Monday, November 19, 2007

Making the Date

Ah, at last I'm posting something for AFAM!

Growing up, dates were those rather boring, plastic, chewy fruits that came with several wrinkles - you'd find just the one in a packet of dry prasadam (food that has been blessed) sold at temples but now they are available in various forms and consistencies here in India - fruit, most often dried - full, sliced, pressed and sticky, embedded with almonds, cashews, pistachios and other nuts, as syrup, but once in a while, at certain shops, fresh too.

I recently came across some really shiny and soft dates, so sweet that I find it rather difficult to believe there is no added sugar in them - there is no ingredients list on the packet so I have to buy it in good faith and hope, but the positive side to that is that they worked well with this Qatayef recipe I found on the Internet. My adaptation of this recipe is below.

This recipe goes to the event A Fruit A Month started by Maheswari of Beyond The Usual, hosted this month by Chandrika of Akshayapatra.

For the pancakes:

¾ tsp dry yeast
¼ tsp sugar
¾ cup warm water
½ cup all-purpose flour/maida
¼ cup semolina/rava
A pinch of salt
Butter for frying

For the filling:

Lightly toasted walnuts: ½ cup
Sticky dry dates, chopped: 1-1/2 cups
Ground cinnamon: ½ tsp

Honey: to drizzle, a few tsps

Combine yeast, sugar and ¼ cup of the warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes, until you notice some action – bubbles forming.

Meanwhile, in a large enough bowl, mix flour, semolina and salt. Gradually add the remaining water to the dry ingredients using a hand mixer. (I just scrubbed my hands raw and mixed it with my hands.)

When the batter begins to resemble thickened milk (or white sauce, in my case), add yeast mixture and mix well. Cover and set aside for three hours.

After three hours, when you’re ready to make the pancakes, place pan on stove, heat 1 tbsp butter and pour a scant ¼ cup of batter into the pan.

Cook until the entire surface of the pancake is covered with bubbles. This, along with the top of the pancake losing the gloss/wetness, is your signal that the pancake is ready. It should remain pale on the top.

Do not flip and cook on the other side.

Repeat with the remaining batter. Add a little more butter if you need to. (I got four pancakes of fairly similar sizes from this recipe.)

Keep aside. If you’re stacking, keep some waxed paper in between the pancakes to ensure they don’t stick to each other.

For the filling, combine the dates with the walnuts and ground cinnamon.

Place one tbsp of the filling in the centre of the pancake, unfried side up. Fold pancake in half to form a crescent. I used cloves to hold it together as pinching the edges did not help seal them.

Place filled pancakes in a plate.

Just before serving, in a skillet, heat ¼-inch of vegetable oil over medium high heat. When the oil’s very hot, fry as many pancakes as will fit easily. Fry for a minute or two till brown. Flip and brown the other side. Drizzle a teaspoon of honey over each pancake.

Here are some interesting things I found on Wikipedia about dates.

Dates can also be dehydrated, ground and mixed with grain to form a nutritious stockfeed.

Dried dates are fed to camels, horses and dogs in the Sahara.

In northern Nigeria, dates and peppers added to the native beer are believed to make it less intoxicating.

Young date leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable, as is the terminal bud or heart, though its removal kills the palm.

The finely ground seeds are mixed with flour to make bread in times of scarcity.

The flowers of the date palm are also edible.

Traditionally the female flowers are the most available for sale and weigh 300-400 grams. The flower buds are used in salad or ground with dried fish to make a condiment for bread.

Source: Wikipedia

Here's a solo, with a ball of the date-walnut mixture:

Don't forget about Grindless Gravies. Read more about the event here. Please remember that for this event, daal/lentil preparations won't count as gravies because that will make things too easy! Same goes for yoghurt-based kadhis - this is getting tiresome (for you all), I know, I know!


  1. I loved that a lot...the recipe and the picture :-)

  2. I don't know if you eat cheese - but my favorite combination is dates with goat cheese...second favorite is with walnuts.
    And then I keep a bowl on the counter for snacking...
    The pancakes look scrumptious!

  3. Qatayefi, yummy! and yours is looking so mouthwatering. I would this date anytime :-D.

  4. Looks like your date went fabulously!!;D
    Looks great sra, good job. Delicious dessert.Enjoy.
    I will post for your event this week!:))

  5. Looks lovely Sra Pancake with date filling yum, those Mejdool dates are soft and sweet, guess it is a surprise that no sugar is added.

  6. never heard of this..yet again..i'm no expert on food :)..looks so good..would taste even bettr with vanilla

  7. i am the first one to comment .......pancakes filled with dates very creative idea looks soooooyummyyyyyyyyy

  8. lovely recipe and pic.

