Do you want to taste the Arab region? 🙂 then try this delicious cake from Kuwait.
When I first came to the US, 8 years ago, I met with an Egyptian lady who had a -then- 17 years old daughter. One day I met this young lady and her mom and she complemented my head scarf so I naturally said in Arabic ” shokran, itfadalee” which means ” Thanks, you are welcome to take it” … then the girl looked at me furiously and said are you willing to take it off right now and give it me!!!. Now me and her mom, looked at each other and burst into laughter and her mom said ” this is an example of Egyptians raised in the west 🙂 “.
The thing is this is a common thing to say- even if you do not mean it- when someone complement something you have. The Arabic culture is based on generosity, our ancestors who lived in the desserts used to welcome guests who pass by them in every way possible or impossible.
Although I had no problem giving the girl the scarf that she admired but not right away, for God sake, at least give me time to go home and cover with another one.
Anyways, what the young lady did was criticizing the culture, she explained that she thinks it is kind of hypocrisy to offer someone the things that you have just because he/she likes it!! and she had a point there. She considers it a type of lying if you are not really willing to give this thing up, and she’s got a point there.
Several times I’ve noticed people get offended or teased to angry because of an act or a word from another person which was misunderstood. We have many cultures in this world, so how about giving each other excuses first before getting so angry?
As much as we differ in things we also meet. Can you believe that there is a ” trick or treat” in the gulf area?!!. A close friend- who was raised in Kuwait- told me that on the night of the 15th day in the holy month of Ramadan there is a celebration called ” Gergeaan” which she told me was from the word ” Jaar Jaaan” which means a hungry neighbor. In this celebration kids knock on doors of their neighbors for candies and nuts, they sing common songs there at this time. I’ve been told that this ritual is actually all over the gulf area as this does not happen in Egypt.
If you have a “Jaar Jaan” or if you are hungry yourself, try this delicious cake which I was very hesitant to try. When we were invited in MENA to try the Kuwaiti Cuisine, the host posted this recipe as a dessert.
I was like WHAT!!! cardamom in a cake… this is something I’ve never experienced before and I was thinking I will get a taste of chicken soup- as this is the most common use for cardamom in my house.
But I was wrong, I liked it and so all my guests who were there and kept asking about the beautiful yellow color and the smell. They were amazed that they also liked cardamoms in a cake. I really liked it and I felt really this dessert is a 100% Arabian dessert, but next time I will omit the rose water or the orange blossom water as we do not like them as much around here.
Here is a short tutorial about how to make the Gesr Ogili cake.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 tbsp toasted sesames- didn’t use due to allergy purposes
- ½ tsp saffron
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup butter, melted and cooled
- 1 cup milk, room temperature
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp rosewater- I’ve used Orange Blossom Water
- Crush the saffron threads. Add 2 tablespoons milk and mix.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder,salt, cardamom powder and mix in two tablespoons sesames.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar until light and thick.
- Combine butter, milk, rosewater and saffron mixture.
- Pour in a prepared pan and bake for 30-40 minutes in a 350F oven.
Do not forget to check with the others did this month.