My Pumkin-Walnuts Dessert

An easy recipe for a delicious and  humble dessert.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin
  • ½ cup walnuts, crushed
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

 

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How to make it???

Preheat your oven to 176 C.

Rinse off the pumpkin. Cut off pumpkin lid. Use a knife to stab outer shell a few times, to allow for ventilation. Then place the pumpkin in a glass baking dish and transfer the dish into the oven to roast for about 45-60 minutes. The duration for roasting depending on the size of the pumpkin.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, add crushed walnuts, sugar and cinnamon and fry for 2 minutes. Set aside.

Once the pumpkin is roasted, Let to cool down, Use a spoon and scrape out the seeds. Cut pumpkin into slices but do not need to separate the slices ( as you see in the photos).

Fill centre of pumpkin with fried walnuts and sprinkle some icing sugar top of it.

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My Pumpkin-Walnuts Dessert

Ingredients

1 pumpkin

½ cup walnuts, crushed

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1tbsp unsalted butter

How to make it???

Preheat your oven to 176C.

Rinse off the pumpkin. Cut off pumpkin lid. Use a knife to stab outer shell a few times, to allow for ventilation. Then place the pumpkin in a glass baking dish and transfer the dish into the oven to roast for about 45-60 minutes. The duration for roasting depending on the size of the pumpkin. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan, add crushed walnuts, sugar and cinnamon and fry for 2 minutes. Set aside.

Once the pumpkin is roasted, Let to cool down, Use a spoon and scrape out the seeds. Cut pumpkin into slices but do not need to separate the slices ( as you see in the photos).

Fill centre of pumpkin with fried walnuts and sprinkle some icing sugar top of it.

 

My Homemade Sushi Recipe

Well first of all I should confess I dislike seafood. So I had no idea I could eat Sushi or Sashimi. So once I was with Japanese friends in a restaurant, they ordered Sushi, and asked me to try. I said, nooooooooooo, never, ever,, I do not like cooked fish so how can I eat raw fish, but they insisted and I tried but you can imagine my face when I wanted to try sushi. Then magic happened and I was in love with sushi. Oh my God, it was FAN TAS TIC, so delicious, so tasty and not a fishy tasting fish.

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The popular and commonly raw fish used for Sushi are: Tuna, Salmon, Octopus, cuttlefish, prawn, squid. For making Sushi, a very important factor in eating raw fish is freshness, so you need sushi grade fish from a qualified supplier. Then you would need a dark green seaweed wrappers or Nori.

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So if you are a Sushi lover, as I am, here is an easy and tasty sushi recipe. Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that is low in fat and high in protein. Sushi literally means sour, due to using vinegared rice. Main ingredients for making Sushi is sticky rice. There are varieties of Sushi for vegetarians and non vegetarians.

 

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First of all for making Sushi you should consider a few items such as:

  • Sushi mat or rolling mat
  • Wasabi
  • Soy sauce
  • Nori or Sea weed sheets
  • Sharp knife

Secondly, is about  what you can put in Sushi as ingredients!! Answer is you can use smoked or raw Salmon fish, Tuna, Shrimp, squid, egg, and vegetables such as cucumber, avocado, asparagus,carrots ….

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Ingredients

  • 250g sushi rice, cooked
  • 30ml rice vinegar
  • Nori seaweed sheets
  • Smoked Salmon fish
  • Avocado, sliced
  • cucumber, sliced lengthwise and take out the seeds
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Sushi mat
  • Cling film

  • Sharp knife

How to make it??!!

Cook sushi rice and let it cool down. As the rice is chilling down, add vinegar. Mix together and set aside. Vinegar adds flavour and taste to sushi.

Crack the eggs, add pinch of sugar and beat them. Heat the oil in a pan and pour in the eggs . Allow to cook and then roll it. Once omelette is done, slice the omelette lengthwise.

Cut Salmon meat into nice thin strips or slices. Cut avocado and cucumber into thin strips too. Now everything is ready for sushi.

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Put cling film onto a sushi mat ( it will make it easier to prepare sushi). One side of Nori sheet is silky and other side is rough. So place smooth side down and rough side facing you.

