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Harissa

2 oz of dried red peppers (I used crushed red peppers)

garlic paste

2 tsp caraway seed

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

olive oil

Soak the peppers for one hour. Grind the caraway seed, then add peppers, spices, salt and pepper, and continue to grind together. Add 3 tablespoons of olive.

To store, put in a jar covered by a small amount of olive and it will last 4 - 6 weeks.

I used a mortar and pestle for the caraway, but you could also use a blender or food processer.

 

Basic Couscous
From Joyce Goldstein
1994

Ingredients

1 1/2 c. instant couscous

2 1/4 c. water

1/2 tsp. salt

optional: 1-2 tbsps. unsalted butter or oil

optional: a good pinch of cinnamon, cumin, or ginger


Directions

Couscous is a tiny cereal pellet made from semolina flour. It is the staple of North African cuisine. With the advent of instant couscous, this dish takes but a few minutes to prepare and can be made ahead of time and kept warm in a double boiler or in a warm place. It is important that the couscous puff up fully or it will continue to expand in your stomach, so give it time to absorb all the liquid so the grains are light and fluffy.

Place couscous in a small baking pan with a 6-cup capacity. Bring water to a boil. Add salt and butter or oil if desired. Pour the hot liquids over the couscous, stir well once, then cover the pan with foil and set aside. After 10 minutes, remove foil and fluff couscous with a fork to separate the grains. Cover until ready to serve. Fluff again just before serving time. Serves 4.

 

Madira

al-Baghdadi p. 41/ 6

Cut fat meat into middling pieces with the tail; if chickens are used, quarter them. Put in the saucepan with a little salt, and cover with water: boil, removing the scum. When almost cooked take large onions and leeks, peel, cut off the tails, wash in salt and water, dry and put into the pot. Add dry coriander, cummin, mastic and cinnamon, ground fine. When cooked and the juices are dried up, so that only the oil remains, ladle out into a large bowl. Take Persian milk, put in the saucepan, add salted lemon and fresh mint. Leave to boil: then take off the fire, stirring. When the boiling has subsided, put back the meat and herbs. Cover the saucepan, wipe its sides, and leave to settle over the fire [i.e. at a low heat], then remove.

Fat meat (lamb) or chicken or both: 3 1/2 lb chicken or 2 1/2 lb boneless lamb
1 T salt
water to cover-no more than 1 quart
4 medium onions
2 leeks
1 t ground coriander
1 t cumin
1/8-1/16 t mastic
1/2 T cinnamon
4 c yogurt
1/2 lemon
1 T salt
1/2 c fresh mint = ~1 oz

Chicken version: Cook chicken about 30 minutes. If you want to serve it boned (not specified in the recipe, but it makes it easier to cook and to eat-we have done it both ways), remove it from the water, let cool enough to handle, bone, and put the meat back in the pot. Add leeks, onions and spices. Cook away the rest of the water, remove meat and vegetables, and add yogurt, lemon, salt and mint; mint is chopped and lemon is quartered and each quarter sliced into two or three times with a knife. Let come to a simmer and put back the meat and vegetables. Heat through, not letting it boil, and serve. Use proportionately less water if you expand the recipe substantially.

 

Recipe of Eggplant Pancakes

al-Andalusi p. C-5

Get sweet eggplant and boil it with water and salt until it becomes well cooked and is dissolved or falling apart. You should drain the water, crush and stir it on a dish with crumbs of grated bread, eggs beaten with oil, dried coriander and cinnamon; beat it until all becomes equal. Afterwards fry cakes made with this batter in a frying pan with oil until they are gilded. Make a sauce of vinegar, oil, almori, and mashed garlic; give all this a shaking and pour it over the top.

1 large eggplant (1 lb 3 oz)
~2 qts water
~2 t salt
1/2 c bread crumbs
2-3 eggs
1 T oil
1 1/4 t coriander
1 1/2 t cinnamon
2 T vinegar
2 T oil
2 t murri
2 large clove garlic
about 6 T oil for frying

Peel and quarter eggplant, boil 30 minutes. Drain, mash and mix with bread crumbs, eggs, oil, coriander and cinnamon. Crush garlic in a garlic press and mix up sauce. Fry in oil at medium high, about 1-2 minutes a side. Pour sauce over pancakes before serving.

 

Badinjan Muhassa

Ibn al-Mahdi's cookbook in 10th c. collection, Charles Perry tr.

Cook eggplants until soft by baking, boiling or grilling over the fire, leaving them whole. When they are cool, remove the loose skin, drain the bitter liquor and chop the flesh fine. It should be coarser than a true pure. Grind walnuts fine and make into a dough with vinegar and salt. Form into a patty and fry on both sides until the taste of raw walnut is gone; the vinegar is to delay scorching of the nuts. Mix the cooked walnuts into the chopped eggplant and season to taste with vinegar and ground caraway seed, salt and pepper. Serve with a topping of chopped raw or fried onion.

