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Friday, September 19, 2014

Q for Qatar ~ Al Rangina

Event: BM #44, Around the world (A - Z Series)
Choice of Country: The State of Qatar
Capital City: Doha
Official Language: Arabic

Qatar is the only nation on planet which starts with the alphabet 'Q' and obviously my choice for today in this culinary marathon. I am going with a simple and yet an interesting and delicious dessert, al rangina. It is basically dates in a flavorful cinnamon butter sauce. This eye-catchy platter of al rangina takes hardly 10 minutes to prepare. And before I proceed to the recipe, here are some interesting facts about this peninsula.

Some tidbits about Qatar:
* Qatar is a sovereign Arab country located in Western Asia and it's sole land border is with Saudi Arabia.
* Qatar is the world's richest country per capita and has the world's third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves in excess of 25 billion barrels.
* Qatar has been ruled by the Al Thani family since the mid-19th century and Emir has the final say in all matters. Criticizing Emir in media is illegal.  
* Qatar's semi-elected consultative assembly called Majlis al Shura has very limited legislative authority. There is no independent legislature and political parties are forbidden.  
* Before the discovery of oil, the economy depended mainly on fishing and pearl hunting. It's capital, Doha was originally a fishing village.  
* Muslims are not allowed to consume alcohol in Qatar and if they get caught doing so, will be punished by flogging. Adultery also meets the same punishment.
 * Al Jazeera Media Network is funded by the ruling family of Qatar and it's head quarters is located in Doha.  
* Tourists have to dress modestly.  
* The work week runs from Sunday through Thursday. 

Culinary Tidbits:  
* Qatar's cuisine has been influenced by close links to Iran and India and Muslim dietary conventions.  
* Muslims generally refrain from eating pork and drinking alcohol, and neither is served publicly.  
* Traditional cuisine is based around seafood and native varieties of dates. Sour apples, almonds and dates are considered delicacies.
* Some of the popular dishes are burghul pilaf, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh and mashboush while desserts are harees, umm ali, mehalabiya and esh asaraya.
* Coffee is the loved beverage and the Qatari version goes by the name 'Qahwa Helw'. This sweet coffee is a delightful concoction of saffron, cardamon, orange and sugar and is served on special occasions and by the elite.
* Qataris, especially women, are reluctant to eat in public places 
(Source: Several online sites)

This is one simple dessert that I thoroughly enjoyed making and consuming. I was initially like who would eat dates in a sauce when I learnt about the recipe. Then I began to wonder that something must be in it if it is popular among the Arab countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia. I thought of trying a small portion to test and was really glad that I did. The sauce is the real hero of this recipe and tastes really wonderful. I recalled something when I tasted the sauce and couldn't figure it out what until my husband pointed it out that it was almost like the ragi huri hittu. He was right about the taste, albeit it was richer in flavor because of all the butter and cinnamon that goes into it. I loved the base sauce so much that I am planning to prepare a thicker sauce next time and going to use it in another dish. 

1/4 lb pitted dates (18 - 20 dates)
3 to 4 tbsp. butter
2.5 to 3 tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. icing sugar

* Arrange the dates on a plate you are going to use to serve.
* Melt the butter in a sauce pan.

* Add flour and cinnamon to the butter. Whisk well and cook the mixture until a thick sauce is formed.
* I cooked for about 6 to 7 minutes and added cinnamon at the final stages of the cooking. Most of the online recipes mention to cook for 3 to 4 minutes but I cooked it longer to make sure that the flour is cooked well.
I forgot to take the pictures while it was cooking and this is what it looked like when it was warm. And please don't be tempted to add extra flour while cooking if the sauce appears thin since it thickens once it cools down.
* Pour the cooked cinnamon-butter sauce over the dates evenly.

 * Once it cools down, dust with icing sugar as much as needed and serve.



Usha said...

Dates with butter sauce sounds like a nice dessert.

Varadas Kitchen said...

Such a simple dessert. Nicely presented.

vaishali sabnani said...

Wow..I loved the recipe...also the clicks. The platter looks very well presented, that sugar is making it look so so pretty..looks like a art work.
You have chosen a perfect font to label the picture, fantastic Suma.

Manjula Bharath said...

suma Hi 5 again I even made them , Have done away through will post it now :) they look so tempting and very flavorful sauce to have with dates isn't it :) looks yummm !!

Priya Suresh said...

Simple dessert but yet am drooling over that plate, loved that butter sauce..Too delicious.

The Pumpkin Farm said...

beautiful dates recipe , so many things one can do with dates..only realised during this mega marathon

Srivalli said...

That's an awesome preparation Suma..everything in the picture looks fantastic..

Magees kitchen said...

Yummy dessert recipe, new to me...

Harini-Jaya R said...

Interesting. These caught my eye while researching but decided on something else.

Gayathri Kumar said...

When I first saw the photo, I couldn't imagine anything about the dish. I understood it once I read your post. The sauce and dates combo looks so nice...

Pavani N said...

Very interesting Qatari dish. I'm sure with so many date trees in Qatar (middle east in general), they have million ways of consuming them :-) Glad that you found a recipe you enjoyed.

Chef Mireille said...

sauce looks heavenly

Padmajha PJ said...

What a tasty way to eat the dates!Superb!!!

Archana Potdar said...

Wow what a yum way to eat dates.