Recipe: Boeber – otherwise known as Pez…

Did you get your Oppieberg Certificate for making it to the half way mark of Ramadaan? Friday night marked half way through Ramadaan. For most of the Malay community in Cape Town this is also when that delectable milky beverage of vermicilli, sago, cinnamon and cardamon known as Boeber is first made in the month. Koknis have been making it all month and often have a bowl at iftaar when breaking the fast.

About 3 years ago, I posted a recipe for boeber, along with a bit of history about the dish. Today I’m sharing the Kokni version which is called Pez. The main difference is the addition of Tasty Wheat or Semolina. I have had it thin and runny enough to drink from a cup or extra thick like pudding which has your spoon standing up straight which was just as delicious. I like it as a porridge, somewhere in the middle, not too thick, not too thin.

Here is my recipe for this hearty and warming dish.

Pez

Ingredients
25 ml butter
25 ml sago
100 ml water to soak the sago
125 ml extra-fine vermicelli
25 ml Semolina
3 cinnamon sticks
3 elachi (cardamom) pods cracked
1 litre milk
15 ml rose water optional
45 ml sugar (or more or less to taste)
25 ml blanched and slivered almonds (optional)

Method
Soak the sago in the water for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, melt the butter on medium heat in a saucepan. When it has melted, add the elachi and cinnamon and let it become fragrant for a few seconds. Then add the vermicelli and toss about till it starts to go golden brown. Add the semolina and stir about till it goes slightly pink. Pour the milk into the saucepan. Bring to the boil while stirring then add the pre-soaked sago and simmer for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking. The sago should become transparent. Add the rose water, sugar and almonds and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes before serving. You can add more milk if you want it thinner. It also thickens up upon standing. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios when serving.

Variation: A teaspoon of Methi (Fenugreek) powder added into the mixture as it simmers gives this dish a completely different dimension. Methi is slightly bitter so start with less and increase to taste. Omit the rose water if you’re going to use methi powder.

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