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Gum Arabic - Awerwar or Meska

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Gum Arabic (Awerwar or Meska)

Photo © Christine Benlafquih

Definition:

In Morocco, the word awerwar refers to gum arabic, the hardened sap of the Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal trees, which are common to sub-Sahara Africa as well as Arabia, Egypt and West Asia.

Gum arabic may also be called meska, although the usage of this word in Moroccan Arabic more correctly denotes mastic, the hardened resin from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus), which is preferred for culinary use in Morocco. In Moroccan recipes, small amounts of mastic and gum arabic may be substituted for each other.

Culinary Uses of Gum Arabic

Gum arabic is used in the making of confections, soft drinks, food flavorings, food sweeteners and more. It or mastic can be found in tiny amounts in some Moroccan recipes such as Chebakia and Sellou. The small grains are added to 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and then ground to a powder with the back of a spoon or with a pestle and mortar. (The sugar prevents the gum arabic from sticking as it's crushed.)

Non-Culinary and Medicinal Uses of Gum Arabic

Non-culinary uses of gum arabic include the production of fireworks, paints, ink, glue, ceramic glazes, textiles, cosmetics and more. In traditional medicine, gum arabic has been used to treat sore throats, stomach and intestinal problems, kidney ailments, eye problems and other disorders.

 

Pronunciation: gum -ˈar-ə-bik

Also Known As: gum acacia, meska, awerwar, char gund, char goond

Examples: Grind three or four grains of gum arabic to a powder and add to the flour and sugar mixture.

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