Aseed, a Taizi delicacy [Archives:2008/1123/Community]

January 24 2008

By: Minal S.
Eating fish is believed to be very healthy because it is rich in proteins, which enhances hair growth and is good for the eyesight. Additionally, it's a rich source of iodine so it prevents goiter and because it's anti-cholesterol, hearts patients eat it frequently. If you have long, beautiful eyelashes and thick eyebrows, then surely, you're a fish eater!

I'm not marketing fish or fish-related products, but I am leading up to a peculiar Yemeni specialty – aseed, which locals are very fond of eating. So what is aseed? It's a Yemeni meal cooked in a very interesting way.

Simply begin by boiling some salted water. Once it boils, gradually add white flour, stirring continually with a wooden spatula to avoid lumps. Lower the heat just as the aseed starts to thicken. Add a bit of water and stir again, doing so until the consistency becomes soft.

Next, transfer this mixture into a bowl and make a hole in the center of it. The next step involves adding wazef (a variety of very small dried fish often eaten in Yemen) to local cheese and churning it in a mixer. This paste then is added to the hole in the center of the bowl.

This dish is fantastic when eaten with a fresh salad of garlic and spring onions. Another variation is to add soup or yogurt and water, and then putting that mixture into the center hole.

Aseed is eaten either with meat and sauce or just meat alone, hulba and chicken, meat stock and bisbas (red and green pepper) or maraak and hamedh (lamb with sauce).

This delicacy is enjoyed by one and all, but especially savored at lunchtime. Many also say it's their favorite dish during Ramadan. Additionally, some Yemeni women tickle their taste buds by eating it as a snack during their get-togethers.

Residents of Hadramout and south of Aden aren't particularly fond of aseed, but those north of Aden are crazy about it.

I became interested in aseed because it's a Taizi delicacy devoured by both rich and poor. The proverb that says, “The way to a man's heart is through his stomach,” certainly is true if one witnesses how many Taizis enjoy aseed because that's what those with great taste buds eat.

So, when are you going to take the plunge and try some aseed?