World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Yemeni cuisine

Article Id: WHEBN0005554889
Reproduction Date:

Title: Yemeni cuisine  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Middle Eastern cuisine, Israeli cuisine, Somali cuisine, Iraqi cuisine, List of Asian cuisines
Collection: Yemeni Cuisine
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Yemeni cuisine

Saltah is considered the national dish of Yemen
Location of Yemen

Yemeni cuisine is entirely distinct from the more widely known Middle Eastern cuisines, and even differs slightly from region to region. Throughout history, Yemeni cuisine has had a little bit of Ottoman influence in some parts of the north, and a little Mughlai-style Indian influence in Aden and the surrounding areas in the south, but these influences have only come within the last 300 years. Yemeni cuisine is extremely popular among the Arab States of the Persian Gulf.


  • Customs 1
  • Food preparation 2
  • Fruits and vegetables 3
  • Meat and dairy 4
  • Legumes 5
  • Yemeni dishes 6
    • Saltah 6.1
    • Ogdat 6.2
  • Yemeni bread varieties 7
  • Spices 8
  • Desserts and sweets 9
    • Honey 9.1
  • Beverages 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12


The generous offering of food to guests is one of the customs in Yemeni culture, and a guest not accepting the offering is considered as an insult.[1] Meals are typically consumed while sitting on the floor or ground.[1]

Food preparation

In Yemen, many kitchens have a taboon (also called tannur), which is a round clay oven.[1]

Fruits and vegetables

Tomatoes, onions, and potatoes are some of the staple fruits and vegetables in Yemen.[2]

Meat and dairy

Homemade mandi from Hadhramaut, Yemen

Chicken, goat, and lamb are the staple meats in Yemen.[2] They are eaten more often than beef, which is expensive. Fish is also eaten, especially in the coastal areas. Cheese, butter, and other dairy products are less common in the Yemeni diet. Buttermilk, however, is enjoyed almost daily in some villages where it is most available. The most commonly used fats are vegetable oil and ghee used in savory dishes, while clarified butter, known as semn (سمن), is the choice of fat used in pastries.


Broad beans are used in Yemeni dishes, such as bean salad. Lentils are also used in dishes, such as stews.[3]

Yemeni dishes

A fatoot of fried bread with eggs

Dishes common in Yemen include: aseed, fahsa, fattah, fatoot,[3] ful medames, hanith, hareesh, jachnun, kabsa, komroh, mandi, mutabbaq, Samak Mofa, shafut, shakshouka, thareed, and Zurbiyan.


Although each region has their own variation, Saltah (سلتة) is considered the national dish.[3] The base is a brown meat stew called maraq (مرق), a dollop of fenugreek froth (holba), and sahawiq (سحاوق) or sahowqa (a mixture of chili peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and herbs ground into a salsa). Rice, potatoes, scrambled eggs, and vegetables are common additions to saltah. Meats used in the preparation of this dish are typically lamb or chicken.[2] It is eaten traditionally with Yemeni flat bread, which serves as a utensil to scoop up the food.


Ogdat (عقدة), meaning knot in Arabic, is a stew made from tying and mixing all the ingredients together. There are many types of ogdat, and it can be made with small pieces of lamb, chicken, or fish that is mixed and cooked together with vegetables, including tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions, zucchini, etc.

Yemeni bread varieties

Breads are an integral part of Yemeni cuisine, most of which are prepared from local grains.[1] Unleavened flat breads are common.[2] Tawa, Tameez, Laxoox, Malooga, Kader, Kubane, Fateer, Kudam, Rashoosh, Oshar, Khamira, and Malawah[1] are popular breads eaten in Yemen. Flat bread is usually baked at home in a tandoor called taboon (تبون). Malooga, khubz, and khamira are popular homemade breads. Store-bought pita bread and roti (bread rolls like French bread) are also common.


A spice mixture known as hawaij is employed in many Yemeni dishes. Hawaij includes aniseeds, fennel seeds, ginger, and cardamom.

Yemeni cuisine is often prepared hot and spicy with the use of chili peppers, cumin, coriander seeds, turmeric, and other spices.[3] Herbs such as fenugreek, mint, and cilantro are also used.[3] Fenugreek is used as one of the main ingredients in the preparation of a paste or sauce called holba (also spelled hulba).[3] A popular spice used in breads (kubana and sabayah) is black cumin, known also by its Arabic name habasoda (habbat as sowda).

Desserts and sweets

Bint Al-Sahn (sabayah) is a sweet honey cake or bread from Yemeni cuisine.[3][1] It is prepared from a dough with white flour, eggs, and yeast, which is then served dipped in a honey and butter mixture.[1]

Other common desserts include: fresh fruit (mangoes, bananas, grapes, etc.), zalābiya, halwa, rawani, and masoob. Masoob is a banana-based dessert made from over-ripe bananas, ground flat bread, cream, cheese, dates, and honey.


In Yemen, honey is produced within the country, and is considered a delicacy.[1] Locally-produced honey has a high demand, and it is also considered as a status symbol in the country.[1]


Black tea

Shahi Haleeb (milk tea, served after qat), black tea (with cardamom, clove, or mint), qishr (coffee husks), Qahwa (coffee), Karkadin (an infusion of dried hibiscus flowers), Naqe'e Al Zabib (cold raisin drink), and diba'a (squash nectar) are examples of popular Yemeni drinks. Mango and guava juices are also popular.

Although coffee and tea are consumed throughout Yemen,[2] coffee is the preferred drink in Sana'a, whereas black tea is the beverage of choice in Aden and Hadhramaut. Tea is consumed along with breakfast, after lunch (occasionally with sweets and pastries), and along with dinner. Popular flavorings include cloves with cardamom and mint. A drink made from coffee husks called qishr is also enjoyed.

Alcoholic beverages are considered improper due to cultural and religious reasons, but they are available in the country.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hestler, Anna; Spilling, Jo-Ann (2009). Yemen. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 125–131.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f Etheredge, Laura (2011). Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Rosen Publishing Group. pp. 111–112.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Salloum, Habeeb (2014). Asian Cooking Made Simple: A Culinary Journey along the Silk Road and Beyond. Habeeb Salloum. pp. 154–162.  
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.