5 Qatari dishes to try while watching the Fifa World Cup

Luqaimat are like miniature doughnuts (Alamy/PA)
Luqaimat are like miniature doughnuts (Alamy/PA)

The men’s Fifa World Cup has kicked off, but some might be unfamiliar with the country hosting the tournament.

Qatar, located on a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, is home to over 2.9 million people and will be the setting for the month-long event.

And what better way to learn more about the nation’s Arabic culture than to try its best-known foods?

These five dishes from Qatar will help spice up your matchday meals.

Machboos

Machboos is the national dish of Qatar, and typically consists of slow-cooked chicken or lamb with rice, onions, tomatoes and spices.

It is the local variation of kabsa, which is eaten throughout the Arab world, and is often accompanied with a type of yoghurt called laban.

Anyone who has had chicken or lamb biryani will be right at home with this dish.

Luqaimat

Luqaimat can best be described as a bundle of bite-sized doughnuts, and the moreish pastry is extremely popular across Qatar.

Small balls of deep-fried dough are dipped in syrup or honey, and sprinkled with sugar or sesame seeds.

Its origins are thought to date all the way back to Ancient Greece, where winners at the Olympic Games were given ‘honey tokens’.

Madrouba

Reminiscent of a thick porridge, madrouba is made up of cracked wheat, chicken, and a whole lot of spices.

The original version of the dish comes from Oman, and uses rice instead of wheat.

Eaten piping hot at any time of the day, it is usually garnished with pieces of lime for extra flavour.

Balaleet

This dish is popular throughout the Gulf, and is a combination of sweet and savoury that isn’t often seen in Western cuisine.

Vermicelli noodles are cooked in sugar, butter and spices like cinnamon and cardamom, topped with a savoury omelette.

Traditionally eaten at breakfast, it can either be served hot or cold.

Thareed

To make thareed, a thin flatbread is soaked in a rich tomato broth and covered with all kinds of potatoes, vegetables and beans.

Meat can also be included in the dish, which is frequently eaten during the Muslim observance of Ramadan.

And for something extra…

If you’re looking for something to drink with your meal, Arabic coffee – or qahwa – is a staple throughout Qatar and the Middle East.

It is usually flavoured with cardamom and sipped from a small, handleless cup called a finjan.