The Accidental Dish: Quinoa Mathrooba

Ahoy dear readers! I hope you’ve all been keeping well and that you will once again forgive my extended hiatus. The truth is, as of late(much like John Cage from Ally McBeal – great show) I find myself troubled. This morning, a dear friend of mine reminded that I may find some comfort and solace in cooking and/or blogging.

So I did just that. I came home and whipped up a delicious raw meal – marinated kale salad with miso sesame dressing accompanied by some zucchini pasta and raw marinara sauce with oodles of avocado and nooch. Something about the simplicity of preparing a raw meal uplifted me – it was almost an analogy for real life – a message telling me to stop overcomplicating things. Or maybe it was just a superior batch of marinara sauce. Either way, it worked.

So now on to part two – I come to you today with a recipe that I actually concocted accidentally one fateful afternoon during Ramadan. I was busy cooking up a storm for an order and put some quinoa on to simmer for my tabbouleh. 10 minutes turned into an hour and I returned to find my pre-soaked and sprouted quinoa horrifically overcooked – I was crushed as I sighed and looked around for a spatula to empty out the pot – when I had an epiphany. The texture of the quinoa was rather gummy and almost paste like – and the little “tails/strands” of the grains looked slightly reminiscent of chicken shreds. Normally, neither of these characteristics would be precursors to inspiring a dish in my books – but with the spirit of Ramadan all around me I had a brainwave and decided to try my hand at a traditional Bahraini/Khaleeji specialty called Mathrooba.
Typically served alongside Harees and other dishes during Ramadan, Mathrooba (or Madrooba) has the consistency of baby food and is mainly comprised of chicken, Jareesh (cracked wheat), onions, tomatoes and a plethora of spices and oil or ghee. That in mind, I set out to create a version that was just as rich in flavour and fragrance as the original, but infinitely more nutritious

I’ve said this before whenever I tackle traditional Khaleeji dishes – this is hardly an authentic representation since I’ve never made the “real” deal. That said, anyone who tried it gave it their seal of approval – including my skeptical father and some (local) guests we had over for Iftar who confirmed it tasted like a “lentil-y” mathrooba so I’m fairly confident I got the flavours down pat!
Personally – I loved it. I could not stop eating this stuff, seriously.The rich tomato flavours compliment the fragrant spices and the hint of chili is just perfect. The overcooked quinoa pairs well with red lentils that cook down into a a distinctively creamy texture. In short – my most succesful foray into Khaleeji vegan cuisine yet.
If you’re not up to trying the recipe just yet, I hope you’ll be inspired to create something out of a cooking mishap like I did – you may be pleasantly surprised with the results!
Until next time folks. 😉

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