3/4 lb eggplant
1 c walnuts
2 T vinegar (for nut dough)
1/2 t salt (for nut dough)
1/8 t each pepper and salt
1 t caraway seed
1 1/2 T vinegar (at the end)
1/4 c chopped raw onion

Simmer the eggplant 20 to 30 minutes in salted water (1/2 t salt in a pint of water). Let it cool. Peel it. Slice it and let the slices sit on a colander or a cloth for an hour or so, to let out the bitter juice.

Grind the walnuts, add vinegar and salt to make a dough. Make patties about 1/2" thick and put them on a frying pan at medium to medium high heat, without oil. In about half a minute, when the bottom side has browned a little, turn the patty over and use your pancake turner to squash it down to about 1/4" (the cooked side is less likely to stick to your implement than the uncooked side). Continue cooking, turning whenever the patty seems about to scorch. When you are done, the surface of the patty will be crisp, brown to black-and since it is thin, the patty is mostly surface. If the patties start giving up lots of walnut oil (it is obvious-they will quickly be swimming in the stuff) the pan is too hot; throw them out, turn down the heat and make some more.

Chop up the eggplant, mix in the nut patties (they will break up in the process), add pepper, salt, caraway (ground in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle), and vinegar. Top with onion. Eat by itself or on bread.

 

Buran

al-Baghdadi p. 191/8 (GOOD)

Take eggplant, and boil lightly in water and salt, then take out and dry for an hour. Fry this in fresh sesame-oil until cooked: peel, put into a dish or a large cup, and beat well with a ladle, until it becomes like kabis. Add a little salt and dry coriander. Take some Persian milk, mix in garlic, pour over the eggplant, and mix together well. Take red meat, mince fine, make into small cabobs, and melting fresh tail, throw the meat into it, stirring until browned. Then cover with water, and stew until the water has evaporated and only the oils remain. Pour on top of this the eggplant, sprinkle with fine-ground cumin and cinnamon, and serve.

1 lb eggplant
1 lb lamb (makes 30-40 cabobs)
1 c yogurt
3 T sesame oil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 t coriander
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cumin
1 t cinnamon

Cut eggplants in thick slices (approximately 1 1/2"), put in boiling salted water (6 c water + 6 T salt) for 7 minutes. Remove, let stand 1 hour. Make lamb into small meatballs (may add cinnamon etc. if you wish). Fry in melted lamb fat ("tail"). When browned, cover with water and simmer until only the oil is left. Then fry eggplant in sesame oil until cooked, peel, mash, add salt and coriander. Crush garlic, add to yogurt, mix with eggplant. Put the meatballs on top, sprinkle with cumin and cinnamon, and serve.

 

Buraniya

al-Baghdadi p. 191/8

Cut up fat meat small: melt tail and throw out sediment, then place the meat in it together with a little salt and ground dry coriander, and fry lightly until browned and fragrant. Then cover with water, adding green coriander leaves and cinnamon-bark; when boiling, skim off the scum. When little liquor is left, throw in a few halved onions, a dirham of salt, and two dirhams of dry coriander, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, and mastic, all ground fine. Mince red meat as described above and make into light cabobs, then add to the pot. Take eggplant, cut off the stalks, and prick with a knife: then fry in fresh sesame oil, or melted tail, together with whole onions. When the meat is cooked, a little murri may be added if desired. Color with a pinch of saffron. Put the fried eggplant in layers on top of the meat in the pan, sprinkle fine ground dry coriander and cinnamon, and spray with a little rose water. Wipe the sides of the saucepan and leave over the fire an hour to settle, then remove.

1 lb fat meat
"tail" (meat fat)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t dry coriander
1/2 t green coriander
2 sticks stick cinnamon
3 medium onions
1/2 to 1 t salt
1/2 t more dry coriander
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t mastic
1 lb ground red meat

1 medium eggplant
1 more onion
murri
1 pinch saffron
1/4 t more coriander
1/4 t more cinnamon

 

Dish Prepared With Fried Eggplant

Andalusian p. A-40

Take meat and cut it up small, then put it in the pot and throw in half a spoon of vinegar, one of murri and another of fresh oil, and pepper, coriander and cilantro, both pounded fine, and salt. Bring the pot to a full boil until the meat and the spices are cooked, and don't throw in water. When the meat has browned and is done, remove it, stir it and throw in enough water, but do not let it cover the meat, and boil again. Then boil the eggplant separately, after salting it and removing its water, and then cut in thirds and quarters and remove the peel. Dust with good white flour and fry in the pan with some fresh oil, then throw it in the pot and cover the contents of the pot with two eggs and crumbs of leavened bread and draw off the grease to the oven. Boil moderately, take off the fire for a while and serve.

