If you had a vacation in Dubai, there’s a good chance you’ve gone for a camel-ride or watched one camels race around a track.
You might have tried a glass of camel’s milk (camel’s milk has supported Bedouin, nomad and pastoral cultures since the domestication of camels millennia ago, but now is getting popular also in restaurants and hotel in UAE). But some people in Abu Dhabi just took the next step: eating one!
We’re not talking about preparing a giant barbeque with a camel upon it, but in some restaurants of the UAE already sell camel burgers and now Emirates Palace (the 7 stars luxury hotel located in Abu Dhabi) is about to release one as the signature dish in several of its restaurants.
Three months ago, Emirates Palace gave its 300 cooking staff (split into 20 teams and 20 patties) a challenge: to come up with a burger to be sold to their guests. Five of those recipes were selected for the final, and a winner was finally picked.
The first camel burger prepared for this contest was subtle on the tastebuds, with a hint of Japanese mayo and halloumi cheese and zaatar- spiced bread, and was served with paprika and cumin spiced potatoes.
The second burger made of chunky bit of camel leg, was served with a side of chickpea fries, a dish that was so well received Emirates Palace officials agreed they’d use the side dish whether the burger was chosen the winner or not.
The third camel burger came served with truffle mayo and a bun covered in flakes of 22 carat edible gold and accompanied by some tasty fries spiced with sumac.
The fourth burger was sweet to taste, thanks to dates mixed into the mince.
The fifth burger was the best presented, with thin, circular cuts of Lebanese bread and red onion and parsley chopped into the mince.
The winner was Amit Gomes, chef de cuisine, with his truffle mayo and gold flake burger.
Camel meat can be very hard, so you need to make it tender by using spices. I just marinate it with harissa, cumin and coriander and some papaya paste, to tenderise it. That gave me good taste without losing the meat’s flavour. As it’s for Emirates Palace I wanted to make something that was different and elegant. It’s the same gold we use on the cakes in the Palace. Camel meat is healthy and different, it’s much better for you than beef.
Regardless of how delicious the meat was, for sure it was the golden bun which won Amit just as many points.
Emirates Palace are planning to sell the burgers from October 1 in their lobby, Mezlai restaurant, pool bars and room service. Enjoy your meal!
Emirates Palace Hotel, Ras Al Akhdar, www.emiratespalace.ae (02 690 7999).