If you like dates and nuts, this is the recipe for you. We truly appreciate Suhasini’s generosity in sharing it with us—it has become a part of our cooking repertoire. Simple ingredients, simple preparation, and it stays well refrigerated for days. It is great for family as well as for entertaining.
Rather than buy fruit and nut bars from the grocery store, try making these. Using the best possible dates makes a difference to the texture. Some pitted dates, and ones with pits, have a hard interior and it can take a frustrating amount of time to remove all the hard white bits. Having tried this recipe several different ways, I find that we like it best with a combination of Jordanian and medjool dates that I pit at home and tear apart with my fingers—they are so moist and soft! We like ours with pistachios, almonds, and cashews. So experiment and see what your family prefers—more dates, less dates, more nuts, less nuts, finely chopped nuts or chunky pieces. In terms of cooking times, microwaves vary greatly. So cooking times may vary. I also find that a deeper bowl requires more time than a shallow bowl and may need to be stirred more often for even cooking.
Suhasini’s original recipe
- 1 lb 14 oz-coarsely chopped pitted dates, removing any hard stem or interiors
- 4 heaping tablespoons finely chopped walnuts and cashews
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- In a large microwave-proof bowl, add the dates and nuts and cover with a microwave-proof plate.
- Cook on full power for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Allow mixture to cool enough to handle and knead well with ghee covered hands—keep dipping fingers and hand with ghee if is sticky.
- Place the kneaded ball on parchment and roll into a log about 1 ½ inches round. Cover it tightly in plastic wrap and chill well.
- Slice into ¼ inch slices and serve at room temperature.
Our version has more nuts and less dates because our family likes it less sweet. We also use bigger chunks of nuts as a take-off from Dubai-based Puranmal‘s famous dry fruit mithai—Nutberries and Dateberries. Our version comes close to Purnmal’s Dateberries though we do need a little more date than they do to hold the nuts together. An outer edge of finely grated unsweetened coconut, sesame seeds, or crushed pistachios adds a layer of flavor and texture as well as a little elegance.
If you have a log or two in the fridge, it is so easy to serve as a little treat at very short notice.
- 1 cup coarsely chopped medjool dates (use a large knife, or your fingers, and not a food processor as blades get stuck)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped Jordanian dates (remove tough parts)
- 1 ½ cups very coarsely chopped nuts (½ cup slivered almonds, ½ cup cashews, ½ cup plain pistachios)
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- ½ cup fine unsweetened desiccated coconut or sesame seeds (optional)
- ½ cup ground pistachios (optional)
- In a large microwave-proof shallow bowl, add the dates and nuts tossing them together with 1 teaspoon of room temperature ghee. Cover with a microwave-proof plate.
- Cook on full power for 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir. Cook again, covered. for 30 seconds or till the mixture begins to steam.
- Remove from the oven and start mashing it with a potato masher.
- Once it cools enough to handle, knead with hands well greased with ghee. Keep kneading till the nuts are evenly incorporated and the dates are puréed.
- Place the kneaded ball on a chopping board and divide into two parts. Roll each part with ghee on the hands into a log about 1inch to 1 ½ inches wide—use a little pressure to remove any air gaps.
- This is an optional step. Take each log and roll it, pressing it gently, into a plate with the coconut, or pistachios, or a mixture of the two, or sesame seeds. Cover the whole surface of the log with it.
- Place the logs individually on a large piece of plastic wrap and wrap them tightly. Chill well in the fridge and then slice the cold log into ¼ inch slices with a sharp knife. Serve at room temperature.
Serves 12-24 depending on recipe. Preparation time: 5-10 minutes. Cooking and kneading time: 10-15 minutes.