Khajoor (Dari) / Bosraq (Hazagari): Hazagari sweet biscuits
900 grams plain flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil (or other cooking oil)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp yeast
- In a large bowl, place milk, oil, sugar, eggs, baking powder and yeast. Mix thoroughly.
- Add flour gradually, mixing as you go, until the mixture forms a dough. If the dough becomes too hard, add a little water.
- Cover and allow to rest for 2-3 hours.
- With your hands, form the dough into small balls.
- Fry balls in oil, at medium heat, until they are light brown in color.
- Remove the balls and place them on a plate lined with baking paper.
2 cups fresh milk
2 cups evaporated milk
3/4 cup white sugar
5 Tbs cornflour
1 Tbs rose water, orange water or vanilla extract
1 tsp cardamom, ground
1/3 cup pistachios or toasted almonds, finely chopped
2 Tbs rose syrup
2 Tbs water
- In a bowl, combine cornflour and 3 Tbs fresh milk. Stir until mixture forms a paste.
- In a heavy-based saucepan, place cornflour paste, fresh milk, evaporated milk and sugar. Stir until well combined.
- Over medium heat, bring mixture to the boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for ten minutes, stirring frequently, until mixture gains the consistency of thick custard. Take care to ensure the milk doesn’t stick to the saucepan.
- Remove mixture from heat. Stir in cardamom and rose water, orange water or vanilla extract.
- Pour into small dishes or cups, then place in the fridge for at least three hours. If you plan to leave them any longer, cover each dish with plastic wrap or similar.
- Combine rose syrup and water, then drizzle over each dessert. Sprinkle with pistachios or almonds.
Assyrian Holiday Biscuits (Kileche/Kleicha)
1 cup milk, warmed
1 tbs yeast
1/3 cup + 1 tbs sugar
10 cups plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbs cardamom, ground
1 tsp nigella seeds
2 cups unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup plain yoghurt, at room temperature
3 eggs, beaten
3 cups walnuts, ground
2 cups sugar
3 tsp cardamom, ground
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbs milk
- Add yeast and 1 Tbs sugar to warm milk. Stir until well combined, then set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, salt, cardamom and nigella seeds.
- Using your hands, add melted butter gradually. Combine until mixture gains a crumbly consistency.
- Gradually add milk, stirring continuously.
- Gradually add yoghurt, stirring continuously.
- Add beaten eggs. Using your hands, knead for ten minutes – or until mixture forms a soft, smooth dough.
- Score with a cross, cover and leave to stand for one hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling, by thoroughly combining all ingredients. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 180°
- Divide dough into small balls.
- With your hands, flatten each ball and shape into a bowl.
- Place a heaped teaspoon of walnut mixture in each.
- Fold dough in half and seal edges together, making sure that no filling is visible.
- Place biscuits on a baking tin. Pierce each with a fork.
- Prepare glaze, by beating eggs and milk together. Brush each biscuit with glaze.
- Bake for 30 minutes – or until browned.
Hilsa Fish Curry
500 grams hilsa fish – washed, dried and sliced
1 tsp black cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric, ground
4 green chillies, split in two
1/2 cup mustard oil
2 cups water, just boiled
2 pinches salt
1. Rub fish pieces with turmeric and salt. Marinate for two hours.
2. Heat 1/4 cup mustard oil in a shallow frying pan. Fry marinated fish pieces until golden.
3. In a saucepan, heat remaining mustard oil. Fry cumin seeds, until they crackle. Add chillies, while stirring.
4. Add fish pieces, then pour in water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2-3 minutes.
5. Serve with steamed rice.
Ful Medames: fava bean stew
400 grams dry fava beans
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large red onion, diced
100 grams feta cheese, crumbled
100 grams rocket
4 eggs, boiled and quartered
2 tsp cumin, ground
2 Tbsp fresh coriander
2 Tbsp olive oil or sesame oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Soak dry fava beans in cold water overnight.
- Place beans and six cups of water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for at least two hours or until beans are soft.
