Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jallab

My first introduction to this drink was just 2 days ago and I'm already hooked.

Wikipedia says that Jallab is consumed all over the Middle East and is a special delicacy in Lebanon and Syria.

I haven't ever had the chance to taste this drink in Egypt, but I read a lot of blogs by Lebanese, who were passionate about this drink.

The drink is a combination of Rose syrup, date syrup/molasses and I think it has crushed raisins too. Thinned down to a watery consistency, topped with pine nuts and served chilled.

The syrup is commercially available in some parts of the world. It can also be bought online.

If you get the syrup in a bottle, you just have to add chilled water, garnish with pine nuts and serve.

The resulting liquid is a lovely deep pink almost bordering on red.Its an extremely refreshing drink. Rose and dates both have cooling properties and hence its a great drink in sultry climates.

A cursory google search for "Jallab recipe" wasn't very fruitful. If I had to take a guess from the drink that I tasted (ok, downed is a more appropriate word) I'd go for the following.

Equal parts of rose and date syrup, (the rose flavour should be a little stronger than the dates) and some pureed raisins. While rose syrup is slightly troublesome to make at home, date syrup should be easier.

Choose a moister variety of dates, clean and soak in a little water to further loosen in up. Remove seeds if any. Puree in a blender/liquidiser.

Repeat same process with a few raisins, (you can soak them with the dates and combine the processes). I'd say a handful of raisins (again juicy ones would be better) for about 200gms of seedless dates.

Puree, strain and add water to bring to the consistency of the rose syrup. (don't add sugar, the dates and raisins will have enough sweetness of their own)

Blend the rose syrup with the date+ raisin syrup.

To serve, dilute with chilled water to a really thin consistency. Garnish with pine nuts and serve.

This recipe can't be stored outside a refrigerator as it has no preservatives in it. If it splits into two layers (because of different denisty of the syrups) don't worry, just give the bottle a good shake before mixing.

The prepared drink should not split, as you will be watering it down and the densities should then equalise.

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