Agwa is the Middle Eastern paste used to stuff pastries and cookies . It is not the kind of date paste that you will use to sweeten your drinks and recipes. This is a thick paste used to stuff baked goods.
Agwa is usually made with some kind of dates in the Middle east for us here in the US, I've used Deglet Noor kind. It is the closest kind to the one my mom used back then in Egypt which was called "Rottab".
When I was little my mom used to make agwa sandwiches for us. Also one of the very popular uses of agwa in Egypt is making egg-agwa sandwiches which I will share the recipe with you in a later post. The Middle Eastern cuisine has many recipes that uses agwa, I'll share most of them with you soon.
You can find agwa easily in your local Middle East market. If you do not have one near you here is a simple recipe for making a delicious date paste. So let's start.
First off we will soak the dates for 15-20 minutes in hot water , this step is necessary so we can easily peel the dates.
Soak until the peel softens and you are able to get most of the skin out. I've had some little hands helping me out in this step.
Some people add ghee, I've added butter to the dates along with the spices. Pressing on them and stirring with a wooden spoon.
Many like to pulse them in the food processor, I like doing it the old fashion way, like my mom and my grandma did. Pulsing them in the food processor makes it too much mushy for me as I'm used to it a little chunky.
I've added cinnamon, ground cardamom and fennel seeds. Fennel seeds gave it a very nice scent and flavor but was not that good texture-wise. So next time I will probably stick to what mom used to add, only cinnamon and sesame seeds.
This is a great freezer friendly recipe that can be kept in the freezer for up to a year. Take it out and give it enough time to thaw before making your recipe. You might as well want to work it a little with another tablespoon of butter.
I wish you've liked today's recipe .. wait for more uses of Agwa soon... Enjoy.
Agwa ( date paste for stuffing)
- 1 lb dates I've used Deglet Noor.
- Hot water to cover.
- 3 Tablespoon unsalted butter.
Optional add ons
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- 2 Tablespoons Roasted sesame seeds.
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom.
- ½ Tablespoon fennel seeds.
- In a deep bowl, place the dates and cover with hot water for 10-15 minutes to soften the skin.
- Drain the dates and peel as much as you can.
- In a pot over medium heat, place dates, butter and whatever add ons you want.
- Keep stirring and pressing with a wooden spoon to break them a little, until the mixture comes together in a lump.*
- Let it cool down and use immediately or store in a ziploc bag in the freezer until you are ready to use.**
** Keeps in the freezer for a year and in the refrigerator for a 4-6 months.
For years I was convinced that I didn't like dates but I recently read how good they are for you, so I tried them. All those wasted years not eating them 🙁
Do you know how to make coffee from the date stone
Len, dates are extremely delicious, IMHO, and they can go into so many recipes both sweet and savor. Happy that you've changed your mind. For the coffee, unfortunately I did not do it myself before.
The Lebanese version uses Ma'zahr or orange blossom water as the main flavoring for the Agwa. Really good.
That sounds delicious Tom, thanks for sharing.
Your website is the reason I did Molokhia for the first time ever. It was always so daunting to me
If I cook more Egyptian food it'll be thanks to you 🙂
Have a question about the Agwa, is it ok to substitute butter with sth else? unfortunately I'm lactose intolerant
Thank you Dalia for your sweet comment, I am happy you liked the molokhya :). I haven't tried it myself but my father in law makes it with light olive oil and he loooves it a lot. I hope this will help.
Perhaps to incorporate the fennel, you could process just some of the dates with it and then mix that back into the whole to keep the chunkiness but smooth out the fennel seeds? Definitely looking forward to making this - I think my dad and I will really like it. 🙂 Thank for you all the great recipes you post - I always look forward to seeing your emails on Sunday! 🙂
Gil, thank you so much for your sweet comment. Your advice is doable and I think I am going to do that next time. My father in law loves making egg with date paste for breakfast almost every day :).
How awesome you can never have enough date recipes and I love the versatility and longevity of your date paste, thanks Amira 8)