Dates are symbolic of Ramadan in Muslim communities because they are used to break the daily fasts in a tradition started by the prophet Mohammed.
People often give gifts of dates to their friends and loved ones during the holy month. This sweet breakfast dish is one way in which the delicious fruits are transformed into holiday treats. It also can be served as dessert and is popular with children and adults alike. Berries, raisins, bananas or mixed nuts can substitute for the dates.
- 2 teaspoons ghee (an East Indian form of clarified butter)
- 1 cup vermicelli pasta, broken into short pieces
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 cups very hot water
- 3/4 cup dried pitted dates, cut into quarters
- 1/2 cup low-fat milk, warmed
Heat the ghee in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the vermicelli and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until it is lightly browned on all sides.
Dissolve the sugar in the hot water, then add to the saucepan, along with the dates. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vermicelli is tender.
Divide among small individual bowls. Top each with portion with a few tablespoons of warm milk. Serve immediately.
Adapted from "Arabian Delights: Recipes and Princely Entertaining Ideas From the Arabian Peninsula," by Amy Riolo (Capital Books, 2007).
Tested by Eileen Rivers.
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