Translator's note: When I translate "removing its water," I'm reading the incomprehensible "dh'uh" as "m'uh," "its water." "Draw off the grease to the oven" is a strange instruction, not found elsewhere. The instruction to boil and take off the fire indicates that the pot itself does not go to the oven. (CP)

1/2 lb meat (lamb?)
1/2 T vinegar
1 T murri
1/2 t pepper
1 T sweet oil
1/2 t ground coriander
4 T fresh coriander
1 t salt
1/2 c water
1 medium eggplant

1/2 c flour
about 1/3 c more sweet oil
2 eggs
1/3 c breadcrumbs

Cut the lamb up small, fry it in the oil with vinegar, murri, and seasonings about 10-15 minutes (until the meat is cooked). Add the water and simmer about another 20 minutes, until most of the water is gone.

Meanwhile, peel the eggplant and boil it 10 minutes in salted water, take it out and slice it. Lay it on paper towels or something similar for ten or fifteen minutes to let some of the juice come out. Pat it dry, smother in flour, fry in oil in a second frying pan for about 5-10 minutes. Then add it to the first pan. Stir in the beaten eggs, mix in the breadcrumbs, remove from the heat and serve.

 

Making Baqliyya with Eggplants

Andalusian p. A-41

Take the breast of a sheep and its ribs, cut small, to the size of three fingers, cut onion in round slices and then take cilantro and pound coriander seed, caraway, and Chinese cinnamon; cut up the eggplants in round pieces and the same with the gourds; then take a pot and put a little oil in its bottom then arrange a layer of meat and eggplant and a layer of gourd and put some spices between each layer and the next; then put the pot on the fire, after putting in it an adequate quantity of meat, and do not add water; cook until done God willing.

lamb: 1 lb breast, 1 lb leg (or lamb chops, to follow the recipe more precisely)
1 large onion
3/8 c fresh coriander
1 t coriander seed
1 t caraway
1 t (Chinese) cinnamon
1 zucchini and 1 dimple squash
1/2 large eggplant
1 T oil

Put fattest meat on top. Sprinkle 1/4 t salt over, seal top with dough. Bake 1 hr 40 min at 350deg. .

 

Preparing Tabhaja

of Burniyya

Andalusian p. A-42

Take of small eggplants fifteen, and boil gently with the skin on, whole, without peeling or splitting; then take them out of the pot and put in another pot; throw in as much salt and oil as are needed and boil on a slow fire until it is entirely done; take a ratl of mutton and slice it up, as told earlier; put in the pot with one quarter ratl of oil and some water, boil until the water disappears and then fry in the oil until the meat is browned and is done, and put in this the fried eggplants and throw in one quarter ratl of good vinegar and fry, until the vinegar is done; then throw over it a third of a ratl of murri and improve it with three dirhams weight of caraway, the same amount of coriander seed and a dirham and a half of pepper; then fry until done and leave it rest for a while, dish up and serve.

15 small eggplants (about 1/2 lb each)
1 t salt
2 T oil (for eggplants)
1 lb lamb meat (from 1.3 lb chops)
4 oz oil (for meat) = about 1/2 c
1 c water (for meat)
4 oz vinegar = 1/2 c
1/3 lb murri = 2/3 c
3 1/2 t caraway seeds
2 T ground coriander
2 1/4 t pepper

Note: a dirhem, according to the introduction to al-Bagdadi, is 1/120 lb = 2/15 oz; 1 1/2 dirhem pepper = 1/5 oz = 2 1/4 t.

Wash eggplants, cut off stem end, put into boiling water, cook 10 minutes and drain; let cool. Bone meat and cut into bite-sized pieces; put in pot with oil and water and cook uncovered 30 minutes. Peel and slice eggplants, put with salt and 2 T oil and 2 c water and simmer 25 minutes. At that point, combine eggplants with meat (do not include liquid eggplants were cooked in), add vinegar and cook 15 minutes. Add murri and spices, cook 5 minutes, stirring, remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes and serve.

 

Dish of Eggplant

Andalusian p. A-49

Cut up mutton and put in the pot with salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, thyme, two spoons of murri naq ' and three of oil; take to the fire and cook and when the meat is done, add eggplants cut in quarters and boiled separately. When it has boiled, grind up white bread crumbs beaten with the right quantity of eggs in coriander juice; cover the pot with this and then take it to the hearthstone.

3/4 lb lamb from chops
3/4 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t ground coriander seed
1 t cumin
1/2 t ground thyme
2 t murri
1 T oil
1 eggplant (1 1/2 lb as bought)
2 T bread crumbs
2 eggs
2 T coriander juice

Quarter egg plant, simmer in water for about 20 minutes. Cut lamb in bite sized pieces (1" to 1/2" on a side). Mix lamb with murri and spices and saute in oil 5-10 minutes. Drain eggplant, skin, add to meat, mashing a little, simmer together about 5-10 minutes. Grind coriander with mortar and pestle to get juice. Mix the juice with eggs and bread crumbs, stir it into the pot, simmer briefly (about 5 minutes) to get the eggs cooked, serve.

