Shushumow, a crisp, deep fried shell shaped pastry made with flour, eggs and water is a sweet made during festive times such as weddings and religious celebrations among the Somali people.
The shushumow also known as kalkals or zinanaande (in Somali and Barawa languages) is shaped into small balls that is flattened and curled over a fork, deep fried and then tossed in a sugar syrup.
The pastry shells are shaped using a fork and sometimes an afro comb (yes, you read that correctly, but of course use a new and sanitised one!).
“I love xalwad. One day I was craving for it, but where I used to live there was no one who made it. They only got it from other cities. So I called my sister, and as always she told me how to cook xalwa over the phone step by step. It took me about ten tries or so, but I finally got it. Now I put my own twist on it, and that is where the name MyHalwad came from. Xalwa is one of my favorite things to cook,” she says.
Hibo started cooking when she was a teenager, but the passion for cooking kicked some years later. “Now I love cooking and baking, and I have been cooking different cuisines for the last 14 years. I don’t have a favorite when it comes what to cooking. I just put my love into whatever I am making,” she adds.
Shushumow (Somali Crystallised Pastry Shells)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoon of sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup of canola oil
1 large egg
3 tablespoon of warm water (more or less)
2 cups of canola oil (for frying)
½ cup sugar
¼ cup water
¼ ground cardamom (optional)
Supplies for shaping the shushumow
A flat board
A fork or new afro comb (you can get this online). Make sure the comb is new and sanitised, and only use it for the shushumow.
Preparing the shushumow
1. In an electric mixer mix all dough ingredients together except the water (and frying oil of course!)
2. Add the water slowly until you get soft dough. Mix for about 4-5 minutes.
3. Then let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.
4. Next cut the dough into small pieces roughly 1 inch x 1 inch. This should give you about 30 shushumow.
5. Shape them one at a time by pressing the dough on the back of the fork and curl it out toward the opposite side (away from you)
6. Preheat oil on medium heat. Fry the shushumow in the preheated oil a few at time, until golden brown. Make sure you turn the pastry frequently so that it cooks evenly.
7. Take them out and place them on a few layers of paper towels. This helps drain the oil from pastry.
Preparing the syrup
1. For the syrup, use a medium size pan combine the sugar, cardamom and water together and let it come to a boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat.
2. Then add all the shushumow to the pan and stir gently and ensure an even coating of the syrup.
3. Take the shushumow out and put them on a plate and let them cool down. The sugar will crystallise, but that’s part of the charm of shushumow! Enjoy with a cup of Somali shaah.