Thursday, August 13, 2009


For those of you not familiar with middle-eastern sweets, lemme tell ya - they are S-UH-WEET!
I mean they are sticky sweet, cotton candy sweet, dentist's wet dream sweet. Their sweetness is overpowering, overwhelming and tooth-aching.
Finishing touches to the most of middle eastern pastry include boiling copious amount of sugar in some water and then drenching said pastry in this syrup.

Ain't no subtle.

But sometimes, the soul requires simple pleasures.

That's when i go for nammoura [N-A-M-OO-R-A].
Nammoura is a simple cake, made from semolina, or as it's called in the US of A, farina. If you are still confused, go open your box of Cream of Wheat.
Now look inside.
That's farina/semolina.

There isn't really a good comparison to nammoura among the western pastries. The closest i can come up with, is, perhaps a cornmeal cake, generously soaked in sugar syrup and decorated with almond halves.
Something like that.

Anyway, yesterday i decided to make my own nammoura.
After all, i have this brand spanking new, fancy-pants oven with sexy Italian name and i haven't used it yet.
For shame!

So, i skipped to my local Carrefour, picked up a red box of nammoura mix and read the instructions.
I only needed 2 more ingredients - yogurt and ghee (clarified butter). Also some almonds for culinary ambiance, if i wished.

Fair enough.

I brought the lot home, and followed instructions - mix 3/4 cup of yogurt, 1/3 cup of ghee and content of the box (about a pound of mix).
Spread in the baking dish and bake for 20 min @ 180C/350F.
Boil a cup of sugar in 1/2 cup of water (no joke!) and pour that over baked, still warm nammoura.

Well, first site of trouble emerged when 20 min passed and nammoura still looked pale like newly-arrived wife of British expat.
Eventually, it took me 1 hour to bake that thing.

I poured my sugar syrup, which i even flavoured with rose water and waited for nammoura to cool a bit.
Then i cut a tiny piece.

It was not delicious.

I don't know what i did wrong. It was my first culinary disaster in Dubai - rock-hard nammoura, which made me cough and gag.
Not a pleasant experience.

So, if any of you know how to make a decent nammoura from the red-box mix (i'm not naming names!), do, oh do let me know.
An inquiring mind would like to know.


i.r. said...


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