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Last week, we celebrated Maryam's Islamic birthday. My baby is growing up and turned two. If you ask her what her name is, she'll smile coyly and say 'Mayam Rajabali.' That's not a typo- she just can't pronounce the 'r.' Ask her how old she is and she'll wave both arms in the air with all ten fingers staring at you- 'Two.'
The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and so each year, birthdays and anniversaries fall on a different days. It's very hard to keep track but Maryam is rather special. She had the whole nation celebrating with her and even a national holiday. That's because she celebrates her Islamic birthday on the same day as the Prophet (a public holiday in Dubai). So it's hard NOT to remember her special day.
We'll be having a party for her next month on her English birthday but I feel it's important for her to understand the Islamic calendar and appreciate it. So from this year onwards, we've decided we'll do something small but special on her Islamic birthday too.
I woke her up in the morning and excitedly told her that it was her birthday. Starry eyed and still snug as a bug in her sleeping bag, she sang herself the Happy Birthday song. Then, with a look of utter astonishment and disbelief on her face, flung her arms up in the air and exclaimed-'Where cake? Where cake?'
And so I decided to make her something special for her special day. I've been wanting to make doughnuts for a while now as we haven't eaten them in about eighteen months. The long pause was because I went off certain foods whilst having chemo and believe it or not, doughnuts was one of them. Growing up, everyone's moms made them cookies and cakes. Ours made us doughnuts. Mummy would top them with nutella and then sprinkle them with roasted coconut. Others, she would leave plain with just a dusting of sugar. And so, I've always loved them.
I used my favourite recipe and decided to surprise Maryam with a chocolate centre. More specifically, a nutella centre. I made them while she was napping and just couldn't resist popping one in my mounth. Then another. Then one more. I had to hide them in the microwave to stop myself. When she woke up, she ran into the kitchen and screamed, 'Odon (doughnuts).' We shamelessly finished the batch and don't have any regrets.
3- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
6 tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk, room temperature
2 eggs, lightly beaten
6 tbs butter, room temperature
oil for deep frying
1 1/2 tsp cinammon
1/2 cup sugar
Add all the dry ingredients together in a bowl (start with 3 cups of flour). Add the butter and mix with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. Make a well in the centre and add the milk and eggs. Start kneading the dough and of you feel it is sticky or wet, then add a little bit more flour. Knead for 10 minutes or so. Then cover the bowl and place in a warm area to rise for an hour to an hour and a half or until double in size.
Lightly flour a surface and roll the dough to a thickness of a 1/2 inch. Cut the dough into 3 inch rounds. Reroll and repeat until all the dough scraps have been used.
To add the Nutella, you can do it in two ways. The first way is to put half a teaspoon into each 3 inch circle and then carefully close to form a ball. Pinch the ends before smoothing the surface as you don't want the ball to open up whilst frying. Otherwise, you can add the nutella after deep frying using a piping tip. I found it easier to add it before frying. However, the texture of the nutella wasn't as shiny. If you are not adding the nutella before frying, make a ball out of each 3 inch circle. Place balls on a lightly floured tray and cover loosely with cling film. Let the balls rise for 30-45 minutes.
Heat oil on medium heat. Place the balls into the oil 4-5 at a time. Fry until golden brown on medium heat. When done, remove from the oil and transfer to a paper towel. If you haven't added the nutella, do so now using a piping bag and tip. Coat in sugar and cinnamon mix whilst still warm.