This Woman Prepares Daily Iftars for Low-Income Families

MERBEH – Fatima Al Yamahi spends Ramadan cooking signature dishes to sell at affordable prices at the local market in Fujairah, UAE.

“I first started selling food at the Fujairah food market five years ago, adding spices that give the dish a taste from the past that people like a lot. The aim was to make everything affordable, with prices that do not exceed Dh20,” Al Yamahi, 50, told The National on June 5.

In the backyard of her house in Merbeh town, Al Yamahi sets the fire under three large cooking pots and starts preparing assida, khabees, hares, and various Emirati dishes every day during the holy month of fasting.

Al Yamahi spends around six hours each day cooking and preparing more than eight Emirati foods before taking them to her kiosk at Fujairah’s Ramadan food market.

“I prepare at night before Sahoor and in the morning I start the cooking process by getting the fire going, preparing spices and heating the pots,” she said.

The Emirati woman said that her father taught her cooking. He used to prepare wedding feasts.

“I remember standing next to him in front of a large cooking pot filled with meat and rice placed on a pile of burning wood and sounded by small bricks. He used to prepare huge amounts of food to feed more than 300 people,” she informed.

The mother of five and grandmother of three said: “And when I turned 10, he gave me the opportunity to cook my first meal and serve it to some people who were invited over for lunch at our house.

“The way he used to throw the spices over the meat and his unique style in mixing the food made me fall in love for cooking and admire our traditional dishes.”

Apart from Ramadan, Al Yamahi prepares feasts for weddings, festivals and sometimes for the royal family and Sheikhs in Fujairah.