Let me introduce you to a very traditional and beautifully simple Indian dessert - Qubani ka Meetha. Qubani ka Meetha is a Hyderabadi specialty and a common feature at Hyderabadi weddings. Qubani is the Urdu name for apricots and meetha mean sweet. It is a dessert made from stewed dried apricots and served with malai (clotted cream).
I have a little anecdote to share with you about apricots. During my childhood and well even now whenever I see dried apricots, I eat a lot of them not because I like dried apricots but because I love the almond like nut in its stone. As a kid I used to quickly eat the apricot flesh to get to the stone and then crack open the stones using a mortar and pestle to enjoy the delicious nuts. This used to be my afternoon past time while my mother was taking an afternoon nap. Everytime she would find me sitting with a bowl full of nuts and a lot of broken shells. Those were the days! Unfortunately I could not find whole dried apricots in Sydney, so I am using pitted dried apricots. I did go looking for them but unfortunately they weren't available even at the Indian Grocers :(
This also happens to be my first South vs North Challenge. South vs North is a fun challenge started by Divya of You too can cook where two teams challenge each other with regional Indian dishes. This challenge is hosted by Roha of Hyderabadi Cuisine. It was a great challenge for me as this was my first time making Qubani ka Meetha and I loved the flavours and the simplicity of the dish. I gave it a little twist with the addition of honey and cinnamon, It goes great with thickened cream, custard or even as a side to pancakes. Yumm!
Recipe Print Recipe(Part of SNC challenge, Adapted from Hyderabadi Cuisine)
1/2 cup dried apricots
2 tbsp Sugar
2 tbsp honey
1 cinnamon stick
5-6 cardamoms - ground to a fine powder
1 tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon
a pinch of saffron threads
Thickened cream - to serve
8-10 Blanched Almonds - chopped
Soak the dried apricots overnight with enough water to just cover the surface. The apricots should be plump and rehydrated the next day. Do not throw the soaking liquid as this is the stewing liquid for our apricots.
|Plump and juicy soaked apricots|
Now pour the soaking liquid into a pan and allow it to simmer, once it starts simmering add the apricots and the sugar and honey. Add the lemon juice, zest and cardamom to balance the sweetness. Add a cinnamon stick to the stewing fruit and let it cook till the syrup is reduced and the apricots soft and mushy. Remove the cinnamon stick after 10-15 minutes as we don't want it to over infuse into the syrup.
|Apricots stewing in the soaking liquid|
Mash the apricots with the back of the spoon. Keep stirring continuously and add more liquid (water or lemon juice) to prevent caramelisation and burning.Cooking time will be approximately 45 minutes.
Serve with some thickened cream or malai (clotted cream) and garnish with saffron and almond slivers.