Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nammoura - a (Slightly) Healthier Version - and two more recipes

I have to admit I haven’t been cooking as much as usual for the past week, and for that I have no excuse. But then we learned that our daughter, Mandy, would be here on a work-related trip, so Doug and I got busy in the kitchen. After all, we had to feed our one-and-only!

I baked a batch of my mother-in-law’s lavash – one of Mandy’s favorites, and Doug made 2 pots of dolma – meat and rice-stuffed peppers in one pot; the same stuffing wrapped in grape leaves in the other. Two more of Mandy’s favorites.
Sylvia Kalajian's Lavash 
Grape leaves stuffed with ground turkey and rice
Peppers stuffed with the same mixture as the grape leaves above.
A dessert seemed appropriate, so I made one I hadn’t prepared before, a healthier version of Nammoura, a Lebanese cake made from semolina soaked in a simple syrup flavored with rose water, and decorated with almonds, or in my case - pistachios. (See recipe below.)

Nammoura, a healthier version than the original, ready to serve.

Sometimes you just need a reason to go full steam ahead in the kitchen. Thanks, Mandy, for providing us with this special occasion!

Nammoura, a Healthier Version
(Recipe adapted from one found on www.easylebaneserecipes.com.)
Yield:  24 pieces

Ingredients:
1 cup semolina
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
A dash of salt
1 cup plain, fat-free yogurt  (NOT Greek yogurt)
1 to 2 Tbsp. rose water (Note: Orange blossom water – or- a combination of the two may be substituted)
1 tsp. vegetable oil, for greasing the pan
Garnish: 24 shelled pistachio nuts (Note: Blanched almonds are more commonly used in this recipe.)
Syrup Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 small cinnamon stick
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:
Preheat oven at 350°F.
Semolina and the other dry ingredients mixed together; rose water and plain yogurt 

In a bowl, combine the semolina with the sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, combine the yogurt and rose water. Mix together with a wooden spoon, wire whisk or an electrical hand mixer.
Nammoura batter
Lightly coat an 8”x8” square pan with the vegetable oil. (I used an 8" glass pie pan.) Pour the mixture into the pan spreading it evenly with a spatula.
Nammoura ready to bake
Gently press pistachio nuts (or almonds) into the surface, leaving space between them. (Note: Each serving piece should have one nut in the center.)

Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

While nammoura is baking, prepare the syrup.
Preparing the simple syrup
Syrup Directions:
Place the sugar, water and cinnamon stick in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat stirring constantly until it starts to boil and sugar dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice. Remove saucepan from heat; set aside to cool completely before using. Discard cinnamon stick.
Nammoura  -hot out of the oven!
To complete the recipe:
As soon as the nammoura is removed from the oven, spoon the cooled syrup over the entire hot surface so that the syrup will be absorbed.

Set the pan of nammoura on a cooling rack and allow it to come to room temperature.

To serve:
Wait at least 1 hour before cutting and serving.
When ready, cut it into 24 equal pieces, and arrange them on a serving platter.

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