A Very Abu Dhabi Thanksgiving

My first Thanksgiving Turkey 2006

I miss the feeling you get when you skip through Whole Foods, Christmas music playing in the background, as you fill up your cart with fresh thyme, rosemary, chives, potatoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, and of course, a big ol’ fresh organic turkey. This year, I had a different feeling walking around the Lulu’s in Abu Dhabi. “Do you have fresh cranberries?” I ask. BLANK STARE. “You know, small red berries, a little sour?” BLANK STARE. Okay fine, let’s go for the dried ones. “Sir, where are the raisins?” BLANK STARE. Seriously, people? Ugh. Nevermind. It took me a good hour of going up and down every aisle until I found a bag of cranberries. Sure enough, they only had the Pomegranate flavored Craisins. But this got me thinking – what a great combination for a cranberry sauce!

I eventually found all of my ingredients for our Thanksgiving menu, although the experience was less than fun, and borderline stressful. I had found a turkey last week at the expat haven, Spinney’s. Although it was frozen, and Butterball (ugh!), I was happy to at least find one – and it was halal! Considering ovens here can barely hold a chicken, I went for a relatively small turkey (5kg/12lbs) and decided to feature the side dishes. I usually make a turkey with a number of Middle Eastern traditional foods, but this year, feeling a bit homesick, I decided to switch gears, and make an all American feast – with some Middle Eastern flair of course!

Although I will miss our families dearly, we are lucky that my mother-in-law will be visiting, and that our new group of friends will be joining us. I am looking forward to Friday (Thursday is a work-day here), and for creating new memories for our family on this day.

We will miss our families! This was from Thanksgiving 2010.

1st Annual Abu Dhabi Thanksgiving



Curried Butternut Squash and Coconut Soup

Fattoush Salad

Main Dishes:

Roast Turkey

Baked Ziti with Bechamel

Side Dishes:

Pomegranate-Cranberry Sauce

Bobby Flay’s Poblano Queso Mashed Potatoes

(made these potatoes last year after watching him at a kitchen demo…they are divine!)

Shallot and Rosemary Gravy

Pumpkin Kibbe

Wild Rice with Currants and Cranberries

Zeba’s Desi-Stuffing


Erum’s Pumpkin Gingerbread Trifle

Om Ali 

*        *       *

What will you be making for Thanksgiving? Be sure to checkout Heba’s Middle Eastern inspired Thanksgiving menu too!



    • Seher – I sent you mine. It is really “macaroni bil béchamel” which is a very traditional egyptian pasta dish of ziti topped with béchamel and baked. Of course, I make mine a but differently, mainly, I make a tomato-based sauce, but it is all in the same spirit. I hope you get to try it 🙂

  1. Brenda, I love your menu! I’m adding the cranberry-pomegranate sauce too … such a cool idea! Try to take pics for midEATS, if it’s not too overwhelming … I’ll try to do the same 😉 Happy Thanksgiving!!

  2. Delish!

    Shopping for Thanksgiving every year in Dubai is a huge hassle of going to multiple stores. I’ve learned to buy my herbs a week out (like rosemary, sage, chives, thyme) because one year, I went to 3 stores the day before and all of them were out of rosemary and sage!

    And for some reason, this year the potted plants weren’t very nice, otherwise, I would have bought those to keep in my garden.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    ginger and scotch recently posted…Delicious Vietnam #19 – November 2011 Round-UpMy Profile

  3. Hahahahahahaa, I can just imagine those blank stares in LuLu’s! I mean, they give you blank stares when you ask for things they DO have! 🙂

    Good luck, the menu looks great! Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.

CommentLuv badge