I always like to start my Ramadan Special with a sweet recipe, and this Ramadan is no different.
I have chosen to begin with my favourite Turkish Delights recipe for two reasons. The first, I always thought I did not like Turkish Delights! Unable to trace back the memory to the day I have made the decision that I don’t like these chewy delights, but somehow always thought I did not, and passed when served anything that even remotely looked like it (Arabic Raha included, very similar to Turkish delights but differently flavoured).When I was in Istanbul earlier this year, and mainly out of courtesy to the merchants, I ate so much Turkish delights of all types and flavours. The first I was offered (a pomegranate and pistachio delight) presented me with an honest turmoil (in thought), in my head I did not like it, but there I was having to try it. I held on to it, and tried to distract the man with questions about how it’s made and this and that. As he explained, he kept on telling me “when you try it you will see… followed by now try it and you will see…” there I was, with a chewy red delight in my hand, starting to melt making my hand very sticky, and an enthusiastic maker eagerly awaiting the verdict! I hated to disappoint him, and so I ate the first delight trying to hide my expected facial expressions only to be blown away! I was amazed at how good it was. I am sure the merchant was not expecting this huge reaction of admiration, unknowingly to him how surprised I was to actually like it! A real delight it was. I reached out for more! Cliche? Yes, but honest too. I truly do not remember why I thought I did not like it. It was chewy, sweet, very well flavoured and absolutely delicious. Ever since then, Turkish delights have become a delight I really like to indulge in, my favourite being pomegranate and pistachio, while the rest are equally good, you know the thing with firsts!
While some delights are better done and better flavoured than others, as with anything made by different people, most are really tasty. So if you have never tried them, or have mysteriously decided you don’t like them, I will eagerly tell you to try them, they are good.
The most important Ramadan Tradition that is shared by all is the ensuring of the gathering of families and friends during the Holy month. It is the sense of belonging to a bigger self, which brings me to my second reason for choosing this recipe. That is: I know you will be entertaining this Ramadan, and I know you will be having guests very often. Most of us will serve our guests Turkish coffee, or any other coffee, at some point during the evening. These delights make an excellent accompaniment to coffee, the Ottomans knew it, The Turks carry the tradition on, the arabs adopted the recipe (Raha) and do this too so I thought you might like to do that and since you have the time and the enthusiasm to make your own foods during the month, I thought you might want to know how these delights are made. These delights and look very elegant on the side of a coffee cup. It is another choice instead of the same old piece of chocolate. Once made and sliced the delights store well in an airtight container (refrigerated in very hot areas). This makes them accessible and always ready to serve. They also look beautiful stacked on a tiered platter or dessert dish should you wish to include them on your buffets.
My dad loves his Turkish coffee, and when breaking fast he can’t wait to have the coffee alongside some delights. If he could, he would have the coffee and delights before the food. I am kind of following in that path and serving you this Ramadan the Delights before the food.
This is how Delights are made….