Klecha an Iraqi date cookie that every Iraqi household knows and loves well. Every Eid and celebration Klecha is a must in every Iraqi home. This year it was my first time making it ! And boys as I nervous, but I am so proud that I actually mastered it ! Even my mum in law praised me!!
It’s Eid in Covid-19 era and I needed some ‘normality’ and happiness in my household. So I decided to buy a mixer and to finally do my mother-in-law easy Klecha recipe.
I found that there are a few variations of the recipe, it seems every region in Iraq have their own way of doing Klecha and stuffing. I will be doing the easy version and the classic original date stuffing with walnuts.
A little note on Eid. Eid- Al-fiter marks the end of Ramadan and the end of the fasting month. It’s a grand day of celebration in Muslim countries where like Christmas, it’s a day of family gathering, exchange of gifts and eating and sharing delicious food.
On Eid we wake up so excited and happy rushing to wear our new Eid clothes and opening presents or most commonly receiving Eid money “Eidyeah” from family. Then after a rushed breakfast normally we go to the mosque to do congregational prayer and listen to sermon by the Imam and we must give Zakha (money to charity). After the spiritual celebration, the feasting begins.
Klecha doesn’t need much ingredients and time. The flour dough doesn’t need to rise for hours. It’s rather quick. This version anyway !
3 cups of flour
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of instant yeast.
2 teaspoon grounded cardamom. You can add /less according to taste
Half cup of melted butter
Half cup of vegetable oil
Some warm milk
1 beaten egg (for egg wash at the end)
3 cups of chopped dates. I am using Iranian dates as they are so sweet and juicy. Try to avoid very dry dates, the more moist and tender the better.
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon of cardamom (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
-In a bowl mix the flour (I sieve it to allow more air in helps dough becomes fluffier) with salt and instant yeast.
-Add half cup of melted butter and half cup of vegetable oil. Then mix really well till a crumbly dough starts to forms.
-Slowly add splashes of warm milk as you kneed the dough, you need to give the dough time to combine till it becomes like a play-dough texture, oily and can easily be shaped. Remember to add small splashes at a time when kneading.
-Once you have the dough ready, leave it aside and start on the filling.
-In a bowl mix the chopped dates, walnuts and spices (optional).
-Take small pieces of dough and shape it into a shall ball.
I am using a specific Klecha mould. If you don’t have this you can use cookie cutter.
-Place the dough into the mould and fill it with date mix then carefully close the dough and push in the mould. Turn the mould around and hit it on surface and the Klecha should drop from the mould.
-Place in oven try and brush with egg wash.
-You can sprinkle sesame seeds or nigella seeds on top of the egg wash before placing in the oven. Optional.
-Oven temperature should be 180C , bake for 20 min or until golden brown. Let the Klecha cool and serve.
If you don’t have a mould,
A- using cookie cutter or glass, you can make round shapes, place the filling in centre and shape into ball and maybe pinch the sides to form shapes, or using a fork prick several holes.
B- You can also roll the entire dough flat and place the filling along the centre and roll the dough then slice the stuffed rolled dough into slices.
Saha waa-hena (Bonne appetie Arabic version!)