Category Archives: Yemen

Yemeni Final Dinner

We kind of cheated and had an early dessert with our homemade Yemeni donuts.  Fortunately it was a few days ago and didn’t spoil our appetites for our final dinner.

Yemeni Dinner Menu:

Seasoned Soup with Bread

For this dish, a middle eastern flatbread is first placed in the bowl before adding the soup, which is a simple blend of fennugreek, chicken broth, pureed tomatoes and a hint of lemon juice.

Mutton Meatballs

Lamb is a common meat served in Yemen, so we opted for this easy-to-make recipe using ground lamb.

Salad with Pine Nuts, etc.

The salad wasn’t necessarily a traditional Yemeni recipe, but they do use lots of pine nuts and these are some of our typical family dinner accompaniments, especially the fig vinegar and olive oil mixture which we have recently come to enjoy very much.

Thank you, Yemen!  We will continue to pray for your nation as you struggle for peace and will remember you as we read the tales of Arabian Nights and drink our tea with milk and cardamom.

إلى الْلِقَاء

tea and donuts

In searching for Yemeni recipes, I came across a fun donut recipe that seemed a perfect accompaniment to our traditional Yemeni tea.

First you make the dough.  I used my mixer with the dough hook.  SO thankful for this long ago wedding gift used practically everyday in our home.  I also used whole wheat flour, which was all I had and I even had to cut the recipe in half as it literally used ALL the flour I had left.  But apparently this recipe was meant to be used for a small village in Yemen as, even with cutting the recipe in half, we ended up with loads of donuts left.

There is yeast in this recipe so we had to wait for it to double once, then punch down, then repeat.

Next, we formed the dough into ping-pong sized balls and created a small hole in the center.

Then, we placed our “dough”-nuts into hot oil, four at a time.

Once they were browned on both sides, we placed them onto paper towels to absorb the oil, then rolled them into powdered sugar.

Donut making station set-up and ready to go!

At one point we thought it would be fun to add some spice to the powdered sugar and added a hint of cardamom, a popular middle-eastern spice now commonly served atop oatmeal-filled bowls in our home.

Car is always looking for an excuse to put an apron on.

My favorite was to add Chinese Five Spice powder to the sugar.  Simply divine!

While the donuts were browning, the tea was simmering.  A simple English Breakfast tea steamed with milk, cardamom and sugar, just like they do in Yemen (although I’m not exactly sure on the actual type of tea brewed).

And voila!  Tea and donuts were served.

And a jar full for later!

These donuts, although a bit dry, were quite delicious dipped into the tea.  Next time I would definitely use white flour and the Chinese Five Spice powder again.

The Truth about Aladdin

So, this might come as a surprise to you, as it did to me, but Disney hasn’t quite gotten their facts straight about Aladdin.  Shocking I know.  At this point in our family we aren’t even quite ready to let the kids see the Disney version as it is a bit intense and scary, but we were eager to get the library version and hear this Arabian tale, read as it originally was told. 

Here’s what I mean about the twisted truth displayed in the film version.  Aladdin is an Arabian tale.  True.  Aladdin is the only one who can enter the forbidden cave.  True.  A sorcerer finds Aladdin to gain access to the ancient lamp.  True.  Aladdin is Arabian.  FALSE!!  Aladdin marries the daughter of the Sultan.  Also False.  Strangely enough Aladdin is CHINESE and he marries the daughter of the Chinese emperor.  The old Arabic version of the story is that an Arabian sorcerer learns that the only one who can enter into the hidden cave is a Chinese boy named Aladdin.

This is the story not told and the children, quite enthralled with its conflict and drama have wanted to read it over and over again.

Here’s the version we got from the library.

Aladdin and Other Tales from the Arabian Nights (Eyewitness Classics)

Notice the Asian-looking Aladdin.  Not at all the Prince Ali that I remember.

The other stories in this book are fascinating as well, although there is quite a bit of death by sword.  Perhaps that is what draws in my eldest adventurer with ears and eyes that can’t be swayed once the tale begins.

I’m still working on some crafts from Yemen, but in the meantime we’ll keep the Arabian stories of old.

Re-entering Arabia

As we have entered back into Arabia for our third and final visit, we can’t help but be aware of the destitution, poverty and lack of freedom we are encountering in this deserty-dry land.   Yemen, the poorest country in the middle-east, has been in the spotlight quite a bit recently, as the people, long-quieted and suffocated under a harsh government regime are gathering together to make their voice heard.

Today's paper

In our own home filled with brothers and sister all different and opinionated in their own way, we often instruct them to have peace and live in peace.  So, in this nation that desperately needs peace, not just the stuff preached about with finger gestures and signs, but the deep peace that comes from the Prince of Peace, we are reminded to be peacemakers and to live in peace and pray for peace in the middle east.

Today we did a new flag craft (I can’t believe I still have ideas coming for flags) and fortunately the Yemeni flag is quite simple. Red. White. And Black. 

The kids loved using their hands to paint and I let them rinse in our neglected pond afterward.

Tallinn's Yemeni Flag

Addie's flag, victim to a strong breeze bringing black into red

Cardiff's Flag

Oh the art of little hands!  Perhaps not containing value to anyone else but a mother.  I absolutely adore how these flags turned out……

Because in Arabia lie the only nations beginning with “O”, “Q” and “Y”, we ventured back to this region of the world once so unfamiliar and have grown to truly appreciate this land and its beautiful people.

So here we are, back in the center of the world, where things are happening and shaping the future for generations to come.  Yemen.  A land where trees drip dragon blood.


And yellow scorpions inhabit the uninhabitable.   

A land of highlands.

And coastal desert, where winds blow strong making skies black.

A land, in typical middle-eastern fashion, where hospitality is shown and visitors treated kindly and often served tea.

We are blessed to be here!