Qubani ka Meetha – this is from Hyderabad

Apricot compote

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It’s time for North vs South Challenge!! This series is a challenge from Divya from Youtoocancookindian.com where two teams – North and South – challenge each other to prepare dishes ethnic to their region in India.

Those who are not aware of the fine nuances of Indian cooking, let me give you a rough sketch. India has always been exceptionally diverse when it comes to food. Divided culturally and politically into 35 States and Union territories, many factors shaped the cuisine in each of these states.

Qubani ka meetha

 

Climate, soil type, religion, tradition, culture, tribal influence, invasions from all over the world, spice trade, silk route – the influences are mind-boggling. Believe it or not, each state has a unique culinary expertise to boast of, and they can differ from their neighboring state like chalk does from cheese. For example, in the North, the tribes in the State of Nagaland have nothing in common with the folks in Punjab – not one thing. Similarly, down South, Goa and Tamil Nadu differ in food preparation almost as much, if not more.

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This month’s SNC challenge for the Northern team is for a sweet from the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It’s called ‘Qubani ka meetha’ or ‘Apricot compote’, given by Roha, from Hyderabadi Cuisine

Andhra Pradesh (will be referred to as AP hereafter) boasts of history and culture that is almo

st 4000 years old. Ruled by most powerful of kings in the history of India, AP underwent many cultural and social transformations throughout the centuries.

Apricot compote

It is possibly the only Indian state, other than Delhi, that has seen prosperity throughout the 5000 year old history of India. 3rd century BC saw the mighty Mauryans who, according to the famous traveler Magasthenes’ account, had three fortified towns and an army of more than 100,000 people besides having naval and cavalry strength.When the Normans in England were just learning to become civil human beings and Henry 1st was trying to lay down some rules of governance in a madcap society,  AP was flourishing socially, culturally, and economically under the Chola dynasty, and then under the Vijayanagar kings like Raja Krishna Dev Raya.When India got independence in 1947 from the British sovereignty, the then ruler of Hyderabad – known as Nizam of Hyderabad – was proclaimed to be the richest man in the world by Time Magazine, his net worth being 2% of the US economy back then.

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With a solid economy, vibrant social life and infusion of ethnicity from different parts of the world, Hyderabad became a magnate for cultural development. Food being an integral part of any social fabric, gained the most. It’s geography too helped – the state has the second longest coastline in India, and is bordered by states that are as different from each other in their social and cultural makeup as pepper is from sugar. The range of influence from the Buddhist to the Hindu kings to the British and of course, the Mughals has seen Hyderabadi cuisine go from strength to strength. The Nizams developed a unique style that amalgamated Mughal, Turkish, Arabic influences with native cuisine that already had a rich heritage as mentioned above.

Qubani ka meetha

Once we were travelling from somewhere to somewhere. I was too young at that time to remember the originating and the destination place. What I do remember is this Aunty from South India who was ‘Hindi’ and ‘English’ ille (a south Indian word for do not know),but was carrying amazing food with her that she offered to us. I remember nibbling on the idlis, and she also had some sweets that were unlike any I had ever tasted. Those were still the days when accepting food from complete strangers was not considered dangerous – that happened when gangs of men and women disguised as passengers offered sedative laced food to fellow passengers and then scurried away with all their belongings. But that is another story, I digress.

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Coming back to North vs South challenge, this sweet dish reminded me of that long ago train ride, possibly the time when I really fell in love with the food of the people whose language I could not understand. ‘Qubani’ means apricot in Urdu, and ‘meetha’ means ‘sweet. It’s also one of the easiest desserts that I have ever made, and also one of the tastiest. I had never eaten this before, so it is such a pleasure to add an entirely new dish to my dessert repertoire that is a surefire hit with not only adults but kids as well.

To make ‘Qubani ka Meetha’ or ‘Apricot Compote’ flavored with spices and garnished with nuts, you need:

Dried Apricots soaked in water. (Add at least 3 times the water, I added twice as much as the apricots, and it was less)

 

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Keep them overnight, and they will puff up to nice, smooth balls.

