Today we travel to Yemen, an Arab state in southwest Asia. Sana’a is the capital and also the largest city in the country. Yemen is a culturally rich country with the influences from various civilizations.
Yemeni cuisine is unique from Middle Eastern cuisine and also differs from region to region. Chicken, goat and lamb are common meats and fish is common in coastal areas. Holba, fenugreek froth is a common condiment and is also added to many dishes. Holba is used extensively all over Yemen. I was going to make holba and a dish that uses holba. I had short listed couple of recipes when I landed on the Queen of Sheeba blog.
This blog has some amazing recipes and especially bakes. I wanted to try all the Yemeni bakes but for now I settled for Ka’ak. According to the blog, Yemeni ka’ak is cross between a biscuit and a cookie. To me it was more like cross between a biscuit and roll. It was soft and flaky in the inside and crunchy on the outside. This is a savory and a little sweetish bake that is a staple for any special occasion. It is also served with afternoon tea. The shape of the ka'ak was so pretty and just could not wait to bake it. I baked these a month ago, the Friday before this edition of blogging marathon started and I still had to cook 3-4 recipes and two from week 2. Though I was going to post the ka’ak end of this month, I could not wait to bake it. My ka’ak is not as pretty as the images on Queen of Sheeba but I totally loved it. I ate the ka’ak as it is but Mr.U felt it would be better with jam or some butter.
Source: Queen of Sheeba
Total Time: 87 – 105 minutes
Preparation: 15 – 20 minutes
Resting Time: 50 – 60 minutes (rest the dough twice, one before shaping the ka'ak and once after shaping)
Bake Time: 22 – 25 minutes
Yields: 20 – 22 depending on the size
- 2 ⅓ cup Flour
- ½ cup + 1 ½ tbsp. Butter
- 1 Whole Egg
- 1 Egg White
- ⅓ c Milk
- ¼ tsp. Yeast
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- ½ - 2 tbsp. Sugar (I used 1 tbsp. Can add more for a sweeter taste)
- Egg Wash
- 1 Egg Yolk
- ¾ tbsp. Milk for egg wash
- Few Black or White Sesame Seeds
- Mix together milk and yeast to dissolve yeast.
- Mix together flour, butter, egg, egg white, milk, sugar and salt to combine everything.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 – 30 minutes.
- Shape the dough into small cookies. Ka'ak can be shaped into any shape one likes. I made one round ka’ak and for the rest I tried to pattern like Queen Sheeba did but I wasn’t successful. My pattern was narrow and thin that after baking the patter was barely visible. To shape the ka’ak like Queen Sheeba did, make round ball, flattened it a little and pinch the corner and fold it back. Repeat the pinching and folding around the flattened ball. Shape all the ka’ak and place them on a cookie / baking sheet.
- Cover and let the ka’ak rest for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F.
- Prepare the egg wash by mixing milk and egg yolk.
- Brush it with on top of the ka’ak. Add sesame seeds.
- Bake in preheated oven for 22 – 25 minutes or until golden brown. I baked for 22 minutes. Temperatures vary from oven to oven bake until brown.
- Transfer to a cooling rack. Once cold, store ka’ak in an airtight container at room temperature. My ka’ak for good for 3 days. On third day I had 2 left and it was good but not as fresh as they were the first 2 days.