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.

Mussels Masala Fry

Tip 1: Fresh Mussels, obviously taste better than the frozen variety

Tip 2: They need to be cooked as lightly as prawns.

Marinate the meat of mussels in meet mirsang - a mix of chilli, turmeric, cumin and vinegar. (This is a standard paste thats ground in large quantities and stored in most Manglorean houses) but you can use powders, just create a paste with the vinegar. Adjust chillies to your liking, turmeric and jeera are intended to have just a hint of a flavour, you can use lemon juice instead of vinegar if you prefer to make it fresh.

Heat some coconut oil in a pan (this gives it a very South Indian flavour, you can use regular oil) temper with curry leaves (there's really no substitute, Sorry)

Saute thinly sliced onions (50 gms onions for 200 gms shelled mussels) in the tempered oil
Then mix in the marinated mussels with the marinade.
Stir fry at high heat, so juices get trapped inside.


Serve hot with rice and dhal or rice and rasam.

Variant:
I use a similar recipe for prawns and I pop some potatoes in there for contrasting texture. Also the flavour of prawns seems to blend well with potatoes. I myself wouldnt use a mussels-potato combo.

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