30 November 2011

Balaleet - An Emirati Breakfast

Noodles for breakfast? With fragrant spices and omelet morsels? Doesn't sound like the kind of thing you could just whip up every morning for breakfast? Well the Emiratis do - citizens of the United Arab Emirates. Maybe not every morning, but more than just sometimes they might prepare this traditional vermicelli noodle dish.

It sounds harder than it is - it's one of those no-measure things, and tastes good both hot and cold. I tasted it for the first time at the Cultural Breakfast in Dubai, and learned how to make it myself last week at La Mere Culinere's cooking session. This is my own slap-dash version.

  • Vermicelli noodles (Balaleet) - the short, broken looking ones - about 50g per person
  • well beaten eggs - one per person
  • finely diced onion (as little or as much as you like)
  • sugar (to taste - at least 1 tbsp per person)
  • saffron threads (to taste)
  • cardamom powder (to taste)
  • salt (to taste)
  • ghee (or butter, for frying)

  1. Boil the balaleet in sweetened and salted water until soft, then drain, sprinkling more sugar on top - set aside
  2. fry the onion until caramelized, then add the egg mix (flavoured with cardamom if you like) - cook like scrambled eggs - chopping and turning, but not too much.
  3. Add saffron and cardamom powder, dicing the omelet as you stir, then add the drained sweetened vermicelli and stir through over a low heat. Be liberal with the saffron - less so with the cardamom. Salt if necessary.

This is a lovely breakfast, but could also be used as a dessert, or even made less sweet and served as a side dish.


  1. I think this is a great idea for a dessert. Reminds me of Sri Lankan string hoppers a little..although i suppose they are more spicy than sweet...thanks for sharing!

  2. We have this here in Saudi but call it shergi


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