Have you had cases where you go on to make a recipe, having no idea how it is going to taste like?
A couple of weeks ago, when I pulled out B for a drive towards Fujeirah on a rain drenched Saturday, we were having our lunch at an Afghani eatery. As we gorged on the pulao and the kebabs, he said, “Thaatha, have you ever tried Habbat Al Hamra?” To the question like look on my face, he said, “It is a yellow thick drink, with red color sago like balls floating in it. It tastes like custard and those balls are just like those falooda thing, it just tastes so good…” And he stopped it at that. We proceeded with the drive back home, but that description stuck to my head… As per him, he had relished this several times at a small joint in Sharjah, through a friend of his. His description was so tempting that I had to somehow find what this Habbat Al Hamra is.
After a few hits and searches on Google, I didn’t get much. Finally some articles came to my rescue, like this one and this one. As per what I read, this seed, which is called asario seeds or garden cress seeds, has been used during Prophet’s (PBUH) time in medication. I was surprised to find on the pack that it is a native of India and a further search made me find this article which gives a little more details on the seed. It looks like a few recipes are made in the north to take advantage of its benefits, which InShaAllah I am hoping to try with the current pack available. 😉 Interestingly, I also discovered that this is served in Qatar as well.
I can’t comment on how much authentic this recipe is, especially since it has custard powder in it, but it looks like it is a welcome drink served in a lot of local households not only here, but in Oman and other GCC countries as well. If you are able to track down this ingredient, then do find it and try it out. It won’t go waste, since you can easily replace the basil in faloodas with these seeds, as they look and feel so similar! When it is hot, you can sip and drink but when it cools down, it takes a pudding consistency, thanks to the glutinous nature of this seed… Off to this recipe…
Posted on this day:
2014 – Cheesy Vegetable Puffs
2015 – Kannur Style Chicken Rolls
Updated on May 30: I just learned that it is also called Haleeb Kastar, after reading this article!
- ¼ cup habb al hamra (azario) seeds
- ½ cup water
- 4 cup milk
- 2 tbsp custard powder
- 4 tbsp sugar
- A pinch salt
- A fat pinch saffron, crushed
- 2 tbsp rosewater (optional)
- Soak the habbat al hamra in the water for 30 minutes.
- Combine the remaining ingredients except the rose water and keep it on the stove on low flame, stirring occassionally.
- Once the milk starts getting heated, add the soaked seeds and keep mixing, breaking the lumps and till it nicely mixes into the drink.
- Cook for a few minutes till the mixture becomes really hot.
- Switch off the flame and add the rosewater. Serve hot.