Traditional Moroccan yoghurt: Raib Beldi b' Nyaq


Raib beldi is a traditional dairy dessert made with freshly extracted cow's milk and flavoured with orange blossom water.

The unusual added ingredient to turn this milk to a set yogurt consistency is the use of artichoke chokes, the artichoke's fuzzy hair also known in French as barbe d'artichaut, foin d'artichaut, chardonette and Nyaq in Moroccan Arabic.

The chockes from wild artichokes are the one we are after in this recipe. We collect them and dry them under the sun for a few hours then off to the freezer to keep them longer.

My mother has a blurry memory of her mother making little cookies of nyaq and keeping them for months when there was no freezer around but she can't recall the details of this process.



The chokes used to be one of the staples in a Fassi house as Raib was part of breakfast, dinners or Ramadan sohour. We could literally dine on a bowl of raib, a slice of bread and some fruits or olives.
My grandmother and a few aunties still keep this tradition alive and that's mainly due to the fact we can't find a good fresh milk in a big city such as Casablanca. To our shame the milk is usually mixed with water and this does not allow the raib to set. Which brings me to an important point: which milk to use for a good and well set raib?

Well I'm glad you asked, we believe the best milk is the freshly extracted cow's milk, full of fat and not homogenized yet. However, In UK, I found a nice brand which sells pasteurised unhomogenised milk and it works perfect. That is to say we are not looking for skimmed milk for this recipe.



The sugar is a matter of preference but for me, 1 to 2 leveled tablespoons are just fine for 1/2 l milk but feel free to adjust it to your preference. I never tried it very sweet be it in our family or elsewhere and I was always brought to believe that it should barely be sweetened.





Ingredients
Serves 4 
Prep: 10 min - Leaving it to set: 4 hours minimum.
  • 1/2 l of cow's milk (freshly extracted and unpasteurized is best) but a good non-homogenized milk will do as well
  • 2 heaped tablespoons of barbe d'artichaut or nyaq or chardonette or artichoke heart  
  • 20 g of sugar or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of orange blossom water
  • A small cheesecloth

Nyaq bottom right, the other pictures show the process of using it in the milk

Preparation


Mix the chokes/Nyaq with orange blossom water, cover and set aside for 5 minutes. Crush it using a pestle and mortar and transfer it to a small cheesecloth. I do take some milk and wash the mortar then pour the liquid on the cheesecloth. Prepare the bowls or glasses while doing that.

On low heat, barely warm the milk with the sugar stirred in. The temperature should be a bit like a milk to be given to a newborn. Quickly move it out of the heat.

Make a purse with the cheesecloth and dip it in the milk. Squeeze it as much as you can to extract  maceration juice. Stir.

Directly distribute the milk into bowls or glasses otherwise the milk quickly begins to curdle. Cover with a clean cloth and leave in a warm place (not far from the heater) or just over the counter for 1 hour.

Refrigerate for 3-4 hours before serving.


Serving option

Always serve cold.

  • Serve topped with a fresh fruit puree or diced fruits just like, mahlabas style
  • Serve a small bowl of icing sugar next to it.
  • Serve with bread for a light dinner or sohour (not my favourite though)



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