The Murderous History of Qatar’s Most Common Dessert
Dip your spoon into Om Ali—a golden, bread pudding-like dessert, lush and creamy with heat milk and studded with golden raisins and pistachios—in any restaurant or cafe in Doha, Qatar. Also, you may not prevent to assume something except this is, in all likelihood, one of the delicate cakes in life. The recipe couldn’t be extra accessible, nor more extraordinary perfect. Puff pastry, milk, sugar, cream, and a smattering of nuts and raisins and the different dried result are thrown into an oven and served golden brown.
Qatar, one of the smallest nations of the Gulf States, shares dessert traditions with the relaxation of the Arabic countries of the region. Even because the united states of Qatar rushes headlong into futuristic green strength architecture and making plans, this historic dessert hailing from decrease Egypt may be determined at cafes and fancy inns. Q-explorer Qatari manual Abdullah Mohammed told me, “you can even eat it for breakfast.”
But, like many famous dishes, the theory of the recipe is hotly disputed—and uncovering the over-the-top proper crime detail of one of the three competing foundation memories is a actual thrill journey. All three stories refer again to the call of the dish—“mother” (om) of Ali, her son. (Thanks to the patriarchy, the woman who created the dessert by no means gets her full call written down inside the annals of history.)
One story follows a humble path of an old lady (who happens to have a son named Ali) in a hostile village within the Nile Delta, wherein a sultan in the 13th century with apparent imperiousness requested for something to consume while he passed through this precise village while on a hunt. Scrambling for something worthy of a sultan, the old female combined whatever she had reachable, and the sultan found it as melt-in-the-mouth scrumptious as the present-day day variations and made it famous upon his go back to the city—naming it after the mother of Ali.
Shajarat Al-Durr (a Syrian chronicler who calls her “the maximum foxy ladies of her age”) started her course to energy first as a bonded slave who married a sultan after giving him a son. While he died, she dominated in his stead. However, because of a complex political scenario, she needed to remarry and misplaced the authentic seat of strength because a woman ruler could not give the powers. But she already had a taste for head-of-state topics and was reputed to be pulling the strings in the back of the facade of her 2d husband.
When she allegedly murdered her second husband for taking any other wife, his first wife—the purported Om Ali of dessert reputation, who was thrown over at Al-Durr’s behest—allegedly bribed some maids to murder her inside the hammam by beating her to death with their shoes. (It’s doubtful whether the footwear had been a part of the commands or that become a spontaneous approach of murdering.)
Another account says that Al-Durr met an ignominious death by using being thrown off the pinnacle of the citadel by way of the primary wife, who had been awaiting her candy, sweet revenge. (When you play the Game of Thrones…)
Upon the triumphant news that her rival became dead, the first spouse demanded her chefs compete to create a dish celebrating her rival’s demise and to be even greater more; she even served it in with a gold coin within the bowl.
It ought to be stated that this story indicates up handiest via gleeful testimonies around the dish and now not in authentic ancient money owed, which could be primarily because of the reality many reputable records books had been stored by way of men—perhaps they did not care about the bread pudding-like dessert aspect.