 

Preparing the Dish Dictated by Abu Ishaq

Andalusian p. A-41

Take meat and pound smooth until it is like marrow; put in the pot and pour over it oil and salt, clean onions and chop them, then boil and stir and throw in the pot with this some coriander seed and pepper in the amount needed, soaked garbanzos and a handful of peeled almonds pounded like salt; pour in white of egg and leave until the grease runs out, God willing.

1 lb pureed meat
1/4 c oil
1 t salt
1 onion
1/2 t+ coriander seed
1/2 t pepper
1/2 15 oz can chickpeas
1/2 c almonds
2 egg whites (or 1/4 c)

Preparing Tuffhiyya

(Apple Stew) with Eggplants

Andalusian p. A-49

Take three ratls of lamb, cut up and put in the pot with onion, salt, coriander, pepper, ginger, cinnamon and four qiyas of oil, let it evaporate in the pot on the fire, until it gives up its water; then cover with juice pressed from apples and cook; when the meat is done, put in eggplants peeled and boiled separately and whole peeled apples without cutting them up and prepared meatballs; then add some of the meat, pounded and "dissolved," and some eggs and cover it [masculine verb; this may mean that only the added meat is covered] with them, or leave [feminine verb, meaning leave the pot] without covering [khamira, the word meaning "dough"], and leave it to rest on the hearthstone.

12 oz lamb, trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 onion (4 oz), chopped coarsely
1 t salt
3/4 t coriander
3/4 t pepper
3/4 t ginger
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 ounce olive oil
2 cups apple juice
1 to 2 lb eggplants
8 small apples (1 1/2 lb)

thickener:

6 oz ground lamb
3 eggs

Meatballs:

1/2 lb ground lamb
1 egg
1 t murri
1 t onion juice
2 t olive oil
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t pepper

This is for 1/4 the recipe given in the original.

Peel the eggplants and put in a saucepan with about 5 c water and 1/2 t salt; boil 15 minutes and remove. Let stand 1/2 hour or more, and drain off the liquid that comes from them. Meanwhile, mix and knead together all meatball ingredients except the oil. Make into 25-30 meatballs. Fry them in the oil and their own fat for about 20 minutes over medium heat. In a large pot, put lamb chunks, onion, spices, and oil; cook over medium heat about 5-10 minutes. Add 2 cups apple juice and cook about 5 minutes more. Add whole eggplants, peeled whole apples, meatballs. Cook about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the rest of the ground lamb with eggs, stir into the liquid in the pot as a thickener. Cook with cover on over a low heat until apples are done (about another 40 minutes).

Note: The meatball recipe is loosely based on several other recipes in the same cookbook. Alternative ingredients include minced garlic instead of onion juice, white flour or egg white as a binder instead of eggs, vinegar, saffron, cumin, lavender, cloves, oil, salt, and meat fat.

 

Tuffahiya

al-Baghdadi p. 37/5

Take fat meat and cut into small strips: throw into the saucepan with a little salt and dry coriander, and boil until almost cooked. Remove and throw away the scum. Cut up onions small and throw in, with cinnamon-bark, pepper, mastic and ginger ground fine, and a few sprigs of mint. Take sour apples, remove the pips, and pound in a stone mortar, squeezing out the juice: put in on top of the meat. Peel almonds and soak in water, then throw in. Kindle the fire under it, until the whole is done: then leave over the fire to settle. If desired, add a chicken, cutting it into quarters, and letting it cook with the meat. Then remove.

1 1/2 lb fat meat: lamb
2 c water
1 t salt
1 t dry coriander
6 oz onion (2 medium small)
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t pepper
1/16 t mastic, measured ground
1/2 t ginger
1/10 oz fresh mint (1 t packed)
1 lb cooking apples (2 to 4)
1 1/2 oz blanched almonds = 1/4 c

Put almonds to soak. Cut meat into strips 1/8"-1/4" thick. Cook meat, water, salt, and coriander 10 minutes uncovered. Chop onions and grind mastic; add onions, cinnamon, pepper, mastic, and ginger to pot, and simmer another 15 minutes. Peel and core apples, chop very small (looks almost like apple sauce) in food processor. Dump apples and almonds on top. Cook another 5 minutes uncovered and serve.

 

Raihaniya

al-Baghdadi p. 192/9

Cut red meat into thin slices, brown in melted tail, cover with water. When boiling skim, add a little salt, ground coriander, cummin, pepper, mastic, cinnamon. Mince red meat with seasoning and make into light cabobs, add. Take two bundles of spinach, cut off the roots, chop small, and grind in a mortar. Then throw into the pot. When cooked and dry add peeled ground garlic with a little salt and cummin. Stir, let settle over the fire an hour. Sprinkle with dry coriander and cinnamon, remove.

