My coworker’s wife just had a baby. Everyone in the office had been counting down, waiting for their precious bundle of joy to arrive. A few months ago, we combined his birthday desk decorations with a guessing game of whether they’d be having a boy or a girl – complete with a chalkboard tally. When we found out they were having a girl, everyone had some advice to give. As a father, I can only imagine the excitement and some of the fear of having a daughter. As a mother, I’m positive his wife was ecstatic to have a mini-me. I have to say, she is the most adorable little nugget. Their lives changed overnight and in the most incredible way.
As a matter of Arab tradition, when a baby is born, the family holds a Mubraka where friends and family come over to visit the mother and new baby. I’ve seen very small gatherings, and very large gatherings. It’s a way to meet the new baby and wish well for the family. A special dessert is served called Karawya كراوية. The reason they serve karawya is pretty good, actually. Despite it being a dessert, it has nutrients and energy that are supposed to be good for a nursing mother.
I never liked Karawya, I admit it. I did, however, like to eat all the mixed nuts and sweetened shredded coconut off the top and give back the rest. So I’d go to these Mubarakas with my mom, they’d hand me my single-serving dish of Karawya, I’d eat off all the toppings and hand it back. I think when I was younger, it was a little more accepted. I remember one woman made a comment that it was alright that I didn’t like it because I was still young – I’m still trying to decipher that particular statement.
Of course, I couldn’t miss meeting the new baby. And being the traditionalist that I am, in some aspects, I took some Karawyawith me, my tayta’s recipe. Please note, the measurements are Tayta’s measurements. [Read Turkish coffee cups as: literally fill a Turkish coffee cup with the ingredient.]
- 1 cup Rice Flour
- 2 Turkish Coffee cups Ground Caraway
- 2 Turkish Coffee cups Granulated Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
- 6 cups Water
- Crushed Unsalted Pistachios
- Chopped Unsalted Walnuts
- Shredded Sweetened Coconut
- Slices Unsalted Almonds
- Raw Pine Nuts
- Add water to a medium sized pot over high heat
- Add the rice flour, sugar, caraway, and cinnamon
- Begin stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon
- You must stir the mixture constantly until it boils, if you don't, the bottom of the pan will burn
- Continue stirring until the mixture is boiling
- You'll notice the consistency thickening
- Allow the mixture to boil for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat, while continuing to stir
- Pour the Karawya into small glasses for individual servings, or one medium dish
- Allow the Karawya to cool, then cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours
- Top the Karawya with crushed pistachios, sliced almonds, shredded coconut, pine nuts and crushed walnuts before serving