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Traditional Plant-Based Foods and Beverages in Bahrain


Abstract and Figures

Background Traditional foods are an important part of Bahraini culture, identity, and heritage. The aim of this study was to document plant-based traditional foods and beverages consumed by local Bahrainis. Methods Traditional knowledge of plants used as food and beverage was obtained through 76 personal interviews of knowledgeable informants using a semi-structured questionnaire. Results A total of 52 common foods and beverages were reportedly documented by the respondents. Some traditional foods are not tied to specific seasons, but are consumed throughout the year, such as harees, momowash, sambosa, halwa, assidah, and legaimaat while others such as madquq bisr, mattaai, khabees, gurs al-taabi and khubez zinjibari are common at family celebrations or other specific holidays. Boiling and frying are the most popular traditional cooking methods employed in Bahrain. Conclusion The findings of this study could provide a knowledge basis for relating traditional food consumption and potential health status among Bahrainis.
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Original Article
Traditional plant-based foods and beverages in Bahrain
Tariq A. Alalwan
, Qaher A. Mandeel, Layla Al-Sarhani
Department of Biology, College of Science, University of Bahrain, Sakhir Campus, P.O. Box 32038, Sakhir, Bahrain
article info
Article history:
Received 27 April 2017
Received in revised form
3 October 2017
Accepted 10 October 2017
Available online 14 October 2017
Cultural practices
Traditional foods
Background: Traditional foods are an important part of Bahraini culture, identity, and heritage. The aim
of this study was to document plant-based traditional foods and beverages consumed by local Bahrainis.
Methods: Traditional knowledge of plants used as food and beverage was obtained through 76 personal
interviews of knowledgeable informants using a semi-structured questionnaire.
Results: A total of 52 common foods and beverages were reportedly documented by the respondents.
Some traditional foods are not tied to specic seasons, but are consumed throughout the year, such as
harees,momowash, sambosa, halwa, assidah, and legaimaat while others such as madquq bisr, mattaai,
khabees, gurs al-taabi and khubez zinjibari are common at family celebrations or other specic holidays.
Boiling and frying are the most popular traditional cooking methods employed in Bahrain.
Conclusion: The ndings of this study could provide a knowledge basis for relating traditional food
consumption and potential health status among Bahrainis.
©2017 Korea Food Research Institute. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the
CC BY-NC-ND license (
1. Introduction
Traditional foods are foods that were commonly consumed in
ancient times by native people all over the world. As such, tradi-
tional foods and beverages derived from land and sea constitute an
essential aspect of a country's cultural heritage, history, lifestyle,
and local economy. These foods are accepted and highly consumed
by the local populace for a long time, and the methods of prepa-
ration of such foods have been transmitted from generation to
generation [1]. Moreover, traditional foods represent an important
component of people's diet, health, and socioeconomic status.
Traditional foods have been inuenced by a number of factors, one
of which is the availability of raw materials. In Arabian countries,
for example, traditional foods in desert regions are more restricted
to cereals, dates, and dairy products compared with villages where
food resources are more diverse and plentiful [2].
The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of 33 low-lying
islands, nestled between Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the south-
western Arabian Gulf with a total area of 720 km
. Owing to its
strategic geographic location, Bahrain throughout its ancient and
modern history has been a crossroads of different civilizations and
cultures like Mesopotamia, Persian, and Indian. Since ancient times,
foodstuffs have contributed to the dynamic trade relations between
Bahrain and its neighboring countries. As a result, the inuence of
these nations on all aspects of the local cuisine was signicant. This
is evident by the fact that several types of local dishes, food prep-
aration methods, and particular food ingredients were incorpo-
rated and modied to suite the local Bahraini taste over many
decades. The incorporation of spices and curry powder into the
traditional local cuisine, for example, is an indicative of the inu-
ence of the Indian culture on food practices in Bahrain [3]. Indeed,
the Bahraini traditional cuisine includes and reects a collection of
traditional foods and cultures from many different countries, such
as India, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, and the Levant [4].
Archaeobotanical evidence from the early Dilmun period in-
dicates that dates and their by-products, followed by cereals
(mainly barley and wheat) were the major food items of the Bah-
raini diet [5]. Nowadays, cereals and legume-based foods, in addi-
tion to rice, which was introduced as a staple food, form an
important part of the traditional diet of the local inhabitants.
Bahraini society to this day embrace and preserve traditional foods
and beverages, which are identied as being original, prepared
from natural and fresh ingredients and characterized by their
unique taste and excellent nutritional quality. The preparation of
such foods is not only part of national tradition but it is a daily
practice in most of the Bahraini households and is ritualistically
performed according to Islamic values and Arab customs. Despite
the addition of some modern touches and improvements, none-
theless, the names of these dishes and uniqueness remain
*Corresponding author. Department of Biology, College of Science, University of
Bahrain, Sakhir Campus, P.O. Box 32038, Sakhir, Bahrain.
E-mail address: (T.A. Alalwan).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Journal of Ethnic Foods
journal homepage:
2352-6181/©2017 Korea Food Research Institute. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
J Ethn Foods 4 (2017) 274e283
unchanged [4]. Traditional meal patterns in Bahrain and other
Arabian Gulf countries include three main meals and several in
between snacks during the day. Breakfast is usually light consisting
of white at bread from the local traditional bakery, soft-boiled or
hard-boiled egg, and tea with condensed milk. Chickpeas and broad
beans are also popular breakfast foods. The midday meal is the
main meal of the day for Bahrainis. Lunch is traditionally a big, hot
meal consisting of polished rice and an animal-based protein, such
as meat, chicken, or sh depending on local availability and eco-
nomic status of households. The dinner consists of white bread,
various legumes, and depending on the day of the week or the time
of the year, might include grilled meat or chicken. Tea is usually
served black shortly after the dinner meal. The eating habits of
Bahrainis, like Arabs in general, include eating together, sharing
foods, and having lively conversations over meals. The traditional
style of eating is to sit on the oor around the sufra, which is a mat
made from date palm leaves and used for serving food. Families of
ve or more members will share a pan and eat the food with their
ngers except for the soup or stew. This tradition where families
gather to eat, share stories, and enjoy each other's company has
been followed for centuries.
During the past four decades, however, the rapid rate of ur-
banization and increased labor migration in Bahrain as well as
other Arabian Gulf countries, fueled by oil revenues, has dramati-
cally changed the lifestyle of the native inhabitants including their
food consumption patterns [6]. This led to the replacement of
traditional foods and beverages with energy-dense fast foods and
soft drinks with high sugar content. The decrease in the use of
traditional foods has been documented for the local inhabitants in
Bahrain [7,8] and along with this change are concerns for loss of
traditional knowledge and culture. This necessitates the urgent
need to explore, analyze, and document traditional foods
consumed by Bahrainis. These efforts can include creating addi-
tional food composition data for traditional foods [8] and protect-
ing and promoting such foods as one of the most important
elements of cultural expression, for instance, in form of organizing
food fairs and festivals in addition to the spatial spread of restau-
rants serving traditional dishes in Bahrain. The purpose of the
present study was, therefore, to document traditional plant-based
foods and beverages commonly consumed in Bahrain and identify
their uses. Such a knowledge base would help preserve traditional
food practices and improve the health and nutritional well-being of
the local community.
