Sweets and Halwas for Ramadan
Keeping the month of Ramadan in mind, Star Lifestyle will present for its readers one recipe a day that would be an ideal addition to your iftar/sehri dishes. From the secrets of the Mughal kitchen to the charm of Middle Eastern cuisine; from the culinary tricks of your grandma's magical hands, to the fusion cuisine that is all the rage these days, The Food Spread, hopes to be the golden key to Ramadan gastronomy.
These unique and innovative take on iftar desserts can be the perfect addition to your iftar platter. Packed with energy, they can lift you up after a long day of fasting.
West African peanut ball
Peanuts are a very integral part of West African cuisine and along with the yams and cassava and okra that came out of this region, a lot of cuisine involves peanuts.
½ cup peanut butter (you can simply blend peeled peanuts until thick and creamy)
1 cup honey, slightly warm
1 cup powdered milk
1⁄2 cup finely grated coconut
Place peanut butter and honey in bowl and blend well. Add 1 cup powdered milk and blend into a stiff dough, adding more powdered milk as needed. Cup the mixture into small 1-inch balls or patties. Put coconut in flat pan. Roll balls or patties in the coconut to coat them. Place these balls on a dish covered with wax paper then cover it with another wax paper sheet, and refrigerate. Serving
Serve as a sweet snack treat when guests come around
A very traditional Lebanese dish served on a plate or in bakeries by the kilo, the name of this dish derives from the term 'to knead". This is however a simplified version, with ingredients meant to be slightly less on the heavy side.
2 cups shredded thin filo pastry available at stores
1 cup water
1 cup sugar syrup (You can use brown sugar to make this - 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp lemon juice)
1 tbsp rosewater
1 tbsp orange zest or you may use lemons
2 cups ashta (boil milk and keep scooping off the cream formed on top of it continuously)
For toppings -
1/2 cup almond boiled, peeled and fried to light golden.
1/4 cup pistachio nuts crashed in tiny pieces
Apricot jam (optional)
Preparing the Mafroukeh mix -
Blend the shredded filo dough well, until you get a dough of very tiny grains.
Stir the dough in a non-stick casserole, over medium heat, until yellowing, then bump up the heat, stirring continuously.
When the dough starts darkening, add the liquid ingredients (water, orange zest and rosewater), and ½ the cup of sugar syrup.
Keep stirring for the dough to absorb all the liquid, and mix well. When the mixture turns into a dark golden brown colour, remove from heat.
Pour the mixture into the glass serving pan, and spread it well, dabbing it with the dampened palm of your hand. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
Pour the Ashta cream all over the Mafroukeh mixture. With a spoon, spread it well all over, then press gently for an equal level. Wet the spoon with fresh cold water and smooth a little the surface.
Garnish and cool -
Sprinkle the pistachio all over the Ashta layer then follow it with a rich layer of almonds. Place the serving plate in the fridge until coolness.