1/2 lb lamb and/or veal
1-2 oz lamb fat = "tail"
1 1/2 c water
1/8 t salt
1/4 t coriander
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t pepper
mastic
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 lb ground lamb for cabobs
3 c spinach packed (about 7 ounces)
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/4 t more salt
1/4 t more cumin
1/2 t more coriander
3/4 t more cinnamon

cabob seasonings (not given in recipe):

1/4 t coriander
1/4 t salt
1/2 large clove garlic, crushed
2 T finely chopped onion
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t cinnamon

Put the lamb fat in a pot over medium heat, fry until there is 1-2 T or so of oil melted out. Remove the solid, keep the rendered-out fat. Brown the sliced meat in it for about 5-10 minutes. Add water and spices. Simmer 40 minutes. Make the ground lamb and cabob seasonings into about 30 cabobs, add to the pot. Meanwhile, wash the spinach, removing stems. Mash in a mortar or pulverise in a food processor. When the cabobs have simmered for about 25 minutes, add the spinach. Simmer 30 minutes, add garlic, salt, and cumin. Simmer on the lowest available heat another 20 minutes, sprinkle on coriander and cinnamon, serve over rice.

 

Jazariyyah

Ibn al-Mabrad p. 18

Meat is boiled with a little water. Carrots, garlic cloves and peeled onions are put with it, then crushed garlic is put with it. Some people put spinach with it also; some make it without spinach. Walnuts and parsley are put in.

2 lb meat (lamb)
4 carrots
6 whole garlic cloves (about .6 oz)
4 small onions (5 ounces)
2 cloves crushed garlic
2 c spinach
1/4 c walnuts
1/4 c parsley
[1/2 t cinnamon]
[1/4 t pepper]
[1/4 t coriander]
[1/4 t salt]

Cut the lamb up small and put it in 1 1/2 c water with cinnamon, pepper, coriander and salt. Simmer 10 minutes. Add carrots cut up, whole garlic cloves, and small onions. Simmer 10 minutes. Add crushed garlic. Simmer 20 minutes. Add spinach. Simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with walnuts and parsley. The spices are based on similar recipes in al-Bagdadi.

 

Sikbaj

al-Baghdadi p. 34/4

Cut fat meat into middling pieces, place in the saucepan, and cover with water, fresh coriander, cinnamon bark, and salt to taste. When boiling, remove the froth and cream with a ladle, and throw away. Remove the fresh coriander, and add dry coriander. Take white onions, Syrian leeks, and carrots if in season, or else egg plant. Skin, splitting the egg plant thoroughly, and half stew in water in a separate saucepan: then strain, and leave in the saucepan on top of the meat. Add seasonings and salt to taste. When almost cooked, take wine vinegar and date juice, or honey if preferred-date juice is the more suitable-and mix together so that the mixture is midway between sharp and sweet, then pour into the saucepan and boil for a while. When ready to take off the fire, remove a little of the broth, bray into it saffron as required, and pour back into the saucepan. Then take sweet almonds, peel, split, and place on top of the pan, together with a few raisins, currants, and dried figs. Cover for a while, to settle over the heat of the fire. Wipe the sides with a clean rag, and sprinkle rosewater on top. When settled, remove.

2 lb fat meat: lamb
3 c water
1/4 oz fresh coriander
1 stick cinnamon bark
1/2 t salt
1 t dry coriander
6 small white onions (5/8 lb)

2 leeks (3/4 lb)
5 carrots (3/4 lb)
date juice (dibs) or 1/3 c honey
about 10 threads saffron

seasonings:

1/2 t pepper
1/2 t cinnamon
1 t cumin
salt
1/3 c wine vinegar
20 split almonds (3/4 oz = ~2 T)
2 T raisins (1 oz)
1 T currants
2 T figs (3/4 oz)
1 t rose water

Cut lamb in about 1/2" cubes. Bring to a boil with water, etc, and skim. Meanwhile chop leeks and carrots, cut onions in halves or quarters, put in boiling water, boil 10 minutes and strain. Remove green coriander from meat (it should have been simmering about 20 minutes by then), add powdered coriander, vegetables and seasonings and simmer 1/2 hour. Mix vinegar and honey, add and simmer another 10 minutes. Grind saffron into 1/2 t of the meat broth, put into the pot. Sprinkle on almonds, raisins, etc., cover and let sit 15 minutes on low heat, turn off heat and sprinkle on rosewater and serve.

 

Al-Ghassani's Tharda

Andalusian A-42

Take fat meat and cut it up, arrange in a large pot and throw in coriander seed, chopped onion, cilantro, caraway, pepper, soaked garbanzos, three whole eggs and enough water to cover the meat and salt; when the meat is done, reduce the fire below it and throw in two dirhams of saffron; when you see that it is colored, remove part of the sauce, leaving enough to cover the meat; boil the meat with the saffron and then take off the fire, strain the sauce and leave in the pot, take one kail of sauce and three of honey, then take the pot to the fire and bring it to the boil three times with the honey and the sauce. Then take best white bread, crumble it and sieve the crumbs, cover the pot with them and put in it fat and pepper; pour into the platter over bread soaked in the broth and serve, God willing.