2. Materials and methods
The interviews were conducted regarding plants used as food
and beverages among Bahraini people in the Kingdom of
Bahrain. Interviewees who were locally recognized as well
experienced, knowledgeable, and trustworthy source of infor-
mation on traditional foods and beverages were selected with
the help of elderly people, reputation, and by personnel
The interviews using the questionnaire were conducted by
random sampling due to the nature of the study. A total of 76 re-
spondents were interviewed face-to-face using a written semi-
structured questionnaire consisting of simple open-ended
questions. Preliminary pretesting of the semistructured question-
naire was previously conducted on more than 10 key informants
not included in the current study. Information was collected on
different types of ethnic traditional local Bahraini plant-based
foods and beverages commonly consumed by Bahraini people.
The survey questions focused mainly on traditional knowledge of
preparation, mode and frequency of consumption, plant source,
sociocultural practice, and the ethnic value.
Since the aim of this study was to document the most
commonly consumed foods and beverages among native Bahraini
people, care was taken to exclude the inuence of other country's
cultures and traditions on foods and beverages among Bahrainis.
Therefore, the accumulated data represent, as far as possible, the
frequently used items native to Bahrainis.
None of the documented information was obtained from the
literature or historical documents. Moreover, the informants were
selected on the basis of vast knowledge in the indigenous Bahraini
culture and heritage, especially which relates to plant uses in
traditional Bahraini culture. The interviews were conducted in a
local Arabic Bahraini dialect, and the answers were handwritten or
recorded. All the questions presented were answered in a friendly
manner. The respondent age, gender, experience, address, and
place of living were also documented. The recorded plant species in
the present study were at least stated by ve or more informants to
increase the consistency of the obtained data. In many instances,
samples of the discussed plant were generously gifted by the re-
spondents and/or photographed. The plants used as foods and
beverages were visually identied and recorded.
3. Results and discussion
Of the 76 respondents, 40 were females and the remaining 36
were males. The majority of respondents were aged 60 and over
(Fig. 1). The respondents in this study represented the four ofcial
governorates of the Kingdom of Bahrain, with the largest numbers
residing in the Capital governorate followed by the Northern
governorate (Fig. 2). This reects the population distribution of the
country where the population is mostly concentrated in the Capital
and Northern governorates [9]. In addition, the majority of re-
spondents were educated up to secondary school level (71.1%;
n¼54/76) with the rest being illiterate. The respondents were
mostly from rural areas, with the majority being retired (53.9%;
n¼54/76). The focus on older people from rural areas in this study
is justied by the fact that older individuals and people in villages
tend to consume more traditional foods than younger individuals,
who tend to adopt a more modernized lifestyle [10]. It is worth-
while to mention that small agricultural villages in Bahrain exist in
close proximity to each other and as a result share many traditional
and cultural similarities. Undoubtedly, people living in these areas
continue to maintain the traditional food patterns and practices of
their ancestors.
Historically, in Bahrain, dates, grains, and vegetables as well as a
relatively small amount of meat have contributed greatly to the
Fig. 1. Age group of respondents.
T.A. Alalwan et al / Traditional foods in Bahrain 275
inhabitant's diet. Moreover, as an island nation, rice and sh or
seafood have been consumed as a staple food by the native in-
habitants in Bahrain. Similarly, nutritionally rich beverages pre-
pared from plant materials constitute an important component of
the traditional diet. These traditional plant-derived foods and
beverages which have remained almost unchanged throughout the
years as reported by the informants are described in the following
3.1. Plant-based savory foods
Some of the traditional plant-based savory foods consumed in
Bahrain are depicted in Fig. 3.Harees is a popular traditional savory
dish in Bahrain as well as in many Arab Gulf countries. Its origin is
unclear. Some accounts trace it to Armenia where it is known by the
name of harissa, but others attribute it to Turkey [11]. This tradi-
tional dish is made from wheat (Triticum aestivum) and cooked with
meat (Fig. 3A). The whole grains are steeped and simmered with
meat for a couple of hours. The cooked mixture is thoroughly
beaten with a thick wooden spoon, called madhraba, to a smooth
and thick consistency. The dish is traditionally prepared and
consumed during the fasting month of Ramadan due to its high
protein content and quality. It is also given to women after partu-
rition to help regain strength and improve lactation [2]. Another
traditional savory food given to postpartum mothers is maghlaq,
which is prepared by soaking date bread in an eggeghee mixture
for quarter of an hour and cooked on low heat with the addition of
oats and mustard seeds. The dish is nutritionally rich in fat and
protein and is usually consumed daily after preparation for at least
one week.
Mahamer is a traditional dish made of rice (Oryza sativa), which
is a staple food in the Arabian Gulf region. Despite the fact that rice
is not grown locally but imported from other Asian countries,
Fig. 2. Distribution of respondents by their residence area.
Fig. 3. Some of the popular traditional savory dishes consumed in Bahrain. (A) Harees, a wheat-based dish cooked with meat. It is a popular treat during Ramadan. (B) Mahamer,a
rice-based dish sweetened with date syrup. (C) Momowash, a rice-based dish cooked with dried small shrimps. This dish presented an important source of energy for pearl divers on
long trips. (D) Bahraini kebab, deep-fried mixed vegetables with chickpea our. It is very popular during Ramadan and usually served during the evening meal, iftar.
J Ethn Foods 2017; 4: 274e283276
Bahrainis usually consume rice once during lunch or twice a day
[8]. As the traditional staple food of the region, rice is locally known
as aish, meaning life (in Arabic). Unlike some other neighboring
countries (such as Iraq and Iran), Bahrainis do not add nuts, raisins,
or other fruits to their rice dishes. Aish mahamer is prepared by
straining and boiling the rice before adding the date syrup, which
gives it a characteristic brown color (Fig. 3B). The cooked rice is
scooped out of the pot using a wooden rice spoon with holes, called
malas, and served with local fried sh or meat. In Qatar, the dish
called barinoish resembles mahamer. The main ingredients in the
Qatari dish are boiled rice and sugar [12].
Another traditional rice-based dish is mbezar, which is cooked in
a similar fashion but dried powdered turmeric and chili powder are
added instead, thereby giving it a yellowish-orange color. During
World War II and other periods when food resources were scarce
(e.g., droughts or economic hardship), the polished rice meal rep-
resented an important source of energy and nutrients in the diet.
Moreover, the widespread practice of saut
eing onions in oil until
caramelized to prepare mbasal, which was added to the cooked rice,
served a similar purpose.
