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Saudi Arabian Chicken Dinner

Chicken and Rice Dinner with Rocket and Pita-type Bread and Sauces

Chicken and Rice Dinner with Rocket and Pita-type Bread and Hot Sauces

The food in Riyadh that I have discovered so far has been rustic and a bit of a surprise. There are more hot spicy sauces than I expected served on the side, like ketchup. Chicken forms the most common basis of all meals, it seems, and one of the most common dishes is whole Broasted (rotisserie) chicken with an enormous serving of light yellow spiced rice (tumeric?). The local restaurant delivered it in a cardboard box, with a bread the size of elephant ears folded inside (loose, no plastic bag for hygenic freshness), and small containers of a deliciously zippy hot, watery red chili sauce. The whole chicken and rice arrived in a plastic lined brown paper bags, which I thought was an interesting and space efficient way to pack it up. Another little baggie on the side was jammed full of stems of rocket (arugula).

Curiously, a twist of thin plastic was stuffed to the side of the box too, which unfurled to be a flat sheet, not a bag, as we first suspected. We decided to use it as a serving platter, piling the rice on top of it, then placing the chicken on top, and then pinching off portions with torn pieces of fresh pita bread.

We even ladelled the vegetable okra soup that arrived on the side into the pita along with the rice which perhaps is not what the locals usually do.

I loved the hot zingy red chili medium hot sauce served in tiny containers off to the side. That was the thing that set it most apart from a chicken and rice dinner from home.

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