Monday, August 8, 2011

Mersu: An Ancient Confection

Here's a healthy super easy recipe, no baking required and they make wonderful little energy boosters.

These little treats date back to the the Babylonian times as some of the earliest treats known to man. They were called Mersu as mentioned on the old Babylonian culinary tablets.

They are still popular today and back home my grandma taught us how to make these, she would knead the dates into a dough and then us children would gather around and follow her lead of rolling little balls out of the dates and stuffing them.

There are a few steps so it's a bit of an assembly line but it's fun. Also there are variations so you can make whatever you like but what I remember was walnuts, coconut and sesame seeds.

My favourite is the walnut date sesame seed because I love the crunch of the hidden walnut piece inside and then the toasted sesame coating just works beautifully with the sweet date paste. It's really addictive!

So we begin with date paste, or those dry pitted dates from the bulk store bin.

Chop your dates up with a knife then pour some hot water over your dates, so for every 2 cups about a 1/2 cup of warm or hot water. Let it sit for a bit then drain the water off.

Now start kneading until you get a dough.

You could add a drop or two or oil to help with the mixing.

Prepare your ingredients in advance:

- A bowl of toasted sesame seeds
- A bowl of coconut
- A bowl of chopped/ground pistachio

- Walnuts (cut into quarters or halves - small enough to fit inside)

Now take a bit of dough and roll it between your palms.
Take a piece of walnut and shove it inside then close it up and roll it again.

Now set these aside until ready to coat them. Once you've prepped a descent amount you can move to rolling them into whatever coating you like or if you have help your little ones can do this for you.

Set them aside and you're all ready to go!

It's that easy.

Enjoy with tea, arabic coffee, as a nice snack or energy boosting treat!

During the recet Iraq war there was a time when the American soldiers were doing surveillance in all the houses so they paid a visit to my grandfathers house, when they entered my grandma was sitting in the living room rolling these little treats and they were curious as to what they were so she let them taste, they loved them so much and so she offered for them to take some. They were delighted and began filling their pockets with these little sticky confections.


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