Momowash is a traditional rice dish served with dried small
shrimps that was typically prepared and consumed by Bahraini
pearl divers at sea during the preoil period (Fig. 3C). For its prep-
aration, the mung beans (Vigna radiata) are steeped and boiled with
the rice in water. Dried small shrimps and other ingredients are
added to the cooked rice. Muaddas is another traditional rice and
lentil meal served all year round. Variations of the popular dish are
featured globally in different cuisines such as Middle Eastern
(mujaddarah), South Asian (khichri), and Egyptian (kushari). Prep-
aration of muaddas includes boiling the rice with lentils (Lens
culinaris). Other ingredients such as onion and spices are added for
avoring. It is well-known that addition of legumes provides a
protein-rich supplement to cereal-based diets, which further en-
hances its nutritional quality [13].
Food legumes make a signicant contribution to the Middle
Eastern diet. As listed in Table 1, the local cuisine includes a variety
of legume-based savory foods. Chickpeas, broad beans, and black-
eyed beans (Fig. 4) are the three most common legumes
consumed during breakfast or as snacks in Bahrain throughout the
year. During the preparation of bajelah (broad beans), fasolia (black-
eyed beans), and nakhee (chickpeas), the grain legumes are soaked
in water overnight and boiled with round red pepper; the salt is
Table 1
Traditional plant-based savory dishes commonly consumed in Bahrain.
Arabic name Common name Scientic name Main ingredients Method of preparation Traditional food uses
Harees Wheat porridge
with meat
Triticum aestivum L. Whole wheat, meat, oil, salt, and spices Steeping followed by stewing Consumed mainly during Ramadan and at puerperium
Bahraini Kebab Vegetable kebab Cicer arietinum L. Chickpea our mixed with onion, dill,
bell pepper, and leek
Deep-frying Mainly prepared during the fasting month of Ramadan
Mbasal Saut
eed onion Allium cepa L. Onion and spices Frying Consumed during the era of severe food shortage
Momowash Rice with shrimps Oryza sativa L. Rice, dried shrimp, mung beans, fried
onion and mixed spices
Boiling Consumed throughout the year
Muaddas Rice with lentils Oryza sativa L. Rice, lentils, onion and mixed spices Boiling Consumed throughout the year
Mahamer Sweet rice Oryza sativa L. Rice, date molasses, saffron and
rose water
Boiling Served with fried sh or meat during lunch or dinner
Mbezar Turmeric rice Oryza sativa L. Rice, turmeric and chili powder Boiling Consumed as an alternative during poverty and
destitute conditions
Sambosa Samosa Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, potato, mung beans,
onion, chili powder and salt
Boiling followed by
Consumed throughout the year
Nakhee Chickpea Cicer arietinum L. Chickpeas, salt and water Steeping followed by boiling Consumed throughout the year
Bajelah Broad bean Vicia faba L. Broad beans, salt and water Steeping followed by boiling Consumed throughout the year, and especially
during breakfast and dinner
Fasolia or (Loobah) Black-eyed bean Vigna unguiculata Black-eyed beans, salt and water Steeping followed by boiling Consumed throughout the year, and especially
during dinner
Mattaai Chickpea our sticks Cicer arietinum L. Chickpea our, spices, peanuts, and mung beans Frying Served during weddings and festive holidays
Maghlaq Oatmeal date bread Avena barbata Wild oats, dates, mustard seeds, eggs, and ghee Soaking followed by cooking Consumed at puerperium and as a remedy for
body weakness
Fig. 4. Nakhee (chickpeas), bajelah (broad beans), and fasolia (black-eyed beans). The
tasty legumes are steeped and boiled in water and traditionallyconsumed at breakfast.
T.A. Alalwan et al / Traditional foods in Bahrain 277
added later as a seasoning ingredient before being served. It is
worth mentioning that these legume-based savory foods are
mostly prepared by housewives at home or obtained from small
traditional local bakeries or street food vendors. Nevertheless, the
traditional practice of steeping before boiling the legumes is
desirable as it reduces the phytic acid content and improves protein
digestibility [14]. Roasted chickpea or leblebi as it is called in Turkey,
on the other hand, is the most popular traditional snack food
consumed in other Middle Eastern countries [15].
In addition, chickpea our in particular has traditionally been
incorporated as an important ingredient in the preparation of
different local dishes. Such importance originates from the fact that
chickpea provides natives with valuable nutritional and potential
health benets [16]. The Bahraini vegetable kebab is one example in
which the batter is prepared from chickpea our (Fig. 3D). The
other ingredients, such as onion, dill, and leek or baghel as it is
known locally, are added to the batter and mixed in a large circular
wooden bowl called minjeb. The batter is made into pancake sha-
ped discs and deep fried in vegetable oil until a golden-brown color
is obtained. A popular custom is to serve the dish at the meal after
sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.
Another savory snack made from chickpea our and consumed
throughout the year is mattaai. Originated from India and intro-
duced into the local cuisine, mattaai is prepared by mixing and
kneading the our and adding water and spices into a dough. The
dough is shaped into sticks and fried in oil. To increase its nutri-
tional quality, fried mung beans, peanuts (Arachis hypogaea), and
chickpeas are added to the popular snack. Nowadays, various
shapes and forms of the popular snack can be found in the local
Sambosa or samosa is another popular, convenience ready to eat
pastry-lled snack. Historical accounts have suggested that the
samosa may have originated from Central Asia and the Middle East
and arrived to India as part of the Moghul dynasty [17]. Interest-
ingly, the adaptability of the samosa in terms of its pastry, lling,
and taste has enabled it to spread so widely [18]. The vegetarian
version of sambosa is the most popular with the locals. Potatoes are
boiled and cut into small pieces, followed by seasoning with chili
powder and salt. The other ingredients are added and then wrap-
ped in triangular-shaped pieces of white our dough before being
fried in hot oil to obtain the tasty snack.
3.2. Plant-based sweet foods
In parallel to its rich savory foods, Bahrain is famous for its de-
licious mouthwatering sweet dishes. Halwa is popular in the
Arabian Gulf countries and one of the most produced and
consumed Bahraini traditional dessert (Fig. 5A). The halwa industry,
which extends to nearly two centuries, is the product of an endless
chain of generations of artisans. Its origin is from the island of
Fig. 5. Some traditional Bahraini desserts. (A) Halwa, a corn our-based sweet with sugar. The jelly sweet is traditionally served with traditional Bahraini coffee during many social
occasions. (B) Assidah, a whole wheat our porridge with molasses. (C) Khabees, a wheat our based dessert with date syrup. (D) Legaimaat, deep-fried dough balls topped with date
syrup. (E) Nashab, crispy thin sweet lo rolls with cinnamon. (F) Sambosa hellwah, mini samosas lled with sweetened grated pistachio or almond. (G) Mahala, a wheat our-based
pancake that is often served on special occasions, including weddings and Ramadan. (H) Rangina, roasted our and butter drizzled over a circular arrangement of dates.
J Ethn Foods 2017; 4: 274e283278
Table 2
Traditional plant-based sweet dishes commonly consumed in Bahrain.
