It’s been over half a decade since Nora Fatehi has made India her home. While the bombshell actress and dancer hails from Canada, her ancestry (and food choices) are firmly rooted in Morocco. In fact, the actress misses home cooked food so much that she has it sent over to her home in Mumbai from time to time. When it comes to desserts, the ‘Saki Saki’ girl is a big fan of Chebakia, a signature Moroccan sweet.
Back then when she was promoting her song ‘Dilbar’ in 2018, Fatehi had invited a few journalists at home for interactions. Post work, she treated all her guests to a delicious Moroccan sweet. “This is my favourite sweet,” she declared after taking in everyone’s reactions to tasting the dessert.
For the unversed, Chebakia is a honey-coated Moroccan sesame cookie famously associated with Ramadan and special occasions. It is made with strips of dough rolled up to resemble a rose. The dough is then deep-fried until golden, and coated with syrup made of rosewater and honey, sprinkled with sesame.
If you, like us, caught yourself drooling over the pastry’s description, take a look at the recipe and recreate it at home!
2 cups All-Purpose Flour
100 gms Golden Sesame Seeds,
1 tsp Cinnamon Powder
1 tsp Anise Powder
1/4 tsp Saffron
1 Whole Egg
2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
2 pinches Cardamom Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
2-3 tbsp Vinegar
4 tbsp Butter
3 tbsp Orange Blossom Water
2 pinches Turmeric
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup White Sugar
1 cup Water
1 tsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup Honey
Vegetable Oil for frying
- Take a small bowl and soak saffron strands in lukewarm water.
- Now, place a pan over medium- flame and add sesame seeds in it. Toast them well until you smell the fragrance.
- In a large mortar and pestle or grinder jar, add these roasted sesame seeds and keep 2-3 tbsp aside for garnishing purposes. Grind the seeds to a fine powder.
- Transfer the sesame seed powder to a large bowl. Mix in the all-purpose flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder, anise powder, cardamom powder, and turmeric along with salt and whisk well.
- Pour in the saffron water, butter, vinegar, olive oil, orange blossom water, and a whole egg to this bowl. Use the whisker to combine all the ingredients together. Add a little water at a time to make the cookie dough.
- Knead this dough until it is pliable and cover with a cloth. Let this dough rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Put a saucepan over medium flame and pour one cup of water in it. Bring it to a boil and then add some orange blossom water, sugar, and lemon juice. Stir well and when the sugar is dissolved, add honey to this pan. After 2-3 boils, turn off the flame and keep aside.
- Now, take the cookie dough and use a rolling pin to roll this dough out in a circular motion.
- Use a fluted pastry cutter to cut the dough into rectangles approximately the size of your palm. Make four evenly spaced cuts lengthwise in each rectangle. These cuts should be almost the length of the rectangle, but should not cut through to the edges of the dough. The resulting rectangles will each have five strips of attached dough.
- Once you’ve cut as many rectangles as possible, gather up the scraps of dough, mould them together, and return them to a plastic bag to rest while you begin folding.
- To fold Chebakia into a flower shape, take a rectangle and thread the middle finger of your right hand through alternating strips of the cut dough. Make sure that the first, third and fifth strips of dough are draped over the finger. Next, with your left hand, pinch together the outer corners of dough which hang near the tip of your finger. This will form the centre of the flower shape.
- While holding the pinched corners with your left hand, allow the strips of dough to slide down off your right finger and gently turn them inside-out around the pinched portion.
- If done correctly, you’ll have formed the dough into an elongated flower shape. If you want, you can lightly pinch the elongated ends to taper them.
- Repeat the process to make more such shapes and put in a baking tray.
- Place a frying pan over medium flame and heat oil in it for frying purposes.
- Add the cookies in the hot oil to fry them and remove them when they are golden brown.
- Directly transfer these cookies in the sugar syrup. Let them soak in the syrup for about 2-3 minutes and then strain the extra syrup using a sieve.
- Sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds and enjoy them warm!