Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Komaj- Persian Date & Cumin Bread | We Knead to Bake #18

I am not a great fan of dates. In shakes as syrups, I am ok but won't miss it if not there. Else ofcourse my mother turns it into a sweet snack, which I have no qualms eating but don't ask me to make it. 

Note to  Self: I am making it one day.... umm it will come soon....)

So when Aparna gave a cumin and date bread from Iran I was happy to go with it. After all its tough seeing the date packet peeping out whenever I open the fridge. I know.. 

Anyways the only catch here was will my daughter give a thumbs up? The bread also had spice ingredients like turmeric and cumin seeds along with dates and will the combo be a hit?

I actually couldn't wait to taste the bread and was biting my nails when finally I got a thumbs up sign from her. Whew.. 

Not much can't be found about this bread on googling and this recipe from Aparna for We Knead to Bake #18 is from the Greg & Lucy Malouf's book - Saraban-The Chefs' Journey through Persia.As usual I halved the recipe and replaced egg or rather half of it with cornstarch.Also I replaced almost half of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour.


Instant Yeast: 1/2 tsp
Warm Water: 1 tbsp + few more tbsp

All Purpose Flour: 1cup
Whole Wheat Flour : 14 tbsp
Cumin seeds: 1.25 -1.5 tsp toasted & coarsely crushed
Sugar: 2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp+ optional  1/8 tsp

Egg: 1/2 or optional (replaced with 1 tbsp cornstarch + 1.5 tsp water mixed as a paste)

Warm milk: 1/3 cup + 2-3 tbsp
Olive Oil: 2.1/4 tsp olive oil

Dried dates: 8-10 pitted and chopped
Unsalted butter: soft 2 tsp
Cardamom powder: 1/4 tsp

Milk: Brushing on top


Dissolve yeast in water and keep aside for 10 minutes and let it bubble up a bit.

Add in the flours, crushed cumin (1.25 tsp) , sugar, turmeric and salt to a  bowl and mix well. Add the yeast mix and optional egg and mix till it is incorporated. I used 1tbsp cornstarch mixed into a paste with 1.5 tsp of water to replace half an egg.

Add milk and oil and knead to have a smooth pliable dough thats not sticky. I needed more liquid to get a pliable dough. So I added around 2-3 tbsp of milk and water each and kneaded till I got a dough. It was pliable and yellow in colour and moist, but not sticky. It didn't look smooth was  okay. 

Shape into a ball and place in a greased  bowl, turning once to coat. Cover loosely with a plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled for an hour atleast. I went for almost 2 hours.

When risen deflate it , shape into a round and put back for a second rise for an hour or so.

Prepare the filling by mixing the filling ingredients together in a bowl.

Divide the dough into 2 portions and each portion into 2 giving 4 portions. Working with one portion at a time, roll out the portion into a 1/4" -1/8" thick rectangle.

Choose a cookie cutter that is 8cm widest, press it down lightly on one half of the rectangle. You can see the outline/marks on the dough. 

Place 1 tsp of filling at the approximate centre of this mark/outline, fold over the other half of the rectangle over the filling and now it looks like a covered square or circle based on the cookie cutter you have chosen.

With the same cookie cutter, cut the portion with the filling in the centre and in such a way that the sides are neat and well sealed.

Repeat with the remaining portions and reroll the scraps and repeat the process to get 2-3 pieces based on size. I got a total of 6 pieces and 1 smaller piece.

Place the komaj on a lightly greased or lined  baking sheet leaving some space between them as they puff up on baking. Let them sit for 15-20 minutes.

Brush them with milk and sprinkle remaining cumin seeds on top pressing lightly.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 8-10 minutes . Take out and serve warm optionally dusting with powdered sugar.

Yum one as I had mentioned earlier. The dates make it sweet and the cumin adds a bite. umm.
 Let me munch on.. while you take a look at komaj baked by others at Aparna's

Psst.. She also had a packet of dates peeping out of fridge.. anyway we can say thanks to komaj, dates ke acche din aaye hain!


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