Arabic name Common name Scientic name Main ingredients Method of preparation Traditional food uses
Halwa Corn our sweet Zea mays L. Corn our, sugar, saffron, rose water,
cardamom, almonds, and cashew
Boiling Consumed mainly during weddings, festive holidays,
and the winter season
Assidah Wheat our porridge Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, sugar or date syrup, ghee,
and water
Roasting followed by boiling Consumed at puerperium and as a remedy for body
Khabees Flour and oil Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, date syrup, ghee,
cardamom, and saffron
Roasting followed by boiling Consumed during weddings, local festivals, and Islamic
Mamrus Flour and oil Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, date syrup, ghee, sesame,
and almonds
Roasting followed by boiling Consumed at weddings, festive holidays, and making
Sago Sago pudding Cycas revoluta Sago, sugar, and water Steeping followed by boiling Mainly prepared during the fasting month of Ramadan
Hesso Fenugreek seeds
and eggs
foenum-graecum L.
Fenugreek seeds, our, sugar, and water Roasting followed by simmering Consumed at puerperium and as a remedy for body
Rashoofa or
Garden cress seeds
and our
Lepidium sativum L. Garden cress seeds, sugar, our, and
Toasting followed by simmering Consumed at puerperium and as a remedy for body
Legaimaat Sweet dumplings Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our,sugar, dry yeast, and water Deep-frying Mainly prepared during the fasting month of Ramadan
Rangina Dates in butter sauce Phoenix dactylifera L. Rutab dates, our, butter, and
Roasting Consumed throughout the year during different
Talaah Saut
eed dates Phoenix dactylifera L. Dates, cow ghee, and cardamom Frying following by roasting Consumed at puerperium and as a remedy for body
Madquq bisr Pounded dates Phoenix dactylifera L. Khalal (bisr) dates, date syrup,
cardamom, and saffron
Pulverizing Consumed during festive holidays and making vows
Nashab Filo cinnamon
and sugar roll
Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, date syrup, ground
cinnamon, and sugar
Baking Consumed during Ramadan and festive occasions and
Sambosa hellwah Sweet samosa Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, sugar, almond, cardamom,
and rose water
Deep-frying Consumed during Ramadan and festive occasions and
Rahash Sesame paste Sesamum indicum L. Sesame seeds, sugar syrup, and egg
Consumed during festive occasions and holidays and
making vows
Aigalee Cardamom cake Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, sugar, eggs, cardamom,
and rose water
Baking Consumed during Ramadan and festive occasions and
making vows
Mahala Sweet thin pancake Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, sugar, eggs, water,
cardamom, and rose water
Frying Consumed during Ramadan and festive occasions
Gurs Al-taabi Bahraini pancake Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, sugar, eggs, water,
cardamom, and rose water
Frying Consumed during Ramadan and traditionally served in
wedding ceremonies
Khabeesa aish Rice powder sweet Oryza sativa L. Rice powder, sugar, saffron, cardamom,
and rose water
Roasting Consumed during festive occasions and when making
Khabeesa bobar Pumpkin sweet Cucurbita pepo L. Pumpkin, our, sugar, cardamom, and
Boiling followed by toasting Consumed during festive occasions and holidays
Khanfaroosh Semolina cake Triticum durum Semolina, eggs, saffron, cardamom, and
Frying Consumed during Ramadan and festive occasions
T.A. Alalwan et al / Traditional foods in Bahrain 279
Zanzibar and it was later incorporated into the local cuisine by the
Omanis [19].Halwa is traditionally produced in the capital city of
Manama and in the island of Muharraq by Bahrain's most well-
known families on a small-scale operation basis. It is consumed
on several social occasions and served with traditional Bahraini
coffee as a symbol of hospitality. Daily consumption of the tradi-
tional sweet delicacy can reach up to 500 g on special occasions
[20]. Preparation method includes mixing of corn our with sugar,
rose water, and saffron followed by cooking on low heat to a make a
thick jelly like mixture and adding the rest of the ingredients to
enhance its sensory quality. Generally, there are two types of
Bahraini halwa: red and green halwa. Similar ingredients are used
to make the Omani yellow halwa, but it has a higher fat content
which is undesirable for many health reasons. Moreover, brown
sugar or date syrup is used as the sweetening agent instead of white
sugar to make Omani black halwa [21].
Among the various traditional confections listed in Table 2 were
nine wheat-based items commonly consumed by the local in-
habitants. These are assidah,khabees,mamrus,legaimaat,nashab,
sambosa hellwah,aigalee,mahala, and gurs al-taabi. This is not
surprising considering that wheat is the most popular grain
consumed in the Middle East, including Bahrain [22]. Moreover,
sweets prepared with ghee or claried butter as a main ingredient
are widespread and longstanding in the Arabian Gulf due to their
highly prized characteristic avor. In the neighboring Levant
countries, on the other hand, animal fats were traditionally
considered to be a luxury item and, thus, are sparingly used during
the preparation of some desserts [23].Assidah is a porridge made of
whole wheat our containing bran. The our is roasted then added
to a mixture of boiled molasses and toasted sugar, after which it is
left to cook until a thick mixture is formed (Fig. 5B). Lamb ghee is
added afterward to enhance the avor and increase the energy
value of the dish. The traditional sweet is popularly consumed by
postpartum women in Bahrain because it is believed to improve the
production of breast milk. It is worth noting that the nutritional
practice of consuming special sweet foods by new mothers is not
unique to Bahrain, as it can be found in several Middle Eastern
countries [24,25].
Khabees is another traditional wheat ourebased confec-
tionary (Fig. 5C). It is prepared using a local date syrup, which is
boiled in water for 15 minutes. Roasted our, fresh cardamom,
and saffron are added to the mixture and continuously stirred
into small pieces. Mamrus is prepared by the same method but
no cardamom or saffron is used in the traditional recipe. Instead,
sesame and almonds are added to the date syrupewheat our
mixture. Legaimaat is another addition to the list of such tasty
sweets where wheat our is the main ingredient. From its ori-
gins in medieval Baghdad as a deep-fried fritter known as luqmat
al-qadi, the Middle Eastern confectionary was rapidly adopted
into different cuisines [26]. It is prepared by mixing the our
with water and other ingredients like yeast and sugar. The fer-
mented batter is shaped into small balls and deep fried in
vegetable oil until golden and nally topped with the nest
quality of date syrup (Fig. 5D). It is an all-time favorite dish in
Bahrain and other Arabian Gulf countries during the month of
Ramadan. Variations of the dessert, however, may exist across
the countries in the Gulf region. For example, in the United Arab
Emirates, milk powder or yogurt is traditionally added to pre-
pare legaimaat resulting in higher amounts of fat and protein
being reported [27].
Nashab is also a popular dessert consumed during festivals or
other social occasions in the local community. The pastry dough is
prepared by mixing our, water, and date syrup and spread into a
at sheet by a traditional roller called nashaba. Powdered cinnamon
and sugar are generously sprinkled over it and the pastry is rolled
Table 3
Traditional types of bread commonly consumed in Bahrain.
