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Food and Recipes

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Too hot without one
submitted by Sufian Mustafa

The Palestinian summer is too hot during the day that one has to keep drinking to make up for the lost body liquids, if exposed to direct sun. The Palestinians, as well as the rest of Asia, have, over the centuries, developed the art of making drinks. The fact that sugar was known to Asia for a long time helped a great deal since sugar is an essential ingredient of most drinks.

A few thousand years ago sugar was already being used in Asia, whereas in Europe at that time honey and fruit were the only source of sweetening. Sugar is extracted from the maple tree, the date palm and from grapes, etc.; the two main sources of sugar, however, are sugar cane and sugar beet, both known to the east.

The Arabs and Chinese also knew the art of making iced drinks long before the Christian era. The Famous Arab writer from the 9th century, Al Jahith, wrote about the usage of ice with drinks and fruits in Arabia. Their many syrups were mixed with snow, and named it sherbets, hence the word syrup, sherbet and sorbet, and It was not until the 13th century, that Marco polo brought to Europe the secret of cooling without ice, by running a mixture of water and salt over a container filled with the substance to be cooled. Thus the great fashion for water ices began in Italy.

Arab and Chinese recipes were gradually modified and adapted, in Europe and later the USA, to the needs of industrial manufacture. The Palestinian traditionally used Sahlab and Carob as ice cream and sorbet stabilizer. Nowadays stabilizers used in the manufacturing of ice products are edible gelatine, eggs, and recently carob.

Sahlab, however stayed rare because of its high price and is only known to Syrian people where its produced. Carob is also used in Palestine when green to boil in milk to make Mqaiqah, and when dried to make a delicious cold drink, syrup, sherbet or sorbet.

Other popular drinks are tamarind and liquorices. Tamarind is originally from Africa but stands honorable in the Palestinian cooking for sauces and salad dressings. Liquorice grows wildly in Syria and is made into a refreshing drink by soaking or infusing liquorices sticks in water with added lemon juice. Iced or chilled Shacked Yoghurt is also popular refreshing drink in Palestine as well as drinks made of dry fruits, such as Qamar aldeen, which is a dry sheet of cooked apricot, soaked in water and mixed with lemon juice and syrup, the other drink equal in popularity is Gillab, made of raisin juice and lemon. Mint or rose water is added to cold drinking water. Were herbs are added to boiled water and chilled for noon time refreshment.

Buza Nabulsyeh,

Also known as Arabic ice cream is made by boiling milk with and heavy cream and sugar, with the addition sahlab, Gum Arabic and orange blossom water. It is beaten well with a wooden spoon and poured into a freezer tray to freeze. To be beaten again with a wooden mallet on a marble or wooden slab until it is elastic and smooth, for several times. It is then served with crushed pistachio nuts.

Before the Israeli occupation, one could see the Buza hanged on hooks for displaying in ice shops allover the streets of nablus, an image I could only see in Amman, Beirut and Damascus.

Source: www.chefsufian.co.uk

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