Renaissance and Medieval Food Receipes
Andalusian p. A-9
It is made with hens, pigeons, ring doves, small birds, or lamb. Take what you have of it, then clean it and cut it and put it in a pot with salt and onion, pepper, coriander and lavender or cinnamon, some murri naqi, and oil. Put it over a gentle fire until it is nearly done and the sauce is dried. Take it out and fry it with mild oil without overdoing it, and leave it aside. Then take fine flour and semolina, make a well-made dough with yeast, and if it has some oil it will be more flavorful. Then stretch this out into a thin loaf and inside this put the fried and cooked meat of these birds, cover it with another thin loaf, press the ends together and place it in the oven, and when the bread is done, take it out. It is very good for journeying; make it with fish and that can be used for journeying too.
Note: The Barmecides were a family of Persian viziers who served some of the early Umayyad Caliphs, in particular Haroun al-Rashid, and were famed for their generosity.
scant T yeast
Mix yeast with 1/4 c lukewarm water. Stir together flour, semolina, 1 t salt. When the yeast is foaming, add it, 1 c water, and 3 T oil to the flour and semolina, stirring it in, then kneading it smooth. If necessary add a little extra flour or water to get a reasonable texture. Cover with a damp towel, leave in a warm place about 1 1/2 hours.
Cut the meat fairly fine (approximately 1/4" slices, then cut them up), combine in a 3 quart pot with chopped onion, 1 t salt, spices, murri, and 3 T oil. Cook over a medium low to medium heat about an hour. I covered it at the beginning so it would all get hot, at which point the onion and meat released its juices and I removed the cover and cooked until the liquid was gone. Then heat 3 T oil in a large frying pan on a medium high burner, add the contents of the pot, fry over medium high heat about five minutes.
Finally, take the risen dough, divide in four equal parts. Take two parts, turn them out on a floured board, squeeze and stretch each until it is about 12" by 5". Put half the filling on one, put the other on top, squeeze the edges together to seal. Repeat with the other two parts of the dough and the rest of the filling. Bake on a cookie sheet at 350deg. for 40 minutes.
Doing this as a sourdough recipe instead of using dried yeast would probably correspond more closely to the original, but we have not yet tried that.
al-Baghdadi p. 201/11
Take and slice red meat, then chop with a large knife. Put into the mortar, and pound as small as possible. Take fresh sumach, boil in water, wring out, and strain. Into this place the minced meat, and boil until cooked, so that it has absorbed all the sumach-water, though covered to twice its depth: then remove from the saucepan and spray with a little lemon-juice. Lay out to dry. Then sprinkle with fine-ground seasonings, dry coriander, cumin, pepper and cinnamon, and rub over it a few sprigs of dry mint. Take walnuts, grind coarse, and add: break eggs and throw in, mixing well. Make into cakes, and fry in fresh sesame-oil, in a fine iron or copper frying-pan. When one side is cooked, turn over on to the other side: then remove.
10 oz red meat
Either use ground lamb or take lamb meat, chop it with a knife, then pound in a mortar. Both ways work but give different textures. Boil sumac in water about 2 minutes, let stand 5 minutes, then add it to the meat and simmer about 15 minutes. Drain the meat, sprinkle it with lemon juice, let dry about one hour. Mix meat with spices. Grind walnuts coarsely (something between chopped fine and ground coarse). Add walnuts and eggs, fry as patties on a medium griddle. Best eaten hot with a little salt. This produces about 20 patties roughly 3 inches in diameter.
Note that the instructions call for using fresh sumac, straining it, and using only the water it is boiled in. I cannot get fresh sumac, and when I used dried sumac (which you get in Iranian grocery stores) and followed the instructions it came out rather bland, so I use both the sumac and the water the sumac was boiled in.
Andalusian p. A-37
Cut the meat up small and fry in oil and salt; throw in some pepper, cumin, salt and a little vinegar and leave for a while and fry with fresh oil until browned. Take an egg and throw over it a spoon of vinegar and another of murri and the same of cilantro; stir it all and throw over the meat in the pan, leave and stir until it is good and serve it sprinkled with pepper, rue and cinnamon.
1/2 lb meat (lamb?)
