A Guide to Arabic Sweets
Are you craving something tasty and sweet? Arabic sweets are renowned for their incredible flavours and ingredients, offering the perfect treat. This article will introduce some of the best traditional Arabic sweets to tantalise your taste buds!
- Baklava: This delicious, flaky dessert consists of layers of phyllo dough, chopped almonds, and honey syrup. The Middle Eastern staple baklava has its origins in the Ottoman Empire. The delicate pastry is topped with ground pistachios or walnuts, and its satisfying crunch and sweetness make it a firm favourite for many.
- Ma’amoul: A favourite sweet in Arab countries, this classic cookie contains a filling of dates, pistachios, or walnuts. Made with semolina flour, butter, and sugar, ma’amoul is an absolute delight. These small, round pastries are often intricately decorated with geometric patterns and are especially popular during festive seasons such as Eid and Ramadan.
- Kunafa: This popular Levantine dessert is a vermicelli-like pastry filled with either cheese or cream and stacked between layers of syrup-soaked pastry. It is commonly found in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Palestine. The contrast between the crunchy pastry and the smooth, creamy filling makes kunafa a unique and irresistible treat.
- Basbousa: Hailing from Egypt, basbousa is a semolina cake soaked in sugar syrup and topped with nuts or coconut flakes. Its distinct texture is moist and soft, making it an irresistible treat. Often served at gatherings and special occasions, basbousa symbolises hospitality and warmth in Egyptian culture.
- Luqaimat: These sweet dumplings, served with syrup, are primarily consumed during Ramadan in the United Arab Emirates. The dough is made from flour, milk, sugar, and yeast and is deep-fried until golden brown. Luqaimat is a popular iftar dessert, and its light, fluffy texture makes it an ideal treat to break the fast.
- Halva: Tahini (sesame paste), sugar, and nuts are the main ingredients in this sweet delight, famous across the Mediterranean region and the Middle East. Halva comes in various flavours, including pistachio, almond, and chocolate. Its crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth texture makes it an ideal accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee.
- Qatayef: A well-known Levantine dessert, qatayef is a stuffed pancake that can be fried or baked, filled with cream, cheese, or nuts. It is typically served during Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. The versatile dessert can be enjoyed with various fillings, allowing you to customise it to your preference.
- Balaleet: This sweet vermicelli pudding is made from vermicelli noodles, sugar, and saffron. In the Arabian Peninsula, dishes like balaleet are often prepared for breakfast. Balaleet’s unique combination of sweet and savoury flavours makes it a memorable and satisfying morning meal.
- Znoud El-Sit: A Lebanese dessert, znoud el-sit consists of deep-fried phyllo dough filled with cream or cheese. It is then drizzled with sugar syrup and topped with crushed pistachios. The contrast between the crispy exterior and the velvety filling creates an indulgent dessert experience.
- Namoura: This Lebanese cake is flavoured with rosewater or orange blossom water and made using semolina flour, sugar, and yoghurt. Namoura is typically served with a drizzle of syrup and garnished with almonds. The fragrant aroma of the flower water and the dense, moist texture of the cake makes it a delightful dessert to share with friends and family.
Visitors to Dubai can indulge in traditional Arabic sweets at various locations, from the historic souks to contemporary cafés in shopping malls. Anyone travelling to or living in the Middle East should not miss the opportunity to taste these Arabic sweets, as they combine some of the finest ingredients to satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth.