Monday, June 20, 2011

National Pancake Day and Bazeen Recipe - Celebrate With a Cool and Worldly Swag




Lately, it’s odd but I have been on this huge pancake kick. It started with your basic sweet pancake. I put a little bit of honey on it and maybe some homemade whipped cream. The next day, it was pancakes with a honey - wasabi sauce. Then it evolved to grilled cheese pancake sandwiches with brie and granny smith apples. After that, I kind of went off the deep end with my experimental pancake extravaganza.


I made pancakes with Caramelized sweet, Vidalia onions and lemon marscapone, chicken pancakes with olive oil and balsamic reduction, fried chicken pancakes with honey yams and Mac –n- cheese and scallion, cream cheese pancakes. But after my savory trip down pancake lane I wanted to go back to the sweet.

I have always been a huge fan of Lavender, so naturally I wanted to make a Lavender pancake. It was pretty simple actually, all I had to do was substitute Lavender tea for the water. But in my haste to enjoy my special creation, I did not cool the tea so it started to cook the flour in the pancake. 
Remembering that most scientific and culinary creations come out of mistake, I decided to see what would happen when I cooked it. To my surprise it created this thick, sturdy pancake. Ironically, when I was making my savory pancakes the one complaint I had was that they were never sturdy enough to stand up to the ingredients. That is until now. Mwahahaha. But this culinary mishap actually reminded me of a dish that is found only in Libya called bazin.

Bazeen (pronounced Bazeen) is a dish that is widely popular in Libya. Personally, my family goes crazy for it. But it is definitely an acquired taste. But if you get the chance to try it you definitely should.


Bazeen is a mixture of barley flour and a little plain flour. The flour is added to a pot of boiling salted water until it starts to form a hard dough. Once the hard dough forms, it is mixed and shaped into a rounded, smooth dome and placed in the middle of your serving dish.

After it is shaped, it is time to add the sauce. Most sauces, in Libya, are made by frying chopped onions with lamb meat and spicing it up with turmeric, salt, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, fenugreek, sweet paprika, and tomato paste. Broad beans, lentils, pumpkin and potatoes are usually added. As the final touch, eggs are boiled and arranged around the dome. As an accompaniment it is served with lemon and fresh or pickled chillies known as msayar.



But I’m not going to lie to you, the process to make Bazeen is very labor intensive. But if you’re looking for a good way to get your workout in while cooking, well Bazeen is for you.

Below I have posted two recipes, the first is for traditional Bazeen.If you are daring try it and send in your pictures!! I will post them up.  The other recipe is for Lavender Pancakes. The recipe is so simple that even if you are not skilled in the culinary arts, you can make it. And if you add hot tea to the Lavender Pancakes, you can have your own Americanized version of Bazeen.

Enjoy National Pancake Day! And If you’re by an IHOP make sure to go in for your free Pancakes today.



Bazeen
 2 pounds barley flour
 2 pounds meat (Lamb, or Beef)
 1 medium size onion
 1 pound potatoes
 1 -2 tea spoons salt
 2 quarts water
 Half a can of tomato paste
 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
 1/2 teaspoon allspice
 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
 1/2 teaspoon cumin
 1/2 teaspoon feungerek
 Quarter cup olive oil or 3 spoons ghee
Directions:
 Place the barley flour in a large, deep pot with 2 quarts of boiling salt water. Add a tall wooden stick to the middle. This will make it easier to mix.
 Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the barley begins to cook and thicken. Note: If it seems like the bottom is going to burn before the flour has fully been incorporated then add in some additional water. 
 Once the barley flour begins to thicken lower the heat and begin to stir it. Note: this is going to be a very good arm workout. 
Once the flour and water has been incorporated together remove from heat. 

 Start this sauce before or while you're cooking the Bazeen. 
 Chop the onion and cook in olive oil or ghee till translucent, then add the meat (chopped into small pieces) and cook with the onion till the meat turns brown.
 Add the tomato paste, 1-teaspoon salt, 1 -2 cups of water and all the spices. Cook on medium high heat until the meat is almost cooked. Add the potato (peeled and cut into small pieces) and finish cooking until the meat is tender.
 Add some of the dough water into the meat and the potato to help it thicken.
 
Knead the cooked dough very well till it turns soft like a pizza dough.
 Separate the cooked dough into round balls (the size of a large orange) and put them in the center of a several bowls. You could also make one large, round ball for everyone to share.
Pour the meat and the potato stew around the cooked dough ball(s) till it covers half of it.
Note: Add hard boiled eggs for more flavor.

Aisha Foodista's Swag Lavender Pancakes 
Serves: as Many as you Want

Use your favorite pancake mix. 

Substitute the water for steeped tea. 

If you want to make them how I did originally add the hot tea in, otherwise cool the tea before adding it to the pancake mix. 

Cook and Enjoy.

How easy is this!!

1 comment:

Chrisp said...

I love pancakes!

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