Fry 5 minutes initially. After adding pepper, etc., fry 10 minutes over hot flame. Add egg mixture and fry over lower heat 2-4 minutes, stirring. Sprinkle spices over and serve.
from the manuscript of Yahya b. Khalid
Translated by Charles Perry from a 9-10th c. Islamic collection.
Take an earthenware pot and pour in one quarter ratl of Nabataean murri, and of good honey an ûquiyah, and beat them. When they are mixed, strain with a sieve, then put with them a dirhem of coriander, one and a half dirhams of cinnamon and two dâniqs of ground pepper. Then take two ratls of tender meat and slice fine in wide strips and put them in this condiment for a while. Then put the pot on the fire and pour in four ûquiyahs of good oil. And when the oil begins to boil, throw the strips in the pot with the condiment and two dâniqs of milled salt. Then cook the meat until it is done and the condiment is dried. Then take it off the fire and cut up on it some cilantro, and rue, and some green mustard, and serve. And it [can be] a Tabâhajah with asafoetida, if you wish.
Note on quantities: 1 ratl = 1 lb = 1 pint; 12 uqiya = 1 ratl; 10 dirham = 1 uqiya; 6 danaq = 1 dirham (information from Arberry’s introduction to his translation of al-Bagdadi).
1/4 c murri
Beat murri and honey in a bowl, add spices and stir well. Cut meat into thin strips, removing most fat, mix into the marinade and let sit for an hour and a half. Chop herbs, removing stems. Heat oil in frying pan on high heat until a few bubbles start to come up, put in meat and marinade, and add salt. Let come to a boil and turn down to medium/medium high heat. Cook, stirring, about 15 minutes, until sauce is mostly cooked down. Remove from heat and serve with herbs on top.
The quantity above is half the original recipe; unusually, all quantities are specified in the original except for the herbs at the end. The Islamic measures could be either weight or volume measures; I have assumed volumes in calculating amounts.
Andalusian p. A-43
Take a ratl and a half of meat and cut in slices as told earlier; pound a ratl of onion and take for this three dirhams’ weight of caraway and one of pepper; put in the pot a layer of meat and another of onion until it is all used up and sprinkle flavorings between all the layers; then pour on a third of a ratl of vinegar and a quarter ratl of oil; put a lid on the pot and seal its top with paste (dough) and fry over a slow fire until done; then take from the fire and leave for a while, skim off the fat and serve. [note: 1 dirham ~ 1/8 ounce]
1 1/2 lb meat (lamb?)
al-Baghdadi p. 195/9
Cut red meat into small, long, thin, slices: melt fresh tail, and throw out the sediment, then put the meat into the oil, adding half a dirham of salt and the same quantity of fine-brayed dry coriander. Stir until browned. Then cover with lukewarm water, and when boiling, skim. Put in a handful of almonds and pistachios peeled and ground coarsely, and color with a little saffron. Throw in fine-ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon and mastic, about 2.5 dirhams in all. Take red meat as required, mince fine, and make into long cabobs placing inside each a peeled sweet almond: put into the saucepan. Take dates: extract the stone from the bottom with a needle, and put in its place a peeled sweet almond. When the meat is cooked and the liquor all evaporated, so that only the oils remain, garnish with these dates. Sprinkle with about ten dirhams of scented sugar and a danaq of camphor [!?]; spray with a little rose water. Wipe the sides of the saucepan with a clean rag, and leave to settle over the fire for an hour: then remove.
1 lb "red meat" (lean lamb)
al-Baghdadi p. 44/7
Cut fat meat into middling pieces. Dissolve fresh tail, and throw away the sediment. Put the meat into the oil, and stir until browned. Cover with lukewarm water, and add a little salt, a handful of peeled chickpeas, small pieces of cinnamon-bark, and some sprigs of dry dill. When the meat is cooked, throw in dry coriander, ginger and pepper, brayed fine. Add more lukewarm water, and put over a hot fire until thoroughly boiling: then remove the dill from the saucepan. Take cleaned rice, wash several times, and put into the saucepan as required, leaving it over the fire until the rice is cooked. Then remove from the fire. Do not leave so long that the rice becomes hard set. If desired, add some cabobs of minced meat.
