The Saudi Cultural Heritage Cookbook project

The Saudi Cultural Heritage Cookbook project

By Sahar El Jamal

I am Sahar El Jamal, a mom of two wonderful daughters, with a great passion for providing an extraordinary food experience. I started Nouraya Gourmet, as a home-based catering company, five years ago, out of a huge passion and a long family history in culinary and sweets manufacturing that dates back to more than one hundred years ago.

At Nouraya Gourmet, we reinvent your moms’ recipes and we modernize the culinary traditions. We always believed in the simple comfort and nostalgic pleasure in food that gathers people, revives memories and puts a smile on the face.

A page from the cookbook

One year ago we started a new project that complements Nouraya’s vision. The story started when I met two Spanish ladies who had the vision to create the first Arabic/English Saudi Cultural Heritage Cookbook. Together with a beautiful Saudi lady that embraced and supported the idea and helped in making it happen, a talented Columbian photographer that captured mouth-watering photos, the journey started! The book revives the Saudi culinary traditions; it consists of old traditional recipes cooked only by Saudi women and presented by our team with a modern twist. We travelled throughout the country, from Riyadh to Jeddah, to Dammam, Ihsa, Jouf, Abha and many other places to cook with the locals and to hunt for more and more recipes.

Interested to try some Saudi dish? Here is the Marquq recipe

Al-Marquq is a popular Saudi food famous for the Najd region. Although most Saudi dishes depend on rice, there are few that use the whole wheat instead, and Al Marquq is one of them.

Al Marquq

Cooking Time: 120 minutes

Serves 5 people

Dough Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup wheat flour
  • Salt
  • ½ cup Water

Stew Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo meat chopped with bones
  • 2 small onions chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 3 medium tomatoes chopped
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 cup pumpkin diced
  • 1 cup squash diced
  • 1 cup green beans diced
  • 1 cup eggplant diced
  • 1 tbsp. “Baharat”
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp. cardamom
  • 1 tbsp. whole black peppers
  • 1 tbsp. cloves
  • 4 lumi
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 2 hot green peppers


  • Sift the flour into a bowl, then add the salt and water, knead the ingredients well until getting soft and light dough. Divide the dough into round mid-sized pieces.
  • Coat the dough balls with oil, cover and set aside to rest.
  • In a heavy saucepan heat the ghee over moderate heat and sauté the onions until softened. Add the cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, and black pepper, lumi, stirring for one minute, until mixture is fragrant.
  • Add the meat pieces and cook until browned from all sides.
  • Season with salt and “baharat” and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.
  • Stir in the tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook until the tomatoes soften.
  • Add 2 litres of water to the meat mixture and simmer, covered, until the meat is half cooked.
  • Stir the vegetables into the meat broth; continue cooking for 15 more minutes.
  • During this time, flatten the dough pieces and shape each piece into a circle, put it over the boiling stew and leave it for 3-5 minutes then push it aside and to the bottom, then add a new one and so on until all the dough is used.
  • Cook on low heat about one hour then serve.


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