2 c lamb tightly packed = 18 oz
1/2 t ground coriander seed
3 c chopped onion = 15 oz
2 T fresh coriander (packed down)
1/2 t caraway
1/2 t pepper

2 15 oz can chickpeas = 2 3/4 c
3 eggs
1 5/8 c water
1/2 t salt
1/8 t saffron
6 T honey
1/4 lb bread for crumbs
3 T melted lamb fat
1/2 t+ pepper
11 slices bread on platter

Cut lamb in 1" cubes; combine lamb, onion, etc, in pot, breaking the eggs in whole to poach in the pot. Simmer about 30 minutes (until the lamb is cooked), mostly uncovered, stirring occasionally. Lower heat, add saffron, simmer 10 minutes, stir a little to spread the saffron. Turn off the heat, remove 2 T of sauce, mix it with honey and return the mixture to the pot. Bring back to a boil, then stir in bread crumbs (crumble them in a blender or food processor, put them in a strainer, and push through the strainer onto the pot, stirring in occasionally). Add fat and pepper. Arrange bread, toasted if you like, on a large platter (10-12"). Spoon liquid part of the broth on to the bread, then ladle everything on top.

 

White Thardah

of al Rashid

Translated by Charles Perry from a 9-10th c. Islamic collection.

Take a chicken and joint it, or meat of a kid or lamb, and clean it and throw it in a pot, and throw on it soaked chickpeas, clean oil, galingale, cinnamon sticks, and a little salt. And when it boils, skim it. Take fresh milk and strain it over the pot and throw in onion slices and boiled carrots. And when it boils well, take peeled almonds and pound them fine. Break over them five eggs and mix with wine vinegar. Then throw in the pot and add coriander, a little pepper and a bit of cumin and arrange it and leave on the fire, and serve, God willing.

2 3/4 lb lamb with bones or 2 1/2 lb chicken, cut up
2 15 oz cans chickpeas
2 T olive oil
3/4 t galingale
1 oz stick cinnamon = 5 sticks
~5 c water or less
1 T salt
1 c milk
1 large onion (1 1/4 lbs)
9 carrots (1 1/4 lbs)
5 oz almonds = 1 c ground
5 eggs
1 1/2 T wine vinegar
1 t coriander
1 3/4 t pepper
1 1/4 t cumin

Put meat or chicken, chickpeas (with liquid), oil, galingale, cinnamon sticks and salt with as little water as will cover, boil 15 minutes. Meanwhile boil carrots. Use large pot. Add milk, sliced onion, drained carrots, boil another 15 minutes. Add fine ground almonds, eggs, and vinegar and spices all mixed together. Add to boiling mixture. Cook another five minutes, serve.

An alternative interpretation of the recipe omits the water, so that the meat is cooked in the oil until partially cooked, then the milk, onions, and carrots are added.

 

A Roast of Meat

Andalusian p. A-38

Roast salted, well-marbled meat [cut up] like fingertips, and put in a pot spices, onion, salt, oil and soaked garbanzos. Cook until done and add the roast meat; cover the contents of the pot with cilantro and sprinkle with pepper and cinnamon; and if you add whole pine nuts or walnuts in place of garbanzos, it will be good.

1 1/2 lb lamb or beef
2 15 oz cans chickpeas
3 small onions = 3/4 lb
1 t salt

spices:

1/4 t cumin
1/2 t coriander
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t black pepper
3 T olive oil
1/4 c green coriander, pressed down
1/8 t more pepper
1/4 t more cinnamon

Note: an earlier recipe in the same book calls for spices and then specifies which ones: "all the spices, pepper, cinnamon, dried coriander and cumin."

Roast meat and cut into about 1/4" by 1/2" pieces. Slice onions. Put chickpeas, onion, spices, salt and oil in a pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 10 minutes, turning down the heat toward the end as it gets dry; add meat and cook one minute, add green coriander and cook another minute, and turn off heat. Sprinkle with pepper and cinnamon and serve.

 

Safarjaliyya

, a Dish Made With Quinces

Andalusian p. A-48

This is a good food for the feverish, it excites the appetite, strengthens the stomach and prevents stomach vapors from rising to the head. Take the flesh of a young fat lamb or calf; cut in small pieces and put in the pot with salt, pepper, coriander seed, saffron, oil and a little water; put on a low fire until the meat is done; then take as much as you need of cleaned peeled quince, cut in fourths, and sharp vinegar, juice of unripe grapes (verjuice) or of pressed quince, cook for a while and use. If you wish, cover with eggs and it comes out like muthallath.

1 lb lamb
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1 t coriander
~4 threads saffron
2 t oil
1 T water
1 quince = 3/4 lb
1 T wine vinegar
1/4 c verjuice
(2 or 3 eggs)

Cut up meat into bite-sized pieces, put in a pot with spices, oil, and water, and cook over low heat about 10 minutes, stirring periodically. Meanwhile, peel and core quince and cut into eighths. Add quince, vinegar, and verjuice to pot and cook covered about 30-40 minutes, until quince is tender when poked with a fork. If adding eggs, stir them in and cook, stirring continuously for about 3 minutes.