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(I used dried and pitted apricots. If the apricots have pits, this is the time to drain and pit them. Reserve the pits to later add them as garnish. I didn’t have any, so I skipped this step. To know how to get the seed out of the pits and add as a garnish, please click here).

Now, transfer the apricots and the water to a non-stick pan.

 

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Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes. Then add sugar, lemon juice, saffron and crushed cardamom.

 

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Keep simmering. Add some milk or water to prevent the apricots or the juice from sticking to the pan. Mash them so that they start becoming mushy.

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Cook until they are soft, mushy and glazed. Add the nuts – almonds, pistachios and apricot pits if you have them.

 

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Eat them hot or cold.

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Normally this is eaten with malai – the cream of milk that forms after boiling it. But that is a long process. So I made a cardamom-saffron mousse and used it as a bed to serve this luscious apricot compote on.

To make the mousse:

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Heat sugar and water

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Heat cream with saffron and cardamom powder

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Mix saffron cream with sugar-water mixture

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Add butter and mix till smooth

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Take off the heat and let it chill

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Whip rest of the cream

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Add the chilled sugar mixture

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Continue whipping gently till it forms soft peaks. Don’t over whip – you don’t butter.

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Transfer to a deep dish, and place the apricot compote on top.

 

Serve chilled.

This post is a part of South vs North Challenge and I am participating on behalf on Northern team.

Qubani ka meetha - Apricot compote

5.0 from 10 reviews

Qubani ka Meetha – this is from Hyderabad
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
 
An authentic Hyderabadi dessert. A rich apricot compote stewed and flavored with spices and garnished with dry fruits.
Ingredients
  • ½ Cup Dried Apricots
  • 3 tbsp Sugar- As per taste
  • 2 Crushed Green Cardamom( Elaichi)
  • 1 tsp Lemon juice
  • ¼ cup milk or water
To Garnish:
  • Apricot kernels (if you have them)
  • Slice of roasted and blanched Almonds and Pistachios
  • 1 pinch Saffron threads (optional)
  • 1 Edible Silver leaf (Warq) (Optional) – this is a fine Indian silver leaf used in Indian desserts.
  • ½ Cup Malai or Thick Cream or Whipped Cream or Mousse
For saffron-cardamom mousse
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ⅓ cream plus ½ cup cream to whip later
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1 pinch of cardamom
Instructions
  1. Soak dried apricots overnight.
  2. When they puff into smooth balls, strain them, reserving the water.
  3. Pit the apricots.
  4. Transfer the apricots along with soaked water to a non-stick pan.
  5. Bring to a boil, and then stew for 15 minutes.
  6. Add sugar. Keep stirring. Mash to make the apricots pulpy.
  7. Add lemon juice to prevent caramelizing.
  8. At this stage, add ¼ cup milk to prevent the compote from sticking.
  9. Now add cardamom powder and saffron. Stir well.
  10. Add the slivered nuts.
  11. Chill.
To make the Mousse:
  1. Heat sugar and water. Do not stir. Let it simmer till the sugar starts dissolving. This will take about 5 minutes.
  2. In a separate pan, heat ⅓ cup cream. Add saffron and cardamom powder. Bring to a boil, stir, and switch off the flame.
  3. Stir the sugar and water once, gently with a batter scraping spatula. It should take on a slight caramel hue.
  4. Add warm cream. Stir till dissolved.
  5. Now add butter.
  6. Stir till well dissolved, smooth with no lumps.
  7. Transfer to a bowl, and let it cool down and then chill it for 15 minutes.
  8. Whip ¼ cup of cream till it’s double in quantity.
  9. Add the chilled sugar syrup to the cream, and whip till it forms soft peaks.
  10. Transfer to a dish and chill for 4 hours.
  11. Serve with apricot compote or other fruits.

 

 

58 comments for “Qubani ka Meetha – this is from Hyderabad

  1. May 24, 2013 at 4:36 PM

    glorious pics,each had a story of itself,beautifully made.i enjoyed every pic.
    meena recently posted..Sesame Podi for Idli or dosaiMy Profile

  2. May 24, 2013 at 4:54 PM

    Good job Minnie! It looks great, a bit different from the way my family prepares it but delicious nonetheless. We like ours mainly puréed. It is one of my favourite desserts and being Hyderabadi, it is present at every special occasion dinner at my aunts’ houses.

