arabian gulf breakfast balaleet
Photo: Bobbi Lin

A dish of sugared vermicelli and eggs, balaleet is a popular lower Gulf breakfast item. Martha transforms it into a crunchy-tender, sweet-and-salty omelet.


  • 6 tablespoons ghee, plus more for eggs

  • 2 small shallots, sliced into rings

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for eggs

  • teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 2 ½ cups broken wheat vermicelli (Middle Eastern variety)

  • Large pinch of saffron threads

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 12 large eggs

  • 1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons ghee in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the shallots and cook until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside. In the same skillet, add onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Add cardamom and cook for 1 minute.

  2. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add vermicelli and cook until golden brown. Add the saffron, boiling water, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the vermicelli is cooked and the water has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Stir in sugar and cook until sugar has melted and has been absorbed by the noodles, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cooked onion. Set aside; keep warm.

  3. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon ghee in a nonstick skillet over low. Whisk 2 eggs with 1 tablespoon water until well combined, then add to the skillet and season with salt. Cook, without stirring, until the eggs are just set but not brown, about 2 minutes. Top the eggs with some of the reserved noodles and fold to enclose, as desired. Transfer to a plate and top with some of the reserved fried shallots and chopped parsley. Repeat with the remaining eggs, vermicelli, shallots, and parsley, adding more ghee to skillet as needed.

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