English Stew in Dubai Winter

I remember when I was a kid loving the site of snow on movies, I used to watch home alone every school vacation with my brother and we would wake up early just to watch holiday movies. Mostly in December is when I love watching home alone. It just gives the holiday spirit with a winter touch and decorations all around. Although in sri Lanka we never experience snow or a very cool climate especially in colombo except during rainy days watching these movies that shows snowing scenes gives me a mere pleasure. I literally enter the movie as a viewer and experience the event and that’s why I love watching movies with snowing scenes or atmosphere.
Having moved to Dubai in June it was very hot and the beginning of summer in June 2011. It’s been 3 and a half years now and I’ve experienced 3 winters in Dubai. I just love the winter in Dubai and believe it’s better than snowing weather. I hardly can bear the cool weather yet I really really enjoy it. Like the movies I watched I see the interior and food fill the shops and stores in Dubai with winter goods and decorations. I just love roaming around here especially during the evenings as I enjoy the bright lit roads of Dubai.

“They call it Christmas, I call it winter”. mafaza haleem

According to me one other thing related to winter or makes me feel so like winter apart from the weather is food. Food plays a major role in winter. That’s when making large pots of stew at 4 pm in the afternoon make the house warming. Having hot chocolates over a movie and dinner is something I just love about winter.
It was a very cool evening as I opened the window and the house was filled with the aroma of my beef stew cooking on my pressure cooker at a very low heat.
I checked online for some British stew recipes and found felicity cloakes article on the guardian very informative. she had a detailed post on the basic ingredients used on a British stew and how they helped enhance the flavor of the stew. she has researched through many cookbooks on making a British stew. the article highlights the basic ingredients which were meat, onion, carrots and some vegetables. she also mentions barley or dumplings also can be added depending on the author. after reading this article it reminded me of the soup we make in sri Lanka. it’s like a traditional in our family ad some functions we have lunch which we call “soup and rice” as basically the best part is having rice with soup though there will be 5-6 varieties of curry and vegetables served along with the rice and soup.

usually the soup we call is like a stew, very thick but we preserve some extra liquid so we can pour on our rice and drink the remaining. basically our soup which has a stew like texture is made with the leg part of the cow or goat and some vegetables which we also call “soup badu” or “soup stuff”. In the local market if we ask for soup badu they with give a bag filled with  a slice of cabbage, a few leeks, a carrot, a potato, a radish and some green beans. we also use barley and dhal as a thickening agent and once I tried substituting broken wheat instead of barley which had no difference in the texture.  we season the soup with some salt, pepper and turmeric and some cumin powder.

so making this British stew was a different experience as I used some stew mix which i had on my shelf and needs to be used up before I leave for my vacation in sri Lanka. although my soup and British stew were having a similar texture they both are two different dishes because a stew is slow cooked while my soup id fast cooked or pressure cooked. though i used my pressure cooker for the stew it was cooked for nearly an hour on a very low flame which only released 2 whistles in that 1 hour.

I believe I have unlocked the British stew successfully and is moving onto some German food. lets get back with another food story until then have a nice day.





all images and words used on this blog are completely mine and please leave a comment if there is anything or email me at therecipewriter@gmail.com


mafaza haleem