For this month, the We Knead To Bake group is baking Komaj. Komaj is a Persian (now Iranian) turmeric and cumin bread that’s filled with chopped dates. I came across the Komaj a little while back when I was looking for something to make with dates, as I had a small box of it sitting in the fridge. It goes without saying that I love baking bread, but what drew me to this bread in particular was the mention of turmeric and cumin, both spices that are used extensively in Indian cooking. I also happen to like cumin in breads, and the dates were the clincher.
Unfortunately, beyond the fact that this sweet and savoury bread is served with tea, I wasn’t able to find any other information about it. The recipe is taken from Greg and Lucy Malouf’s book, Saraban – A Chef’sJourney Through Persia, and here’s what they have to say about Komaj.
“This is our interpretation of a wonderful savoury–sweet bread we tasted in the oasis town of Mahan in the south-east of Iran. Cumin is grown in abundance in the region and is used to flavour many of the local dishes, often in combination with turmeric. “
They cut their Komaj into heart shaped buns because that was the way they ate it in Iran. I chose to use square and round cookie cutters. One other thing is that this dough has three rises instead of the usual two.
It might seem odd to pair savoury spices like cumin and turmeric with something sweet like dates, but this is a combination that really works, in my opinion. Of course, there will be people who do not like this combination especially those who don’t particularly like dates. My daughter is one of those who will steer clear of dates, and she said “It’s okay” when I asked her how she liked these golden buns. Knowing her, I read that to mean I didn’t really like them, but I don’t want to say so and hurt your feelings!
The dates to be used are the dehydrated ones that are still a little soft, and can be sliced through easily with a knife.
Komaj (Persian Date Bread With Turmeric Cumin)