Both my mother and father’s families have ancestry from Bahrain. In Oman, people with this lineage are known as “Bahranis” or “Baharnas”. Having such a small and close community means we are all familiar with each family’s characteristics and cuisines, and so Bahraini tikka is well known and loved among our community in Muscat.
There is only one place in Muscat that does a good one; the shop mainly makes shuwarmas, and is called Antalya after the city in Turkey, but nestled in the back is a man who makes excellent tikka: succulent, chargrilled skewers with a tender tang. I first tried it at my cousin Narjis’shouse. Her mum had ordered some in, and couldn’t believe I hadn’t experienced it before.
I knew I had to learn how to make it, and so I asked my friend Hussain’s mother to share her recipe with me. While she “cheats” with some MSG lemon flavouring in addition to the dried lime, I think I’ve managed to work it to perfection! It is essential that you eat this meat with bread, as the dried lime comes in very sharp if eaten on its own.
While cooking these on coal helps to bring a sense of smokiness to the sharp citrus taste, cooking the meat in a griddle pan on the hob will also work beautifully, as you’ll retain more of the juices. Serve with flatbread, hummus, raw onions, tomatoes, watercress or lettuce, fresh chilli and sliced oranges.
This recipe is extracted from Bahari: Recipes from an Omani Kitchen and Beyond by Dina Macki (DK) Photography: Patricia Niven, 2024
Ingredients for Bahraini Tikka
How to make Bahraini Tikka
- Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and massage with your hands to make sure the marinade has coated the meat well.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour, but no more than 3–4 hours, as the acidity from the lime will tenderise the meat too much.
- If you’re using an outdoor grill or barbecue, or an indoor grill, preheat it to medium–high. If you’re using a griddle pan, heat over a medium–high heat and brush generously with oil.
- Thread the beef chunks on to skewers, adding five chunks to each one. Cook the beef for 3–4 minutes on each side, leaving it slightly pink in the middle but nicely charred on the outside.
- Serve the tikka with your chosen accompaniments. If you cooked it in a griddle pan, drizzle over any excess juices from the pan to serve.