Tag Archives: Global Tastings

Flaky, buttery, Date Bread – Inspired by the Omani Maldouf

Not too long ago, I had an opportunity to spend time with family in Oman. I was bowled away by the country’s natural beauty, the rugged mountains juxtaposed against magnificent beaches and the dates served everywhere. But somehow, I missed an opportunity to taste good Omani bread and it was an Anthony Bourdain episode on this country that got me curious. One of the first breads I came across was Maldouf, a date flatbread also known as a date chapati. The combination of ground dates and ghee sounded divine, something that would appeal to my sweet toothed parents and in-law, but the egg in the dough was something I wanted to skip.

I started with a recipe from the local paper in Oman, The Oman Times and tweaked it to come up with this. The dates add just a hint of sweetness, the cardamom makes it a tad bit exotic and the ghee leads to the flaky delectable layers.

It takes a bit of time to roll out the dough, but the end result is so worth it. Have it warm as it comes off the griddle or serve it at room temperature with a spicy curry.

Ingredients:

  • 15 pitted dates
  • 1 cup atta (chapati flour) – you can use white whole wheat flour instead
  • 1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
    ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt.
  • ¼ cup ghee
  • Ghee for shallow frying bread
  • Flour for rolling out bread

How to:

1. Soak the dates in one cup of boiling water for one hour and then grind to a paste with the water in a blender.

2. Once the date paste is ready, whisk the atta, white whole wheat flour, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Add the ghee and mix with your hand till it gets a bit crumbly.  Add the date puree and mix the dough well till it all comes together and forms a soft pliable dough.

3. Divide the dough into 12 balls, roll in your hands till smooth, and set aside covered by a damp towel for an hour.

4. Take one ball at a time.  Place on a lightly floured board and roll out into circle, about 6-7 inches in diameter.  With a pastry brush, brush the circle with ghee.  Fold dough from opposite sides to the center, slightly overlapping the ends. Brush some more ghee and bring the other sides to the center forming a square.  Press the dough down, and spread the square into a larger one with 6 inch sides. Repeat with all dough balls.

5. Cook each bread on a medium hot griddle adding some ghee on the sides.  When the bread starts puffing (about 1/2 a minute or so), flip it over and cook till both sides and have nice brown spots.

Eating our way through London for 192 hours!

By Lakshmi:

Can I make a confession? I’m a baby about my birthdays!  For many years now, I’ve made a resolution to not work on my birthday and fill the day surrounded by the people,  activities and food I love.  And every year I look forward to the 24 hours dedicated to me.  But this time around, I decided to extend the celebration to 192 hours. That’s right, eight days of eating my way through London with my teenaged daughter and her dear friend for company.

Now, this was going to be no random Eatathon.  I had a wish list of five places I definitely wanted to hit up on my trip.  Places where tables tend to get booked up months ahead of time. And here I was with my air tickets to London purchased barely two weeks away from D-day! OpenTable and the phone became my best friends as I wrangled my way to reservations at all five.  With those anchors set, I scoured my way through bookmarked clippings from food and travel magazines, Time Out London, and other sources to create a list of restaurants by neighborhood that served amazing meals at not too exorbitant prices.  This list was vetted by my travel companions, and the end product was a list accented with highlights and bold colors.  We were ready to forage our way through London!

The first stop on this journey was a dream come true.  NOPI, a restaurant by one of my favorite chefs, Yottam Ottolenghi.  He is the MAN who does vegetables like no other.  The flavors, the seasoning, the fresh taste, the creativity…I could just go on and on.

My excitement entering in was like a kid who had been promised a trip to a candy store for a long time and now had permission to pick out anything she wanted.  Let me walk you through a visual journey of what we ate!  If I had to pick one word to describe the meal? Divine.  Add another word? Magic!  Tell you how I felt? Like Royalty. How was the taste? It was a like a perfectly orchestrated taste festival on my tongue.  And my admiration for the creator of this culinary nirvana? Undying!

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The menu – presenting us with the agonizing tradeoffs we would be subject to!!

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Bread with the richest olive oil you could dream of

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AAhhhhh! Nothing like marinated olives with a glass of wine

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Jicama, smokey jalapeno and tomato salsa – I’m crying with happiness

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Mixed seed lavash with burnt spring onion dip – too bad we were in a place where it would be inappropriate to lick our bowl clean

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Roasted butternet squash, red onion, tahini, zatar – nowhere have I tasted squash this good

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Spiced potato cakes with a topping of parsnip chips

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Peanut and caramel icecream with chocolate sauce and peanut brittle – should I eat them separately or mix them?

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Baked chocolate ganache, plum soil, creme fraiche, the perfect backdrop for a candle

Stay tuned for our next post on this 192 hour food fueled journey through London!

Drink the world in Downtown Syracuse

By Rohan:

Step into Wolff’s Biergarten on Montgomery Street and all of a sudden, you are transported from a chilly Syracuse evening to a festive indoor biergarten. The space is complete with the signature wooden tables, flags from Germany’s provinces, and passionate soccer fans leaving their worries at the door in exchange for a pint of Hofbrau München and a good time with friends.

When I walked into Wolff’s this weekend, I felt like I was back at Munich, knocking back a beer under a starry night in the English Gardens. For a city its size, Syracuse is home to an abundance of international restaurants and bars. Last night, I was determined to see it all; to taste the world without leaving downtown.

From Wolff’s, we headed over to Benjamin’s across from the famed Italian eatery Pastabilities. We traded our jolly German digs for a speakeasy themed to the heroes of the American Revolution. The walls are adorned with portraits of Franklin, Jefferson, and Hamilton. A giant replica of the Constitution welcomes patrons as they relax on the outdoor courtyard and marvel at the night sky.

Just down the street is Kitty Hoynes, a pub that serves as a testament to the strong Irish population in the Syracuse area. Stepping in through that threshold, I was whisked away to festive evenings in Dublin’s Temple Bar district. A duo performed classic Irish tunes onstage as locals gathered around, cradling glasses of dark, frothy Guinness as they celebrated life with complete strangers.

My friend and I smiled as we watched a gorgeous spring day turn into a chilly winter night. We marveled at the great Irish artists that plastered the walls, from Yeats to Joyce to Bono. The cold mugginess was suddenly normalized. We were in Dublin, a city that fights grey skies with good times. Last night, Syracuse proved to do just the same.