Thursday, January 21, 2010

Saudi Desert Truffles (Kamaa or Faqa')

Known by the classical arabic name of kamaa or the saudi name faqa', desert truffles are a distant cousin of the European truffle. A desert crop, it is found throughout North Africa, Syria,Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf Arab States.Within each of these countries, they are known by several names.In Morocco, they are known as terfezia, in Egypt as terfas,in Kuwait as fagga,in Oman as either faqah or zubaydi, and in Iraq,Syria, and KSA as kamaa.

Unlike European truffles, kamaa do not require much rainfall to grow and thrive.Bedouins believe that truffles grow and appear when there are thunderstorms and lightning hits the ground.Bedouins also prize them for thier medicinal properties as it is believed that they possess special curative powers for eye ailments.

Truffles can be eaten and cooked in many ways.They can be eaten raw,boiled in camels milk, sauteed in butter,roasted (in campfires),or added to other dishes such as stews or stuffings.

There are two types of truffles that are available in Saudi Arabia, the khalasi and zubaidi.The khalasi is characterized by having an oval shape with an outer black skin and a pinkish/ivory interior.The zubaidi is cream-colored inside and out and is the most sought after and expensive.

Currently, kamaa cost $720 SAR($192 USD) a kilo.Desert Delicacies

Group of Emirati men in desert searching for & cooking desert truffles
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  1. You know, I've been looking for these everywhere and can't find them. I'll have to look for them in Egypt when I'm there next time. What's shocking is that most of us Egyptians have never even heard of them although they are native to our deserts as well. Shocking. Thank you for posting. I enjoyed watching the people prepare their dish as well.

  2. hello, i export truffles of algerian desert, one of the most famous
    if you are interested you can send me an email in