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!

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ICC: Manoharam


After missing out last month due to a crowded schedule, it’s nice to be hanging out with the cooks of the Indian Cooking Challenge again! This month’s recipe is for a sweet treat, Manoharam, which started out very similar to the Kara Sev I made in July but with a finishing twist that makes me think this batch won’t last the week!



I did some liberal rewriting of this particular recipe (shared by Lataji), namely skipping the encouragement to grind your own flour bit–not going to happen at this time. Instead, I did some substitutions based on the Kara Sev recipe and added some spices based on the finished product:

Ingredients for Manoharam


1 c Rice Flour
1/2 c Gram Flour
1 T Ginger
1/2 T Cinnamon
2 t Salt
1 t Nutmeg
1/4 c Olive Oil
1/2 c Water (or as needed)

Adding the oil to the dry Combine dry ingredients and mix until spices are spread out among the flour.

Make a well and pour the olive oil into it. Mix until dough is clumpy and then add water a little at a time until the dough starts to hold together. Knead gently until the dough is smooth.

Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll into balls.

Pressing, frying and draining Heat about 2 quarts of frying oil in a pot or deep fryer to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Oil a murukku press or (as in my case) a potato ricer fitted with a large die and load the first ball of dough into the press.

Press out long strings into the hot oil, using a knife to carefully cut the strings away from the press, if necessary.

Draining and crunching Frying should only take a minute or two, depending on the thickness of your strings. Drain on paper towels until cool.

Place the fried sticks into a gallon-size plastic bag and crush–but don’t pulverize–the sticks. I could be nice and say it looks somewhat like bran cereal about now but it really looks like kitty kibble.

Measure the resulting pieces. I came up with right around 20 oz, dry volume. According to the original instructions, the powdered sugar used in the next step should be approximately a quarter of the volume crumbled murukku.

I call foul, here, as that was nowhere near enough to coat it all. I think the major issue is that while it says volume on one line, it actually goes between grams (weight) and Liters (volume) in another.

Sugar Syrup at hard-ball stage Instead, make a sugar syrup of

2 c Powdered Sugar
5 oz Water

and cook to hard ball stage (250-265 degrees Fahrenheit). Generally you want to stir the mixture while the sugar is dissolving but not stir once it comes to a boil. Washing the sides of the pot as it boils will keep the sugar from collecting on the walls while the syrup comes to temperature.

Manoharam Remove from the heat (carefully–this can do serious damage so no sudden moves and no sloshing!) and carefully pour over the crushed murukku bits.

Oil your hands and, once the mixture is cool enough to handle, form the sticky bits into 1-inch balls.

This may or may not really work, all depending on your sugar mixture and how quickly it cools.

It might not be as pretty, but just breaking up the large brick-o-manoharam works just as well and is still just as tasty!

Before the sugar syrup was applied they were perfectly serviceable snacks on their own–much better than the last batch of Kara Sev which suffered from a lack of flavor. After the sugar, those, these little bits of brittle keep calling us back into the kitchen for continued snacking. As I suspected, it’s similar to pretzel or popcorn balls (though obviously without the airiness of the latter) and a nice candy to have around.