Wet your hand, grab a ball of rice and gently spread on sea weed sheet. Now, get a strip of salmon fish, avocado and cucumber and omelette and place them on the rice. Roll the mat and slightly squeeze and roll it again.

Other way for making sushi is, to spread the rice on one side of the nori . Then sprinkle sesame seeds on the rice and flip over it and place slices of salmon fish, avocado and cucumber and roll it.

Now dip the knife into the water and take off the ends of the sushi and them slice them all in same size.

Serve sushi with Wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger.

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My Homemade Sushi

Ingredients

  • 250 g sushi rice, cooked
  • 30ml rice vinegar
  • Nori seaweed sheets
  • Smoked Salmon fish
  • Avocado, sliced
  • cucumber, sliced lengthwise and take out the seeds
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of sugar
  • Soy sauce
  • Wasabi
  • Sushi mat
  • Cling film

  • Sharp knife

 

How to make it??!!

Cook sushi rice and let it cool down. As the rice is chilling down, add vinegar. Mix together and set aside. Vinegar adds flavour and taste to sushi.

Crack the eggs, add pinch of sugar and beat them. Heat the oil in a pan and pour in the eggs . Allow to cook and then roll it. Once omelet is done, slice the omelet lengthwise.

Cut Salmon meat into nice thin strips or slices. Cut avocado and cucumber into thin strips too. Now everything is ready for sushi.

Put cling film onto a sushi mat ( it will make it easier to prepare sushi.

One side of Nori sheet is silky and other side is rough. So place smooth side down and rough side facing you.

Wet your hand, grab a ball of rice and gently spread on sea weed sheet. Now, get a strip of salmon fish, avocado and cucumber and omelet and place them on the rice. Roll the mat and slightly squeeze and roll it again.

Other way for making sushi is, to spread the rice on one side of the nori . Then sprinkle sesame seeds on the rice and flip over it and place slices of salmon fish, avocado and cucumber and roll it.

Now dip the knife into the water and take off the ends of the sushi and them slice them all in same size.

Serve sushi with Wasabi, soy sauce, pickled ginger.

Persian rice with sour cherries (Albaloo polo)

Sour cherry or Morello cherry is called ‘ Albaloo’ in Persian language. Iranian housewives make different things with albaloo such as: sour cherr juice, hot and cold drinks, jam and stew, cake and cookies. One of the Iranian famous rice dish is called Alballoo polo/pilaf which is made with sour cherries, spices and different meats such as: beef, lamb, or chicken and meat balls.

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The spices used in this pilaf vary but typically include Persian saffron and cinnamon. In Iranian cuisine there are wonderful mild sweet dishes such as: Fesenjan, Jewelled rice, Basterma pilaf, Albaloo polo and . And, and………….

Albaloo polo is mind blowing rice dish with combination of sweet/tangy taste. It’s moist and fluffy with plenty of morello cherries.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups sour cherries
  • 3 cups rice
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 300 g chicken breast or thigh, cooked
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 2 tbsp Persian saffron water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil

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How to make???

Soak the rice in salted water for an hour. Meanwhile, Place deseeded cherries in a pan. Add sugar and simmer gently over low heat for 10 minutes. Then place the cherries in a colander and let to drain the juice.

Melt the butter in a pan. Add cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, 1 tbps saffron water and stir. Then add cooked chicken to the butter and fry for 5 minutes. In this point, toss in the cherries and fry for 5 minutes more and set aside.

Pour in water into a pot and bring it to a boil. Drain the salted water of rice and add the rice to the boiling water and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse the rice with cold water.

Add some oil to the pot, place a tortilla bread over the oiled base. Place some rice over the bread, then place half of the cherries and chicken mixture. Repeat until the rice and cherries mixture are used up.

Pour some saffron water, and albaloo juice over the rice. Place pieces of butter top of the rice. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 20 minutes on medium to low heat.

Serve the rice in a plate along with the crispy tortilla from bottom of the pot that is called ‘ Tahdig’ in Farsi.

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Persian Saffron (Zafaran) sharbat 

Saffron is one the most expensive and luxurious spices in the world but it’s taste, flavour and giving yellow- orange colouring to the foods is worth the price. Saffron has amazing flavour, some say it’s like honey, some say it’s floral but I say it’s just saffroni.

