Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not Your Average Qurbani Ka Meetha


Now before the editors, well-meaning, pernickety and perfectionists among you rush to conclude that Sra doesn't know it's Qubani Ka Meetha and not QuRbani Ka Meetha, let me assure you that I'm doing my bit through this post to stop the massacre of the name of this Hyderabadi delicacy***.

Qurbani means sacrifice. It is also an '80s Hindi film that had a big star cast. The closest Qurbani came to 'meetha' (sweet), as someone said, was Zeenat Aman, who played the love interest in the film. You can see her here. Aren't we glad we have YouTube?

Now Qubani/Khubani/Khoobani, on the other hand, is the Urdu word for 'apricot'. I'm not even sure what it's called in Lebanon or Turkey or the rest of the region, which seems to be where this dessert's roots lie, but let's not quibble about Qubani when my friend Aparna is celebrating her blog birthday and is waiting for all of us to come to her party.

I saw this recipe years ago when I bought Vimla Patil's 'International Food Indian Style'. The recipes use ingredients available in India to turn out food from all over the world. This dessert has been on my mind all the years that this book has lain on my shelf. However, it was a trifle too long for my liking, so I scoured the Net for a shorter version and came up with one that eliminated the baking part of the recipe, but now for the life of me, I'm not able to locate the original source. Here's how I made it anyway. Patil's contribution are the peanut brittle/chikki and the curds/yoghurt.

40-44 whole dried Turkish apricots or dried apricot halves
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2-3/4 cup peanut brittle/chikki, crushed
1 cup thick yoghurt or hung curds
1/2 cup flaked and toasted almonds/chopped unsalted pistachio nuts

Put the apricots in a bowl, add just enough water to cover, and let stand overnight. Drain.

In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer until thickened. Add the apricots and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and continue to simmer for a minute.

With a slotted spoon, very, very carefully transfer the apricots to a baking sheet or a large plate. Reserve the syrup in the pan. Let cool to thicken slightly. If the syrup is not thick enough, reduce it further over medium heat.


If using whole apricots, carefully cut each apricot along the seam with a small sharp knife to create a pocket. Put in the peanut brittle and fill with a bit of the hung curds/yoghurt. (You have to keep a light hand, otherwise the apricot could tear.)

If using apricot halves, spoon the filling onto the centres of half of them. Top with the rest.

Place the apricots on a serving platter. Spoon the sugar syrup over the stuffed apricots, top with the almonds or pistachios. Refrigerate until the syrup is set, about 30 minutes.

The Internet recipe also suggests that the apricots be brought to room temperature at serving time. "Whole dried Turkish apricots work well in this dessert. When cooked, they plump up to reveal a seam where the pit was removed which becomes a pocket for the stuffing." Kaymak, mascarpone or creme fraiche are other choices of filling.

The Spouse and a colleague said it tasted good and helped themselves to some more. I tried it and found it not very sweet. It's not a difficult dessert to make but time-consuming, but looks good.

***(There is also some discussion on the Net as to whether and how 'sacrifice' and 'apricots' are connected but in the interest of [relative] brevity, I have sacrificed some informative links.)


34 comments:

  1. You know i have never had this in my whole life. I love dried apricot, i eat them just like that, straight from the packet ( ready to eat ones)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have never had this..should get dried apricots the next time I go for grocery..thanks for sharing..it looks neat!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sra, that is one delicious looking meetha. I saw Zeenat Aman recently on one of the TV channels here. She looked stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! This looks so divine. Proper celebratory mithai!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm not a fan of dried apricots but the peanut butter and creamy yogurt filling make this look so delicious & tempting.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Those are dried apricot halves? I thought it was chana!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sra, wow this is something I would love to try. We really get good varierty of apricots here, cannot wait to try it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I adore you for the first sentence in your post....

    you have some patience to fill those...ultimately a sinful dessert for me.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sra,
    Filmi Bugs hit us hard isn't it LOL..
    Qubani ka meetha looks delicious.I liked the way you filled in some yogurt...

    Hugs and smiles

    ReplyDelete
  10. I know you don't usually cook/ make sweet stuff, so I am touched. And happy you're celebrating with me.
    So this Qubani ka Meeta wasn't quite a Qurbani.:)
    I can imagine the crunch in all that softness. My dried apricots very rarely make it into food. I usually eat them up.:D

    ReplyDelete
  11. :-)

    This looks delish.