    Nazneen
    Coffee and Crumpets recently posted..Brown Butter, White Chocolate and Pecan CookiesMy Profile

    • May 25, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Thank you Nazneen! Coming from a Hyderabadi, that’s huge :) I am sure this could have done with little more mashing, but my guess is the soaked water was less, and they needed to cook some more to become more pulpy. Still, it came out beautiful, and I quite liked the look of this dish. The pictures don’t lie – the final product truly looked spectacular.

  3. May 24, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    You are killing me Minnie. This looks super delicious and tempting..you move to Phoenix next dear ;-)

    • May 25, 2013 at 10:34 AM

      How about a trip to Boston?? I promise I am going to feed you this and anything else that you want :D

  4. CCU
    May 24, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Thank you for telling the story of Indian’s north and south my friend, I really should look into it more :P
    Lovely dessert, this is actually gorgeous and your photos make it look simple!

    Cheers
    CCU
    CCU recently posted..Lotsa Choc-Chip LoveMy Profile

    • May 25, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      Thank you Uru!!!

  5. May 24, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    Never had it, though but looks delicious and unique. I just love any desert which has cream as the base.
    By the way Happy anniversary! seems Like I have missed many of your posts.
    Balvinder recently posted..Multiseed Rice Krispie SquaresMy Profile

    • May 25, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      Me tooo!!! I love cream, lol!! Thank you Balvinder, it’s so good to see you.

  6. bini basheer
    May 24, 2013 at 11:40 PM

    Minnie…

    Yummy dear….Mouth watering…Will surely give a try dear….

  7. May 25, 2013 at 12:23 AM

    would you look at that pic and the amazing history lesson here. wonder if you were my history teacher before but no thats not possible
    hehe the pics are too good
    and explanations awesome
    meena recently posted..Mango lassiMy Profile

  8. May 25, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    Looks yum..
    Asiya Omar recently posted..Tomato JuiceMy Profile

  9. May 25, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    What a gorgeous dessert, Minnie. I had no idea that India had so many different food cultures.
    Maureen | Orgasmic Chef recently posted..A Rather Delicious Raspberry SouffléMy Profile

    • May 25, 2013 at 10:41 AM

      Thanks Maureen! So far, from what I have seen around the world, India does seem to have the most diverse culture when it comes to food. From the noodle and dumpling eating people of the Far East to sea food lovers of the West, the difference is amazing. And this, not counting what lays in between.

  10. May 25, 2013 at 6:30 AM

    I know, this is not for me. But I want to have it!!!!!! :-D Those pictures, god!! I can’t take my mind off them hahaha.
    Bhaskar recently posted..Kolkata – City of Joy, City full of life!My Profile

    • May 25, 2013 at 10:43 AM

      I know, it’s not for me either, hahaha! All that cream – even everyday Zumba is not going to shake that off.

  11. May 26, 2013 at 5:39 AM

    beautifully presented the simple dessert to an extraordinaire.

    • May 26, 2013 at 11:54 PM

      Thank you so much Humi!!

  12. May 26, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    Awesome presentation and lovely write up. Congratulations on your blogs anniversary.
    Amrita recently posted..Khubani ka meetha/Apricot FoolMy Profile

    • May 28, 2013 at 11:19 PM

      Thank you so much Amrita!

  13. May 26, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Drooling……….with your amazing pictorial explainations………just amazing Minnie.

    today’s post:
    http://sanolisrecipies.blogspot.in/2013/05/sugar-free-eggless-chocolate-pudding.html
    Sanoli Ghosh recently posted..SUGAR FREE EGGLESS CHOCOLATE PUDDINGMy Profile

    • May 27, 2013 at 10:25 AM

      Thank you Sonali!

  14. May 27, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Thank u for stopping by my space :) 1st time at ur space too, Lovely Presentation of Kubaani ka meetha. Following u via G+ hope u follow me back :) would certainly take time to browse all ur recipes :)
    Aara recently posted..FLOATING ICE APPLE IN MILKY PARADISEMy Profile

  15. May 27, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    The pics look absolutely stunning… and an equally gorgeous pudding…
    Rafeeda recently posted..Easy Trifle PuddingMy Profile

    • May 28, 2013 at 11:23 PM

      Thank you so much!

