Gers Ogaily, an exotic perfumed cake from Kuwait

An exotic perfumed cake from Kuwait called Gers Ogely; with saffron, cardamom, rose water and toasted sesame seeds flavor notes.

It’s time for the MENA (Middle Eastern & North African) Cooking Group. This monthly group has for goal to help us discover the culture and cuisine of the countries found in these parts of the world. The host of the month will choose a savory and a sweet dish from the country and the members pick one dish to make.

This month we are exploring Kuwait and I chose a traditional and very popular cake called Gers Ogely.

Gers Ogely Kuwaiti cake 3

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Muhallabieh (Milk Pudding)

Are you looking for an exotic and light (on the calories) dessert that takes very little time to prepare? A favorite of mine is called Muhallabieh. It is a rose water flavored milk pudding which is quickly thickened with cornstarch. This is a very traditional Lebanese dessert but you will find it all over the Middle East; particularly in Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine and Egypt.

Muhallabieh 1

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Nam Manglak: Thai Basil Seed Drink

What a busy week it’s been! So much happened and I am so vegging out today…with a unique drink called Nam Manglak. But before I get to that I have a couple of announcements…

1. Make sure to visit the Dating Kitchen’s Food Talk section this week. It features an article I wrote on about ice cream. It’s up tight now: NOT your Vanilla Ice Cream.

2. My bedroom renovations are over. I have my new floor. So excited! I have been slowly moving things back in and will sleep in my bedroom tonight after 1 week of camping in the living room. No idea when it will be done since not as ‘urgent’ but  my kitchen will be redone too.


Would you like a glass of Nam Manglak? Perhaps you know it better as Thai Basil Seed Drink. No, you never heard of it? Well neither did I until yesterday. I was in Chinatown courageously picking exotic new fruit to try in an Asian grocery store and I picked up a couple of things from the shelves as well to try. I picked up some palm sugar and what I thought was tiny black sesame seeds.After all that is what the package said.

But the lady at the cash quickly informed me ‘No, the black sesame seeds are in the back, this is not sesame seeds’. OK so what is it? She said you mix it in drinks in the summertime and its called Hôt é (the Vietnamese name). Apparently the claim of sesame seed is a direct result of lost in translation syndrome. So I said I would try this stuff and come back another time for the sesame seeds.

I made a B line for the laptop on my way home to research this Hot E. So they do indeed make drinks with it and in English they are actually know as Thai Basil Seed Drink. These seeds swell up in minutes forming a gelatinous shell. They are said to resemble tadpole eggs….not pretty but really good. In Asia you can by this stuff in a bottle like you by a Coke or a Pepsi here. I found a few recipes and chose Appon’s Thai Food version, adapted.

Thai Basil Seed Drink
For 1 glass

1 1/2 tsp Thai Basil Seeds
300 ml Water
1 1/2 Tbsp palm sugar (use any sugar you have)
1 Tbsp Honey
1 1/2 tsp Rose Water
grenadine syrup

  1. Mix sugar, honey and rose water.
  2. Heat 50 ml of the water in the microwave a bit and add to sugars. Stir until dissolved.
  3. Add the seeds and the remaining water. Mix well.
  4. Add some ice cube and poor in a bit of grenadine syrup.
  5. Wait a few minutes and watch the seeds swell up and enjoy!

The basic recipe is the water, seeds, sugar and honey. The flavoring is up to you and only limited by your imagination. Here are some ideas: grenadine, rose water, cream, sweetened condensed, coconut milk, syrups like chocolate, strawberry, almond, hazelnut, caramel.

I enjoyed my Nam Manglak with a slice of green tea cake I purchased in an Asian Pastry shop. The drink was yummy and the seeds are fun to crunch on…a bit like tiny tapioca bubbles in the popular bubble teat shops. Apparently some used these seed for dieting (feeling full with swelled seeds filling the stomach) and they are also used for the medicinal purposes in India to reduce blood sugar levels. It also prevents peptic ulcers and other stress related conditions like hypertension, colitis and asthma.

Rose Water Ice Milk

When I was in Toronto one of my friends gave me a small kitchen appliance she no longer needed that I have been DREAMING OFF for years!: an ice cream machine. Did I mention I LOVE ice cream!

…I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream…

So I have been experimenting obviously with weird foodie flavors. Last night I prepared a batch for a small dinner party I am having tonight. Its much more diet as it is with milk, not cream.

rese_icecreamRose Water Ice Milk
1 cup whole milk
2 cups cream to your liking (I would go for 10%)
2 tsp. rose water (more or less to your taste)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
red food coloring

Just feed it all to your ice cream machine and follow as normal. Voilà !!! It’s going to be more ice then cream and let it out on the counter a while before serving to soften.

I did not do this, but if you want to be a purist here is a recipe to make your own rose water.

Rose Water
4 dried roses,  untreated by pesticides
50 ml mineral water

Bring water to a boil, then remove from heat and dip the petals of roses, let steep for 30 minutes, then filter.
Cool completely before using.  Store in an airtight glass bottle

P.S. on a separate note I was asked to guest blog on a travel website! How cool! will keep you posted.

Hugs and Biscuits