Dairy-Free Muhalabiya | Bahraini Rice Pudding

For someone who is known for her desserts, I post surprisingly few dessert recipes here on Sand Kitchen. I think it’s mostly because I love making them, but don’t have an enormous sweet tooth myself.

This muhalabiya (Arabic: مهلبيه) was my grandfather’s favourite. It’s a dish we had over and over again growing up, and my mum’s was my favourite. Even after I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant at 13, I’d still eat muhalabiya. How could I not?

I decided to make a dairy-free version for all my fellow intolerants (and vegans) out there.

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You will need:
(Serves 6, GF, vegan)

  • 1 can coconut milk (approx 2 cups)*
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 tbsp rice flour**
  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp rose water
  • A few strands of saffron

* – if you are not dairy-free, use 4 cups of regular milk and skip the water
** – you can substitute rice flour for cornstarch, which we occasionally do, but it’s not as authentic

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First thing you do is soak your saffron in a tablespoon or two of boiling water. Set that aside so that it picks up colour and flavour. The earlier you do this, the better, and we sometimes do this hours beforehand. All you really need, though, is about 15-20 minutes that the pudding will take to make.

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Mix your rice flour with some water to create a slurry.

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In a pot, add your coconut milk, water, rose water, and cracked cardamom pods and wait until it begins to boil.

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Once you start to see bubbles form, add your rice flour slurry and your sugar. Keep it on a low-medium heat and let it simmer until it begins to bubble again.

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When you’re satisfied that the flavours are incorporated and it has begun to bubble again, fish the cardamom pods out and pour them into little bowls or ramekins.

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Take your saffron water mixture and pour a little bit on top of each one. Alternatively, you could have poured into your milk mix before portioning it out, if you want the saffron flavour and colour throughout.

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Put your muhalabiyas in the fridge to set, a minimum of ~2 hours, up to 4 hours.

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Then take them out, and enjoy! They obviously will have the edge of coconut to them, but they’re just as creamy as those made with regular milk and I love the fact that I’m able to have my favourite dessert again.

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Food Intolerance + Sensitivity | My Experience

Here, I finally sit down and speak about my food intolerances, and what has changed over the last few months. Please, please always see a doctor and nutritionist if you’re worried about food intolerances or sensitivities. A truly well-qualified nutritionist is probably best, as some GPs don’t have a great understanding of nutrition.

Please also be aware that if you’ve had eating/body disorders in the past, a test like this can be triggering (speaking from experience). Also bear in mind that the igE test is one that many nutritionists dislike, and some say results can be random. I am not a qualified medical professional so I don’t know, but I feel like that could be true — hence saying “take it with a pinch of salt”.

I’ll try and do an update to this video once I’ve been doing this for a couple of months to give you guys a more nuanced understanding.

Any questions, pop them below or in the video!

What I Eat After Fasting | Artistic Video

A little bit of a different video today — no chatting, all visual, and I hope somewhat soothing! This is my second Ramadan What I Eat, and I worked all day (9am to 6pm) so I was pretty exhausted come sunset. Hope you like it!

For those of you who don’t know, Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar year where Muslims fast from just before sunrise to sunset every day for a month. People fast from food and drink, as well as sex, during daylight hours.

Healthy & Delicious Beetroot Quinoa Salad

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I’m a huge fan of salad. I’ve said this before — honestly, I find them so, so satisfying. However, everyone who knows me knows I like them full of greens and then topped with delicious and filling toppings.

For other salad inspirations, try my Kale, Butternut & Chicken Salad | Rice & Mushroom Salad | Vibrant Chicken Salad

For this, you will need:
(GF)

  • One grilled chicken breast*
  • Half a grated carrot
  • Half a roasted beetroot
  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp chopped dill

* – if you’re veggie/vegan, swap this out for quorn, tofu, tempeh or beans

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I roasted more beets than I needed because I like to have roasted veg on hand. This was inspired by my lovely friend Zoë, as I usually boil, not roast, beetroot.

