Usually the main food in most countries of the world are the agricultural products of the country, so the main food is made from the products of their crops such as: wheat, wheat or barley and the like. The main meal is in the foreground. from all tables.
Perhaps one of the few exceptions to the above is the agreement of the Gulf states: Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait. However, their main meal is rice, which they import and are not cultivated in their countries! Rice is spoken of: rice; It is eloquent conversational, as in “Lisan Al Arab” and “Taj Al-Arous”. In Iraq it is called “Al-Tamn”.
How did rice get into the Arabian Peninsula and Saudi Arabia in particular and Najd in particular, where people lived on the wheat, wild wheat, barley, dates and the like that they cultivated?
In Saudi Arabia, rice was only known to the rich from the beginning of its creation, so it was brought from Iraq or India, and today there is hardly a Gulf table without it every day!
Professor Jawad Ali says, in “Al Mufassal fi Arab History Before Islam”: “It seems that rice was not a grain known to the people of Hijaz, or other places in the Arabian Peninsula. It is urban food. People are used to using cereals. others in its place, such as wheat, barley, and corn, in the years of need and need. ”While the scholar of the Arabian Peninsula, Sheikh Hamad Al-Jasser, says in Swaneh Al-Thakira: its use did not spread to the farmers of Najd until after the middle of the last century, although it grew in Al-Ahsa. harsh crust, and was also called Al-Tamn.
The historian of Al-Aqilat, Professor Abdul Latif Al-Vahaibi, mentioned three men of Al-Aqilat who were among the first to bring rice to Najd, one of them being Al-Aqili Abdul-Rahman bin Hamad Al-Bassam. His father. came to Unaizah in 1179 AH, and he brought from India a number of goods, including rice, so Al-Wahaibi considered it in an interview with the writer He was among the first to bring rice to Qasim. As well as Al-Aqili, Muhammad bin Abdullah bin Abdul Rahman bin Hamad Al-Bassam, who once traded between India, the Gulf and Al-Qasim; (One of the first to bring rice to Qassim). Then Al-Aqili, Muhammad bin Saleh Al-Asafi Al Abu Alyan, (1220 – 1310 AH), who was also considered by Al-Wahhabi: “One of the first to bring rice to Al-Qassim.”
As for the Hijaz, pilgrims from Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent brought rice, it is natural that the Hijaz was older in terms of rice than Najd.
Pilgrims and neighbors of the Two Holy Mosques, from Central Asia, India and the like, took part in the transportation of rice, and pilgrims of different origins, with different cultures, added to it a rich and aesthetic dimension, thus that these vessels became hijab dishes, and consequently Saudi, in a form of fertilization of peoples. Cultures communicate.
In the last fifty years, rice has become the main dish on the Gulf table, and especially in Saudi Arabia. Therefore, for more than two decades, Saudi Arabia is one of the top five countries importing rice each year, and the average rice consumption by the Saudi individual was about 47 kg per year, according to a statistic that appeared in 2017.
In 2007, rice stocks became scarce in Saudi Arabia, so rice prices in the market skyrocketed and history became a matter of public opinion. The then Minister of Trade, engineer Hashem Yamani, was asked about this issue, who said that the consumer to cope with the lack of supply and rising prices, “must change his eating habits.” Although his opinion is correct, in general, it is not something that is said to people in crisis. The former minister’s statement received negative reactions from various social groups. I bring the narrative to show the connection of people with this meal, so much so that it can be difficult to describe accurately because it is far from the atmosphere.
It is interesting that, like the others, among the Saudis who did not live before the boom, I thought the Kabsa was purely Saudi! It did not mean to me, for example, that cable rice, which is still of the same name in Saudi Arabia, belongs to the Afghan capital Kabul, and that Bukhari rice is attributed to the Bukhara province of Uzbekistan. And when Al-Bukhari rice restaurants spread to Saudi Arabia, with the influx of construction workers in the sixties and seventies, I remember thinking that the name of the restaurant belonged to Imam Muhadith Al-Bukhari, the author of “Sahih.” Al-Buhari. ” I wonder: Why are there no restaurants that bear the name of Imam Muslim, the author of “Sahih Muslim”!
Years later, I learned that I was terrified of my ignorance, thank God anyway.
Al-Bukhari restaurants usually served only the middle class and those below them, economically. And because the need arises, with the education of women in Saudi Arabia, and then their work in teaching in particular, teachers faced a problem of preparing lunch for their families, just left work, and became attempts to bypass the problem. , preparing half the decoction overnight, as e.g. fry the onions and tomatoes, then add the chicken to it and the next day, heat what is cooked and cook the rice in the chicken broth. Some also use a pressure cooker for rice, which speeds up cooking time.
In the eighties a phenomenon arose, as if it had been created for teachers, as restaurants opened for popular food, with high service and good taste and now offer all kinds of Saudi cuisine, like Saliq, famous in Mecca and Taif, and Al-Jareesh, and pirates, famous in Najd, in addition to Hadrami additions to Saudi cuisine, represented by Mandi, Al Mudbi, Al Haneeth, Al Madfoun and Madghout. At that time a dish appeared that I think was innovative, which is “Mathlutha”, where in the serving bowl are placed grains, then pirate, then rice, with meat or chicken. These restaurants, who were the first to put forward their idea to get out of the fund, created their own investment, were supportive of working women and the differences between the spouses softened as he invited guests late, these restaurants offer food to dozens there for there, and “like cooking at home”, as it was one of the most famous logos.