MCC: Pomegranate Khabisa


It’s the last Thursday of the month which means another foray into the realm of Medieval food!


Once again we took a recipe from the Anonymous Andalusian cookbook, this time a sweet treat of pomegranate.


Pomegranate Khabisa

Pomegranate Khabisa

Khabisa with Pomegranate

“Take half a ratl of sugar and put it in a metal or earthenware pot and pour in three ratls of juice of sweet pomegranates [rumman sufri; probably tart pomegranates were more common in cooking] and half a uqiya of rosewater, with a penetrating smell. Boil it gently and after two boilings, add half a mudd of semolina and boil it until the semolina is cooked. Throw in the weight of a quarter dirham of ground and sifted saffron, and three uqiyas of almonds. Put it in a disk and sprinkle over it the like of pounded sugar, and make balls [literally, hazelnuts] of this.”

Andalusian Measurements:
ratl = a pound; in school I learned little phrase “a pint is a pound, the whole world round” which means you can use a volumetric pint of water for recipes that call for equal weights of flour and water and whatever else (very common in baking ratios). Since pomegranate juice isn’t incredibly dense, we’re using a volumetric pint for the ratls of juice–if it were a heavier liquid (like cream or buttermilk), you’d want to actually weigh the liquid
uqiya = approx. 1.3 oz
mudd = 16 cups; it’s actually 4 Liters, if you want to be exact; if you’ve ever used a 4-cup Pyrex measuring cup, though, you know that 4 cups is roughly equivalent to a Liter
dirham = roughly a teaspoon

As written, this makes a pretty big batch of pomegranate treats. A slightly more manageable quantity can be made by the recipe below:

Pomegranate Khabisa

¼ cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar, plus additional for rolling
1 pint pomegranate juice
¼ oz rosewater
1 ½ cups semolina flour
¼ cup chopped almonds
pinch saffron

  1. Combine the sugar, juice and rosewater in a saucepan and bring to a boil. A non-stick pot is especially helpful and the final product is pretty sticky.
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients and then add them to the liquid, bringing to a boil again.
  3. Stirring constantly, continue to cook the mixture until very thick–like a thick oatmeal, this won’t take long at all.
  4. Scoop out small amounts of the mixture, roll into balls and then roll in granulated sugar. Place on a platter or inside little truffle or mini-muffin cups  and serve.

Steps to make Khabisa

As simple as boil, cook, scoop and roll.

Depending on the brand of pomegranate juice you use will determine the finished color of the khabisa. I’ve made it before with the popular grocery store brand that comes in the double sphere bottle and it’s come out much more vibrant than this batch, which was made with an organic pomegranate juice and ended up more a deep plum color.

Kept in an airtight container these will keep for a week, at least (if they last that long). We love the chewy, sweet treats with just a bit of crunch from the nuts (we subbed cashews–not correct for the time period but preferred in this house). And if you can stand to leave some for the next day, the rosewater becomes just a little more prominent and adds a nice dimension to the dish.


Did you give this month’s dish a try? Link up in the comments!

Want to get the next recipe at the beginning of the month instead of waiting for my reveal post? Sign up here!