Few foods say love as well or as sweetly as basbousa. In fact, basbousa’s English translation is, “Just a kiss!”
Originating in Middle Eastern and North African countries, the sweet cake contains many of the most common dessert ingredients of the cuisines of those regions.
One of basbousa’s key ingredients is semolina. An ingredient that has been in culinary use since ancient times, semolina is mentioned in the Torah and other ancient Jewish texts in which it’s commonly referred to as a luxurious, high-priced product made from the endosperm of wheat grain.
Basbousa also contains almonds, oranges and asal, a traditional syrup made of sugar lemon and rose extract. Combined, these ingredients create a cake that is unique in texture, taste and aroma.
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Basbousa Mediterranean Middle Eastern Cake (with Asal syrup)
Ingredients for ‘Asal’ syrup:
Instructions for cake:
Whisk eggs and sugar to a light, fluffy mixture.
Whisk “wet” ingredients (vanilla paste, ricotta cheese, canola oil, orange zest and orange juice) together.
Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture.
Add the semolina, almond mill and ground coconut and mix together.
Transfer batter into an oil-sprayed 9’’x 9’’ x 2’’ cake pan.
Score the batter into squares.
Place a blanched almond on each square.
In a preheated oven, bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes.
After baking, cut cake using previously scored lines.
Add a couple of rose petals to each piece.
Brush the asal syrup onto the cake slowly and evenly.
Instructions for asal syrup:
Combine sugar, lemon juice and water and bring to a gentle boil.
Dissolve sugar and cook until small bubbles surface.
When syrup becomes slightly sticky, turn heat off.
Add one drop of rose extract and one drop of zahar extract.
Vegged Out Kabob on a Cinnamon Stick
Ingredients for tehina yogurt tzatziki:
Instructions for kabobs:
Cook lentils for 25-30 minutes until soft.
Finely chop onion and cook in olive oil until clear and soft. Finely chop parsley and garlic.
In a large bowl, combine cooked lentils, parsley, garlic, toasted pine nuts and pumpkin seeds.
Blend ingredients lightly into a chunky mixture using a hand blender.
Add harissa, challah crumbs, cumin, all spice, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and salt and mix well.
Add two eggs and create a unified mixture.
Use the mixture to create kabobs and put them on the cinnamon sticks (one kabob on each stick).
Place the kabobs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and olive oil spray.
Drizzle kabobs evenly and generously with olive oil.
Bake in a 385°F preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden and firm.
Instructions for tehina-yogurt tzatziki:
Combine raw tehina with yogurt and fresh lemon juice.
Add water one tablespoon at a time and stir into smooth consistency.
Add chopped parsley and salt and mix well.
Serve kabobs with tehina-yogurt tzatziki, chopped parsley and lemon zest.
Fresh AruguLOVE Salad
Ingredients for chili paste:
Ingredients for dressing:
Instructions for chili paste:
Finely chop chili Fresno pepper (remove all seeds and connecting parts).
Add minced garlic, freshly grated ginger root and fresh lemon zest.
Add honey, salt and black pepper and mix well.
Whisk in olive oil and combine with the rest of the ingredients.
Peel sweet potato and cut into small cubes (a little less than 1 inch).
Coat with chili paste and move to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a 385°F preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Instructions for salad dressing:
Combine chili paste with fresh lemon juice.
Add honey and whisk in olive oil until the dressing is well distributed.
Instructions for salad:
In a large bowl combine arugula leaves, roasted sweet potatoes, cut up avocado pieces, pomegranate seeds and goat cheese pieces.
Drizzle salad dressing and mix gently.
Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and thinly chopped fresh basil.
Romantic Morning with Tunisian Brik Bite
Prepare one brik at a time.
In a deep-frying pan, warm oil on medium heat to 350°F.
Carefully place the blanched asparagus, a couple of avocado slices and an egg on the top center part of the brik dough.
Gently fold the top part of the dough forward, tuck the sides in and continue to fold the dough over the filling.
The egg white will help the dough sheet stick together.
Place the folded brik aside and set on parchment paper.
Continue folding all briks using the same method.
Once all briks are folded, carefully drop them seam-down into the hot oil.
Make sure not to fry more than a couple at a time in order to keep the oil temperature steady.
Fry for one minute on both sides until the brik is golden brown.
For firm yolks you may add another minute of frying time.
Remove briks, place on a paper towel and dust with cumin and salt.
Serve along with harissa. (Find a recipe for harissa on afooda.com)