This week, a dream of over a decade came true for me. I finally got to try jewels of the sand, manna from heaven, mushrooms of antiquity… the one and only, Desert Truffles.
Desert Truffles, or Fagaa in Arabic, are from the same family as the famed European truffles, though there is definitely quite a big difference in their flavour and aroma. I would describe them as both delicate but meaty, without being overpowering in any way.
Found in the deserts of Arabia, Iran and North Africa, the season for these is November through April, particularly after rainstorms.
A friend brought mine from the UAE and under instruction from the internet, instafam and anyone else I could pester about them I started by washing them thoroughly to get the sand out. And boy do they have sand in every crevice! A good 45 minutes later my truffles were ready for slicing and cooking. You can enjoy them cooked with a little garlic and onion, barbecued or added to a number of dishes.
I prepared two recipes with my truffles; Desert Truffles, Folded Eggs & Homemade Flatbread and Basmati Rice, Desert Truffles & Fried Onions. Both dishes brought the biggest grin to my face as I sat and enjoyed bite after bite, thinking about the history, the myths and the lore about these wonderful mushrooms.
Fun(ghi) Fact: Desert Truffles were mentioned in both the Bible & Quran
Have you cooked with Desert Truffles? I would love to know!