We have also done it using quince juice instead of verjuice: to make 1/2 c quince juice from 1 quince, put quince through food processor with 1/6 c water, squeeze through cloth.

 

Safarjaliyya

, a Quince Dish

Andalusian p. A-34

Take meat and cut it in pieces which then throw in the pot and throw on it two spoons of vinegar and oil, a dirham and a half of pepper, caraway, coriander seed and pounded onion; cover it with water and put it on the fire, clean three or four quinces or five and chop them up with a knife, as small as you can; cook them in water and when they are cooked, take them out of the water and when the meat is done throw in it this boiled quince and bring it to the boil two or three times; then cover the contents of the pot with two or three eggs and take it off the fire, leave it for a little while, and when you put it on the platter, sprinkle it with some pepper, throw on a little saffron and serve it.

2 1/2 lb boneless meat (lamb)
1 T vinegar
1 T oil
1 1/4 t pepper
1 1/4 t caraway
1 1/4 t coriander
3/4 lb onions
1 c water (for the meat)
2 quinces = 1 1/4 lb
1 egg
1/8+ t more pepper
12 threads saffron
[1 t salt]

Note: a dirhem, according to the introduction to al-Bagdadi, is 1/120 lb = 2/15 oz; 1 1/2 dirhem pepper = 1/5 oz = 2.4 t pepper.

Bone meat and chop it into bite sized pieces. Core quinces and chop them finely in a food processor. Bring the quince to a boil in 1 1/2 c water and cook about 25 minutes covered. Meanwhile, put meat with vinegar, oil, spices, onion (ground in food processor), and 1 c water and cook uncovered 15 minutes. Drain quinces and add to meat, bring back to a boil and boil about 5 minutes uncovered over medium to medium high heat. Stir in beaten egg, remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes. Grind pepper (at least 1/8 t-more if you like pepper) and saffron together, sprinkle on, and serve. Good over rice.

Note: These spice quantities assume that it means a dirhem and a half of each of pepper, caraway, and coriander. If you interpret it as a total of a dirhem and a half, the recipe comes out much less strongly spiced; we prefer it this way. One could read "a dirhem and a half" as applying to the ground onion as well, which would imply much less than we use.

 

Labaniyyah

Ibn al-Mabrad p. 22

Meat is boiled, then leeks are put in and yoghurt is dissolved and rice is put with it. Some people put the yoghurt first, then the meat then the rice.

3/4 lb boned lamb
1 3/4 cup of water
1/2 t salt
2 leeks = 2 c sliced
1 1/4 c yogurt
1 1/4 c rice
(2 t cumin)
(2 t coriander)
(1 t cinnamon)

Cut meat into bite-sized pieces. Boil meat for 15 minutes in water at low heat, covered. Add leeks, yogurt and salt. Add rice and spices. Simmer (again covered) until rice is done (about an hour). The spices are based on similar recipes in al-Bagdadi.

 

Gharibah

Ibn al-Mabrad p. 21

Meat is boiled, then you take off most of its broth and put with the remainder vegetables such as onion, gourd and aubergine. You dissolve yoghurt in what you took off and you put it with it. Then you garnish with walnut and parsley.

3/4 lb meat (lamb)
2 c water
[1 stick cinnamon]
[1/4 t cumin]
[1/2 t dry coriander]
[1/2 t+ salt]
1/2 c yogurt
3 onions = 2 c chopped
3 lbs "gourd:" squash
1 lb eggplant
1/2 c chopped walnuts
2 T chopped parsley

Cut up the lamb small, removing most of the fat. Simmer it in water for about 1/2 hour with the spices. Remove 1/2 of the broth, mix with yogurt. Put the vegetables (cut up in small pieces) and the yogurt-broth mixture back in the pot with the lamb. Simmer for 1 hour. Garnish with walnuts and parsley.

Note: the spicing is based on what is used in Al-Baghdadi for similar dishes. The cookbook this recipe is from is very terse; cinnamon is never mentioned, nor, I think, salt, and dry coriander only once. I assume they are simply omitted in the recipe, and left to the cook's judgement. See the introduction for a discussion of gourd, squash, and related vegetables.

 

Preparing Asparagus with Meat Stuffing

Andalusian p. A-41

Take asparagus, the largest you have, clean and boil, after taking tender meat and pounding fine; throw in pepper, caraway, coriander seed, cilantro juice, some oil and egg white; take the boiled asparagus, one after another, and dress with this ground meat, and do so carefully. Put an earthenware pot on the fire, after putting in it water, salt, a spoon of murri and another of oil, cilantro juice, pepper, caraway and coriander seed; little by little while the pot boils, throw in it the asparagus wrapped in meat. Boil in the pot and throw in it meatballs of this ground meat, and when it is all evenly cooked, cover with egg, breadcrumbs and some of the stuffed meat already mentioned and decorate with egg, God willing.

