----------------------ABU DHABI----------------------

Sunday, September 16

Ma-ha-lah and Bashamel

For Suhoor on most days you will find us eating Ma-ha-lah. It is a very filling bread eaten with cheese like LaVache quirit soft cheese. It is sweet, yet tastes best with salty accompaniments. This bread should be cooked on a flat pan over med high heat. For more info on this bread see the recipe below. Tonight's meal was Bashamel. I think this is a BIG favorite in many homes across the UAE for Iftar in Ramadan or any other time for that matter. It is the "Oh So Creamy" white sauce that really gets me hooked!

(Ma-ha-lah) ~ Thin Date Yeast Bread

Makes 10-15 Pieces

Ma-ha-lah comes from the root "halla" which means sweet. This bread has a unique flavour derived from the date juice. While it is cooked in the same way as ra-gagg, the ingredients differ. This traditional Bedouin bread can be eaten at breakfast or in the evening and although quite filling, is nonetheless accompanied by chami, honey, eggs and cheese.

1 1/2 cup ripe sticky dates (seh)
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon yeast
2 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Cover dates with warm water and leave aside for one hour. Mash them, then sieve to remove all liquid. Mix yeast with 1 cup of warm water, add salt and beat in the eggs. Beat well with a mixer, then add the sugar, flour and remaining water. Mix well for 2-3 minutes, cover with a tight lid and towel, place in a draught-free area and leave for 12 hours( I left it for a whole day!)Heat large flat pan on med high heat and pour a small amount of batter into the middle, take a spoon and dip it in water and spread the batter around the pan thinly till flat and cooked, flip with the tip of a knife or a spatula and cook the other side.While it is still hot, drizzle some warm samen over each one and fold. Serve warm.

From the book "The Complete United Arab Emirates Cookbook"by Celia Ann Brock- Al AnsariCopyright © 1994 by Celia Ann Brock-Al Ansari

Bashamel Linguine

1 pack linguine
1/2 kilo mince lamb
3 onions
1 small can tomato paste
Pack of maggi bashamel sauce or see recipe below
2 maggi chicken cubes
1 tbs blended garlic

Cook meat and onion till browned, add pepper, stir, add garlic, and tomato paste, stir thoroughly for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Boil noodles with the 2 maggi cubes, reserve about 1/2 cup of the noodle water. Drain noodles,Set aside.

Make maggi bashamel sauce according to instructions, season with salt and pepper,and layer noodles then meat then pour over half the noodles water then bashamel sauce. Repeat till oven pan is full and bashamel sauce should be the top layer. Sprinkle pepper on top. Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes on med heat or until top layer is bubbly and brownish. Serve.

Inshallah Ill post the bashamel recipe from scratch here later.

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