Updated: Aug 28, 2020
I love discovering common recipes in foods. Many a time have I sat around a table and have heard 'oh we have something the same'! And so it is with Emirati Balaleet and the Ashkenazi kugel. Who would have thought?
The idea to make Balaleet kugel was first given to me from my Emirati friend, May. Like me, she loves exploring foods and trying new dishes. While brainstorming what Kosherati dishes we could do, she suggested this.
Balaleet is an Emirati dish that is eaten at breakfast time. It is made with vermicelli, eggs, sugar, cardamom, saffron and rosewater. Kugel is also a combination of sweet and savory ingredients and varies depending on where it comes from. It can be made with potato (most common), or pumpkin (also common). One version of the kugel is with vermicelli or noodles. Like Balaleet, it also makes use of sugar, and eggs. There are only two differences: kugel does not make use of spices other than salt and pepper; the cooking method also varies. In Balaleet, the egg is made into an omelette and served on top of the sweetened noodles (and per the image above).
Here I have taken the Balaleet recipe and used the kugel method. And that's how you make Balaleet kugel. It certainly spices the old recipe up!
Note: there are various ways to make kugel. If you want to make a Yerushalmi kugel, you will need to follow a different method.
1 box of thin vemicelli
2 tablespoons of oil or ghee or butter
3/4 -1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 teaspoon of saffron
4 eggs, beaten
Boil the noodles in a pot of water with a drop of oil. Once they are cooked / soft, drain the water.
Add the sugar so that it melts and set aside to cool.
Once cool, add the saffron and cardamom.
Then add the beaten eggs and mix well.
Place the mixture in baking tray and sprinkle with a few drops of rosewater.
Then bake in the oven until it is set.
Cut into squares and serve.
To make this kugel in the Yerushalmi way, proceed with the following steps:
Use 3-4 cups of sugar and caramelize it over medium heat. once golden in color, remove from the heat. Boil the vermicelli in a pot of water and then drain. Before draining, take a ladle of the vermicelli water and drop it into the sugar and allow to bubble and splutter (off the heat). Add the vermicelli and spices to the sugar and mix well. Once cool, add the beaten eggs. Then add 1/2 cup of oil, and mix well. Place in a round baking dish and bake for at least 2 hours on medium heat. Once cooked, remove from heat and the pot and serve hot or cold in wedges.