh …