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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Dessert Fit For The Prince of Persia

Guest Blogger: Renata Toth There I go experimenting again in the kitchen. After my newfound discovery of some Iranian music, I felt the sudden urge to discover some of their most famous dishes as well. And why not start with the dessert? Personally, I find the most inclined to try national desserts – much more than main dishes, although it all is interesting. So as I went through the internet on the quest of finding an exciting Iranian dessert to try in the weekend, I came through an interesting piece of culinary art. The thing is called Zoolbia and will require the following ingredients: 500 gr starch 150 gr non-skim yogurt 200 gr sugar cooking oil 2-3 sp rose water (can be acquired in special eastern or middle eastern stores; some Mediterranean food stores may also have some). Now the ingredients are few, which already imply a not very complicated dessert. This is true: although the recipe may seem a little odd at first, it is easy to prepare and will give a nice crunchy dessert of a warm Mediterranean flavour. First of all, mix the starch, 1-2 sp of sugar and water. Add yogurt and mix well until you obtain a smooth and even texture. Heat the oil in a pan, and pour the mix into the pan through a funnel to create rounded shapes of approximately 5-6 cm large in diameter. Turn down the heat to fry fully on one side, then on the other side as well. Mix the rest of the sugar, rose water and a glass of room temperature water. Bring this mixture to boil and cook until the syrup thickens. Soak the previously fried zoolbia pieces in this rosy flavoured syrup for around 5 minutes, then serve warm. Rose water is typically used in Middle Eastern cuisine. Not only is it widely used in Persian cuisine, but also in Arabic cuisine. The other most used dessert ingredient is the orange blossom water. These two additions need to be added to the dessert in small quantities, but a few drops already give a great flowery-fruity flavour to the dish. The taste is a little strange and enchanting in the same time; like a culinary travel to a different culture in your own cuisine. If you want to boost up the Persian experience, cook something Iranian as main course as well! For recipes, travel tips, join 100,000 worldwide subscribers at Get you copy of the Gourmand World Award Winning Book that makes any day a Special Occasion: The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition.

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