In South Asian culture there is a concept of certain foods having “warming” and “cooling” properties. This notion stems from Ayurvedic practices, and it plays an integral role even in modern times.
In Memon culture, there is a delicacy that is prepared especially in the winter (and for postpartum women!) called Urad ki Mesub. It is chockfull of nutritious, yet indulgent, ingredients and is thought to warm the body and soul. My Papa was a huge fan of this delicacy, and indulged in it any chance he could. He was especially fond of my khaala’s (maternal aunt) recipe, and would especially request her to prepare some for him. I have beautiful memories of my mother and khaala preparing large quantities of Urad ki Mesub, and setting out large pans of it to solidify. I remember how careful they were when slicing and storing it, and my father hanging around to munch on the crumbs left behind. My mom used to lovingly leave large chunks behind, knowing full well that Papa was nearby.
This recipe is one that I was guided through by my khaala. I wanted to learn from the pro herself, and I wanted to recreate the magical taste that my Papa used to crave. I’ve been thinking of him a lot lately, and with Thanksgiving passing (it was one of his favorite holidays), this seemed like the perfect time to learn and perfect this traditional family recipe. I hope that it brings you as much happiness as it does us ❤️
Urad Ki Mesub- A Traditional Memon Winter Delicacy
- 1¾ cups (350 grams) clarified butter, divided
- ½ cup (100 grams) edible gum (also sold as gondh or gum acacia)
- 3 cups (400 grams) black matpe flour (also sold as urad flour or white lentil flour)
- ¾ cup (75 grams) sliced unsalted pistachios or almonds
- 1¾ cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
Set aside an aluminum foil lined 9-inch round or square cake pan.
Heat a stainless steel vessel over medium low heat. Add ¼-cup (50 grams) clarified butter and allow it to melt. Add edible gum and cook until it has plumped up, making sure to stir often. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and allow it to cool.
Once the gum has come to room temperature, grind into a course texture resembling sand, and set aside.
In the same pan, heat remaining clarified butter over medium low heat. Add flour and cook, stirring very often (read: every few minutes), until fragrant and deeply golden and caramel in color. This process should take approximately one hour, and requires frequent stirring and patience. The following is a breakdown of what the cooking process entails: Initially when the flour is added to the pan, the mixture will seem loose and liquified. At approximately the 10-minute mark, the mixture will feel thicker and lumpy. At approximately 30 minutes into cooking, the mixture will start to loosen up again. At the 45-minute mark, the mixture should be very runny in texture, and small bubbles will form and pop. After about 1-hour of cooking, the mixture should be bubbling a bit more, the color should be deepened to a caramel, and it should release a fragrant roasted and nutty aroma.
With the heat still on medium low, stir in the ground gum. Cook for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Gently and thoroughly stir in nuts and sugar. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and set aside to cool completely.
When the mixture has set, yet not hardened, gently score with a sharp knife into desired size pieces. This will make it easier to cut into bars once it has set and hardened.
Allow the mesub to completely set up and harden before slicing and storing.
Cooking times may vary.
Urad ki mesub can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a month.