Saleeg — a Saudi dish that won’t let you down

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Updated 02 October 2013
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Saleeg — a Saudi dish that won’t let you down

Saleeg is a white-rice dish, cooked in broth. Some people say it resembles Italian risotto or Indonesian bubur but it is different as it is made with milk. Arabs would call saleeg a “face-whitening” dish, meaning it won’t let you down in front of your guests. Saleeg is easy to make and consists of simple ingredients. This way, even unexpected guests can take a seat at the dinner table, and most will find it delicious. It takes an hour to prepare even a large amount of this dish.
Saleeg is popular in the Hijaz region. It is tasty, rich in nutritional value, easily digestible and kids love it even when they don’t like milk. Saleeg can be made with chicken or meat and people love it in winter.
Serve it with duggus (a chili tomato sauce), pickled lemons or a green salad made of cucumber, parsley, tomato, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
To make chicken saleeg for four people, you need:
3 pods of cardamom
1 chicken
1/2 lemon
4 small mastic tear (optional)
1 tbsp ghee (samin) or butter
1 cup rice
1/2 liter milk
2 liter boiled water to make chicken broth
1 1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper

First, clean the rice then soak it in a bowl of fresh water.
Cut the chicken to quarters or eighths. Clean the pieces, rub them with salt and vinegar, then rinse with water.
To make a chicken broth, bring two liter of water to a boil in a pot. Add the chicken, cardamom pods and a teaspoon of white pepper. You can add two mastic tears to the broth.
Keep removing fat foam.
Wait until the chicken is cooked under a medium flame. Keep the pot semi-covered.
Put the chicken aside and spice it with lemon juice, half a teaspoon of salt and black pepper.
Brown the spiced chicken in a preheated oven (200 degrees Celsius) to give it a crispy touch
Strain the broth, removing the cardamom, and add the uncooked rice. Cook the rice as you normally would on a medium-low flame until the rice is done. Strain the rice, keeping the broth, as you may need to add a little to the rice and stir it occasionally.
Add milk to the rice and stir the saleeg until it blends on a low heat. Add salt to taste.
Heat ghee or butter in a frying pan until it melts (you can add mastic) then pour it on the saleeg before serving it straight from the stove while it is still hot.
Top the saleeg with roasted chicken or serve the chicken on the side.
To make meat saleeg is similar to making chicken saleeg. Prepare the broth with pieces of meat and cardamom, salt and pepper in boiled water. Some people add a peeled onion, or a clove of garlic. Strain the broth before using it to cook the rice. Proceed as with chicken saleeg.

Duggus sauce is an important sauce with Saudi meals, such as saleeg. It is served cold and adds a nice cool taste to the food. It is easy to make, using:
2 tomatoes
4 leaves of parsley or coriander
1 clove garlics
1/4 lemon
salt
1 red hot pepper (or a chili pepper)

Cut the tomatoes, parsley, garlic and hot pepper into small pieces, mix together and then add a squeeze of lemon and salt.

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Storm in a teacup as Dhaka gets taste for ‘rainbow’ tea

A tea lover tastes the ‘rainbow seven color tea.’ (AN photo by Shehab Sumon)
Updated 19 January 2019
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Storm in a teacup as Dhaka gets taste for ‘rainbow’ tea

  • Nutrition experts suggest that spices or food colors must be used to create the tea’s rainbow effect
  • In 2006, Gour opened a tea shop selling five-layered, multicolor tea. The tea proved popular, with people traveling from Dhaka to sample the unique offering

DHAKA: The flavors and traditions associated with tea drinking are well established with a history going back centuries. Now a unique “rainbow tea” developed in Bangladesh looks like it is stirring up a revolution in tea-lovers’ tastes.
The tea, which offers seven distinct layers of color and flavor in each cup, has become the talk of Dhaka.
Rainbow tea was developed by Saiful Islam, 32, a tea vendor from Sreemangal, near Sylhet, about 175 km northeast of the capital.
According to Islam, the tea-producing region where he was born was the inspiration for his new type of tea.
“Since my childhood, I admired the surroundings where tea was produced and then sent to every corner of the country as well as abroad,” he said.
Islam said that after finishing his education, “I was in a fix about what to do. My passion for producing a better tea with better taste grew stronger as the days went by. I was experimenting with different kinds of tea and, finally, I hit the jackpot and realized my dream. I invented the rainbow seven-color tea.”
However, the idea of tea with multicolored layers is far from new in Sreemangal. Romesh Ram Gour, another tea vendor and a neighbor of Islam, had previously developed a five-layered tea.
In 2006, Gour opened a tea shop selling five-layered, multicolor tea. The tea proved popular, with people traveling from Dhaka to sample the unique offering.
Inspired by Gour’s multicolored tea, a young Islam came up with his “rainbow seven-color tea” and opened a shop Sreemangal.
Due to growing demand, after one year he relocated his parlor to Dhaka’s Khilgaon Taltola market. Since launching in the capital, Islam’s rainbow tea has continued to grow in popularity, with the city’s tea-lovers happily paying $1 a cup for a rare drinking experience.
Now, the rainbow tea is adding to Khilgaon Taltola market’s appeal as people of all ages and walks of life visit the tea shop.
“It’s a unique experience to have different tastes with one cup of tea. I have never tasted anything like this,” said Shyamoli Islam Shuverthy, a Dhaka resident.
“I have heard of this rainbow tea many times, but today I finally had the chance to taste it and I’m really excited.”
Arifur Rahman, another tea-lover, told Arab News: “This tea perks me up with its unique flavor. I try to enjoy this tea whenever I meet my friends.”
Islam is determined to keep the recipe for his rainbow tea a secret. In the shop, he prepares the tea in a corner hidden behind a dark screen to avoid prying eyes.
“I use black tea, green tea, coffee, milk, orange and strawberry. But the method is a trade secret,” he told Arab News while working in his stall at Dhaka International Trade Fair.
Nutrition experts suggest that spices or food colors must be used to create the tea’s rainbow effect.
“However, these are not harmful to people,” Abdullah Al-Mamun, of Noakhali University, said.
With his new brand of tea, Islam, the father of two daughters, earns around $600 per month.
With demand growing at home and abroad, Islam is planning to expand his business. Two new outlets at Narayangonj and Gazipur, on the outskirts of Dhaka, are due to open later this year.
One of Islam’s friends, who lives in Canberra, Australia, also hopes to launch the rainbow tea there.
“I hope my ‘rainbow seven-color tea’ can win the hearts of people on every continent,” Islam said.