- Drain. Place beans and vegetable stock in a large bowl.
- Mash beans with a fork or masher.
- Add cumin, salt and pepper. Stir through.
- Add tomatoes, red onion, feta cheese, rocket, coriander and eggs (optional). Toss lightly.
- Drizzle olive oil or sesame oil over the top.
- Serve with fresh pita bread.
- In a small, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat, place sugar, honey, salt, nutmeg and water. Cook, continuously stirring, until mixture gains a smooth consistency.
- Add sesame seeds. Cook, stirring often, for 5-10 minutes or until mixture becomes caramel in colour.
- Remove saucepan from heat. Add vanilla extract and butter, stirring continuously, until butter melts.
- Add baking soda, stirring continuously. This will cause the mixture to foam slightly.
- Pour mixture onto a greased baking tin.
- When mixture is cool, remove from the baking tin with a spatula and break into pieces.
1 jar grape leaves (450 grams)
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 cups white rice, uncooked
8 cups vegetable stock
1 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup pine nuts, raw (optional)
- Drain and rinse grape leaves, being careful not to tear them. Pat dry, then remove stems with a small knife. Cover with paper towel and set aside.
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil. Add onion, garlic, parsley and basil. Fry, while stirring continuously, for 6 minutes or until onion is soft.
- Add rice and pine nuts (optional). Fry, while stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes.
- Add 4 cups of vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until rice is cooked. Add water, if needed.
- Add 1/3 cup lemon juice, stirring thoroughly. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until most liquid has been absorbed. Remove the saucepan from heat.
- Now it’s time to create the dolmas. Place one grape leaf, with its shiny side down, on a clean, dry board.
- Place 1-2 tbsp. of rice mixture on the leaf, just above the spot where the stem was.
- Fold both sides of the leaf over the filling. Roll from the bottom, ensuring the sides remain inside, until the dolma is completely wrapped and no filling is visible.
- Repeat this process for every grape leaf.
- Place all dolmas, seam-side down, in a large saucepan. They should form no more than a single layer.
- Drizzle 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 1/3 cup lemon juice over the dolmas.
- Add 4 cups vegetable stock, ensuring dolmas are completely submersed.
- Cover and simmer for 1 hour, making sure dolmas do not boil. Add water, if needed.
- Remove the saucepan from heat, uncover and allow dolmas to cool in liquid for 20-30 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon, move dolmas to a serving dish or platter.
- Drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, before serving at room temperature or cold.
Chada (Sweet bread)
5 cups plain flour
1 cup milk
1 cup butter, salted
4 1/2 tsp yeast
1 pinch salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 Tbs sugar
Sesame seeds (optional)
1/4 cup water
2 cups + 6 Tbs butter, melted
4 cups plain flour
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- In a large saucepan, bring milk to the boil, then remove from heat immediately. Set aside to cool, until lukewarm.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour and salt.
- To the lukewarm milk, slowly add butter, yeast and sugar, stirring continuously.
- Add the milky mixture to the flour mixture.
- Slowly add beaten eggs, stirring continuously.
- Stir well, until the mixture forms a dough. Knead, but not to excess. Make sure the dough remains soft.
- Cover and leave in a warm place, for one hour or until dough doubles in size.
- Punch down dough, then cover and leave for another hour.
- Divide dough into four equal balls.
- Meanwhile, prepare filling. In a large saucepan, stir all ingredients, until well combined and smooth. Simmer over medium heat, stirring continuously, until lightly browned. Set aside to cool and thicken.
- Roll dough balls separately, until each is large enough to cover an area of around 25 cm x 13 cm.
- Place two of the dough layers on separate baking tins. Cover each with filling, making sure it is spread evenly. Carefully place another layer of dough on each, to create an enormous sandwich.
- With a fork, pinch ends.
- With a brush, cover the top and edges of each “sandwich” with egg wash.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).
- Place in oven and bake at 180°C for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown.
- Remove, allow to cool, slice into 5 cm pieces and serve.