2 lb boneless lamb
3/4 lb lamb
If you want to make it with kebabs, mix the ground lamb and spices and make small meatballs. Put fat (the "tail" of the original recipe) in pot and render out about 2 T. Cut up meat and brown it (and the kebabs) in fat about 5 minutes, then cover with 3 c water. Tie the dill up in a little piece of cheesecloth; put salt, chickpeas, cinnamon, and dill in with the meat and simmer 10 minutes. Add coriander, ginger, pepper, and remaining water, and bring to a boil. Remove dill. Add rice, bring back to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook covered 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
al-Baghdadi p.45/7 (GOOD)
Cut fat meat into middling pieces and put into the saucepan, with a covering of water. Add cinnamon-bark, a little salt, a handful of peeled chickpeas, and half a handful of lentils. Boil until cooked: then add more water, and bring thoroughly to the boil. Now add spaghetti (which is made by kneading flour and water well, then rolling out fine and cutting into thin threads four fingers long). Put over the fire and cook until set to a smooth consistency. When it has settled over a gentle fire for an hour, remove.
1 lb lamb
"Boil until cooked": about 1 hour. For noodles, mix flour with about 1/2 c cold water (just enough to make an unsticky dough). Knead thoroughly, roll out, cut into thin strips. Add to pot, simmer 1/2 hour being careful not to let it stick to the bottom and scorch, serve.
Ibn al-Mabrad p. 20/D4
Dough is taken and twisted and cut in small pieces and struck like a coin with a finger, and it is cooked in water until done. Then yoghurt is put with it and meat is fried with onion for it and mint and garlic are put with it.
1 c flour
Knead flour and water to a smooth dough. Divide it in about 8 equal portions. Take each one, roll it between your palms into a string about 1/2 inch in diameter, twist it a little, then cut it in about 1/4" slices. Dump slices in a little flour to keep them from sticking. Take each slice and squeeze it between your fingers into a flat, roughly round, coin shaped piece. Boil in 1 quart slightly salted water about 10 minutes.
About the same time you put the pasta on to boil, fry the onions and lamb, both cut small, in the tail (i.e. lamb fat) or other oil. Drain the pasta, combine all ingredients, and serve.
Ibn al-Mabrad p. 20
You take minced meat and stuff it in dough rolled out like cut tutmaj. It is cooked in water until done. Then take it off the fire and put yoghurt, garlic and mint with it.
about 1 lb meat (lamb)
We tried both ground and minced meat; both worked. The dough was rolled out thin and the shushbarak were made like ravioli, then boiled 5-10 minutes. The sauce was made by blending together the yogurt, garlic, and mint in a food processor; a mortar and pestle would also work. As an experiment, 1/3 c of minced lamb was mixed with 1/4 t cinnamon, 1/8 t ginger, and 1/8 t coriander and used as filling; that also came out well.
Ibn al-Mabrad p. 18
Meat is boiled and bread is moistened with the broth. Yoghurt, garlic and mint are put with it and the meat is put with it. Likewise there is a tharid without meat.
1 1/4 c meat
Cut meat into bite-sized pieces and boil in water about 30-40 minutes, by which time the broth is down to about one cup. Crush bread into broth, chop garlic and mint, and add them and the yogurt to the bread mixture; serve this sauce over meat.
Ibn al-Mabrad p. 22
Meat is boiled, then wheat is put on it until it gives up its starch. Then the meat is plucked off the bones and pounded [and returned to the porridge]. Some add milk.
1/2 lb lamb
Cut lamb into a few large pieces (say the size of lamb chops), put in the water, add stick cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil. Add the cracked wheat. Cook about 1/2 hour. Remove the lamb (that is why it is in only a few pieces). Cut the lamb up, pound in a mortar almost to a paste, then put it back in. Add milk. Cook another hour+ at a low temperature.
Render out tail, sprinkle it, cumin, cinnamon, and lemon over the harisa when you serve it (this is an addition from the al-Baghdadi version).
al-Baghdadi p. 201/11
Take chickens’ livers and crops, wash, and boil in water with a little salt: then take out, and cut up small. Mix with yolks of eggs, adding the usual seasonings as required: then fry in a frying-pan in sesame-oil, stirring all the time. If desired sour, sprinkle with a little pure lemon-juice. If desired plain, use neither lemon nor egg.
