Good Food is the Foundation of Genuine Happiness – Auguste Escoffier
But if the food is found in a 75-year-old heritage building, then going in search of it is really worth the time. This hidden gem can be seen past the highways and the popular architectural awe of Dubai. We can locate a little culinary secret in the old booth of Bur Dubai, close to the bay.
Snuggled in the booth’s maze, sheltered in colorful style on the roofs with a strip on both sides, there is a thin passage dominant to the front of a replaced 75-year-old heritage building.
This structure overlooks Dubai Creek and has seen many generations of travelers and can be cherished, assorted, with stories from the past. Earlier it was a junction for maritime travelers, but now it is an important heritage site of Dubai and a quarter to a popular eatery called Bayt Al Wakeel. Bayt means space and Wakeel means agent, “agent space”.
Fortunately, a long-time admirer of this building is now its proud possessor; for all the yearning that it carries and more.
Ahmad Mohammed Al Rafi, the proprietor of Bayt Al Wakeel fell in love with the heritage site. This 62-year-old Emirate reveals that “Maybe, it’s got something to do with water, maybe I am an Aquarius, I don’t know.”
Ahmad has a special aversion to the Dubai Creek, after all, he has swum in the waters from childhood, but that has changed from what he has seen to date.
As anticipated, the food served is Emirati cuisine-inspired seafood and Arabic grilled meat dishes. He stated, although the food is simple, it is very good.
Emirate inspired menu:
There is a unique way to cook in Emirati, to nail it on a stick and fix it in the barbecue with the other end of the stick rooted to the bed of coal at a sloping angle, a method that is still used in some households.
Other than Emirate food, the restaurant serves Lebanese food, which is well known among the younger generation of Emirates. They have become popular all over the world, especially in European countries.
Let’s look into how it is prepared:
This Emirati Fish Biryani takes about 45 minutes for preparation time and about 60 minutes to cook.
Basmati Rice – 1 kg
King Fish – 1 kg
Carrot – 50 gms
Green Chili – 50 gms
Dried Lemon – 3
Red Onion – 500 gms
Tomato – 300 gms
Ginger – 100 gms
Garlic – 100 gms
Arabic Masala (mixture of cumin seed, whole fennel seed, whole coriander seed, peppercorn, cinnamon sticks, dried red chilies, turmeric powder) – ½ tbsp
Turmeric Powder – ½ tbsp
Fish Masala – ½ tbsp
Cumin powder – ½ tbsp
Garam Masala Powder – 50 gms
Salt – as per taste
Corn oil/Vegetable Oil – 200 gms
Ghee/ Butter – 100 gms
To Marinade Fish:
King Fish – 1kg
Fish Masala – 50 gms
Turmeric Powder – 10 gms
Chilli Powder – 50 gms
Lemon Juice – 20 ml
White pepper powder – 10 gms
Salt – to taste
- In a preheated cooking pot, add ghee, cumin powder, and sliced onions. Saute the onions until it turns golden in color
- Then add cut tomatoes and whole green chilies. Green chilies give a smoky, upfront flavor; it doesn’t increase the hotness of the food.
- Add Arabic spice powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, and garam masala to the pan and mix it well. Now keep it aside so that the fish is deep-fried.
Fish Deep Fry:
- Mix Fish masala, turmeric powder, chili powder, lemon juice, white pepper powder, and salt and make it into a paste.
- Marinade the paste on the kingfish and let it sit in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Take the fish out from the refrigerator and bring it down to room temperature.
- In a frying pan, heat oil and then deep fry the fish. One by one fry the fish.
- Now again keep the preheated pan on the stove that was kept aside early. Stir its contents and then add ginger-garlic paste and fish masala to it.
- Then after it releases the aroma switch it off and then cools it and grind them together.
Cooking the rice:
- Soak the long-grained basmati rice for 30 minutes in water. Then in a cooking pot add water and boil the rice. Add a little oil so that it prevents the grains from sticking together.
- Cook the rice for 15 to 20 minutes on low flame. If the rice is 75 percent cooked you can switch off the gas.
Layering the Biryani:
- In a separate preheated pan, add ghee or clarified butter. Then add the onion-tomato-based paste and mix well.
- Then add the fried fish to the saucepan and smear it with the paste.
- Then layer the fish with the cooked biryani rice and sprinkle a little ghee
- Then add the other fried fish to the rice and garnish it again with fried onion, dried fruits, mint, and coriander leaves.
- Now cover the pot and cook it in the dum mode for 20 minutes.
- Now serve the hot biryani with fresh cut onions and yogurt-based dip