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.
- 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
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.
I absolutely love the flavors of rose water, honey, pistachio and saffron. They are present in abundant doses in one of my all time favorite desserts, Baklava. But it was the spotting of Gulkand or rose jam, the omnipresent ingredient in the mouth refresher paan, that triggered the thought of creating this recipe. It is a muffin that has all these flavors, except it can be eating at breakfast and tea time with some soothing mint tea.
I started with one of my favorite jam muffin recipes from @seriouseats and modified it to its middle eastern/Indian relative. The original recipe can be found here. https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/03/bread-baking-jam-muffins-recipe.html
Here’s my variation.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 heaped tsp cardamom powder
- 3/4 cup 2% milk
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup gulkand or rose jam (I used Super Tower Gulkand from the Indian store)
- 2 tbsps toasted pistachio nuts
- 3 strands of saffron
- 1 heaped tbsp granulated sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a 12 muffin pan with paper liners.
2. Toast the pistachio nuts and crush with saffron and granulated sugar in a mortar and pestle till it is a coarse mixture. Set aside.
3. Whisk the flours, baking powder, salt, and cardamom and set aside.
4. Mix the milk, oil, egg, and honey well and pour this into the flour mixture, folding gently till the ingredients are combined.
5. Swirl the gulkand into this mixture with a fork.
6. Divide the batter into the muffin cups.
7. Top with the pistachio nut mix and tap down slightly.
8. Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature of the oven to 350 degrees and continue baking (without opening the door or taking out the muffins) for another 8 minutes. The muffins are done when the tops are brown and a cake tester comes out clean.
9. Enjoy with hot mint tea!
They sat there in the fridge looking expectantly at me on a cold winter day. The little bag of baby carrots, waiting to be let out and begging me to unleash some creativity.
Hunger and not necessity is sometimes the mother of invention. So, I took the carrots and blanched the entire contents of the little bag. And then very simply tossed these warm carrots with tahini, olive oil, berbere, green chillies, fresh coriander, mint and lemon juice to create a salad that was the perfect, healthy lunch. It really is as simple as mixing these ingredients, but if you need a more precise how-to, here it is.
One small bag of baby carrots (One pound bag)
Two tbsps tahini
One tbsp olive oil
Two tbsps chopped coriander leaves
Two tbsps chopped mint leaves
Two tsps berbere (or paprika or one tsp chilly powder)
One hot green chilly finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Mix all the ingredients and serve hot or cold as a salad or side dish. If you have a few pomegranate seeds, you can use these for a colorful garnish.