Sunday, January 30, 2011

Apricot Sweet Dish (Qubaani Ka Meetha)

Hyderabad is an Indian city wrapping within itself an iconic legacy of history, sumptuous cuisine and splendid architecture. One can experience the tasty food at traditional Hyderabadi Muslim homes all eaten in a symbolic eating space known as Dastarkhaan. I had the good fortune of witnessing many such Sehri and Iftaar meals partaken before sunrise and after sunset during the holy Islamic month of Ramzan. During the month of Ramzan, the whole city soaks in the festive flavour. Streets selling various fast food items display huge iron Kadhais cooking piping hot Haleem which whet your appetite all the more. Myriad succulent Kebabs and Biryanis get readied with spice rubs, salad and a drizzle of lemon aptly shown off as a tantalising treat.

Few of my favorite Hyderabadi dishes are Hyderbadi Biryani, Qubaani Ka Meetha, Mirchi Ka Saalan, Sheer Khurma and Double Ka Meetha. Qubaani Ka Meetha is a traditional Hyderabadi dessert made of Apricot sauce reduced to a rich, light brown broth and topped with dry fruits and cream or custard of choice. Qubaani is Apricot in Urdu and Meetha implies a dessert hence the name Qubaani Ka Meetha. The thing which wowed me about this recipe is it contains less than 5 ingredients and does not require much of your dedicated kitchen time.

~ Qubaani Ka Meetha ~
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serving: 2-4

Apricot - 2 cups
Sugar - 3 tablespoon/ cup of Apricot
Ghee (optional) - 1 tablespoon per cup of Apricot
Almonds - 1 teaspoon per serving
Heavy cream or Custard (optional) - 1 teaspoon per serving

Wash the Apricots and remove the seed if any. Soak in water for 4-6 hours. Upon soaking they proliferate in size, become more soft and malleable. Crush with a pestle gently or blend roughly in a blender to a coarse paste with little of the water used for soaking (approx 1/2 cup of water). Add desired quantity of sugar, ghee and cook on low flame. The consistency thickens over a period of time and reduces to form a thick sauce of Apricot. This process takes around 15-20 minutes. Cover with a lid throughout the process. Once completely cooked to a fine light brown broth, turn off the flame and allow to cool. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours. Serve chilled with a sprinkle of chopped Almonds and a drizzle of heavy cream or custard of choice.

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