Umma's Balaleet | Middle Eastern Breakfast Dish

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Balaleet - I am calling this Umma's (mil) because she is the one who introduced me to this dish. My in-laws lived most of their early life in Bahrain which is the main reason I believe her dishes are influenced by middle eastern cuisine. During my initial days at in-laws, I heard them say "Make Balaleet for babhie..." and Umma went on to explain how it is done. I just pretended to smile with surprise and oh-I-cant-wait-to-eat face  because I heard her say sweet vermicelli with a spicy omelette. WHAT?? I was really sceptical about how it would taste and wondered how to escape having it.. you really can't get away like you do with your mom... right?

When I had her Balaleet, it was a mixed feeling which was more of I need to eat again to know.. have you had such moments?? ...The next time, I insisted on making my own omelette and I really enjoyed the dish this time. Ever since, whenever she makes Balaleet, she would leave the omelette making task to me :-P. So I really don't know which is the star of the dish, the sweet vermicelli or the omelette :-D  I think the sweet and savoury taste gets together when you start chewing and I bet you will be surprised how good it tastes.

Umma had a request when I left India, "please make balaleet for my son!" :-P I have only watched her make and it is a very straightforward dish. Cook the vermicelli, mix with rest of the simple ingredients like butter, sugar and cardamom and top it with an omelette. But somehow the past few times I made, it never tasted like hers. Most of the time it was my proportion error.

Umma's Balaleet | Middle Eastern Breakfast Dish

You get approximate measures from moms and so each time I made, it either had too much pasta and too less sugar or too much rose water taste... at the end, I declared "I don't like this dish so I am not making it"! :-P (Perks of living alone). So it was put off for a while until I felt the need to make it for F. I then made this for my lonely weekday breakfast while making notes along the process and must tell you I was super surprised at the outcome. At last.. phew... !

Umma's Balaleet | Middle Eastern Breakfast Dish

As I had promised to cook on weekends, this dish really comes handy as there is no prework of soaking and grinding.. not even kneading..this recipe needs least attention and effort. Just cook the vermicelli, (roasted or unroasted) perfectly until al dente (just cooked) as it is going to sit in a butter, sugar, cardamom, rose water mixture for almost 30 minutes. And also, this is a sweet cum savoury dish so add as much as sweetness to the vermicelli and increase the spices on the omelette. Tagging this dish as Middle Eastern even though known as Emirati Breakfast as I found this is common in neighbouring countries too.


Umma's Balaleet | Middle Eastern Breakfast Dish


Serves 2 and was left wanting more. 


INGREDIENTS: 

2 1/2 to 3 cups of vermicelli
Water and salt to cook the vermicelli until al dente
25 gms butter, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon rose water
1 pinch saffron - crushed with back of the spoon and soaked in a tablespoon of warm water or warm milk
2 omelettes

METHOD: 
  1. Cook the vermicelli as per packet instruction 
  2. Drain the cooked vermicelli in a colander and pour very cold water over it. This is to bring down the temperature and stop further cooking
  3. On a low flame, in the same pot, add half quantity of butter, sugar, cardamom powder, rose water and quickly add the cooked drained vermicelli and toss it to coat the mixture
  4. Add the remaining butter, sugar, rose water, and cardamom powder 
  5. Pour the saffron water and again toss the contents or use a wooden spoon and gently mix
  6. Cover the pot and let it sit on lowest flame for about 20 to 30 minutes. You can open once or twice and stir to prevent from getting burnt or sticking to the bottom of the pan 
  7. Meanwhile, prepare your omelettes as per your taste
  8. Switch off the pot and serve the balaleet on a plate and top it with an omelette
In my omelette, I have added a little of chopped onions, tomato, green chilli, coriander leaves, salt and pepper and 2 eggs.  It is totally your choice so make it how you enjoy it.

Updated: 13th Nov 2016 - I have updated the recipe to reflect the taste and idea of  the bowl of balaleet we had from Saffron by Jena, Bahrain. I also make omelettes with just salt and pepper and for each egg, I add a tablespoon of milk.

Umma's Balaleet | Middle Eastern Breakfast Dish


Introducing F in my food pics!

Umma's Balaleet | Middle Eastern Breakfast Dish

Ever since I have become sweet-toothed like F, I thoroughly relish having Balaleet for weekend breakfast once in a while. You know..it kills my energy even at the thought of cooking on weekends! I have been changing that for better since the last couple of weeks... InshaAllah, I should keep doing it.

Have you had Balaleet? How differently do you make it? I am eager to know your ideas.

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