Wednesday, August 17, 2011

ramadan kitchen

We have lots of semolina. It was bought in anticipation of having freshly baked bread with shorbah perhaps? And of course to find myself again, what better therapy than the bread making kind? So, yes, bread was made. Different semolina breads were baked. But it wasn't just for bread that the semolina came in use. 

There was Bread and Basbousa AND Baghrir. 

Not all healthy but great for a treat, for sharing with neighbours or to take along to a pot luck iftar. 

Basbousa with Cream

This is the reject one that stayed at home while the big one went to the pot luck.

There are different types of this semolina cake. This is one is served warm with a layer of cream and drizzled with syrup. 

1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/4 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine the syrup ingredients and cook over moderate heat. It can take up to an hour for the syrup to just slightly thicken. On my super-high-heat cooker it takes 20 to 30 minutes. Then just leave it to cool. You might want to wait a bit before you carry on with the rest of the basbousa as you want a warm cake and a cool syrup.


2 cups semolina
1 cup sugar
5 tablespoons milk
1 cup butter
5 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon saffron
chopped pistachio (or any other nuts) to sprinkle on top
1/2 cup qishta (thick breakfast cream)

Blend together the sugar, butter, eggs, cardamom and saffron. I used a blender. I don't have cardamom powder so I crushed the seeds of whole cardamom pods and threw them in. I think that when we're fasting, our sense of smell becomes a little stronger and the aroma of the cardamom just hit me and reminded me of my grandmother

Combine the semolina, baking powder and milk and add the wet mixture.  Pour it in to a greased baking tin and bake in a moderate oven until the cake is golden brown. 

Spread the cream over the top of the basbousa and flip it out on to a serving dish. The cream is at the bottom. Pour the syrup over the top and sprinkle chopped pistachio or slivered almonds over that. There you have it!  

Baghrir (Crepes Maison)

I know there are a few recipes for this semolina pancake. This is THE one that works for me due to its simplicity and ease. I also know this is not eaten in Ramadan in Algeria and eaten on 'Eid instead. Never mind. 


500g semolina
1 teaspoon sugar
3 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 cups of warm water
1 egg

All you have to do is combine everything in a blender and blend away. Pour it in to a bowl and let the yeast do its thing. It will bubble up and slightly foam up too. It could bubble over. You have been warned! 

Once nice and bubbled up, you can start frying the pancakes in a dry, hot frying pan. No fat! Which reminds me that I've seen soap being used in Algeria to keep the big clay pan non-stick! You don't taste the soap on the baghrir though. I think the clay absorbs it.

It's normally cooked only on one side. I flip it over and lightly brown the other side.
Serve it up with butter and honey or jam.

Or do things with a twist and serve with a creamy filling and a caramel sauce. The idea was my mother's. She, who loves baghrir. Credit goes to her.

Bil 'aafia. Enjoy! 


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