This month, AFF brings you West Asia! A total of 19 countries in the group.
Most of us are more familar with the term Middle East, but because Egypt is not in Asia, that is why we cannot use the term Middle East but Western Asia of which includes Turkey as well.
Do visit Shannon's blog to read the introduction post. And don't forget to drop by Lena's for her round up!
Bulbul or bolbol is nightingale in Arabic. Some write this pastry as Osh El Bulbul, some as Esh Al Bolbol or many other variations with the vowels, but the sound remains similar.
My brother used to get Middle Eastern pastry gifts from his customers from that region and I am lucky to be his sister because I get to eat them too! Now that he has changed company, we don't get these to eat anymore, unless we buy them. But those sold in Malaysia are inferior because they don't use clarified butter or ghee here due to the high costs. So, the best alternative to get my fix is to DIY.
I knew there is Kataifi sold here, or some call it as Kunafeh or Knafeh, because dimsum outlets do use them to wrap prawns just like how you see them in the kataifi wrapper. But the suppliers don't sell to us, because we don't buy by the box! Luckily my good friend Lena managed to persuade one shop in Ipoh to sell two packs to us.
It is not cheap!!! It cost us RM19.40 per pack.
And this is the first thing I made from this bag of kataifi, nightingale's nest or some call it sparrow nest. They can be kept for a few weeks at room temperature (air tight), or until they start to smell funny. Mine didn't stay around long enough to be funny, LOL.
And another funny thing is, the ones I made are more golden than depicted in the pictures... it just looks pale here.
You can see a video of how the kataifi and Esh Al bulbul is made here
Esh Al Bulbul
Makes around 40 pcs
Whole nuts of choice: Pistachio, Almonds or Cashew
Glue : Flour mix with water to form a thick paste
Ghee/Clarified butter for frying
Rosewater shira for drizzling, 1/2 tsp or more for each piece
Tool: 1 small wooden rolling pin or any cylindrical item around 1 inch diameter, can use a medicine cup too.
1. Take some long strands of kataifi, and roll it on the rolling pin, make sure of them are on the base. If the strands are loose, lightly apply some glue to make them adhere, just like how one lightly gels hair. :)
2. Tighten the roll by pressing it on the table and use one hand to squeeze it as you press the pastry down. (How should I explain this better?)
3. Insert a few nuts. Let the kataifi cups air dry for a few hours.
4. Put 1/2cup of ghee into a small pot. I let the pot sit slanting on the stove, so that I can use less ghee. (top up when it gets too little to fry)
5. Fry the nests on low heat until lightly golden. Don't let the ghee turn too hot, else the nest will be all loose and look like medusa.
6. Remove the golden nests from the oil, tap it a few times on the side to release the trapped oil. Place them on paper kitchen towels
7. Spoon the syrup over the nuts immediately while the nest are very hot.
*You can choose to bake them. This way you need to generously smother the kataifi strands with ghee before you form the cup and there is no need to air dry. But you will need to bake the nests and bake nuts separately to prevent burning. See here. I wonder if do a quick blanch of nuts will prevent the nuts from burning? I haven't try that, but it might work
I am submitting this to Asian Food Fest West Asia Month,
hosted by Shannon of Just as Delish