14 oz chicken livers
Bring 3 c water to a boil with 1/8 t salt, add gizzards and simmer 50 minutes. Near the end of this time, bring the same amount of water and salt for liver to a boil and cook liver 3 minutes. Drain both, cut up small (1/2"x1/2" pieces), put in a bowl and mix with egg yolks and spices. Heat oil and fry mixture about 4 minutes, sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve. The spices chosen are the combination Al-Bagdadi most commonly uses.
, the Remarkable Dish
Andalusian p. A-9
Take the meat of a very plump lamb and cut it in small pieces and put them in a pot with a little salt, a piece of onion, coriander, lavender, saffron and oil, and cook it halfway. Then take fresh cheese, not too soft in order that it will not fall apart, cut it with a knife into sheets approximately the size of the palm, place them in a dish, color them with saffron, sprinkle them with lavender and turn them until they are colored on all sides. Place them with the cooked meat in the pot or in a tajine and add eggs beaten with saffron, lavender and cinnamon, as necessary, and bury in it whole eggyolks and cover with plenty of oil and with the fat of the cooked meat. Place it in the oven and leave it until the sauce is dry and the meat is completely cooked and the upper part turns red [the translator suggests the alternative "browns" but it turns red in our experience]. Take it out, leave it a while until its heat passes and it is cool, and then use it.
1 lb lamb
Cut lamb into 1/2" cubes. Grind lavender and saffron (2 t+4 threads) in a mortar. Combine lamb, salt, onion, coriander, lavender, saffron and oil and simmer in 1 c water for 10 minutes. Grind the second lot of saffron (6 threads) in a mortar, adding 1 T water. Cut cheese in slices, paint with saffron water, sprinkle with lavender. Drain meat and separate the fat from the broth. Put meat in the pot, cover with cheese slices. Beat eggs with saffron and lavender (3 threads+1/2 t) that have been ground together in a mortar, and cinnamon. Pour eggs over meat and cheese. Place whole egg yolks on top, pour over everything the fat (I had about 3 T) plus the second 2 T of oil. Bake at 350deg. for 45 minutes, by which time the top should have turned reddish brown. Let cool, then serve.
Andalusian p. A-3
Cut up the chicken, making two pieces from each limb; fry it with plenty of fresh oil; then take a pot and throw in four spoonfuls of vinegar and two of murri naqî’ and the same amount of oil, pepper, cilantro, cumin, a little garlic and saffron. Put the pot on the fire and when it has boiled, put in the fried chicken spoken of before, and when it is done, then empty it out and present it.
1 medium chicken, 2 1/2 lb, cut up
Browned chicken in 1/4 c olive oil, over medium low heat, for 10 minutes. Set chicken aside. Add to a large pot vinegar, murri, 2 T oil, pepper, cilantro, saffron, crushed garlic, cumin, and heat the pot on medium for 3 minutes. Add chicken, simmer on low for 25 minutes with the lid on, stirring often, baste with the liquid five minutes before it is done.
Andalusian p. A-8
Take a plump hen, dismember it and put it in a pot, and add coriander of one dirham’s weight, half a dirham of pepper and the same of cinnamon, and of ginger, galingale, lavender and cloves a quarter dirham each, three û qiyas of vinegar, two ûqiyas of pressed onion juice, an ûqiya of cilantro juice, an ûqiya of murri naqî’, and four ûqiyas of fresh oil. Mix all this in a pot with some rosewater, cover it with a flatbread and put a carefully made lid over the mouth of the pot. Place this in the oven over a moderate fire and leave it until it is cooked. Then take it out and leave it a little. Let it cool and invert it onto a clean dish and present it; it is remarkable.
1 chicken (2-3 lb)
120 dirhem = 16 oz = 1 pt; 7.5 dirhem = 1 oz; 1 dirham = approx 3-4 grams.
Chop coriander, then grind in electric spice grinder with 2 T water and strain juice through a cloth to make 2 T+ of coriander juice. Mix everything in pot, put in chicken. Put two medium pita on top, put on lid, bake at 350deg. about 1 hour, let settle about 15 minutes, invert into a bowl, and serve. Would be good over rice or bread. Note: The spices are all ground.
al-Andalusi p. C-4
Get a fat hen, cut off the head, clean it and cut it into small pieces; the legs in two, the breast in two and the same the wings. Put in a pot with salt, oil, almori, pepper, dried coriander, and oregano; fry it without water until it is gilded. Meanwhile, get onions and green cilantro and squeeze out their water into the pot, in a quantity sufficient to cover the meat, leaving it to bubble one hour. After get a little grated bread crumbs, beat them with two or three eggs, with pepper and saffron, and embellish with it the pot; leave it on the embers that the grease comes out and eat it.
