Arabic pasta, or pasta dishes from the Arabic cuisine, are traditional dishes consisting of cooked pasta in a tomato or any other sauce, spiced with ingredients like paprika and red chili powder, and enriched with additional ingredients like meats, vegetables and legumes like chickpeas. Matazeez is a type of whole wheat pasta of circular shape commonly eaten in Soudi Arabia.
History of Arabic Pasta
Arabs contend the invention of pasta with the Chinese. The first written records available for dry pasta are about the Arabs who carried noodles for long journeys in the deserts. In the 7th century, pasta made with durum wheat was introduced by the Libyans to Sicily, the Italian island in the Mediterranean. Records of noodle shaped pasta made with semolina are also found in an Arabic dictionary of the 9th century.
Ingredients and Preparation
Arabic pasta is made with pasta of circular shape (matazeez) or noodle shape, though other varieties of pasta are also used in several dishes. Green chilies, red chili pepper and paprika are used to spice up the dishes, and cilantro is used for garnish and added flavor. Lemon juice is a refreshing addition to popular Arabic pasta dishes, and use of tomatoes, onions, garlic, coriander (powder) and olive oil is also common for pasta sauces. Meats such as beef and chicken are included in many dishes.
Arabic pasta consists of cooked pasta which is served in a sauce such as a creamy sauce or a tomato sauce. The sauce is prepared by cooking together sautéed onions and garlic with tomatoes, Arabic spices and vegetables or meats.
Arabic pasta is served hot, with a garnish of cilantro as a side dish and part of a large meal.
Popular Arabic Pastas
- Matazeez: This is circular shaped pasta made with wheat flour dough. It is cooked in a tomato sauce with vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, carrots, beans and squash and meats such as beef, chicken or fish. This dish is popularly eaten in Soudi Arabia, accompanied by a date dessert and Arabic coffee.
- Couscous: Couscous pasta is a kind of pasta eaten in North Africa, which is made with semolina. This is a very small form of pasta which looks like grain. It is cooked in boiling water, then fluffed up with a fork, and mixed with butter served with meats or a stew is spooned on it. It can also be served as an accompaniment to entrees. It is also called kuskus, kesukesu or cuscusu. Couscous dishes may be enriched with toasted pine nuts and dried apricots to make special versions.