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Iran is one of the most important places for cultivation and export of saffron. Grades of Iranian saffron are strongest grade. Iran is responsible for %90 of global production.

Saffron or zafaran comes from Persian word ‘ Zarparan’ meaning flower with golden petal. Saffron is one of essential spices in Iranian baking and cooking. This lovely spice is used in dishes such as different stews or rice dishes. Saffron is known as king of spices. Other countries such as Spain and Keshmir are known for their saffron too.

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Ingredients

  • ¼ tsp saffron
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup rose water
  • 1tbsp boiled water
  • ½ lemon juice

 

How to make it??

Using a pestle and mortar, add pinch of sugar or small piece of solid sugar and saffron threads. Mash it ( as you see in the photos).

In a small cup or bowl, first pour preheated water and then add mashed saffron. Seal the bowl with a lid and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Adding sugar to saffron will help release the best colour and also aromatic components.

Meanwhile, mix sugar, lemon juice and water in a pot and bring it to a boil until sugar dissolve. Add rose water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Then turn off the heat and add saffron water to the sugar syrup. Allow to cool.

You might serve your drink in a plane glass or you can rimming your glasses. For this purpose, mix lemon zest and sugar together. Moist rim of the glass with lemon juice and dip into the lemon zest.

For serving, add 2-3 tbsp of saffron syrup to a glass with a cup of cold water.

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Persian Saffron (Zafaran) sharbat

Ingredients

  • ¼ tsp saffron
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup rose water
  • 1tbsp boiled water
  • ½ lemon juice

How to make it??

Using a pestle and mortar, add pinch of sugar or small piece of solid sugar and saffron threads. Mash it ( as you see in the photos).

In a small cup or bowl, first pour preheated water and then add mashed saffron. Seal the bowl with a lid and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Adding sugar to saffron will help release the best colour and also aromatic components.

Meanwhile, mix sugar, lemon juice and water in a pot and bring it to a boil until sugar dissolve. Add rose water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Then turn off the heat and add saffron water to the sugar syrup. Allow to cool.

You might serve your drink in a plane glass or you can rimming your glasses. For this purpose, mix lemon zest and sugar together. Moist rim of the glass with lemon juice and dip into the lemon zest. For serving, add 2-3 tbsp of saffron syrup to a glass with a cup of cold water.

Fennel sharbat with cardamom

Sharbat /sherbet is a popular and common sweet and non-alcohol drink in Iran, India, Turkey, Afghnestan and Arab countries. Sharbat is served cold and chilled . In the 12th century a Persian book describes different kinds of sharbats in Iran which made with fruits, flowers and seeds includes: lemon, pomegranate, cherry, mint, fennel seeds, saffron, rose, jasmine, rose water…..

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Also several syrups are listed in the 11th century book ‘Canon of Medicine’ by Persian polymath Avicenna also known Ibn Sina who was a physician, astronomer, writer and thinker. He has been described as the father of early modern medicine. .Sharbat serves during the heatwave and may be flavoured with honey, sugar and spices.

Fennel seeds are called ‘ Daneh Razianeh’ in Farsi.  Fennel is good for regulate blood pressure, digestion, help purify blood and …..

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Ingredients

  • ½ cup fennel seeds
  • ½ cup water to to soak spices
  • 1 cup water
  • 20 cardamom pods
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon juice
  • Rose water

How to make it?

Soak the fennel seeds and cardamom pods in a bowl with ½ cup water in the fridge overnight. It will cause spices release their flavour. Once they are soaked, grind them with their soaking water and ½ cup  of water in a food processor.

Strain the water with help of a butter muslin cloth in a bowl and squeeze it..

Now add remaining ½ cup of water and sugar to the mixture and mix well. Pour it into a pot, bring to simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes until the syrup thickens and turn off the heat.

Sharbat is ready, allow to chill.

For serving time, in a glass with 1 cup water, add 2 tbsp of syrup, 1-2 ice cubes, ½ tsp rose water and drops of lemon juice. This sharbat is refreshing and very tasty during a Summer day.