Arabic name Common name Scientic name Main ingredients Method of preparation Traditional food uses
Khubez tamer Date bread Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, date syrup, cardamom, and depitted dates Baking Consumed during weddings and when making vows
Khubez Halibi Milk bread Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, milk, sugar, and sesame seeds Baking Consumed throughout the year
Khubez tanoor Clay oven bread Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, salt, water, and yeast Baking Consumed throughout the year and during festive occasions
Khubez khamira Fennel enriched bread Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, yeast, water, and fennel seeds Baking Consumed throughout the year along with tea and milk
Khubez rigag Crispy at bread Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, salt, and water Frying Consumed during Ramadan and several religious ceremonies
Khubez zinjibari Zinjibar bread Triticum aestivum L. Wheat our, saffron, turmeric, eggs, yeast, and fennel seeds Deep-frying Consumed in Ramadan, festive holidays and when making vows
J Ethn Foods 2017; 4: 274e283280
into a cylinder prior to being cooked on a hot greased griddle called
tawah (Fig. 5E). Because of its low moisture content, nashab has a
long shelf life and is produced and sold commercially in shops
scattered throughout Bahrain [8]. Compared to Iraqi nashab, which
is deep-fried in vegetable oil, no additional supplementary in-
gredients such as rose water, whole walnuts, and blanched almonds
[28] were mentioned by the native informants. Similar ingredients
are used to prepare the dough of sambosa hellwah or sweet samosa.
Long rectangular sections of the very thin dough are cut and folded
into triangular prisms. The pastry is fried after stufng it with a
mixture of either grated pistachio or almond in addition to sugar,
cardamom, and rose water (Fig. 5F).
Aigalee is a wheat our cake which is prepared with a mixture
our, sugar, eggs, cardamom, and rose water. The semiliquid batter
Fig. 6. Some types of traditional breads consumed in Bahrain. (A) Khubez tanoor,a
single-layered at leavened bread baked in a traditional clay oven. (B) Khubez rigag,a
thin unleavened at bread thinly spread out on a hot at griddle. (C) Khubez tamer,a
traditional date-based bread. The dough mixture of our, dates and date syrup is baked
in a clay oven and consumed throughout the year.
Table 4
Traditional types of beverage commonly consumed in Bahrain.
Arabic name Common name Scientic name Main ingredients Method of preparation Traditional food uses
Qahwa Date seed coffee Phoenix dactylifera L. Date seed, cardamom, and saffron. Sun-drying followed
by roasting and boiling
Consumed throughout the year and during all occasions
Al-Liqah Date palm pollen Phoenix dactylifera L. Date palm pollen, sugar, and saffron Boiling Consumed throughout the year
Al-Ward Rose water Rosa damascena Mill. Rose water, cardamom, and sugar. Rose
water is mixed with the other ingredients for taste.
Consumed during the summer season, weddings, and
religious ceremonies
Loomi Dried lemon extract Citrus limon L. Dried lemon, water, and sugar Boiling Consumed during the winter season and served in religious
Zanjabil Ginger extract Zingiber ofcinale Ginger, sugar, and milk Boiling Consumed during the winter season as a hot beverage
Darseen Cinnamon extract Cinnamomum verum Cinnamon, sugar, and water Boiling Consumed as a hot beverage during the winter season
Tamar hindi Tamarind Tamarindus indica L. Tamarind pulp, water, and sugar. Soaking Consumed throughout the year, either cold or hot, as a
refreshing drink
Karkade Rosella extract Hibiscus sabdariffa L. Roselle calyces, sugar, and water Sun-drying
followed by boiling
Mainly used for medicinal purposes and consumed as a
warm drink during the winter season
Zaafaran Saffron extract Crocus sativus L. Saffron, cardamom, sugar, and rose water Boiling Consumed during the winter season, weddings, and
religious ceremonies
Khawaja Ibrahim Basil seed extract Ocimum basilicum L. Basil seeds, date palm pollen extract, and saffron Soaking Consumed as a cold beverage during religious ceremonies
and when making vows
Hail Cardamom extract Elettaria cardamomum Cardamom pods, water, and sugar Boiling Consumed during the winter season as a hot beverage
Shamandar Beetroot Beta vulgaris L. Beetroot, sugar, and water Boiling Consumed during the winter season
Rumman Pomegranate Punica granatum L. Pomegranate seeds, sugar, and water Concentration Consumed during festive occasions and holidays
T.A. Alalwan et al / Traditional foods in Bahrain 281
mixture is poured into a greased deep saucepan with nuts added on
top and baked for 45 minutes. It is commonly served during several
religious and social ceremonies, often when making vows. Sweet-
tasting mahala is another popular dessert that is prepared by mix-
ing the ourwith water, saffron, androse water. The dough is kneaded
until smooth and satiny. The dough is placed on the surface of a hot
well-oiled griddle and cooked until light brown. A sugary mixture of
rose water and cardamom is poured over the warm pastry (Fig. 5G).
Gurs al-taabi is a traditional pancake-like bread, prepared
domestically by the local population during many festive occasions
including marriage ceremonies and on the return of Hajj pilgrims
from the holy city of Mecca. The pancake is prepared by mixing
wheat our, eggs, saffron, and date fruit extract. The batter formed
is then poured into a greased pan and cooked sufciently. A syrup
made of sugar or honey and cardamom dissolved in rose water is
poured over the cooked bread or pancake.
The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) has long been one of the most
important fruit crops in most of the arid and semiarid regions of the
world, including the Arabian Peninsula. The date palm has always
been closely related with the cultural and religious practices of the
Arab region [29]. The native inhabitants of Bahrain and other
neighboring countries have used the date fruit since ancient times as
an important staple food and as the principle source of local food
security. Furthermore, date fruitebased products such as date
molasses or dibis and date juice have been integrated into numerous
local recipes as sweetening and avoring agents. Among the most
popular sweets made from the staple fruit is the traditional rangina.
Preparation of dates in butter sauce involves roasting our and
butter and pouring the mixture over a circular arrangement of rutab
dates (Fig. 5H). The dish is cooked over low heat for 15 minutes and
then sprinkled with cinnamon powder. The principal reason behind
the preferred use of dates at the rutab stage is the fact that they are at
their softest and sweetest [30]. Another signature local dish pre-
pared from dates is talaah. Small amounts of tamar dates are saut
in ghee over medium-low heat for half an hour. A couple of
cardamom pods are added and then the dates are strained from the
melted ghee. Additional amounts of the dried dates are thrown in
and the mixture is roasted prior to cooling and storage. Traditionally,
it is one of the most nutritious and delicious sweets preferred by
women during the postpartum period and the physically weak as
dates provide a good source of rapid energy and are rich in dietary
ber, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants [31].Madquq bisr on the
other hand is prepared from dates at the khalal stage of ripening.
