Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ghoriba (Moroccan Style Cookies) for Holi by Soma from eCurry

There's a lot going on behind the scenes of Indian Simmer. A lot of planning, a lot of scheduling and a lot of sleepless nights trying to check off things off of the to-do list! If you know me on twitter then you might have a little idea of it since I keep venting it all there, but if not then very soon I'll let you know. A part of it that might interest you is that there is a fabulous series of guest posts lined up for you from some fabulous people and wonderful blogger friends of mine. To kick off the fun Soma from eCurry is here today. While thinking of a name that I can trust my little blogy baby with, Soma's name was the first one to pop into my head. Not just because she's one person who always inspires me to learn more about Indian cuisine with her innovative yet traditional recipes and neither because she tops it off with a gorgeous photography but because she does it all with two little kids running around her and has a heart of gold! I pleaded her to share something for Holi (an Indian festival of colors) on Indian Simmer and she said YES! So with no further ado I'll let Soma take over and show you why she and her recipes always make me smile. But after she's done impressing you, please head over to her blog and see for yourself why I spend hours there. Enjoy these Ghoriba and wish you all a VERY HAPPY HOLI!

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I stumbled upon Indian Simmer a few months back and have been totally mesmerized by her mind blowing photographs and crisp and friendly writing and recipes. The exact date and time went unmarked, but we had started conversing beyond our blogs and social media. Prerna is sweet and very talented and she says that she is Trying to blend my two passions Food & Photography into one and simmering it all together at IndianSimmer." Well, I have to say, her work does not just "simmer", it also sizzles and it is gorgeous! I was beyond surprised when Prerna generously invited me do a guest post for her blog. I am indeed delighted to contribute to her space. Prerna, thank you very much for this opportunity and honor.

An important Indian festival Holi is just around the corner! Prerna asked me if I can do a Holi special post, so I will share a bit about this exuberant Indian festival today.

Holi is the Festival of Colors and is undoubtedly the most fun filled of all the festivals in India. As the winter trails off, we move ahead to celebrate the advent of spring, on the last full moon day of the lunar month. This festival is tied to a lot of religious significances as are all the other festivals in India, and also signifies the triumph of good over evil. However, as we all see it, Holi is to welcome the season of spring and of love, brimming with a palate of lovely hues. In some states of India, Holi is also known as the Vasanta Utsav (Vasanta=Spring Utsav=Festival). This incredibly beautiful festival paints the soul, and spreads the love; colored powders called Gulaal (pronounced: Goolaal), create a rainbow of joy and promises against the bright blue sky and the crisp air, binding together friends and family with love and warmth, as the weather warms up and the nature takes on its own color.

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Memories abundantly flow in and water my soul at this time. The fervent wait, the planning and dreaming with my friends and cousins rippled down to the day of colorful mirth and laughter. Huge bonfires are burnt on the eve of Holi to commemorate the victory of good over evil.

Every citizen looks forward to the pure happiness and fun, music, play and dance, lots of bright colors and to end it all, an extravaganza in food. Numerous buckets stand lined up, shimmering with liquid colors and waiting to be filled into the water squirts and balloons. Colored powders heap and spill over from the newspaper packets. Green, pink, red, turquoise - merging, overlapping and creating their own abstract patterns. The meetings with friends and family initiate with a hug and a tika/tikka (a touch of color/gulaal between the brows on the forehead) and culminates with chasing one another and an unspoken contest of who can smear more color on the other, to an extent where it becomes difficult to recognize a face.

We were fortunate enough to be India a few years back during Holi, and had a rocking "wild" time. Here are a couple of photographs of my immediate family from our last visit to India during Holi, and as you can guess, the day had just begun.

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The kids at are play and preparing to fill the squirt with colored water.

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As it is with all festivals, every home in India gets busy with making a variety of recipes for family and friends to share. These Moroccan cookies are very similar to the Indian Lime Cookies or even a traditional dessert snack called Nan Khatai - an Indian version of the short bread cookie.

