THEME: #265 EMIRATI EATS
What is Batheeth?
Nothing can be so full of dates than this sweet, sugar free, easy to prepare Batheeth. Batheeth is a traditional Emirati dessert made from date paste, wheat flour, spices, and nuts. It is usually served in the ball form or in the crumb style. Its usually served with the traditional Gahwa or Arabic Coffee. Some call it a no cook cookie but to me it doesn’t look like a cookie at all. The texture is more like a wheat halwa that we make. Whatever, its called, hubby dear throughly loved it as its sugar free. The warm flavour of ginger powder, aromatic flavour of cardamom, the nuttiness from wheat flour, crunch from sesame seeds and nuts and the natural sweetness from the dates makes an exquisite dessert.
What are the Emirates?
Before I go into today’s recipe, first need to stress what the Emirates actually is. United Arab Emirates or UAE as its popularly referred to consists of seven places, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al Quwain. Each emirate is maintains its own independence to a large extend. The UAE is governed by the seven Emirs who appoint the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. Over time this quiet desert area has become one of Middle East’s most important economic hub.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit Dubai thrice and Abu Dhabi once. We made the trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi to visit the famous Grand Mosque. Most aptly named, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. The architecture of the mosque design was inspired by PErsian, Mughal and Alexandrian mosque Abu al – Abbas al – Mursi Mosque of Egypt. The archways are Moorish, the dome and floorpan are inspired by the Badshahi Mosque of Lahore. Marble, gold, semi precious stones, crystals and ceramics have been used to build this mosque.
When one thinks of UAE, the first thing that comes to mind is Burj Khalifa, the souks, desert safari and international food. Especially Dubai, its a hot spot for street food to gourmet meals right from Asian to European and American outlets. When Kalyani suggested Emirati Eats as our theme for this week, immediately I began to research and found out that what I may have sampled as street food at the Marina beach is actually not authentic Emirati food but from other Middle Eastern countries. The knafeh I had so relished has its origins in Palestine.
Traditional Emirati Cuisine
Traditional Emirati Cuisine consists of a mixture of the Bedouins diet of meat and camel milk, fishermen’s diet which mainly consists of fish and the farmers diet which mainly was dates. A blend of these three diets, sprinkled with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, saffron, ginger, turmeric, that came from surrounding region is what the current traditional diet is. Traditionally meat, grains, and dairy are used with easy to grow vegetables like tomato and cucumber. Dried lemon too is used widely.
Check out what my friends have made for this theme:
- Poonam made the famous Middle Eastern dip Baba Ganoush
- I’m definitely trying out Karak Chai that Priya has made.
- Archana prepared the famous Mutabal – a Middle Eastern eggplant dip
- Kalyani has made the famous Machboos. Generally made using chicken but she has given it a whole new vegan avatar.
- Now that I have Preethi’s home made Bzar, Emirati Spice Blend, can use it to prepare some veggie versions of their curries and stews.
- Sujata prepared the famous and delicious Maamoul Cookies.
And you may want to check out these:
- Shorbat Adas – Middle Eastern Lentil Soup
- Manakeesh – famous Middle Eastern Bread
- Khabees – Bahraini breakfast
- Masoub – famous breakfast dish from Saudi Arabia
Our 265th theme is Emirati Eats. Kalyani who blogs at Sizzling Tastebuds, suggested that we make a dish that is from the Emirati Cuisine or something that is easily available in the Emirates but comes from the neighboring countries. If you are looking for vegan meals then you’ve got to check out Kalyani’s blog as she has a large collection of vegan friendly recipes. As for me I’ve bookmarked her Javvarisi Carrot Payasam and Okra Raita.
My Choice – BATHEETH
I was totally drawn to the traditional breakfast dishes which all so exciting right from the khameer, balaleet, chebab and raqaq. But these dishes will have to wait till the fasting month get over as I need to use eggs for some of them. Karak Chai was the easy recipe for me but my daughter opposed the idea.. “Mum, its so like our own masala chai”…this coming from a Dubai resident took me back to the drawing board. I didn’t want to make luqaimat as they are similar to the Swahili Kaimati. Hubby suggested I think of dates. My research took me to Chef In Disguise, and decided that Batheeth its going to be.
Ingredients Required for Batheeth
- Date Paste – since I don’t get date paste here, I made it at home. Remove the seeds from the dates, add some water and cook it over low heat till the dates become into a paste. Remember to stir the mixture constantly.
- Wheat Flour – whole wheat flour or atta which we normally use for roti or paratha.
- Ginger Powder
- Cardamom Powder
- Coarse nut powder of your choice – I used pistachio
- Sesame Seeds – to coat or sprinkle on top
- Desiccated Coconut – to coat – optional
- Melted Butter
- Suitable for Vegetarian
- Diabetic friendly
- For Vegan version replace butter with coconut oil or vegan ghee
- 250 g dates with seeds removed or ½ cup date paste
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup wheat flour
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- ¼ tsp ginger powder
- some roasted sesame seeds
- coarse nut powder
- dessicated coconut
PREPARATION OF THE DATE PASTE:
- Add deseeded dates and water to a heavy bottom pan.
- Heat over low heat and press the dates with a spatula.
- Mix and press till you get a paste.
- Allow the paste to cool a bit.
PREPARATION OF BATHEETH:
- Add wheat flour in a heavy bottomed pan. Place it over low heat.
- Roast the wheat flour, stirring all the time till it becomes golden brown.
- You will get a nutty aroma and smoke will begin to come out from the pan. That's when you remove the pan from the heat.
- Add the date paste.
- Return the pan on to the low heat.
- Mix and heat the mixture, mixing it till you get a soft mixture and flour has been mixed into the paste. This will take about 2-3 minutes.
- Add ginger and cardamom powder. Mix well.
- Add melted butter and mix well.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Allow the mixture to cool down a bit, just enough that you can roll the balls if you want to.
- Take about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it into a ball.
- Coat it with sesame seeds, coarse nut powder or coconut.
- Serve with Qahwa or Black Coffee.
- weigh the dates without the seeds.
- Be careful not to burn the flour, keep stirring it until it turns golden brown.
- can use almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts or a mixture of nuts.
- If you want to shape the mixture into balls, make sure you do so while the mixture is still warm.
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