Cooking Around The World: Revani (Turkey)

As of last week, I placed upon myself a challenge to cook or bake something from a different cuisine every two weeks or so. I'm not exactly sure where this sudden motivation came from, but I highly suspect that the delicious Polish dinner at Kluska in Dandenong a few weeks ago played a very important role.

To be honest, as much as I love to eat out, I'm not very knowledgeable about different cuisines and cooking methods. I tend to stay within my comfort zone, which involves modern Australian, Italian and Asian cuisines. I'm hoping that this challenge will not only expose me to different cuisines, but also learn about the country's history, geography and culture.

To keep it fair, I used a random country generator and the first result that came up was Turkey. After lots of reading up (and completing dismissing the possibility of making Turkish delight because it sounded too hard), I decided on making revanii, also known as basbousa, a semolina sponge cake soaked in sugar syrup. From what I've read, it has made its mark not only in Turkey, but also other countries such as Egypt and Greece.

Everything is a learning process. I used this recipe and simple as it sounds, I stuffed it up three different ways the first time:
  • I didn't have all my ingredients ready - I was initially going to use a recipe that contained yoghurt, and I simply assumed I had some at home. Turns out I didn't, so I had to switch to this yoghurtless recipe instead. 
  • I didn't prepare my butter properly - I knew I needed softened butter to cream it well with the sugar, but because I was in a rush, I used the microwave. Guess what? It melted, and obviously it did not cream.
  • I didn't measure out the semolina accurately - I was in such a rush, I hastily poured the semolina into my cup measure and it spilled all over. I probably ended up using a lot more semolina than required.

Needless to say, there was plenty of room for improvement.  I made it again a week later (as pictured above) and this time, I made sure I gave myself plenty of time to prepare everything accordingly. It paid off because the cake turned out really light and fluffy!

I made a few intentional changes to the recipe - I used lime instead of lemon, vanilla essence instead of rosewater, and pistachios instead of almonds. I have made it three times in total and it got easier every time. 

I'm quite happy with the result of this challenge (first time working with semolina) and am really excited to start on the next country! Keeping that a secret for now. ;)

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