Moroccan cuisine like Indian cuisine, is exotic and exquisite. The myriad cultural influences and the fresh home-grown fruits and vegetables in both the nations make the cuisines rich, diverse and fascinating. Spices, fruits, nuts, ghee/clarified butter, oranges and orange blossom water and honey are used in abundance to create recipes that are delectable, flavorsome and enticing.

Ghoriba_Ingredients_Collage_2

We will all come together as one and celebrate and welcome a blooming season, with this not so traditional recipe. Ghoriba is a term which refers to a number of Moroccan cookies that are shaped by hand. Today's recipe is a simple Ghoriba, made of almond flour and flavored with cardamom, orange zest and orange blossom water.

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With the looks similar to the crinkle cookies, tasting very much like the short bread cookies but with a bit more crunch, a bit more texture and a whole lot of refreshing flavors, these make wonderful tea cookies or little bites of dessert.

Ghoriba_Collage_1


Almond Ghoriba

(adapted from Fresh Moroccan by Nadeh Sala)

Ingredients:
  1. 3.5 tablespoons clarified butter/ghee (may be substituted with melted butter)
  2. 3 tablespoons peanut/or vegetable oil
  3. 1 cup all purpose flour
  4. 1/2 cup ground almond or almond flour
  5. 5 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  6. zest of 1 medium orange
  7. 1 tablespoon orange flower/blossom water
  8. 1 tablespoon water
  9. 2 cardamom pods, seeds finely crushed in 1/4 teaspoon confectioners' sugar (or use your favorite spice instead of cardamom)
  10. 1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  11. almond flakes and confectioners' sugar for garnish/to top the cookies


Method:

Pour the ghee/melted butter and oil into a bowl, sift in the all purpose flour and stir in the confectioners' sugar; add the orange zest and rub the zest in to the flour. Tip in the ground almonds/almond flour. Combine the flour, the oil and ghee together, it will start to form crumbs. Add the orange flower water, water and ground cardamom.
Knead the above mixture for a few minutes in the bowl to form a dough, turn it out onto a clean surface. At first it may be crumbly, but keep kneading, shape it into a ball and place back in the bowl. (if it gets too difficult to form the dough, add water in fractions of teaspoon till the dough just comes together. It should be very firm, non spongy dough). Cover and let it stand for about 30 minutes.
Remove the dough and knead again, then add the coarsely chopped almonds and form into a ball. Pinch off a little dough the size of a walnut and roll and press between the palms to form a round shape. As you press it will naturally crack around its edges. This is how it is supposed to be. The finished cookies will have cracks all over them.
Repeat with the same with the remaining dough.
Place a couple almond flakes on the top of each cookie and gently press down for them to stick.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet and bake in a pre heated oven, 350 degree F for about 10-15 minutes or until the base starts to turn golden.
The base will be golden brown and the surface will have white cream color.
Remove from the oven, cool on a wire rack and serve with sprinkling of confectioners' sugar.

Ghoriba_3

32 comments:

  1. Delightful cookies! So refined tasting.

    Have a great Holi.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Prerna, Thank you so much for giving me your space today!! Honored :-) Love to you and Happy Holi!!

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  3. Beautiful collaboration with Prerna and beautiful guest post from Soma. Soma this is stunning! Love it!! One day I hope to experience Holi first hand.

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  4. Prerna this is an awesome post. Loved the recipe and the colours. Holi Mubarak to you and your family :)

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  5. fabulous cookies n tempting clicks....

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  6. I loved everything about this post. The photos, the recipe, the pictures of Soma and her family, the description of Holi (I want to participate!) Fantastic job, Soma!

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  7. Kudos to Prerna and Soma to make this happen on line! Love the idea behind this post, creative and inspiring for all food bloggers.
    Now for the cookies..crisp, eggless, citrus..can't ask for more :)
    Best wishes.

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  8. Yum! These look delicious. And the photography is exquisite, as always.

