Traditional Yemeni food is very simple and always prepared with fresh ingredients. Although it differs from one region to another, basic dishes are similar and often include bread, rice, vegetables, beans, chicken, beef and lamb. These are rich in spices -though not fiery- and low in fats and sugars. Most Yemeni families continue to prepare their traditional food, believing in its nutritional and health benefits.
Um Ali, mother of seven boys, said that she takes pride in that she raises her boys on Yemeni traditional food such as salta [meat broth], bint al sahn [bread eaten with honey], shafout [bread soaked in yoghurt with coriander], fatta [bread soaked in milk, broth and honey], break [bread stuffed with egg and meat], nashoof [bread with bulgur wheat, milk and yoghurt], aseed [porridge] and traditional Yemeni bread.
"There are a lot of nutritional benefits in Yemeni food, I don’t serve lunch without fresh salad and it has a lot of vitamins, moreover the salta has a lot of protein and starches because it includes meat, coriander, mint and fenugreek,” Um Ali said.
To each region its dishes
Although salta, a meat broth topped with fenugreek, is eaten all over the country, it is believed to have first been prepared over a hot furnace in Sana’a.
In South Yemen, especially in the coastal towns of Aden and Hodeidah, fish is *****d in a unique and delicious way. Tafaya is a dish *****d using tomatoes and red Aden chilies.
Another dish consists of rice, fried fish and fried potato, displayed in layers and sprinkled with spices.
Yemenis all over the country like to drink meat or chicken broth, which is nutritious and very healthy. Seasoned with black pepper and lemon juice, it helps the body defend itself against flu.
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