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Faye Levy's Yemeni Kubaneh

"The flavor of this Yemenite specialty appeals to everyone. Yemenite women bake it in a covered aluminum "jahnoon pot" that you can buy at the shuk, but any casserole or baking dish with a tight cover works fine. Serve kubaneh warm, either with sugar or with peppery fresh tomato puree." Faye Levy

  • 7 grams or 2 1/2 teaspoons (7 grams) active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey or additional sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 to 6 ounces margarine or butter, cut in pieces
  • 3/4 cup very hot water
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 eggs in their shells (optional)
 

METHOD

Sprinkle yeast over lukewarm water and add 1 teaspoon sugar. Leave for 10 minutes until yeast is foamy.

In a mixing bowl, combine remaining sugar, honey, salt, half the margarine and hot water. Stir until sugar and margarine are completely dissolved. Stir in yeast mixture. Add flour and mix with a wooden spoon until dough becomes difficult to stir. Knead in remaining flour with your hands.

Knead dough vigorously on a lightly floured work surface, adding flour by tablespoons if necessary, until dough is very smooth but still soft, about 10 minutes.

Put dough in a clean, oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until nearly doubled in volume.

Punch down dough, knead it briefly in bowl, cover and let rise again in a warm place for about 1 hour; or refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours.

Let remaining margarine stand at room temperature until very soft.

Generously grease a deep 2-liter (8 x 8 x 2) baking dish.

Divide dough in 8 pieces. With a lightly oiled rolling pin, roll out one piece on a lightly oiled surface to a rectangle about 3 mm thick. Spread with about 2 teaspoons of soft margarine. Roll up like a jelly roll. Flatten resulting roll by tapping it with your knuckles. Spread it with about 1 teaspoon margarine. Then roll it up into a spiral and place it in baking dish so that spiral design faces up. Continue with remaining pieces of dough, placing them one next to the other and touching each other in dish. If any margarine remains, put it in small pieces on top.

Rinse eggs and add to baking dish. Cover dough with greased paper or foil placed on surface of dough, then with a tight lid.

Preheat oven to 110 C (225 F). Bake 3 hours or until golden brown. Remove eggs. Turn bread out onto a plate, then onto another plate and back into baking dish, so it is now upside down. Return eggs to baking dish. Cover dough as before.

Reduce oven temperature to 80 to 85 (200 F) and bake overnight. Serve warm.

Yield: 8 servings

Contributor: Faye Levy

Please read our review of Faye's definitive book on Middle Eastern Cooking: click for Feast from the Mideast

Reprinted with permission from Feast from tehe Mideast©2003 Faye Levy, published by Harper Collins

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