Chocolate Biscuit Dessert

I first had this dessert at my mother in laws. I have to admin when I first saw it, I it I did not think I would like it; it is just something I have never tried before. My son and I ended up eating the entire pan no joke. That is how good it is! This reminded me of a Saudi version of southern banana pudding. The tea biscuits and the chocolate combine so well overnight. I have never seen any Qashta in the states so you can make your own version here.

Since I originally posted this recipe I have since went back and reworked it and the ingredients to make sure that everyone would be able to make it. This recipe has been viewed thousands of times, but some of the ingredients are only available in Saudi. I wanted to give everyone a chance to make it. I prefer this new recipe it has so much more flavor. Also, if you can not find tea biscuits you can use vanilla wafers (we do not have those here).

If you want to make it the exact way that I do and you live in an area where you can buy Dream Whip that is what we use here in place of the heavy cream. Just follow the directions and it to the mixture.

2 (200 gram) tea biscuit packets
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 (170 gram) can qashta

1. In a large mixing bowl, add cream, with a hand held mixer beat until peaks form. Add powdered sugar and cocoa, mix well with blender. Fold in qashta, mix.

2. In an 8×8 dish, add the cream mixture and spread out all over bottom of dish. Add a layer of tea biscuits (in 3 strips up and down) and continue layering mixtures. Cream layer should be on top. Crumble 2-3 biscuits and sprinkle on top.

3. Cover dish with plastic wrap and store in refrigerator overnight or at least 8 hours.

Yields: 6 servings
*updated from 2/18/09

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Sobia

I doubt most of you have ever heard of sobia it’s a very old fashioned traditional recipe of Saudi. One so old that it’s in fact starting to die with the new generation as time goes on in Riyadh but I have heard the drink thrives on in the Western province. Sobia is a barley drink made in the homes of the older generation during the Holy month every year. Men usually go out after asr and set up a little stand to sell their homemade sobia to the passersby’s to take home and have for iftar. I usually see 4 different colors clear, yellow, red and purple. Some are flavored with raisins, tamarind while others are plain. Sobia is pretty cheap and its sellers do not sell for the money but more so to try to keep a tradition live.

Sobias ingredients include barley, brown bread, cinnamon, sugar and cardamom. The bread and barley is placed in a large pot for 24 hours then the mixture is boiled with the above spices and sits another day. Then the bread is strained and poured and sugar is added into 1-1/2 liter jugs or large plastic bags. This is the recipe I was able to get to share with you all. Personally I am not a fan of sobia I mean it taste like bread and water which is not something I like but those who grew up on it love it.

1 whole wheat pita bread
12 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon oats

1. Cut bread into small pieces. In a large bowl add 6 cups of the water, oats, 3/4 cup of the sugar and bread, soak overnight.

2. Squeeze bread with hands, drain twice with a strainer. Add cardamom, cinnamon and then drain for a third time.

3. Add remaining water and sugar; stir well until sugar has dissolved. Pour into jugs and place into refrigerator.

* I hope you all can see the sobia well enough. My husband snapped this for me on a cloudy day through a dirty window with an Iphone lol.

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Saudi Dates

Saudi Arabia produces more dates than any other country in the world and they are the finest dates at that. The Palm date tree is nothing less than amazing it is the proud symbol on the Saudi flag after all. The Kingdom is home to over 40 varieties of dates. Date Palms produce fruit for over 70 years and offer about 400 pounds of fruit per season. Prophet Muhammad Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said “There is a tree among the trees which is similar to a Muslim (in goodness), and that is the date palm tree.” [Book #65, Hadith #359]

Here is an expat worker unloading fresh dates from his truck by the boxes to sell in front of the mosque next our home. Dates are always popular but especially during Ramadan. People buy boxes and boxes at a time.

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