Middle Eastern Food Yemen Yemeni Food

Coffee makes Monday mornings bearable and lazy Sundays more pleasurable. Coffee was so important in Turkey, a woman could divorce her husband if he did not provide her with coffee each day.yemen.map02 Coffee was brought to Europe via Turkey from Yemen. The origin of the word coffee is the poetic name for wine in Yemeni, Qahwah, and coffee was first consumed by Sufi monks in Yemen to help them pray longer.

So this week being Yemen week, we decided to track down Yemeni coffee.

My husband searched online and found a coffee shop nestled on a quiet Seoul backstreet. The owner brought out a small bag of green coffee beans from Yemen, which he roasted in front of us. He advised us to wait before using the beans, and so it became part of Sunday breakfast. The coffee was a little sour, but had a real kick, and you could almost imagine monks sipping on it before prayer.

Since the main dish for Yemen week was a whole chicken, we decided to make our Yemeni feast for Sunday lunch. The chicken was marinated by stuffing the Hawaij spices and butter under the skin and all over the chicken and left overnight. The fish was also marinated and the fenugreek powder left soaking overnight too.

Yemeni food had a few similarities with Afghan food—slow cooked rice and meat, and spices such as coriander, turmeric, cardamon, cloves, and cumin. However, according to the Oxford Companion to Food, Yemen’s large population and geographic isolation, means that Yemeni cuisine is more influenced by the sea (India and Indonesia) than the land. Indian Paratha is similar to Yemeni Malawach, which is now a comfort food in Israel.

Population movements have taken Yemeni cuisine to other countries. Yemeni food is popular in Israel, and this week a few of the Yemeni recipes came from a Jewish cookbook.


  • Fish stew
  • Salteh
  • Aubergine salad
  • Aubergine in spicy tomato sauce
  • Chicken Mandi
  • Flat bread


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