Monday, August 5, 2013

Bibi making Legaymat : Good bye Ramadan

Bibi is what I call my grandmother. It's an Urdu name I think, but Iranians use it too. It means miss and they usually use it when they want to address an elderly women out of respect.


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My bibi was born in Iran but she grew up and has been raised in Kuwait with frequent trips to Iran and Iraq. She did not go to school because schools were thought to be  inappropriate for girls to attend at her time. She was taught basic reading and writing by her kids after they attended school. At the age of fifteen she married her cousin (my grandfather) and gave birth to 5 boys and 3 girls, one of which died in infancy.

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She cooks the wholesomest, most delicious food I know of. It's the one I miss the most when I am away, homesick or just want to visit my childhood for a moment.



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 Legaymat ; means little bites in Kuwaiti. Sweet batter flavored with saffron and cardamom fried and dipped in simple syrup also flavored with saffron and cardamom made especially in Ramadan each year.


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We arrive at my grandfather's house approximately two hours before sunset (when it's time to break our fast). Bibi is setting on a stool in the so familiar old warned out kitchen in front of a floor gas cooker. Four bowls by her side. One filled with batter , one with syrup, one to put the coated finished legaymat in, and one filled with water to clean her hand in between dumping, stirring and coating. This time there are six bowls because she was making special legaymat dipped in date molasses for my dad.

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Gracefully and jauntily she picks up the batter with her aged wrinkled hand. Rolls it so skillfully between her fingers into small rounded little bowls and dumps them in the hot oil. She stirs and stirs until they'r golden orange. She dumps them in the syrup and stirs until they're well coated and transfers them to the final bowl.

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She makes such a big batch that by the time she finishes it's already time for Iftar and to enjoy legaymat hot and fresh. Yum!

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This post was not intended for sharing a recipe, but rather to share a part of my life and culture. However, I will post the recipe for legaymat as told to me by my grandmother for those of you who are curious to try it. But I must say that I haven't tried the recipe my self, simply because I don't need to :)

I must warn you though that it is extremely hard to make those little bowl with your hands. It needs lots of skill and practice.


Legaymat Recipe

1 tsp yeast
1 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs warm water
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp saffron threads
1 small potato boiled and mashed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup yogurt

- In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar and warm water. Let it stand in warm place for a few minutes until bubbly.

- In a large bowl combine ground cardamom and saffron threads with 1-2 Tbs hot water. Let it stand for  a few minutes.

- In the large bowl combine the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, mashed potato , vegetable oil and yogurt. Stir with a spoon until well combined. Cover and let stand at room temperature for the yeast to ferment. About an hour.

- Heat the oil for deep frying in a large heavy saucepan. Drop the batter by hand, or spoon to form small bowl in the hot oil. stir constantly for the bowls to evenly cook and golden. Take them out of the oil when golden orange. Dump them in the simple syrup while still hot. Stir to coat all the little bowls. Transfer to the final dish.


Simple Syrup Recipe 

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
Two drops lemon juice
A little bit of ground cardamom and saffron thread.

- Cook everything in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until the syrup comes to boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes and then take out of the heat.

- You can store the simple syrup in a lidded jar for multiple uses. The lemon juice will prevent sugar from crystalizing.

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In few days we will say good bye to Ramadan her in the Muslim world. So Eid Mubarak everyone and inshallah we will enjoy another Ramadan next year. 

2 comments:

  1. Such a beautiful post. I learned my first steps in cooking from my nani aka granny. Completely understand the emotions behind this share.
    Btw thanks for sharing leigamat recipe. I make using the recipe from uae . Would try out this one too as it uses whole wheat flour and no eggs.
    .tc,
    Huma

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting my blog Huma. I hope that you do try the recipe. My grandma have been making this for ages so it should turn out good.

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