The people, the culture and traditions, the history and sights, and of course, the food. Our first 3 years in Dubai saw a great plethora of food choices, and we found ourselves eating very similarly to how we would anywhere else in the world. Japanese, Chinese, Western, Grills, Indian and of course, a dabble into Arabic cuisine. However, the last two years in Syria have introduced us to new tastes and great cuisine, and I would like to take this time to share just a little with you.
Let's start with my favorite....Shanklish (or Shangleesh).
Shanklish is like the blue cheese of Syria. Pungent, flavorful and really a "love it or hate it" kind of cheese. It is made out of cow or sheep milk and although you find manufactured varieties everywhere, the best ones are homemade.
Now, I have never actually made Shanklish, however, the basic method is as follows:
- Make yogurt by boiling milk, cooling it and fermenting it into yogurt.
- Churn the yogurt and occasionally skim off the butter that forms on top until the yogurt is partially skimmed.
- Heat the partially skimmed yogurt until it breaks down into liquid and white residue. Cool and hang in cheese cloth.
- Salt the drained cheese and roll it into balls and dry in the sun (about 1 week or more).
- Scrape the balls of cheese clean (since they may have a little rot) and roll in thyme or other spices.
- Wrap in cloth or put in air tight container and let age in the dark for a week or longer.