Locally grown fresh khenaizi or khalas dates are chopped and/or
pulverized prior to being infused with saffron and date syrup.
Rahash is another popular traditional sweet dish, prepared
during several festive occasions across the Arabian Gulf region. It is
prepared using sesame paste, oil, egg whites, and sugar or date
syrup. The resulting mixture is allowed to cook on low heat for
30e45 minutes until a solid homogeneous mass is obtained.
Another variation of this dessert is found in Kuwait where it is
mainly prepared from 50% sesame pulp and 50% sugar with similar
fat and protein contents to the Bahraini rahash [32].Khanfaroosh is
another sweet dish prepared using dough of semolina our knea-
ded with sugar, eggs, cardamom, saffron, and rose water. The disc-
shaped dough is then sprinkled with sesame seeds and fried till
golden brown. Khabeesa aish is a traditional local dish prepared
from rice powder. Other ingredients such as cardamom, saffron,
sugar, and water are added to the roasted rice powder and
continuously stirred for 15 minutes until small pieces are obtained.
3.3. Traditional breads
In Bahrain, like many Middle Eastern countries, bread con-
sumption is very high, representing the second most important
part of the diet [33]. Traditionally, bread is consumed in a variety of
ways, principally during breakfast and dinner (Table 3). Tanoor
bread or ajam (Persian) bread is the most commonly consumed
white wheat our bread in Bahrain and other Arabian Gulf coun-
tries (Fig. 6A). Similar to the Iranian bread taftoon, the single-
layered at leavened bread is prepared by mixing our, salt, wa-
ter, and yeast into a dough and fermented for a short period. The
dough is then divided into small balls, attened, and baked on the
wall of a traditional clay oven or tanoor. In Bahrain, the bread is
made from straight run our of 80% extraction; whereas, in Kuwait,
it is made from white our with a higher extraction rate of 90% [8].
Khubez rigag is a traditional thin unleavened at bread made
from high-extraction wheat our (Fig. 6B). For its preparation,
our is mixed with water and salt until an elastic dough is ob-
tained. The dough is thinly spread out on a hot and greased griddle
or tawa. The crispy thin bread product is popularly consumed
during the month of Ramadan and other religious festivals.
Another type of bread commonly consumed in Bahrain is khubez
tamer or date bread (Fig. 6C). The bread is prepared with our
mixed with water, date syrup, yeast, and depitted dates and
kneaded into a fully developed dough. The fermented dough is
then cut and shaped into discs prior to baking in the traditional
tanoor oven until brown. In comparison to other types of tradi-
tional breads, khubez tamer has higher energy and mineral con-
tents due to the inclusion of dates and its syrup [8].
Khubez zinjibari is a deep-fried bread, originated from Zanzibar
and adopted by the local inhabitants, prepared during the month
of Ramadan and other festive occasions. It is prepared by kneading
wheat our with water and yeast to form a dough. Other in-
gredients such as fennel seeds, saffron, and turmeric are added.
The leavened dough is then rolled into discs and fried in oil till
slightly brown. Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare)isalsousedinthe
preparation of Khubez khamira or fennel-enriched bread. For its
preparation, all the ingredients are mixed and kneaded into a
dough and fermented. The dough is then attened and baked in
the traditional tanoor. The bread is often consumed with a tradi-
tional fermented sh sauce called mehiawah along with tea and
milk. In Jordan, however, fennel seeds are used in the preparation
of sweet breads with added sugar and consumed at breakfast or as
3.4. Plant-based beverages
A wide variety of traditional beverages from plant materials are
prepared and consumed in Bahrain (Table 4). Many of the tradi-
tional beverages from plant extracts are popular in Bahrain and
other Middle Eastern countries. The date pits have been used
traditionally for long time by the Arabs as a caffeine-free coffee
substitute [35]. The noncaffeinated Bahraini coffee or qahwa is
prepared in several steps. Soaking of the date seeds in water is
rstly performed to remove any adhering soft tissue and then the
prepared seeds are dried under the sun. The dried date pits are then
roasted until they assume a brownish color. The roasted seeds are
nally grinded on a traditional stone mill called al-raha and mixed
with cardamom and saffron to improve the taste. The coffee is
prepared by boiling the powered mixture in water for 10e15 mi-
nutes, and this healthy drink is served in many local social occa-
sions throughout the year.
Al-liqah is another refreshing traditional drink distillate prepared
as a hot water infusion from the date palm spathe. Sugar and saffron
are added into the drink to adjust the taste and color. One of the main
reasons for its popularity stems from its effective use as an antidi-
arrheal agent in traditional medicine [36]. Other popular hot in-
fusions consumed by the local inhabitants include zaafaran (saffron),
karkade (hibiscus), zanjabil (ginger), darseen (cinnamon), loomi (dried
J Ethn Foods 2017; 4: 274e283282
lemon), shamandar (beetroot), and hail (cardamom). The health
benets of infusion beverages are generally attributed to the bioac-
tive compounds present in the plant extracts which are highly
extracted into hot water infusions [37]. Despite the fact that hot in-
fusions, mainly through tea consumption, are traditionally more
popular, cold infusions are an important component of the local food
system, which are enjoyed during the hot summer months in
Bahrain. Tamar hindi is a sweet-sour beverage made by soaking the
fruit pulp of tamarind in water for 24 hours with stirring from time to
time. The extracted infusion is then ltered through a cheese cloth
and sugar is added to give the proper degree of sweetness. Khawaja
Ibrahim is another traditional beverage of Bahrain,which is produced
from the cold infusion of basil seeds forming a gelatinous mass.
Saffron and al-liqah are added to give the beverage color and taste. It
is generally consumed as a cool refreshment during religious holi-
days and celebrations. Similarly in other Asian countries, basil seeds
are infused in water or milk to prepare a traditional refreshing
dessert-beverage called Falooda [38].
The documented traditional foods and beverages in this study
represent the most popular plant-based dishes of Bahrain that are
consumed either occasionally or continually year round. Most of
these traditional foods are based on rice and wheat with recipes and
preparation methods handed down from generation to generation.
The common traditional methods of food preparation include
boiling (i.e., savory dishes), frying (i.e., savory and sweet dishes),
baking (i.e., desserts and breads), and roasting (i.e., desserts).
Moreover, food is embedded in the social practices and relations of
everyday life of Bahrainis where traditional foodways have been
preserved by the elderly who are less inuenced by the change of
food habits towards Western food patterns. Nevertheless, there is an
urgent need to conserve and promote traditional food values among
the newer generations of Bahrainis. This need stems partly from
concern for the increasing inuence of modernization and from
concern about the effects of changing food habits on the incidence
rates of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Conicts of interest
All authors have no conicts of interest to declare.
The authors would like to extend their thanks to the informants
who participated in this study for their time and valuable
This research did not receive any specic grant from funding
agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-prot sectors.
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... In contrast, data from our study showed a slight non-significant increment. This is possibly due to the Ramadan diet pattern observed in the Arabian Gulf states, which includes consuming more sweetened traditional foods (Alalwan et al., 2017). In fact, dietary habit is well-established as the main factor affecting gut microbiota structure and function (David et al., 2014). ...
