From madrouba rice to the national dish machboos, going by the local regag crepes or the marguga stew. In Qatari food, tradition and ancient recipes play a fundamental role, as well as its spices, especially the singular bezar, protagonist of the vast majority of its most typical dishes.
The gastronomy of the emirate is the result of a careful journey through the desert, the sea and the legacy of a people that is also open to new cuisine to enrich the culinary essence of the country.
“It is a wonderful experience. It has a multitude of flavors, many spices. Each dish has a unique recipe. That’s why when the tests are never the same. You have to try everything”””, assures EFE Noor al Mazroei, maximum exponent of the new Qatari cuisine.
The chef has had a meteoric rise. She started uploading her recipes on the internet and since then she has had an extraordinary reception: “I became a chef by trying and making many mistakes. It was a passion. I started at home and then to share my recipes on social networks. After that, I began to collaborate with more and more restaurants and I grew little by little”, she narrates.
Noor has been cooking since she was a little girl, thanks to her grandmother, but now it is common to see her on instagram (@noor_almazroei) walking with David Beckham through the Qatari bazaar or doing a cooking show with some of the best chefs in the world. Her secret is creativity, respect for traditions and a lot of sacrifice.
“I don’t want to transform or change Qatari food, I want to give options. When events like the World Cup are held, there are people who are vegan, gluten-free, or vegetarian. Everyone deserves to enjoy Qatari food. That’s why I like to offer alternatives. So, if you want to try a typical dish, you can find it the way you want”, she points out.
When it comes to cooking, Noor always thinks about flavour, texture, presentation and creating something unique without neglecting tradition. “My goal is to make healthy Qatari food. Food has to be for everyone,” he adds.
A passion that stems from the difficulties she has had in life to be able to find establishments where she can eat with her daughter who, being celiac, does not tolerate gluten, present in almost all regional food. “It was a kind of discrimination,” she notes.
“Our traditional food usually includes meat, chicken or fish. Vegan recipes is something that is not easily found in our kitchen. So we can make the same rice but make it vegan, with the same flavors and the same spices, because our secret is in the spices. We can remove the chicken and use any type of vegetable we like and do it without sacrificing flavor,” he notes.
In his menu, Noor has his own version of the madrouba (rice to accompany, slow-cooked with milk, cardamom or chicken, among other ingredients) in which he substitutes meat and rice for oatmeal and spinach, or a more machboos (Qatar’s national dish cooked with chicken, beef or even camel meat and rice). But always its secret ingredient is the bezar.
“Bezar is a mixture of spices. It usually has cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, black pepper, coriander, cardamom… Each person has their own mix. It is something unique, different, that we use in many dishes”, he comments.
In traditional Qatari food, sharing is normal. Small crunchy dumplings filled with vegetables, meat or cheese such as samboosa, chickpea falafel, hummus, grilled kofta or regag, which are hard crepes filled with cream cheese, honey, fruit, vegetable or chocolate
Noor acknowledges that the essential recipe for her is “to do what you love because it makes it special, since what is done from the heart can reach many people. Work hard, love what you do and develop it.” And with that base she has conquered millions of people.
He currently runs a charming cafeteria near the city center, the Blended Cafe, which offers homemade sweets and healthy typical dishes, although his dream is to open a restaurant one day.
“I would love to have an international restaurant with all kinds of food, although the important thing is that it be a place capable of offering everything customers need. That anyone, with any kind of intolerance or need, can sit back and enjoy”, she concludes.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.