[Sca-cooks] Carrot and date khabis

Galefridus Peregrinus galefridus at optimum.net
Mon Oct 29 18:25:38 PDT 2012

With the East Coast weather forcing me to stay home from work, I decided to take advantage of the spare time and make a sweet pudding from al-Warraq. He has several chapters on khabīs (condensed puddings) that I've wanted to play with for a while. The carrot-date pudding is fairly simple to make and quite tasty:

"Take as much as you like of similar amounts of sweet and tender carrots, milk and dates. Put them in a clean soapstone pot, which you lower into a tannūr (a simple conical oven, heated with a bed of coals inside it at the base) heated with a medium fire. Close the bottom vent but leave a finger-wide opening.
"Let the pot simmer until the ingredients fall apart. Take it out and add ground walnuts and 1/2 dirham (1 1/2 grams) ground spikenard and ginger. Beat the mixture very well.
"If the pudding turns out to be too sweet and thin, , add breadcrumbs. If it turns out perfect -- sweet and thick enough -- add fresh sesame oil and ladle it with oil into platters. If it turns out deficient in sugar and too thin in consistency, beat the mixture and return the pot to the tannūr until it thickens. When pudding is done, drench it in sesame oil [and serve it], God willing.

I used a 1/2 lb each of carrots and pitted dates. I started with one cup of milk, but ended up adding two cups more over the course of cooking because that amount cooked down before the carrots were thoroughly cooked. In the absence of a tannūr, I used our regular oven, with the pot set on the bottom rack, close to the heating element. I set the initial temperature at 350F, but eventually cranked it down to 250F. I think that the relatively low temperature is appropriate, given then instruction to reduce the opening to "finger-wide."

The carrots never got to a "falling apart" state, although they did get quite soft. Most of the sweetness of this pudding comes from the dates, but some comes from the carrots, plus the reduction of the milk.

I used about 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, which I ground to a paste, and 1/2 g each of spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) and fresh ground dried ginger. Not as much as the original recipe called for, but I have a feeling that more than 1/2 lb of carrots and dates would likely have been used.

In any case, it came out pretty much as a sweet ginger pudding -- my wife (who has New England roots) commented that it looked and tasted like Indian pudding, a cornmeal and molasses pudding traditional in New England. We both agreed that it would be great with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

-- Galefridus

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