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... The local meal is a kind of food consumed by the community since a long time ago (Alalwan et al., 2017). Local food can also be defined as traditional food or ethnic food. ...
Food is an effective way for rural communities to introduce their culture. Therefore, they make various mobilization efforts to popularize their traditional foods. It comes as no surprise that the traditional ceremonies are held as a means of branding to promote these localities. This study was aimed to describe the local traditional foods presented at the Kebo-keboan traditional ceremony in Alasmalang, Banyuwangi district, Indonesia as a reflection of the culture within the Alasmalang community. The analysis focused on the philosophy of traditional foods to unravel the culture within the Alasmalang community. The data were collected through in-depth interviews to receive profound information. The data analysis was done using interactive methods. There were six variations of local foods found in the Kebo-keboan traditional ceremony, namely Pecel Pitik, Tumpeng Putih, Tumpeng Kuning, Jenang Abang, Jenang Suro, and boiled produce. All the local foods are made from local ingredients with local cultural beliefs lying within them. These foods reflect the religious, social, and environmental-loving culture of the Alasmalang community as well as a means of promoting local culture. The findings can serve as initiatives for cultural promotion elsewhere as well as an expansion in cultural studies
... The earliest examples of the use of dates in the Middle East come from two sites, Sabiyah in Kuwait and the island of Dalma in the United Arab Emirates, as evidenced by carbonized date seeds and stones [24,27]. Dates have a special social status among Middle Eastern countries (e.g., Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain) and with Arabs in general, as dates and date-based foods are served during most auspicious occasions and events, such as weddings, births, family gatherings, and religious holidays [28]. Although dates are admired for their nutritional and health-promoting properties by the natives of the Middle East and northern Africa, the fruit is less recognized in other regions of the world due in part to limited scientific documentation derived from Islamic prophetic traditions [29]. ...
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Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death globally, presenting an immense public and economic burden. Studies on cardioprotective foods and their bioactive components are needed to address both personal and public health needs. Date fruit is rich in polyphenols, particularly flavonoids, certain micronutrients, and dietary fiber, which can impact vascular health, and have the potential to attenuate vascular disease in humans. Data from in vitro and animal studies report that consumption of date fruit or extracts can modulate select markers of vascular health, particularly plasma lipid levels including triglycerides and cholesterol, indices of oxidative stress and inflammation, but human data is scant. More investigation is needed to better characterize date polyphenols and unique bioactive compounds or fractions, establish safe and effective levels of intake, and delineate underlying mechanisms of action. Implementing scientific rigor in clinical trials and assessment of functional markers of vascular disease, such as flow-mediated dilation and peripheral arterial tonometry, along with gut microbiome profiles would provide useful information with respect to human health. Emerging data supports the notion that intake of date fruit and extracts can be a useful component of a healthy lifestyle for those seeking beneficial effects on vascular health.
... The fruit is mentioned more than 20 times in the Quran, and it is usual to break the daily fast with dates during Ramadan. Moreover, it has a special social status among Bahrainis and Arabs in general, as dates and date-based foods are served during every auspicious occasion and event, such as weddings, births, family gatherings, and religious holidays [31]. ...
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Dates have a low glycemic index and are a source of antioxidants but, nevertheless, contain more than 70% sugar. This study aims to assess the effects of date consumption (three dates daily) on glycemic profile (HbA1c), body mass index (BMI), quality of life, and lipid profile, including total cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in terms of safety for type 2 diabetic mellitus (T2DM) subjects. A randomized controlled trial was conducted with a sample of 100 T2DM subjects (39 male and 61 female) randomly assigned in two groups. The first group received three dates daily for 16 weeks, and the control group avoided date consumption. After a 16-week follow-up period, the study results showed an improvement of lipid profile with a statistically significant decrease in total cholesterol of ∆ = −0.209 mmol/L (confidence interval (CI) 95% −0.358, −0.059; p < 0.05) and in LDL of ∆ = −0.171 mmol/L (CI 95% −0.358, 0.016) in the group receiving three dates daily. Intra-group mean differences of BMI were not statistically different in both groups after 16 weeks of date consumption. Even HbA1c did not change, both within and between groups after date consumption (∆ = 0.087%; CI 95% −0.086, 0.261). Between groups, mean difference changes (intervention minus control) showed a statistically significant improvement of quality of life index of ∆ = ± 30.66 points (CI 95% 12.45, 48.23) due to the consequent improvement in mental health. Although the definitive effect of dose/intake response of date consumption on Hb1Ac, lipid profile, and BMI in T2DM subjects is still to be established, the study suggests that dates could potentially have a beneficial effect on lipid profile, especially in reducing total cholesterol and elevating HDL, because of its high polyphenolic content. In addition, a low-moderate consumption of dates did not impact glucose levels because of dates' low glycemic index.
... Some also produce healthy labeled juice from rose flowers, or even as rose candies, teas, and crackers (Arifin, 2017a). Others also use rose water in cooking as a natural coloring agent (Saati et al. 2011), flavoring agents on desserts and many meat dishes (Karizaki et al. 2016;Alalwan et al. 2017). However, another valuable product from rose flowers which attracts the attention of the world is the production of rose oil,known as rose otto, in flavor and fragrance industry (Kovats, 1987). ...
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Karangpring is one tourist destination villages in Jember district which is popular with beautiful large rose field areas. Therefore, this area grows to be a leading producer of rose flowers in Jember district. However, the bulky presence of these flowers made its price becomes lower in regular days. Local community only uses and sells these fresh flowers as the flower for funeral. The rose flower has a great potency to be explored as a source of rose essential oil production. To date, there is no previous research on studying rose flowers from Karangpring village for its potency on the essential oil production. In this research, rose flowers were subjected to be extracted of its essential oil using two extraction methods, distillation, and enfleurage. Hydrodistillation resulted two phases of distillates, above part formed a cloudy white phase as a normal essential oil extracted from plants, and the lower phase was an aqueous phase containing rose hydrosols. Both phases of these condensates were analyzed using GCMS. Data explained that above phase, with a yield oil of 0.07%, only contains long-chain hydrocarbons such as n-nonadecane, n-heptadecane, 9-nonadecene, and eicosane, while the lower phase only contains 2-phenylethyl alcohol. On the other hand, enfleurage of fresh rose flowers resulted in 0.06% oil yield. GCMS analysis of this oil shows that 2-phenylethyl alcohol, eugenol, and phenylacetic acid are three major compounds which take more than 85% of total rose absolute. The results show that enfleurage is a better method for extracting rose oil in better quality than using the distillation method, in term of the variety of volatile components. Meanwhile, hydrodistillation is still benefiting from producing rose water that is qualified as an industrial additive agent for food and cosmetic productions or even a new potent of agromedicine products. Keywords: rose, rose oil, rose water, rose absolute, distillation, enfleurage.
