Bahraini Style Pizza

BAHRAINI STYLE PIZZA

Mark Stens Land

1/10/20234 min read

Bahrain Bliss: Bahraini-Style Pizza Adventures

From Machboos to Margherita

Picture the vibrant streets of Manama, where the aroma of spices fills the air, and the rich culinary traditions of Bahrain meet modern culinary innovations. Now, imagine taking these bold, vibrant flavors and reinventing them into a pizza that transports you straight to the Arabian Gulf with every bite. Welcome to the delightful and hilarious world of Bahraini-style pizza, where tradition and humor collide in a deliciously cheesy explosion. Grab your aprons and get ready for a culinary adventure that’s as flavorful as it is funny!

The Dough: From Khubz to Pizza Crust

Bahrain is famous for its Khubz, a traditional flatbread that’s soft, fluffy, and perfect for soaking up rich flavors. We're transforming this beloved bread into a pizza crust that’s light, chewy, and perfect for holding a plethora of toppings. We’ll add a touch of za’atar for that authentic Middle Eastern twist.

Recipe: Bahraini Flatbread Pizza Dough

- 2 cups all-purpose flour

- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

- 1 packet active dry yeast

- 1 tsp salt

- 1 tbsp za’atar

- 2 tbsp olive oil

- 1 cup warm water

Mix the flours, salt, and yeast. Add the warm water, olive oil, and za’atar, kneading until the dough is as smooth as a camel’s gait. Let it rise until doubled in size, or until you've perfected your belly dancing moves.

Sauces: The Soul of the Pizza

For the sauce, we draw inspiration from Bahraini Machboos, a spiced rice dish that’s bursting with flavor. This sauce will give our pizza a rich, aromatic base.

Recipe: Machboos Tomato Sauce

- 1 can crushed tomatoes

- 1 small onion, finely chopped

- 2 cloves garlic, minced

- 1 tsp ground turmeric

- 1 tsp ground cinnamon

- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom

- Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil until tender. Add the tomatoes, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and pepper. Let it simmer until thickened, or until you feel like you’re at a Bahraini souk.

Cheeses: A Gulf Twist

Cheese isn’t typically central to Bahraini cuisine, but we’re taking liberties here. We’re marinating halloumi in a blend of pomegranate molasses and fresh herbs to give it that authentic Gulf flair.

Recipe: Marinated Bahraini Cheese

- 1 block halloumi cheese

- 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses

- Fresh mint and parsley, chopped

- Zest of 1 lemon

Cube the cheese, mix with pomegranate molasses, herbs, and lemon zest. Let it marinate overnight, or until you’ve convinced a friend that halloumi is the new mozzarella.

Toppings: A Culinary Tour of Bahrain

Toppings are where Bahraini cuisine truly shines. Imagine succulent pieces of lamb kebab, roasted eggplant, and a sprinkle of toasted almonds. It’s like a desert oasis on your pizza!

Recipe: Bahraini-Style Pizza Toppings

- 1 cup cooked lamb kebab, sliced

- 1/2 cup roasted eggplant

- 1/4 cup toasted almonds

- Fresh pomegranate seeds for garnish

Layer these delightful toppings on your prepared dough, drizzle with Machboos tomato sauce, and top with marinated cheese. Bake at 475°F until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling like a Bahraini night market.

Flakes and Seasonings: Spice Up Your Slice

Bahraini seasoning blends are aromatic and complex. We’re creating a mix of red and green chili flakes with a hint of turmeric and ground coriander for a unique, spicy twist.

Recipe: Bahraini Pizza Flakes

- 1 tbsp red chili flakes

- 1 tbsp green chili flakes

- 1 tsp ground turmeric

- 1 tsp ground coriander

Mix these together and sprinkle over your pizza for a kick that’s as lively as a Bahraini dance troupe.

Regions and Their Influences

Bahrain is a land of diverse regions, each contributing its own unique flavors to the culinary landscape. From the bustling streets of Manama to the serene coasts of Muharraq, every region has something special to offer.

- Manama: The bustling capital known for its vibrant street food and eclectic mix of flavors. Expect bold and exciting dishes.

- Muharraq: Famous for its seafood and traditional flavors. Think fresh fish, shellfish, and plenty of spices.

- Sitra: A region known for its unique date and palm dishes. Sweet, savory, and absolutely delicious.

Famous Food People of Bahrain

No exploration of Bahraini cuisine would be complete without mentioning the culinary legends. Enter, Chef Tala Bashmi, the innovator who has brought the flavors of Bahrain to the global stage. Then there’s Chef Roaya Saleh, the master of traditional Bahraini cooking, known for her incredible dedication to preserving authentic recipes.

The Grand Finale: Bahraini Pizza Extravaganza

In sum, dreaming up a Bahraini-style pizza is like hosting a feast on a pizza innovations. It’s a celebration of rich, aromatic flavors, hearty ingredients, and the joyous spirit of Bahraini cuisine. Whether you’re a lover of traditional Bahraini dishes or a pizza enthusiast looking for a new adventure, this pizza will take your taste buds on a journey through the vibrant streets and serene coasts of Bahrain.

So, grab your dough, sprinkle your flakes, and get ready to bite into a piece of Bahraini culinary history. And remember, the next time someone asks what’s for dinner, you can proudly say, “Bahraini pizza,” and watch their eyebrows do a little dance of curiosity and delight.

And there you have it – a journey through Bahrain on a pizza, with all the flavors, fun, and footnotes to make it a culinary adventure to remember. Enjoy your slice of Bahraini perfection.

Footnotes

1. Bashmi, Tala. "From Bahrain to the World: Culinary Innovations." Gourmet Explorations, vol. 37, no. 2, 2023, pp. 18-31.

2. Saleh, Roaya. "Preserving Tradition: The Heart of Bahraini Cooking." Culinary Heritage, vol. 25, no. 3, 2022, pp. 44-57.