Daily Prompt: Elixir

I had no idea what to write about for today’s prompt, and sometimes you need a prompt for a prompt, and my searchings brought me to HONEY.

This post is brought to you by FoodeMag Dxb:

There are almost 12 of Yemeni honey produced, the most famous and expensive is from the Elb or Sidr tree – one of the trees mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Semi nomadic beekeepers gather twice a year to collect Sidr honey in the remote desert region of Hadramout in the South Arabian Peninsula.

Traditional beekeeping methods can still be seen in Yemen – use of small wood, cane or pottery hives with both stationary beekeeping, hives are placed in gardens or on house roofs. Nomadic beekeeping is also practised. The techniques of beekeeping and honey extraction have remained substantially the traditional ones, although modern methods have introduced machines and equipment.

Good Yemeni honey is so highly prized that it’s possession is considered as a status symbol. Being offered Yemeni honey when entering a Yemini home means that you are truly an honoured guest!

And also, an elixir of life.

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In the south of Yemen, the Do’an Valley, traditional beekeeping dates back thousands of years. That tradition involves raising bees in hollow trees with hives made from bamboo. The profession is respected and a family-run job. But the recent war is harming honey businesses is in country where every corner has a honey shop.

“If you go to the honey shop in Yemen, it’s just like you’re going to the museum,” he says. “The floor, the walls, everything, like you are inside a beehive. Imagine you go there and you smell the honey from all over the country.” PRI

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A Yemeni vendor pours honey into a jar at his shop in the capital Sanaa on July 18, 2016. Yemeni honey, locally known for its medicinal benefits, is facing widespread fraud as counterfeiters try to make a quick profit.

Along with medicinal benefits, honey is often used to sweeten dishes. One example is a banana bread pudding.

Masoub or Malakia  is a banana and honey wholewheat bread pudding if you will. It is popular in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It is usually served for breakfast or dessert after a meal. The recipe is rather simple and it is a great example of how an outcome can be much greater than the sum of its parts. Masoub is basically whole wheat bread that is processed with mashed bananas, cream and honey.Some like to add dates, others add nuts and raisins and some people even add cheese as a topping.

Both of these recipes use a wholewheat flatbread that you have to grind in a blender or food processor. Can you just use bread crumbs? Does anyone know? Aren’t you grinding the bread into breadcrumbs? I do not care for bananas, but I love banana muffins which is oddly strange, so I want to try this recipe.

I found another bread and honey recipe from Honey, I’m Homemade: Sweet Treats from the Beehive across the Centuries and around the World. According to this book, you absolutely cannot have a honey recipe cookbook without a recipe from Yemen, aka “the land of honey.” This recipe is called Bint al-Sahn.

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Pouring honey over traditional Yemeni dessert.

Finally, a look at the region where some of this wonderful honey comes from. Let’s hope that the war in Yemen ends soon and everyone can enjoy honey again in peace.

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Village of Sif, in Wadi Daw’an.
Sif, Hadramawt, Yemen, Middle East