Making of the Salalah Bread
oven is left covered while the bread is being baked. This method of
cooking gives a grilling effect to Omani bread which can be kept without
being spoilt for manydays. The thick variety has more life compared
with the thin
sticks Omani bread in the earthen oven
geographical features of a region often play a big role in determining
the modes of livelihood for people. In Dhofar, a number of women are
making a living out of preparing Omani bread known as raqiq, while it
is common to find men engaged camel rearing.Naf'ah Mustahail is better
known in the wilayat of Taqa as an expert confectioner. All through
her life in the last 50-odd years, she has been baking the traditional
Omani bread and supplying to regular clients on the nearby mountains
as well as tourists.Naf'ah's daily chores begin early in the morning
when she kneads wheat flour mixed with ghee, a little sugar and salt.
Small balls of dough are then rolled out first on a wooden board and
then put on a clay mould to imprint designs on the bread.
Omani bread baked daily by Naf'ah are sold like hot cakes, especially
during the monsoon season. Her major clients are the mountain people
of Taqah for whom the bread serves as a main food item during the wet
weather.Two types of bread are baked by Naf'ah the thin variety
which resembles kuboos and the other which is almost an inch in thickness.
The rolling of dough requires three minutes for each bread. On an average,
Naf'ah bakes 40 each of the two varieties daily.While the dough is rolled
and readied, Naf'ah is assisted by an employee to prepare fire in an
earthen oven. Charcoal lies in ember in the oven when Naf'ah steps out
from the kitchen with the raw bread. After cleaning the oven walls,
Naf'ah sticks the pieces of bread inside the oven. At a time, nearly
20 pieces of bread can be baked in the oven which is one metre deep
and one metre in diameter.
thin variety of bread requires about 15 minutes for baking while
the thick variety requires 25 minutes. The oven is left covered
while the bread is being baked. This method of cooking gives a grilling
effect to Omani bread which can be kept without being spoilt for
many days. The thick variety has more life compared to the thin
variety.Throughout the year, Naf'ah bakes Omani bread and sells
10 pieces of the thin variety for one riyal while five of the thick
variety is sold for a riyal. On an average, she makes about 10 riyals
a day. During the marriage season the sales improve as this type
of bread is served with halwa to guests.Naf'ah has imparted her
cooking skills to a number of women who today are all engaged in
bread-making, making a living out of it.
variety of Omani bread can be preserved as long as a month and is preferred
by the mountain people during the monsoon season when they do not leave
their abodes for days together.The camels of Dhofar are part and parcel
of the households they belong to. In the governorate, the number of camels
is roughly estimated at 60,000. What makes camels special to the people
of Dhofar is their friendliness and usefulness, especially in the desert
environment.The monsoon season forces camels to descend from the mountains
and remain in the plains untill the rains subside. The slippery mountains
may prove dangerous to them and hence during khareef they are restrained
in the plains and fed with alfalfa and fodder.Ahmed bin Abdullah al Badi
al Rowas, togther with some of his relatives, owns 170 camels.
a time when camels were few in number, they were required to find food
for themselves. However, with the increase in numbers of camels, the
owners are now forced to provide food to camels during the monsoon season
as well as some other months when pasture lands are exhausted.When the
monsoon season ends in August, camels will have the best time of their
life for two months with abundant pasture on the mountains, Al Rowas
said.Due to the strong link between camels and their owners, the animals
are rarely sold, and they are kept as part of the household, Al Rowas
said.In order to identify the camels belonging to one tribe, the animals
are branded when they are young. In case a camel is stolen or is lost,
the distinguishing mark helps in locating it, Al Rowas said.Normally
camels remain very healthy and the diseases it could suffer from include
a certain type of infection which is contracted while grazing.
however, can be treated and cured easily, even though it may be contagious,
Al Rowas said. The camels which are sick due to such an infection will
have watering eyes and become thin and weak, he pointed out.Ahmed bin
Said al Katheri has never been trained as a veterinary doctor, but is
sought after by camel and cattle owners when their animals fall sick.
From sheer experience, by watching his father exercising medical expertise,
Al Katheri picked up the remedies and started practising as a vet. Over
the years, he has gained thorough knowledge about the ills affecting
the animals and remedies for them. He even performs caesarian operation
for animals which find difficulty in delivery.
Dhofari camels have not been bred as racing camels. However, efforts
are on to rear a racing breed as camels from the mountainous regions
ought to naturally perform better than other camels, Al Rowas felt.Meanwhile,
the formal functioning of a company which was set up to market camel
milk is eagerly awaited by camel owners, Al Rowas said. The company
will be a boon for them as currently camel milk is consumed only by
their own family members, he added. The milk should not to be boiled
and has to be drunk immediately after milking. The milk, however, can
be preserved if it is immediately put in refrigerator, Al Rowas said.Camel
milk is low in fat content and very good for stomach, Al Rowas said.
On an average, a she camel will yield 15 to 20 litres of milk a day,
he added.Even though camels are large in size, compared to cattle, they
are easy to control very friendly to people, Al Rowas pointed out. This
has led to a strong bond between camels and people, he added.
Adapted from Oman Observer. Nizwa.NET is not responsible for errors.