My night in the Sinai Desert

My night in the Sinai Desert for me had to be the highlight of the holiday. To get into the desert to meet the Bedouins I had to go by Camel. This has to be one of the most scary experiences of my life. What they forgot to mention when I got on the camel was that I was to lead my sister and I to the tribe. Having the Bedouin children running along side thrashing the camels and making clicking noises with their tongues to make them go faster.  At one point my sister and I over took the rest of the group as we were going so fast!

When we got to the tribe we were greeted with hibiscus tea while we made ourselves comfortable. Hibiscus tea is an infusion made from crimson calyces of the Hibiscus sabdariffa flower. This drink is said to have been a preferred drink of the pharaohs. The tea is said to help with high blood pressure and even diabetes. Hibiscus tea tastes quite sour, although it has sweet undertones that are enhanced through the addition of sugar, it tastes almost in my opinion like a sour cranberry.

Whilst we drank our tea we shared some aniseed Sheesha with the tribe and learnt about their way of life and some of their beliefs which I found very interesting. Sheesha is a tobacco pipe with a long tube connected to a container where the smoke
is cooled by passing through water.

The Bedouins are known for their fine cooking and finer hospitality to invited guests and journeying strangers alike. The Bedouin diet consists mainly of flat bread, palm dates, olives, couscous, lentils, eggs, chickpeas, spices, vegetables such as dried okra, mutton, goat and camel meat as well as the yogurt, milk and cheese from the goats, sheep and camels.

As the Bedouin way of life, is that of a nomad who must move from one area to another to find grazing for the animals and to plant crops, the means of cooking are quite different from what we are used to. Open fires, zaarps and hot stones are used to cook food.

When I was with the Bedouins they produced an array of marvellous food including goat spiced with Zahatar, Hummus, salads, olives, a beef minced like kebab and of course flat bread. The flat bread for me was the highlight of the night as we were able to get involved. My sister was the lucky girl to be picked to make the bread with one of the men from the tribe!

Bread plays a large part in the Bedouin diet as it is used in place of utensils. Flat bread is made of ground whole-wheat flour called bulghur, mixed with milk or water and fried on a hot stone. It is baked fresh for each meal and is very thin and much like a tortilla. I will post my version of how to make flat bread in a later blog that you do not need hot stones for.





1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Gary Lum
    Sep 18, 2012 @ 21:18:08

    Great post Adele. Looks like you had a wonderful experience.


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