  16. May 27, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    What an interesting post Minnie! :D And I really like how you served it with a mousse. I can imagine it would be lovely on yogurt too :)

    • May 28, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      That’s an interesting thought Lorraine. I think I will give it a try next time.

  17. May 27, 2013 at 6:22 AM

    Looks yummy, tempting and delicious Minnie :-)
    Nilu A recently posted..Vegetable FrankieMy Profile

    • May 28, 2013 at 11:25 PM

      Thank you Nilu!

  18. May 27, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    wow, this one looks like the best thing on earth! amazing and you make every recipe look so simple!

    loved reading the history!

    apologies for reading your posts so late.

    • May 28, 2013 at 11:26 PM

      No apologies needed :) But yes, I did miss your comments :D Thank you DJ!

  19. May 27, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    That does look wonderful Minnie and thank you for all of the information, very helpful. I haven’t seen Divya’s blog before but I do love Indian food so I will check it out.
    Eva Taylor recently posted..Views from the BackdoorMy Profile

    • May 28, 2013 at 11:28 PM

      Thank you Eva, I am glad you found the tit bits informative. I am a history buff….but I am always afraid I will bore people to death, so try to curb it, lol!

  20. May 28, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    This is definitely my kind of dish! I love it! I’ve never rehydrated apricots so I am quite surprised at how beautiful they are after soaking overnight! They look fresh. I can see me sitting down and eating a whole bowl or two of this treat! Love the apricot topping as much as I love the mousse. Great recipe!
    mjskit recently posted..A Simple Snack with Apples, Walnuts and RaisinsMy Profile

    • May 28, 2013 at 11:32 PM

      Thank you MJ, so good to see you!

  21. May 28, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    this is our family favorite dish, wish i can make this and give it to my dad on his birthday two days later. oh boy i miss him so much now.
    Kitchen Queen recently posted..Thandai KulfiMy Profile

    • May 28, 2013 at 11:33 PM

      Awwww…….I know what you mean Linsy.

  22. May 28, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Delicious n thanx 4 is post..heard num of times dis names but never get a chance to see..love d cliks..
    maha recently posted..EGG LESS CHOCOLATE COFFEE BREAD PUDDING/EASY BREAD PUDDING WITH COFFEE TOUCH/NATURALISTA DE PUDIM DE PAO DE CAFEMy Profile

  23. May 29, 2013 at 2:43 AM

    Never tried this dish but the sound of it is delicious.
    Lail | With A Spin recently posted..Tangy Shrimp & Mango SaladMy Profile

  24. May 29, 2013 at 8:18 AM

    Ah I could need your compote now, I have never seen it being sold somewhere in the north. Btw didn’t the nizam own precious stone mines. I remember a story about a diamond that was sold and which seemed to be one of the most expensive in the world now. The Nizam family declined after the 50s didn’t they? Love history =D
    Wherever the Mughal had their fingers in, turned into a magical dish.

    • May 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      I have heard they owned jewels of un-imagined splendour and the last Nizam has a diamond that was supposed to be the most expensive in the world, which he used as a paper weight. They also had a fleet of Rolls Royce – I saw that in a Discovery Channel program. It was I think the largest privately owned fleet of luxuary cars at that time. They also giften an aircraft to the British during WW2. Amazing how nothing noteworthy survives of that house today. But you are right, anything Mughal, and the dish turns magical, lol!
      Minnie recently posted..Qubani ka Meetha – this is from HyderabadMy Profile

  25. May 29, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Awesome work Minnie.. loved those gorgeous clicks.. :) And the dessert looks so classic!! Thanks to Roha for the awesome challenge..

  26. June 4, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Oh my goodness, this looks yummy!
    Lizzy (Good Things) recently posted..Orange almond cakeMy Profile

  27. June 4, 2013 at 11:03 PM

    Stunning pictured,love it dear,voted for it.
    babitha costa recently posted..Nungu/Palm Fruit Delight | Summer specialMy Profile

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