All around the U.S. food staples such as fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, casseroles, and many others are considered true comfort food. Comfort food is food that reminds you of home. It is food that reminds you of your childhood and your family culture.
Saltah is traditional Yemeni comfort food. It is one that is shared with family, friends, and loved ones and holds a significant place in the hearts of all Yemenis alike.
When to Eat Saltah
Interestingly, opposite the U.S., Yemenis (people from Yemen) enjoy their biggest meal of the day during the U.S. lunch hour. Some will eat their largest meal of the day as early as 11:00AM.
Saltah is a type of food that is eaten both as part of a large spread during the lunch hours of the day but can also be eaten as the feature item of a supper meal.
A Shared Plate
Since this Yemeni cuisine plays such a large part in connecting families and friends, it is a shared lunch or dinner plate. Everyone eats from the same bowl enjoying the amazing flavors and company of those around, and these are age old Yemeni traditions that are still practiced today!
How to Make Saltah
The dish, known as the national dish of Yemen to many, is a meat stew. It must have a broth, typically beef or bone broth (which has now entered the world’s attention as a supportive health superfood) called maraq.
It can include any mixture of garlic, herbs, tomatoes. It can include a kind of meat, potatoes, vegetables, and even rice or scrambled eggs. The customizability of this food popularized it for all people alike.
It is cooked and served on a madra, a stone bowl similar to that seen in many east Asian cuisines. When this Yemeni food arrives to the table, it is typically still bubbling and prepares you for the deliciousness that is to come.
After the stew is made, it is topped with a fenugreek foam, called hulba, and a mild to spicy salsa called sahowqa.
Dear to the hearts of people globally, bread is also big piece of Yemeni cuisine. If you go to any Yemeni restaurant you are sure to find delicious flatbreads of different consistencies and textures that serve different purposes.
Key to any saltah recipe is the accompanying bread. Traditionally, malooga is the bread that is served to scoop up the beautiful stew that helps define Yemen traditional food. It is made using a clay oven that enhances the flavor profile of the bread greatly and can be equated to an Indian tandoor oven.
Tradition, Family, & Good Food
Yemeni food is very soulful as it connects people from all over for a connected experience. It is the type of cuisine that strives to be shared and is welcoming to everyone.
Many Yemeni restaurants use their own saltah recipe to share their gratitude with the world. Whether they are using lamb or beef, potatoes or rice, this dish always maintains its richness as a large piece of terrific Yemeni cuisine.