This sharbat syrup can last for several months in the fridge. Nosh-e jaan

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Fennel sharbat with cardamom

Ingredients

  • ½ cup fennel seeds
  • ½ cup water to to soak spices
  • 1 cup water
  • 20 cardamom pods
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon juice
  • Rose water

How to make it?

Soak the fennel seeds and cardamom pods in a bowl with ½ cup water in the fridge overnight. It will cause spices release their flavour. Once they are soaked, grind them with their soaking water and ½ cup water of water in a food processor. Strain the water with help of a butter muslin cloth in a bowl and squeeze it..

Now add remaining ½ cup of water and sugar to the mixture and mix well. Pour it into a pot, bring to simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes until the syrup thickens and turn off the heat. Sharbat is ready, allow to chill.

For serving time, in a glass with 1 cup water, add 2 tbsp of syrup, 1-2 ice cubes, ½ tsp rose water and drops of lemon juice. 

Peach cookies

These tempting, pretty peach shape cookies are just beauties and suitable for any occasion, for 4 seasons, and resemble to the real peaches.

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Ingredients

  • 210g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 55g plain yogurt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • 50g white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Ingredients for filling

  • 1/3 cup Nutella or
  • 1/3 peach jam

Ingredients for colouring

  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • Yellow and red food colouring
  • Two small bowls with water

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How to make

Preheat the oven to 170C.

Line the baking tray with parchment paper. Place egg yolks,vanilla extract, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat for 3-4 minutes. Add yogurt and beat until creamy. Mix the flour with baking powder and sift it.

Add butter to the flour and combine and add it to the batter. Knead it for 3-4 minutes until all comes together and non stick to your hand.

Divide the pastry into small amount (about 15g). Take one the dough and roll it into ball. Continue rolling all of the batter into balls. Place them on the tray. Put your finger on each ball and and gently press down each ball.

Bake them for 15 minutes. Once they are baked, allow them to cool.

Now, use a sharp knife and core out the centre of cookie from the bottom of each cookie and remove the cookie centre( as you see in the photos).

Break up cookies pieces and mix them with nutella or peach jam. Carefully fill cavity of each cookie and place tow cookies together.

Mix few drops of red colour in one bowl and few drops of yellow colour in other bowl. Dip cookie in yellow/red food colouring and roll them in the sugar. Allow the cookies to set and serve it.

 

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Ricotta Donuts Balls

These ricotta donuts balls are Scrumptious, soft and fluffy and slightly moist. Very easy to prepare.

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Ingredients

  • 200g ricotta
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt

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Instructions

In a large bowl, whisk ricotta cheese with 2 eggs, vanilla extract and sugar until smooth. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt. Mix well together until combine.

Now, pour vegetable oil into a deep pan and heat it. Grease your hand with oil. Take small portion of dough and shape the dough into ball.

Gently place the balls in the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes. Turning 2-3 times until beautifully golden.

Transfer fried donuts on a kitchen paper to cool. Dusting with icing sugar is necessity and then and serve with jam or melted chocolate and a nice cuppa tea or coffee.

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Harissa ( Wheat Bulgar Porridge From South of Iran)

Haleem,  or hareesa is a thick and delicious porridge. Basically, this dish is made of boiled ground wheat or barley (bulgur) mixed with spiced meat….Haleem ( Halim) is popular dish in Iran, Arab countries around the Persian Gulf, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

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Haleem, hareesa, Jareesh, Keskeh or Arizah has different recipes and varies from region to region.

Haresse or halim is a dish for breakfast, and very popular especially during month of the Ramadan and also as a breakfast in the weekends. According to Wikipedia, the first written Hareese recipe dates back to the 10th century.

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This is a slow cooked dish for 6-7 hours. My following recipe belongs to South of Iran and in  cities South of Iran, this dish is called ‘ Hareese’ that is served as breakfast. 

The meat for this dish might be lamb, beef, mutton, turkey or chicken. The key point is frying the meat in spices such as turmeric and cinnamon which gives it amazing flavour.

