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Omani Shuwa

Despite the diversity of food menu of the Omani kitchen and the combination of many popular dishes such as "Arsia", "Almdabi", "Harees", "Khabisa", "Aawal", "Al Sahneh", "Sidaf" and "farfina", Shuwa remains the most special and famous dish from the Omani kitchen. What makes it special is the way of preparing and cooking it. The meat is buried underground for one or two days in a deep hole, with fire underneath it. The "khasfa" made from palm fronds containing large pieces of meat settled on the embers. It is maintained with the banana leaves wrapped around the meat until its cooked for one to two days. They prepare Shuwa spices at least 2 weeks before. The mixture consists of Omani vinegar made from dates pickles, cinnamon, ginger, gluten, ginger, garlic, black pepper, red pepper, chestnut, yogurt and salt, leaving it for one or two weeks before using it as Shuwa condiment. Some families have their own pit to burry on the meat, while sometimes a group of neighboring families shares the same pit. The wall of the pit is covered with cement or mud. Then the fire is lit up until the firewood turns into jam before the meat is placed inside the khasfa. The pit is covered with an iron cover that prevents dirt from leaking into the meat. As to how long the meat is left in the hole, it depends on which type meat is used for Shuwa, if it is goats meat - which is preferred by Omanis - or sheep, it must be left in the pit for a whole day and one night. Thus it becomes edible on the second or third day of Eid. While if it’s a beef – that is used by some families for Shuwa too- often takes two days into the deep hole to ripen well. Omani Shuwa is a special dish prepared for special occasions, it is part of the festivities. Moreover, it is increasingly becoming a special setting for weddings and other celebrations in different Arab countries as well.

Photo credits:
Spinneys Link

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