United Arab Emirates – Om Ali

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by Adelina Aida

Om Ali is a traditional pastry dessert from Egypt. This is very healthy and rich in taste. This is a dessert that originated from Egypt, but popular in the whole UAE. Many countries have this same version of dish cook and sold. This is more towards the richness in taste by adding healthy ingredients like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, rose petals, cream, and milk that adds a healthy factor to the dish. This dish has basic elements like puff pastry, bread, condensed milk, evaporated milk, and full cream milk.

This pudding came up with the same idea of soaking bread in eggs and milk then bake to serve with any topping. Now, this has different variations like eggs are not added into this dish. Then the milk is added to the huge amount so the moisture doesn’t evaporate and make it loose like a liquid custard. You have other ideas to make it more look like a pudding by bake it in the oven and add sugar on the top to caramelize it.

From the soft and soggy bread we have a kick of crunchiness by addition of nuts and richness by cream and condensed milk and aroma by addition of special ingredient like honey, maple syrup, rose petals, cinnamon powder, etc.

This dish is popular in Middle east, countries like:

  • Egypt
  • Oman
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Dubai
  • Turkey
  • Iran
  • Syria, etc.

ENTYMOLOGY OF OM ALI

The word OM ALI is derived from the meaning ‘‘MOTHER OF ALI”. This name is given after the wife of Ruler of ”AYYUBID EMPIRE”. When she cooked this dish, loved by the entire family and from then this dish is famous in the whole empire. From that time, this dish is popular and included as the national cuisine of EGYPT.

MOTHER OF ALI is traced from the Era of Ayyubid Empire.

This dish is also known by many other different names like :

  • Om ali
  • Um ali
  • Umali
  • Oumm Ali
  • UmAli, etc.

COMPONENTS OF THE DISH

This dish is also popular as the Eastern Version of the Bread Pudding. As from the western bread pudding, this dish is also similar to that type of dish. This is a dish of soft bread that is dipped into milk, caramel, fruits, and nuts. You can either arrange this in the baking tray and top it up with sugar to bake it, so the top is caramelized and baked pudding is ready.

PUFF PASTRY

It can be cooked by using any of these pastries like :

  • Puff pastry
  • Phyllo pastry
  • Croissants
  • Butter bread
  • Roaa ( Egyptian flat bread)
  • Milky bread, etc.

This is cooked like the normal baking at 220 degrees and then moves towards the next procedure. This is the main base of the dish, which is garnished and served with other main elements that give texture, flavor to the dish.

Many minor layers are formed by adding butter or olive oil to each layer so the flakiness of the pastry retained.

MILK

We have different version of milk to add into this pudding like:

  • Condensed milk
  • Evaporated milk
  • Full cream Milk

Now if we add condensed milk, we no need to add sugar because it’s sweet enough. Condense milk is too sweet and creamy with thickness and richness of flavors. So this is the best way to minimalize the ingredients like cream, sugar by adding condensed milk over it.

NUTS

You are free to add nuts to the dish :

  • Peanuts
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Cashew
  • Pistachio
  • Raisins
  • Coconut flakes
  • Hazel nuts
  • Melon seeds
  • Pine seeds, etc.

OTHER TOPPINGS

  • Rose petals
  • Saffron
  • Cream
  • Honey
  • Cinnamon
  • Whipped cream, etc.

KHUMAIMAA

Khumaimaa is the dish that is similar to the OM ALI. It is from Iranian and Jordan cuisine. It has same components of the dish om ali but with some varieties like water is added to soften the pudding bread. Lemon Juice is added to cut the sweetness. Some fresh fruits are also added to make it more vibrant and colorful.

It is originated from Iran and Jordan and is a part of its national cuisine.

It has different cooking method. Milk is boiled and all the toppings with sugar, nuts, fruits, honey, lemon is added and after 5 minutes of boiling add it into the pudding bowl and bake it. Baking makes it more firm and shape is maintained.

Served by adding caster sugar, honey drizzle on the top.

INGREDIENTS OF THE DISH

  1. Phyllo pastry = 6 sheets
  2. Butter = 3 tablespoons
  3. Milk cream = 1 cup
  4. Sugar = 1 cup
  5. Caster sugar = 2 tablespoons
  6. Honey = 4 tablespoons
  7. Condensed milk = 1/2 cup
  8. Cinnamon = 1/3 teaspoons

Topping

  1. Peanuts = 2 tablespoons
  2. Walnuts = 2 tablespoons
  3. Almond = 2 tablespoons
  4. Coconut flakes = 2 tablespoons
  5. Cashew = 2 tablespoons
  6. Rose petals ( dried ) = 2 tablespoons

COOKING METHOD

  1. Take phyllo sheets and bake for 15 minutes to get the exact color and flakiness of the pastry.
  2. Now warm some milk and add sugar into it to make it sweet and rich.
  3. Pour the milk with sugar over the puff pastry so the bread pudding must be soft and spongy.
  4. Add all the dry fruits and cinnamon powder over the bread pudding and mix it well.
  5. Pre-heat the oven for 10 minutes, now on the top sprinkle caster sugar and bake it for 10 minutes at 220 degrees.
  6. It gives the caramelized effect crunchy and crispy.
  7. Let it cool down for a while and serve it by adding whipped cream.
  8. It’s your choice to serve it warm or cold.
  9. Enjoy!
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