Baklava and the "Indo-Pak" war on its origin


I have been “uniquely” blessed with a taste for sweets and desserts. Some people, rather sarcastically term it as a craving, although I tend to turn my deaf ear to such “allegations”. I must admit, chocolates are my weakness and I hog on brownies. But I do spare sometime to try out sweet dishes from the rest of the world. In fact when in a restaurant, I call my entrée as my dessert and vice versa. 🙂 And that was perhaps how I ended up trying a baklava.

My first encounter with “one of this kind” was in Manhattan, when a friend of mine suddenly decided that I needed a “turkish delight” (not the candy version) and took me to a restaurant downtown. A croissant-like exterior, stuffed with “halva” and nuts, soaked in sugar syrup, was how I was described this amazing dish, on my way to the place. And do I need to mention that I decided to save up the “real” entrée for another day? 🙂 . Served in a triangular dimension, warmed aptly to melt in your mouth, I must say, this dessert certainly did manage to enter the top ten on my list of the best.

The second encounter came today, at my relatives’, while preparing for the grand dinner at their place. As casual as casual can be, they asked me if I had ever eaten a baklava. Having been one of my favorites, I promptly replied, “Yes I have. Isn’t that a Turkish speciality?” A thundering silence followed, and I realized my mistake!

It has been a “holy war” since the 18th century, on the origins of this pastry. The Greeks call it theirs, after the “gastris” of the ancient era. And the Turks lay their claim owing to its Ottoman origins and an Arabic flavor to its name. Some of the neutralists or the liberals call it a middle-eastern dessert, encompassing all different regions which could potentially lay their “rights” on this mouth-watering confectionary.

Be it Greek, or Turkish or Arabic, I must say I just cannot stop eating them, once I see it in front of me. Top it with a strong dose of caffeine, and it makes for a perfect evening snack.

I did have a taste of clafoutis (its apple version, often known as flognarde), a French dessert, the same day, but let me save that write-up for another day.

Disclaimer: This post does not intent to hurt the religious/”regionistic” sentiments of any specific group of people. Everything written here is strictly the author’s point-of-view. The author does not wish to see a public outcry like the one that is often caused when “Mumbai” is termed as “Bombay”

Update: Here is a quick snapshot of what I savored yesterday.

photo(2)

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~ by Niranjan Nandakumar on November 28, 2009.

5 Responses to “Baklava and the "Indo-Pak" war on its origin”

  1. God I LOVE baklava!! But even I have never been able to figure out if it is Turkish or Greek. You are going to have me dreaming Baklava dreams tonight. My brother says there is Lebonese place near DC that makes the best Baklavas he has ever eaten and they ARE very yummy. I should find out if I can find them anywhere in Chennai 🙂

  2. And hey, please change the link to my blog, you have still linked the old one I think! 🙂

  3. I’ve always thought it’s greek.. never knew there was a controversy surrounding it 😛 That apart, never tasted it. Sounds divine I really should. Long time, how you doing?

  4. Oh sweet bliss. I love baklava! And clafoutis! And dessert!
    Drat.
    The hunger pangs are probably going to keep me up all night. 😛

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