The Arabic affair
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.
Filled with rain, sun and shopping the days of Ramadan are passing by and it is time to get our culinary suave on!
A popular dessert enjoyed in Pakistan, andrassas are a one bite affair and are regularly popped during festivals or especially, at the markets while tired shoppers relish the burst of sweetness and energy that comes with sugar and sesame!
½ kg rice flour
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup water
½ cup sesame seeds
1 cup oil for frying
Prepare a sugar syrup, take it off the fire and then slowly stir in the rice flour. Mix it till it becomes a dough. Set this aside for about 1 hour so the dough hardens. Once this happens add the baking soda and mix well again. After kneading it for a few minutes, break off small balls and roll them in the sesame seeds. Once this is done fry them in the oil.
Serve these as bite sized sesame delights but a statutory warning: they finish real quick!
Literally meaning the mother of Ali, this dish can transport you back to era of harem pants, a sprinkling of amber essence and the streets of Baghdad from the Thousand and One Nights! However, here yet again is my version of this decadent dish. It also uses puff pastry but I gave it a deshi twist!
250 puff pastry
1 bowl cooked milk vermicelli (doodh shemayi)
½ stick cinnamon
7-8 cardamom pods
¼ cup slices almonds
¼ cup walnuts
¼ cup pistachio
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup pure ghee (deshi ghee)
Prepare the milk vermicelli first. In a wok, warm the ghee then add the vermicelli strands and fry for about 2-3 minutes (go for the brand that sells brown coloured vermicelli). At this point it has browned even more so add 5 cups of milk, cardamom and cinnamon and stir it. Let it thicken and add 1 cup brown sugar towards the end. Once it is thick enough (it should have consistency of thick cream), take it off the fire.
In a baking dish, grease the base with a bit of butter then lay 4-5 filo pastries and stick it in the over for 2 minutes. They will have puffed up a bit then take it out and let it cool for a bit then sprinkle half the nuts on it and add half the vermicelli. Place a few more filo sheets and add a final layer of the vermicelli then sprinkle nuts on top. Stick it into the oven for another 2-3 minutes then take it out.
Cut it up into small pieces and if the vermicelli oozes out then let it.