Intensive agriculture and meat-based westernized diets have brought a heavy environmental burden to the planet. Legumes, or pulses, are members of the large Fabaceae (Leguminosae) family, which comprise about 5% of all plant species. They are ancient crops whose popularity both for farmers and consumers has gone through several stages of acceptance, and in recent years, legumes have regained their luster. This is due to a global understanding that: (1) farming systems need to promote biodiversity, (2) biological nitrogen fixation is an important tool to reduce the application of external chemical inputs, namely in the form of nitrogen fertilizers, and that (3) plant-based foods have fewer adverse environmental effects per unit weight, per serving, per unit of energy, or per protein weight than do animal source foods, across various environmental indicators. Legumes play a key role in answering these three global challenges and are pivotal actors in the diversification and sustainable intensification of agriculture, particularly in light of new and urgent challenges such as climate change. In this chapter, we showcase the importance of legumes as contemporary agents of change, whose impacts start in the field, but then branch out into competitive global economies, modernized societies, and ultimately, improved food security and human health.
Traditional food and beverage derived from land and sea, and it reflect an important trait of any nation’s cultural heritage. These foods are considered as essential daily or occasional dishes by the local populace for long time. The method and recipes of preparation have been inherited from generation to generation. Furthermore, traditional foods characterize a crucial component of people’s diet, health, and socioeconomic status (Trichopoulou, Soukara, & Vasilopoulou, 2007).
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Proximate composition and mineral content analysis of 10 traditional Qatari dishes revealed that protein contents ranged from 1.7 to 12.4%, while the fat content ranged from 0.13 to 1.0 %. The meat dishes contained higher levels of sodium ranging from 1276 to 1989 mg/100g while iron and zinc content varied from 0.3 to 7.4 and 0.03 to 4.5 mg/100g respectively. The level of potassium and calcium was found to be highest in Aseeda (sweet dish) with 375.7 and 403.6 mg/100g respectively. There is considerable difference in the nutrient composition of the Qatari dishes from that of the similar dishes from the Gulf States possibly due to variations in the raw materials and preparation processes. Data from this study will be helpful in calculating nutrient content of traditional dishes of Qatar for planning diet charts and also for developing a Qatar Food Database in the future.
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Diet related diseases are increasing at an alarming rate all over the world. Restriction in dietary saturated fat intake is one of the major components in healthy diet as a mean of preventing cardiovascular and other associated diseases. Ghee is one of the high saturated fat types (around 60% saturated fat) which is consumed along with many Asian traditional foods. As a model food, halwa, a traditional confection in Oman, which is popular in domestic and many other gulf countries is modified by replacing ghee with healthy vegetable oils and tested for their acceptability. Three types of halwa, olive oil halwa, sunflower oil halwa and ghee halwa (control) were produced in a commercial production facility and their textural and sensorial attributes were determined. In instrumental texture profiles, there were no significant differences in cohesiveness, springiness, chewiness and gumminess between olive oil, sunflower oil and ghee halwa samples. The hardness of olive oil halwa was the highest and sunflower oil halwa was the lowest among three tested samples. In sensory evaluation of developed halwa products, there was no significant difference in the overall acceptability between ghee and sunflower oil halwa. In blind sensory test, 60% of females and 80% of males selected sunflower oil halwa, and only 10% of females and 10% males selected olive oil halwa as their first choice of preferences. But in informed sensory test, the selection of olive oil halwa as the first choice was increased to 55% in females and 30% in males. About 80% of the panelists in informed sensory test were ready to accept non-ghee halwa the way it was prepared or with product improvement. There are opportunities to modify traditional foods which are rich in saturated fat by replacing with healthy oils, and to educate the people about the health benefits of these modifications.
This article critically examines the nationalistic uses to which UNESCO’s 2003 Convention on intangible heritage is put in Western Asia by looking at the conflicts it initiated amongst the countries in the region over the ownership of shared culinary traditions. I first detail the conflict that has arisen between Armenia and Turkey over the ownership of keşkek dish after its inscription in the Convention’s Representative List on behalf of Turkey in 2011. Then I discuss the ownership conflicts over tolma dish and lavash bread that ensued in the region following the listing of keşkek. Examined together, these cases demonstrate that while the Convention strongly influences the current processes of heritagization of food in Western Asia, these processes do not primarily serve the Convention’s purposes of safeguarding intangible heritage and ensuring mutual appreciation of it. The Convention rather functions as a source of nationalism in the region to identify and legitimate transnational food traditions as national heritage and to prevent other countries from laying claims over them. © 2016 Bahar Aykan. Published with license by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Indian cuisine has gained a primary place, especially in the Western world as a result of globalization and other factors such as immigration, availability of recipes on the web and increased tourism activities. From ”�chicken tikka masala’ becoming the national dish of Britain to many Indian recipes appearing on various international flights, Indian food items have secured their place on the new global menu. Indian cuisine has evolved over the years and it has a strong connection to its culture, history, and geography. The dietary patterns have also evolved based on various religious practices. Undoubtedly, the well-known Indian traditional medicinal system, Ayurveda had exerted a strong influence on many Indian food recipes and eating patterns. The cultivation and availability of various types of spices and their extensive use in many recipes has always been a predominant feature of Indian food. In addition to the traditional recipes, many new modifications are happening to Indian cuisine in order to accommodate the fast-food culture. With new research in the field of nutrition claiming excellent health benefits for many ingredients used in Indian food and many people across the globe acquiring the taste of Indian recipes, the cuisine of India is going to gain greater popularity in the future.
This paper is a report of the findings of a study of Gulf Arab women's perspectives of the transition to motherhood. Transition to motherhood is a universal phenomenon in which every culture has its own expectations and varying supports for women moving through this transition. International studies have provided models or categories of maternal responses related to cultural aspects of transition to motherhood. However, no known research has focused on transition to motherhood among Gulf Arab women. In the initial cohort seventeen first time Gulf Arab mothers in the United Arab Emirates were interviewed during the following three times: before childbirth, two-four weeks after childbirth, and forty-days after childbirth. A second cohort of seventeen first time new mothers was interviewed after childbirth in Sultanate of Oman. Four patterns were identified as indicators of change as women transitioned into motherhood: 1) Women's personal transition: women changed from feeling of freedom to feeling of dependency to self-confidence. 2) Mother/baby relationships: women changed from fear, anxiety, and uncertainty to feelings of care and confidence. 3) Family influences: women experienced family support to being integrated and feeling respected by family. 4) Cultural/religious beliefs and practices: women felt they were initially observers of culture, to experiencing cultural/religious beliefs and practices. This was followed by accomplishment in childbearing and childrearing practices. As Gulf Arab new mothers made the transition to motherhood, four implications for international nursing practice emerged: 1) patient teaching to help relieve anxiety, fears, and uncertainty, 2) facilitation of mother/baby relationships, 3) family-centered care, and 4) the importance of cultural/religious beliefs and practices to new mothers.