Peel and cut your beets, and add them to an oven-proof dish lined with aluminium. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and a little bit of olive oil.

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Cover the beets up so they form a parcel, which will half-steam, half-roast them. I did half an hour at 220C. 

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Et viola! I didn’t show how to cook the chicken because I’ve covered that before (check out this post).

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Layer up your salad like a normal human, in a bowl, or if you’re taking an Instagram, pop it in a mason jar. Yes, thank you, I’m aware I’m not funny. Honestly I find mason jars useful to take it into work, but I plonk it into a bowl when I get there. For dressing, I just used a tiny bit of olive oil and half lemon’s juice.

Let me know what recipes you guys would like to see more of!

As always, bilafiya
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Ramadan in Bahrain | Curries, Training, and 1am Coffees

I hope you guys enjoy my first Ramadan vlog! For those of you who don’t know, Ramadan is a month in the Islamic calendar year where Muslims fast from just before sunrise to sunset every day for a month. People fast from food and drink, as well as sex, during daylight hours.

If you want to have a look at what my Ramadan days of food are like, give this video a watch. Family iftars, gym sessions, late night coffees — standard!

Chicken Stock & Spaghetti Soup

I’ve always been a soup lover. I know that’s not true of everyone, but I find them warming and comforting, and it’s a great way to ease your stomach into a meal if you’ve not eaten for a while. Every Ramadan, I make a big batch of soup once a week and it’s what I break my fast on.

Here’s my favourite in terms of goodness, flavour and satisfaction.

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We’re going to start with making a homemade chicken stock, which we’ll then drain, shred the chicken and use the stock to cook the vegetables that will actually make up the soup.

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For the stock, you will need:

  • A whole chicken
  • An onion, quartered
  • Three or four cloves of garlic
  • Some leeks or celery chopped roughly
  • Tops & tails of various vegetables*
  • Herb of choice (I used coriander)
  • Salt and pepper (or peppercorns, like I used)

* – I used them from the vegetables I was using for a salad and those that I was going to put in the soup later, but whatever you want works

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Pop them all in a pot, cover it with water and let it cook on a simmer for about two hours. Simple.

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Once it’s cooked, chances are it’ll look a little like this. Get your chicken out and shred, shred, shred, and keep that aside. Pour the rest of the contents through a colander, making sure to collect the stock, of course. Toss the bones and the vegetable remains.

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If you’re choosing not to make your own stock (although you should), you can start here.

For the soup:

  • A whole chicken, shredded
  • ~6 cups chicken stock**
  • Two quartered onions
  • Two chopped carrots
  • Two cups broccoli
  • 2 portions spaghetti (I use spelt)
  • 1 tbsp chicken masala***

** – use about three stock cubes if you start straight here
*** – 
or 1/2 tbsp cumin, 1/2 turmeric 

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Pop all your ingredients back into your pot, and cook for about 35 minutes.

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After 35 minutes, add in your pasta and let that cook for about 10 minutes. Don’t overcook it, you don’t want it to melt into the rest of the soup.

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There you go! It’s a simple dish — time consuming, yes, but mostly leaving it alone on the hob. I always batch-make it, as I said, so doing it once a week doesn’t feel like too much work.

Give a go, and let me know what you think! Any questions, pop them in a comment below.

As always, bilafiya!
(well wishes and wellbeing)

Ten Towns in One Day! | Road Trippin’ the Italian Coastline

I travelled to eight towns, but I started in Lecce and ended in Bari, so I did 10 towns in all that day! It was exhausting, but utterly gorgeous and I am very grateful to have had the time, space and means to be able to do this. There are so many beautiful views in this video, and if you’ve ever wanted to see Puglia (Apulia in English), give this a watch!

Don’t forget to click the like button, it helps massively, and subscribe when you’re over there.