  9. LOved the pic and the recipe too tempting one..

  10. i made something today and just realized that it qualifies :D - took a quick pic of my lunch box

  11. Sra, it's true; dates can be naturally THAT sweet. I love the semi-dried ones with the thin crust and soft center. Pancakes are a breakfast staple here, but these would make an ideal dessert.

  12. Looks yummy!!!Great entry ...

  13. Sunita, thanks, I'm flattered.
    Katie, I do eat cheese but we don't get much variety here, and the fancy kinds are v v expensive. Snacking on dates - they fill you up v fast!
    Musical, thanks. It's nothing like the original, I have to mention.
    Asha, it wasn't bad, tho' it was blind. Thanks
    Indo, they didn't say what those dates are, I guess it must be mejdool, from pictures.
    Rajitha, it tastes a bit like malpua. I tried MWng the last pancake and eating it with ice-cream, but the pancake wouldn't cut with the spoon - it became a mess - maybe because I left out the egg and the baking soda.
    Sagari, thanks, but the idea isn't mine.
    Nags, thanks so much, I'm quite thrilled when someone compliments a picture of mine
    SMN, thank you.
    Lakshmi, bring it on, can't wait to see it!
    Susan, I know the dates you mean, we get them here too. And pancakes are a staple here too - we just call it dosa!
    Raji, thank you

  14. Oh this sounds gorgeous Sra. I have to have to try it... bookmarked!

  15. Hey that looks so yummy.

  16. Just looks delicious.
    Just wanted to grab one :-)

  17. Pretty interesting date night i should say :D But you and deep frying....effect of the holiday season !!

    It lookes yummy.

  18. d-lish!
    can't ever go wrong with date/walnut combo :)
    bookmarked! my post with this combo coming up soon! btw can this be done w/o yeast?

  19. mmmm...this looks so gorgeous!!! I can't stop drooling :)

  20. Such a decadent breakfast? You know how to treat yrself :)

  21. i wish i could taste these are arabic pancakes...and the filling is so might sound like a weird combo but i wouldnt mind having these warm ones with a dollop of ice cream...:P


  22. This is very very nice!! The filling si simple, and yet I loved the way you incorporated it into those pancakes making it interesting and a spectacular variation! kudos for this Sra!!

    i will surely make this some day, I promise!

  23. yummy... I saw date pancakes somewhere else too... Love the way you have photographed it too... :)

    And no yogurt based gravies? I could get to one dish before I go on vacation, and I was going to make it a grindless gravy :) Now, I have to think again.. grrr...

  24. this ones lovely!!!! they look very delicious....

  25. Nice recipe....perfect dessert, something different!

  26. Lovely dish with dates! :) Very interesting! Definitely worth trying! :)

  27. I'm digging for a grindless gravy for ya, Sra! Meantime, the date pancakes look sooo good :)

  28. Sra, pancake without eggs! Very nice with date filling. Viji

  29. Ashwini, do let me know how it works.
    Rina, it was!
    Happy Cook, thanks.
    Sandeepa, this was one dish I made solely for the blog! Couldn't resist, tho' it involved everything I usually avoid - anyway, salved my conscience by taking most of it to work, letting the Spouse have a bite of the rest ...
    Richa, I wondered about that myself - but am not cook enough to know about such replacements - I wondered if sour curds would do the trick.
    Tee, LOL! Thanks
    Suganya, blogfest, not breakfast. I almost submitted this for Vegan Ventures, but then I realised it contained honey.
    Shn, yes, Arabic pancakes made by me, which means they differ vastly from the original, LOL! I MWed a pancake and tried to eat it with ice-cream but it wasn't soft enough.
    Mansi, do try it, but it wasn't really my idea!
    Sig, it was actually a horizontal photo, it looked terrible, then I hit upon the brainwave to rotate it!
    Ramya, thank you.
    Seema, thank you.
    Siri, thanks.
    Latha, let me know if you try.
    Linda, dig away - looks like I'm putting people off with all the terms and conditions. The pancakes ARE tasty, like any other deep-fried goodness!
    Viji, thanks, good to see you back.

  30. Question- If I make something for Grindless Gravies, can I use it for multiple events? Do u have a problem with that? ;-)
    Do let me know:-)

  31. Qatayefi (i cant even pronouce that, and yeah i copied and pasted it from ur blog;) looks delish sra. first i thought u too have prepared dates poli;)

  32. TBC, I've answered your question on your blog.
    Sia, nope, mine's a grindless, kneadless recipe ;-)


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