Hays is a simple dish of Arab cuisine. It is served as a treat to family, friends and guests alike. It combines dates and akita seed to bring instant energy while satisfying the craving for sweets. The sweet dish is often prepared during times of celebration and joy.
It was a difficult task to cook complex dishes during the time of The Holy Prophet (SAW). Cooking for everyday life was kept simple since gas operated ovens, refined ingredients and specialized utensils had not been invented yet. Each house had its own simple utensils, ovens for baking and mills for grinding grain.
Dates were a staple of The Holy Prophet’s (SAW) diet, which increases the nutritional benefits of hays and adds them to tibenabvi as dates are also medicinal in nature. Hazrat Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas (RA) narrates The Holy Prophet (SAW) mentioning the benefits of dates, saying “Whoever eats seven ‘ajwah dates in the morning, will not be harmed by any poison or witchcraft that day” (Al-Bukhaari, 5445). To read more about dates, click here.
Hays is an excellent dish with sweet taste for satisfying sweet cravings as it is loaded with sugars. It is incredibly versatile, as adding a little milk to it can create rabika and flour can be added to make a sticky dough for cookies. The dish can satisfy a more intense craving for sweet food by mixing flour and butter in it to create halwa. As much a part of feast as family food, hays has always had a place in Arab cuisine.
Following is the list of ingredients needed for cooking hays:
|02||Akita seeds||1 cup||Deseeded|
Preparation of Hays
Following is the recipe for the preparation of hays. It can be modified for adding new ingredients as the dish is highly versatile, full of nutrition and easy to cook.
1. Heat a pan over medium heat and melt butter over it. Mince the dates coarsely or finely to suit the end texture.
2. Add the dates to the pan and fry them. Lightly frying the dates brings out their sweet flavor and gives them a nice consistency for hays.
3. Add the akita seeds to the dates and fry for 3-5 minutes on medium heat.
Preparation of Rabika
Continuing from the last step of hays:
1. Add 1 cup of milk to hays while it is still in the pan.
2. Stir and mix it well for 2 minutes.
3. Serve hot or chilled.
- Do not burn the butter at the start of the dish. Add the dates immediately when the butter has melted.
- Lightly fry the dates to avoid burning them. This brings out their sweet taste to the fullest extent.
- Mix milk until evenly distributed in rabika.
- Serve rabika hot or chilled according to the weather.