Sunday, 30 November 2014

Moroccan dairy drink: Raibi

Raibi is a dairy drink we grew up enjoying cold or frozen. It used to be sold in Mahlabas (dairy shops) or small grocery shops.

Back in 1966, Centrale Laitiere was the first company to make Raibi. In the last 10 years, more competition came in and we even enjoyed a better product from them while the original version has become more watery.

Homemade Raibi with natural ingredients

In its original form, it was a liquid yoghurt with grenadine syrup/flavouring. After a few decades of success, we had a green Raibi with pistachio flavour. The green version is not as famous as the original version though.

If you ask any Moroccan born after 1966 and living away from home, Raibi would be an iconic childhood drink and they will instantly look for it whenever they're back to Morocco while in some countries, it's been imported to cater for this category.

Different brands of Raibi in a supermarket. The family size is fairly new

How many of us dipped Henry’s biscuits (the other iconic childhood thing) in Raibi or made a porridge out of the two? Who didn’t drink Raibi from the bottom by pulling a bit of the plastic with their teeth to make a small hole?


Are you one of those who froze Raibi to make a cold ice-cream treat during hot summer days? Or did you make a fruit salad adding Raibi to it along with orange juice?

Which one of Raibi-addict are you?

Anyway, come night time, l thought I’ll share one Raibi with my little one. It was about 9 pm and we were all awake watching TV to fill those long summer nights..

My boy was due to sleep at 10 pm. At 10.30 pm he was so hyper that he didn’t stop walking back and fourth, making noise, rotating on himself..

I naively told my nieces: “I guess Raibi was the cause behind his condition” but I was rather thinking about the sugar in it. We laughed at the idea and let it go. My boy got to a level when he became genuinely tired and fell asleep.

Fast-forward 4 months, I tried to make Raibi the only way I know which is to use a grenadine syrup to my dairy mix. This recipe is actually quite famous over the Internet and it was on since 2010 if I reckon.

A small dose of red colouring from beetroot makes a wonderful alternative

Then I remembered my old cake decoration classes where the Tutor told us to avoid giving some chemical colourings to children. I have googled the edible colourings and found out that in France some of them have become parents' enemies to the extend that brands had to review some of their recipes.

One of the “bad” colourings was the red used in most of the grenadine syrups we are familiar with (in Morocco, it would be sirop Duval or sirop Sport).

Homemade grenadine (pomogranate) and beetroot syrup

Being in UK, I checked 3 brands who have a chemical red colouring with a note that it will cause hyper-activity to children. If you are lucky to find one without the dodgy ingredients, you may just use it without having to make your own syrup.

So that is only a part of the problem. The other part is that grenadine syrup is one of the biggest jokes of this modern world: they hardly contain any pomegranate or grenadine in them. They usually have other red fruits in the mix. So what you get is not what you think you are getting. One of the main reasons is undoubtedly the cost of the fruit, which prompted manufacturers to replace it with artificial flavours.

So I decided to make my favourite Raibi with safe and authentic ingredients for my little family to enjoy without harming anyone.


Ingredients
Serves 4

Prep: 2 min (with syrup ready to use)
  • 500 ml of buttermilk (if you use thick buttermilk mix it with 50ml of cold water or milk)
  • 80 g of vanilla yoghurt (I personally use one with real vanilla beans)
  • 80g of strawberry or raspberry yoghurt 
  • 1 tbsp of dried milk powder (optional)
  • 3-4 tbsps of grenadine syrup (see recipe below)
  • 1 tiny slice of pre-cooked beetroot. 
If you can't get hold of  nice seedless pomogranates, use
this juice to  make the syrup

Preparation

Mix all ingredients in a blender and serve cold. 



Recipe for grenadine syrup

Cold method 

Mix equal amount of pomegranate seeds and sugar (say 200g/200g), bruise the seeds and set aside for a few hours until it turns to a syrup.



Hot method (makes about 30 cl)

Mix 400g pomegranate seeds (*) with 200g of water (**), bring the ingredients to a boil and let simmer over medium heat for 10-15 min. 


Mash up the seeds with a potato masher. Pass them through a strainer and press them thoroughly. Weight the liquid and add the equivalent of its weight in sugar. 

Bring again to a boil and let simmer another 10 mins  until the liquid thickens. Add a few drops of strawberry or raspberry extract (optional).

Set aside to cool. It will thicken further more. 

Use the syrup cold.



You could replace with a 100% store-bought pomogranate juice.

** The water I have used for this syrup is basically the same I gathered from the boiled beetroot. This made my syrup turn red "blood" instead of pinky red, without the addition of any chemical colouring. If you make it that way, you can use the beetroot in your salad or to make a Moroccan beetroot juice.



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