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Ingredients

  • 250g lamb meat
  • 1 cup wheat bulgur, soaked in the water overnight
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2tbsp black or white sesame seeds
  • butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Heat the oil in a pot and add the meat. Fry the meat until brown. Then add turmeric and 1 half of cinnamon powder to the meat and saute for 2 minutes. This will give lovely flavour to the meat. Now add water to the pot and bring it to a boil.

Drain the bulgur and once water starts to boil, add, pinch of salt, bulgur, black sesame seeds, and sugar.

Reduce the heat and allow to cook until meat is tender and dish is thickened. Once dish has reached to consistency, you need to mash it. Traditionally a wooden masher was used, but nowadays you can use a blender or mixer and make it puree.

Serve harissa in a platter, topping with melted butter, cinnamon, sugar and sesame seeds.

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Katmer (Kattama)

Katmer is folded dough, and is a Turkish desserts, that is originally from Gaziantepe. A crunchy pancake that is sooooo yummy and super easy to make it. Basically, Katmer is a thin dough ( filo pastry) packed with crushed pistachio, clotted cream (kaymak), sugar and butter. It might be baked either in the oven or in a pan.

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There are more than one kind of Katmer in Turkey. Katmer can be served sweet or savoury. In some region it’s filled with sesame seed paste (tahini), in another regions it’s filled with poppy seeds, topping with icing sugar and serving with a nice cupa tea or with ice cream.

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Ingredients

  • 3 Sheets of filo pastry

Ingredients for filling

  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp clotted cream or mascarpone cheese or kaymak
  • 2 tbsp ground pistachio
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

Ingredients for filling might be increased or decreased based on your taste.

Instructions

Take the filo sheets out of your fridge 1 hour before using and leave to warm to room temperature.

Place on filo sheet on a work surface and brush with melted butter. Then overlap with another sheet. Brush melted butter again. Now leave a margin about 10 cm around the edges. Sprinkle some of crushed pistachio, then place small pieces of clotted cream, and then sprinkle sugar over the cream.

 

Now fold the four edges of the pastry ( as you see in the photos) to make a square shape parcel. Brush with melted butter top and bottom.

Heat the oil ( 1tbsp) in pan over medium heat. Place each parcel into the pan and fry each side about 2 minutes.

Once katmar is golden, remove from the pan and place in a platter and cut it into smaller pieces. Topping with crushed pistachio and icing sugar.
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Sheermal Bread ( Naan Sheermal)

Sheermal/shirmal bread naan  is a traditional mildly sweet flatbread in Iran. Sheer means milk in Persian language,and because the dough is kneaded with milk instead of water , it’s called sheermal, means a bread made with milk.

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Sheermal bread is popular in Iran, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Semnan سمنان is located in South of foothills of Alborz Mountains. Semnan is one of historical and ancient cities of Iran, which was an important city throughout the era of the Persian Achaemenid Empire ( 550-330BC).

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Anyway, if you travel to ancient city of Semnan and towns around Semnan, among the souvenirs of this city, such as pistachio, walnuts, local breads, silk made cloth, halva, candy sugar and fruit leather, Sheermal bread naan is very popular between tourists, that is baked in Seman city for over 100 years.

Sheermal bread naan is one of bread for month of Ramadan.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 100 g melted butter
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten as egg wash
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

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Instructions

In a bowl, mix sugar, yeast, and milk warm together.

 

In other bowl mix flour with salt and then pour milk mixture, beaten egg, and melted butter in it. Combine together. Oil your hand and knead the dough with your hand for 6-7 minutes until is smooth and no longer sticky.

Cover the dough, and let to rest until double in size. You can leave the dough in a corner of your kitchen in room temperature , to rise but it will take long time dough double in size but if preheat the oven for few minutes, and then turn off the oven and by this way you can create a warm environment to speed the dough to proof and rising up.

Preheat  the oven to 160C.Line your baking tray with parchment paper and once dough is ready, place it on the parchment paper. Sprinkle some flour top of it and deflate the dough.

Cover the dough and let to rest for another 20 minutes. Then give favourite decoration or design to the bread.

Egg wash top of the dough and garnish with sesame seeds. Sprinkle pinch of cinnamon powder on the dough. Transfer the dough into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

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