I searched high and low - I found lots of cake recipes but only one savoury dish, Chicken Machboos, which is apparently the national dish. Recipes for it vary - I expect there as many variations as there are kitchens in Bahrain - but I liked the look of this version at Daring Gourmet so I decided to follow their recipe. It is a kind of chicken pilaff, with the chicken cooked in with spicey, tomatoey rice. If you want to cook it too, follow the link - the post is long and has step-by-step illustrations, but the recipe itself is printable so you can take one handy page into the kitchen.
The first thing I noticed was what a long list of ingredients there are! But this is partly because it includes the recipe for a home made baharat, the fragrant Middle Eastern spice blend. You can easily buy this in supermarkets but as I love making spice blends and have a coffee grinder dedicated to spices only, I decided to follow the recipe and make my own, and I'm very glad I did. It is a wonderfully fragrant blend, and as a bonus the house now has a beautiful toasted cardamom scent. I'll be making my own baharat from now on.
Apart from the baharat, the other "exotic" ingredient is dried limes. I couldn't get hold of these locally so I used the rind and juice of a fresh lime instead. And I omitted the fresh coriander/cilantro because my husband is violently allergic to it.
Although there looked as if there were a lot of ingredients, the dish was simple to make. Too time consuming for a weekday, perhaps, but great for a weekend. And it was wonderful! We eat a vary varied diet and seldom find anything completely new to us, but although the pilaff style is familiar, the combination of spices, parsley, lime and rosewater gave it a completely different flavour, which we loved. It may have been the first time I made this, but it certainly won't be the last!