The famous Qatari delicacy you’ve never tasted
Whenever I ask my foreign teachers or friends about their favourite Qatari dish, they would give me the same answer “Machboos!”
Whenever I ask my foreign teachers or friends about their favorite Qatari dish, they would give me the same answer “Machboos!” Some of them said it was because of the Qatari blend of spices, the way the meat was prepared or because it is a rice based dish, but most tell me that it’s because Machboos is the only Qatari dish that they have been served at weddings, hotels and national events. Hence, I took it upon myself to introduce them to a Qatari household favorite, Margoog.
Since I am keen on changing stereotypes, I would like to shed light on the delicious variety that Qatari cuisine has to offer. Margoog would be a great start, because of the dish’s unlikely hero. But before I tell you where to find the best Margoog that Qatar has to offer, let me introduce you to the dish itself.
You can say it’s a cousin of overcooked saucy pasta maybe, but raw bread dough is what determines a good Margoog from a bad one.
Margoog is a traditional culinary favorite that is specific to the Middle East. Although each Qatari household has a different way of preparing this dish, the main ingredients stay the same; you have your concentrated vegetable and meat stock, tenderised pieces of meat and of course raw bread dough. Yes, you read this right folks! We use raw bread dough, after it has been kneaded to a thin layer, cut into strips or small pieces and finally boiled in the saturated stock until it almost soaks up all that savory goodness.
You can say it’s a cousin of overcooked saucy pasta maybe, but raw bread dough is what determines a good Margoog from a bad one. A good mouthful of Margoog should include all the elements of the dish without it being too dry, soggy or oily. You should also feel the tingling of spices dancing at the back of your taste buds as you dive in to your next mouthful.
Before venturing into the streets of Qatar, I reminded myself that everyone has different tastes and likes their Margoog a certain way. So I decided it would be best if I set a standard to compare all the restaurants that would be put to the test, and that it should be similar to a rustic home cooked Margoog. It should be light yet satisfying, chewable yet saucy, it should taste of the meat in almost every bite but most importantly, should feel home-made.
So we set out to find the best Margoog in Doha! East, west, north and south, they were all great, but one stood taller than the others. In South Khalifa Town, behind a little mosque at the heart of Ghaza, you will find a humble shop.
Mishwar Al-Khaleej have passed the test with flying colours with their Margoog’s texture, taste and hominess. You can even take the biggest Tupperware and ask them to fill it up with your pre-order of Margoog. There is more to Qatari food than Machboos, just dial 44876685 and you will know what I mean. Enjoy!