    And you won't believe how S can get irritated at waiters who say Qurbani :-)

    we had this at Hyderabad during this recent visit too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. never heard of this sweet. looks so delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  13. The first pic had me thinking it was a really good looking bowl of chick peas :-))

    ReplyDelete
  14. Happy, I like apricots too. And I love the original khubani ka meetha, the way it's served in Hyderabad.
    Pragyan, it's a new experience for me too!
    Indo, really? I haven't seen her in a long time
    Mallika, yeah, it's simple but time-consuming
    Laavanya, it's unusual, the combination.
    TBC! {Sra shakes head hopelessly}
    Sreely, try it, it's not a bad investment of time, energy and money!
    Rachel, LOL! I remember our little discussion about spellings ...
    Jaya, it was all in the book. And I enjoyed Laila oh Laila when I was writing this post.
    Aparna, if not for you, that book would have gone unexperimented with, am sure!
    Raaga, :-) I like that sweet
    Uma, I still don't know what it's called
    Jayashree: See reaction to similar comment above :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. sra, this looks quite exotic tho' somewhat fursat ka kaam, as you said..very intersting how they must have come up with the combination of chikki and apricots

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am just imagining on the filling part. It would have looked like feeding the yogurt into hungry little birds small beaks! They look lovely and I like the taste of apricots. And the combo is really attractiv a dried fruit, yogurt and chikkis hmmm luxurious!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Let me know of a good place in hyd which has this sweet. Will check it out, may be get some for u too... so be good ;)

    ReplyDelete
  18. i used to think for the longest time that it was qurbani ka meetha! and i have seen that silly movie hazzr times coz we used to own a VHS of it when i was a kid!

    ReplyDelete
  19. eventhough i love apricots, I have never had this one

    ReplyDelete
  20. this looks delecioussss sra

    ReplyDelete
  21. errr... I am guilty of butchering that name too.. Actually I have never heard that word out loud, and somehow always read it as Qurbani... Well, now I know :D

    BTW, I have a week off and I have everything listed here handy, except for the peanut brittles.. Can I use some candied walnut pieces instead?

    ReplyDelete
  22. I would love mascarpone in it:) very nice recipe, I had double ka meetha last week.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Qurbani ka Meetha LOL!!!!!!!!!
    Looks nice,great recipe.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have had this in Hyd., but not tried them at home. I saw these just few days back at Yasmeen's (I think)! Yours looks tasty!

    BTW, I liked that 'Qurbani', infact more than sacrifice, it always means the movie for me! A great movie with wonderful starcast, and wasn't Amjad Khan just great in it!!! Loved Feroz Khan, Vinod Khanna and Zeenat too - How can one forget 'Hum tumhe chaahte hain aise'!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Pb, yeah, at the end, they all retain their individual tastes, you know!
    Ni, well put! Nice image.
    Vidya, will check and let you know.
    Mallugirl, the funniest and only thing I remember about that movie is Amjad Khan's car going into some lake and him radioing his colleagues saying "Position: Under water, I rpt, Under water"
    Deesha, yeah, it was a first for me too.
    Sagari, :-) It would have been better with more filling, I filled it v conservatively
    Sig, why not? Better candied than plain, I think, when it comes to walnuts. And about Q ... most people think it's Qurbani, from what I've seen.
    Sharmi, I'm jealous that you ate DKM. And I've never had mascarpone by itself (must have eaten it as a part of tiramisu) so I don't know what it tastes like.
    N33ma, thanks.
    Sunshinemom, that song's been playing in my mind ever since I did this post - think I'll visit YouTube now. I also remember a few comical moments of Amjad Khan.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi,
    Iam just back from a hyd. attending a wedding party and getting to taste lots and lots of Qubani. This new version sounds yummmmmmmmmmmmy. Nice presentation dear.

    ReplyDelete
  27. hi sra
    even with not following the original recipe, you recipe is very creative and it has come out very well...you must pat yourself..kudos to you ! Indeed qubani and not qurbani.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I have never tasted this...sounds very interesting...great pictures !

    ReplyDelete
  29. I've never met a dried apricot I didn't love. (They really are superior to the middling fresh ones we sometimes get in the markets here.)

    Such a lovely recipe, all golden and moist.

    Aren't you glad that at least *one* of your readers doesn't know any of the regional tongues and cannot challenge you to a linguistics duel? ; D

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is in reference to the smileys you asked for in the comments section. Check out this site for more info www.bigoo.ws

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lubna, lucky you! And thanks for the info.
    Anamika, oh, I just combined two recipes, nothing original, really.
    Usha, thank you.
    Susan, LOL! I have no doubt that it's a case of a simple mix-up but you should see that discussion, wondering how it went from sacrifice to apricot!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Sra, you may have done your bit to stop the massacre of the name, but you sure massacred what Qubani ka Meetha means or looks like or even tastes. This pseudo "Qubani ka meetha" of yours does not even come close to the ORIGINAL Qubani ka meetha from the heartland of Hyderabad. I grew up in Hyd and never saw this pseudo style meetha in any marriage/function, and that too with Chikki! Come on...please don't insult the real Qubani ka meetha which is actually topped with rich cream...not with chikki(peanuts)!

    Original Hyderabadi

    ReplyDelete
  33. Original Hyderabadi, please take a good look at the headline and read my post properly. Nowhere have I claimed that this is the original Hyderabadi dish. I did not even attempt to make it. And please lighten up - don't get worked up over a bunch of apricots and peanuts and a smart, punny headline! Thanks for the publicity ;)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wow that looks good and innovative way of serving the dessert. I love Khobani ka meetha too and have my heirloom recipie for the same at:
    http://www.wanderingmist.com/good-food-kitchen/khobani-ka-meetha-hyderabadi-dessert-made-with-dried-apricots/

    Enjoy and let me know if you loved it?

    ReplyDelete