1 chicken, 3 1/2 lb
Heat oil with salt, murri, etc. in large pot and fry cut-up chicken for 10 minutes over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Make coriander juice by grinding the coriander (stems and all) in a blender or with a mortar and pestle, adding the water a little at a time, putting it in a ricer and squeezing out the juice. Add onion and coriander juice and cover; simmer 40 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally; be careful or it will stick. Beat eggs, crush saffron with a little of the egg and add, add bread crumbs and pepper; stir into the meat; cook about 5 minutes on low and remove from heat.
The dish is a little spicy; if you are serving it for people with conservative tastes you might want to reduce the amount of pepper.
Andalusian p. A-8
Take a young, cleaned hen and put it in a pot with a little salt, pepper, coriander, cinnamon, saffron and sufficient of vinegar and sweet oil, and when the meat is cooked, take peeled, crushed almonds and good white sugar, four ounces of each; dissolve them in rosewater, pour in the pot and let it boil; then leave it on the embers until the fat rises. It is very nutritious and good for all temperaments; this dish is made with hens or pigeons or doves, or with the meat of a young lamb.
1 chicken, 3 lb
Put cut-up chicken, spices, vinegar, and oil into pot. Bring to boil, cook covered over moderate to low heat 40 minutes, stirring periodically to keep the chicken from sticking. Blanch and grind almonds, mix with sugar and rosewater to make a paste. Stir this in with chicken, bring back to a boil and cook about 8 minutes until sauce thickens.
in an earthenware pan
Andalusian p. A-32
Cut up the chicken and place in a pan with salt and chopped onion, green coriander, oil, dried coriander, pepper and caraway; carry to the fire until it boils, and when it has boiled gently, add liquid distilled from green coriander, vinegar, and almori, and let the vinegar be more than the almori; when it has cooked, smoothly grind peeled almond and stir with egg and some pepper, green and dried ground coriander and a tablespoon of prepared mustard; pour all this into the pan and add three cracked eggs and take from the embers to rest for a while, and serve, if God so wills.
2 1/2 lb chicken
Total green coriander used = about 1/10 lb
Cut up chicken into separate joints; chop onion and green coriander (measure coriander packed). To make coriander juice, chop green coriander including stems, put in mortar with 1 or 2 teaspoons of water, grind to a pulp, and drain off resulting juice; you may want to wrap the pulp in cheesecloth and squeeze out the juice. Add another teaspoon of water, grind some more, and repeat until you have as much juice as you want or the pulp is used up. Cook the chicken, etc. in oil over medium high heat 10-15 minutes. Add murri, vinegar, and coriander juice, reduce heat to medium and cook 20 minutes. Grind almonds in food processor almost to flour. Mix in a bowl ground almonds, egg, and rest of spices. Stir into the pot, mixing well, and turn heat to low; crack eggs on top of sauce, cover, and let sit until eggs are poached (about 10-15 minutes).
Andalusian p. A-13
Take fresh cheese, clean it, cut it up and crumble it; take fresh coriander and onion, chop and throw over the cheese, stir and add spices and pepper, shake the pot with two tablespoons of oil and another of water and salt, then throw this mixture in the pot and put on the fire and cook; when it is cooked, take the pot from the fire and thicken with egg and some flour and serve.
8 oz farmer’s cheese
Mix together cheese, green coriander, onion, and spices. Put oil, water and salt in a large frying pan or a dutch oven; shake to cover the bottom. Put in the cheese mixture and cook on medium-high to high about 3 minutes, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture becomes a uniform goo. Remove from heat, stir in egg, sprinkle on flour and stir in, serve forth. It ends up as a sort of thick dip, good over bread. It is still good when cold.
We have also used cheddar, feta, mozzarella and ricotta; all came out well, although with the feta it was a little salty, even with the salt in the recipe omitted. Some cheeses will require more flour to thicken it; the most we used was 1/2 cup.