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  9. nam nam! loving it...wat a lovely post so and wonderful pictures of food and family! holi mubarak to both of you, keep the love rolling with more food and pictures!

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  10. Happy Holi! What a wonderful post! Not only is the recipe awesome, but the photos are ace!

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  11. OMG, beautiful post and beautiful cookies, photos are spellbinding!

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  12. Happy Holi to both you and Soma. I follow both of your blogs with a passion. I have learnt so much and am certain of learning a lot more.

    Beautiful Moroccan cookies and the photographs look stunning, as always.

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  13. Beautiful post Soma.....When I first saw the pictures I thought they must be an Indian sweet....was very surprised to discover they are Moroccan. Happy Holi to both ouf you lovely ladies :)

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  14. Amazing pics and lovely post too :) Happy Holi!

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  15. What a great post, Soma! Great to "meet" you!

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  16. What a lovely Post. Soma too is a brilliant photographer. Thanks for introducing her to me.

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  17. Two of my fav bloggers together, this is a dream combination! Again I'm so sorry for having been delayed with submitting my guest post, Prerna. That's not my usual style at all. I'll get it to you soon as I can! Now if only I had some of these yummy cookies for brain food :).

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  18. Hope you check things off of your list, Prerna...and have a wonderful trip!

    It is so nice to meet a new blogger through another blogger friend! Very lovely post!

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  19. I adore guest posts because I'm always on the look out for other food blogs... and I'm so impressed with this post, I'm heading over right now to check out more of the site.

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  20. These cookies look scrumptious! I just need a glass of cold milk beside them :D Gorgeous photos too, love your wood plank!

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  21. Holi, what a beautiful and playful way to welcome Spring !
    I almost want to say that I can recognize your signature Soma with those delightful almond cookies ;)
    A guest of choice you have here Prerna !

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  22. Happy Holi! What a beautiful guest post from Soma, I just love these cookies and the delicate floral taste of orange blossom water.

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  23. I loved the pictures of the festival in this post. The cookies look great, but my favorite part was reading about this wonderful festival. Thank you, Soma! I'll definitely be checking out your blog.

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  24. Thank you so much for your wonderful comments. i am humbled.

    @Dara (Cookin'Canuck): That is not me in the pic.:-) My hubby;s bro. and his wife. The little girl on the right is mine.

    Prerna, again and again. Thanks for inviting me. xoxo

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  25. These are delightfully crumbly and bring back memories for me. I used to make "naan-khatais" with my mum all the time :-) Thanks for sharing a gorgeous recipe Soma & Prerna!

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  26. Perna, I hope everything goes well with you!

    And Soma, these cookies look wonderful! :)

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  27. These cookies are delightful and the photos stunning. I always learn so much about your amazing culture when I read your blog. Must check out Soma's blog too. You ladies are the perfect pairing! xo

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  28. Happy Holi Prerna... absolutely mindblowing clicks dearies... love it alot. Holi pictures are great too.

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  29. What a lovely read - holi looks like a lot of fun - I'm sure all the colour activities are a big hit with kids. And those cookies look absolutely divine!

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  30. I've followed Soma for awhile now and am always impressed by her use of color and of course her photography. These cookies have me intrigued with the use of almond flour and cardamom. I think that's one of my favorite things about Indian food -- the boldness of flavors. Beautiful post congrats to you two!

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  31. What gorgeous photos and a beautiful family you have, Soma! The cookies are not only pretty to look at and so tempting but the combination of ingredients and flavors is so intriguing!

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  32. Hello Nisha,
    We love your recipes, especially when its on Ghoriba.
    These are so delicious.
    I have always looked at your blog for the various pictures and the way you write.Just Love it!
    You have shared some nice information about Ghoriba in this post.
    The points you mentioned are genuine and perfect.
    The content completely describes about the topic you wanted to portray with us.
    Thanks for sharing such valuable post.

    Regards
    VentairIndia Team

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