I generally like moving from one country to another. I enjoy the exposure to different cultures, meeting new people and my favourite part has to be trying new foods! However, I definitely crave the foods I leave behind and one of the foods I found difficult to find is masoub, a bread and banana pudding of sorts. Funnily enough, I didn’t really enjoy it when I lived in Saudi Arabia, where it is very popular, although it is believed to originate in Yemen – specifically Hadramout. A few years after I moved to London I started missing masoub and really started to love it when my husband tried his hand at recreating it at home. It doesn’t taste exactly as it did in Saudi Arabia, and to me, I prefer his at-home shortcut version, especially because we can control the texture. I am not the biggest fan of mushy foods, so being able to make it chunkier at home has been the perfect middle ground.
I don’t really know why this dish is called masoub, but if I had to guess, the Arabic word masoub refers to someone who is very hungry, and I can see this being a filling breakfast which is popular in the colder months as it is a source of energy and warmth. In Saudi Arabia, it is usually sold at restaurants that sell ful, a fava bean dip, and adas, a lentil dip, both warm and filling foods, so there seems to be a theme. It is more of a street food and is usually served as a takeaway from little shops across the cities, and we all know that street food just hits different.
This isn’t the most traditional way to make masoub, but it definitely is a great way to have it when you can’t have the traditional one. Traditionally, a whole wheat flatbread is used and many use a meat grinder to get it minced superfine. Our shortcut is frozen parathas, which you can find in most supermarkets in the UK and the Arab world, or in ethnic supermarkets. I love the flakiness and crispiness of the bread, which holds its texture when the bananas are added. The fruits used need to be very ripe. Some versions even include dates. Then, the addition of cream gives this dish some richness and creaminess that goes with everything so well. Finally, you want to drizzle the dish with the best possible quality honey you can find. After all, it is a Yemeni dish and Yemen is famous for its delicious honey. Don’t skip the black sesame seeds, they add a bit of texture and a flavour that ties all the flavours together. Have this for a hearty breakfast or a decadent dessert and you won’t be disappointed.
2 frozen parathas
3 medium bananas (ripe)
170 g ishta cream
Black sesame seeds
- Start by making your parathas. Remove the plastic from the paratha and place in a pan on medium heat, without any oil. Once it starts to brown on one side, turn to the other and cook until golden on both sides. Set aside.
- While your bread is browning, mash the three bananas well in a bowl. Chop the bread and mix in with the bananas, along with your ishta cream. Fold everything in gently until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into a serving bowl and drizzle with honey and black sesame seeds and enjoy!