1 lb asparagus (before trimming)
1/2 lb ground meat (lamb?)
1/8 t pepper
1/4 t caraway
1/8 t coriander seed
1/3 c crushed fresh coriander
1/2 T oil
1 egg white
water
1/4 t salt
murri
1/3 c more fresh coriander
1/8 t more coriander seed
3 eggs
1 c breadcrumbs

We have not yet figured out how one ought to dress the asparagus with the meat; perhaps one could split the asparagus down the center and lay the meat inside.

 

Fuliyyah

Ibn al-Mabrad p. 21

Meat is boiled and fava beans are fried in fat, then you put them with the meat and broth. Then you put pounded thyme, coriander and garlic with it. Then you break an egg on it and sprinkle pepper and coriander seed on it. It is covered until it thickens and taken off.

3/4 lb lamb (from 1 lb lamb chops)
2 c water
1 c dry fava beans (2 1/2 c soaked)
4-6 T fat
2 t fresh thyme (or 1 t dry)
1 1/2 T fresh coriander
1 large clove garlic (1/10 oz)
2 eggs
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t ground coriander seed

Soak the beans overnight. Render the fat from about 6 oz of lamb fat, giving 4-6 T of liquid fat; it would probably also work using olive oil. Fry beans for about 10-15 minutes in the fat (just enough time for beans to absorb most of the fat), then add to the meat, which has been boiling the same length of time in 2 c water. Put thyme, chopped coriander, and peeled garlic in a mortar and mash. Add to pot. Simmer for about another 45 minutes. Stir frequently, scraping the bottom, after adding the beans (medium heat at most), since otherwise it can easily scorch. Beat two eggs together and stir into the bubbling pot. Add pepper and coriander, then let sit on low flame a few minutes while the egg sets. Serve. This is good but rather spicy; those who do not like spicy dishes might try using half the quantity of pepper and garlic.

An alternative interpretation is that you are poaching an egg on top of the Fuliyyah ("break an egg on it"). If you want to try it this way, start with only 1 3/4 c of water, so that the Fuliyyah will come out thicker.

 

Cooked Dish of Lentils

al-Andalusi p. C-5 (no. 377)

Wash lentils and put them to cook in a pot with sweet water, oil, pepper, coriander and cut onion. When they are cooked throw in salt, a little saffron and vinegar; break three eggs, leave for a while on the flame and later retire the pot. Other times cook without onion. If you wish cook it with Egyptian beans pricked into which have been given a boil. Or better with dissolved yeast over a gentle fire. When the lentils begin to thicken add good butter or sweet oil, bit by bit, alike until it gets absorbed, until they are sufficiently cooked and have enough oil. Then retire it from the flame and sprinkle with pepper.

1 1/2 c dried lentils = 10 oz
2 1/4 c water
1 1/2 T oil
3/8 t pepper
1 1/2 t coriander
2 medium onions = 1/2 lb
3/4 t salt
12 threads saffron
2 T vinegar
4 eggs

(Egyptian beans)
(yeast)
4 T butter (or oil)
more pepper

Slice onions. Put lentils, water, oil, pepper, coriander and onion in a pot, bring to a boil, and turn down to a bare simmer. Cook covered 50 minutes, stirring periodically. Add butter in lumps and cook while stirring for about 5 minutes. Add salt, saffron (crushed into 1 t water) and vinegar, and bring back to a boil. Put eggs on top, cover pot and keep lentils at a simmer; stir cautiously every few minutes in order to scrape the bottom of the pot without stirring in the eggs. We find that if the heat is off, the eggs don't cook; if the heat is up at medium, the eggs cook, but the lentils start to stick to the pot. A larger quantity might hold enough heat to cook the eggs without leaving it on the flame. When the eggs are cooked, sprinkle with a little more pepper and serve. Makes 5 1/4 c.

 

A Muzawwara

(Vegetarian Dish) Beneficial for Tertian Fevers and Acute Fevers

Andalusian p. A-52

Take boiled peeled lentils and wash in hot water several times; put in the pot and add water without covering them; cook and then throw in pieces of gourd, or the stems [ribs] of Swiss chard, or of lettuce and its tender sprigs, or the flesh of cucumber or melon, and vinegar, coriander seed, a little cumin, Chinese cinnamon, saffron and two qiyas of fresh oil; balance with a little salt and cook. Taste, and if its flavor is pleasingly balanced between sweet and sour, [good;] and if not, reinforce until it is equalized, according to taste, and leave it to lose its heat until it is cold and then serve.

2 c lentils
5 c water
1/4 c cider vinegar
3/4 t ground coriander
3/4 t cumin
1 1/2 t cinnamon
6 threads saffron
1/4 c oil
1 t salt

one of the following:

1 1/2 lb butternut squash
1 lb chard or beet leaves
1 lb lettuce
2 8" cucumbers
melon (?)

Boil lentils about 40 minutes until they start to get mushy. Add spices and vinegar and oil. Add one of the vegetables; leafy vegetables should be torn up, squash or cucumbers are cut into bite-sized pieces and cooked about 10-15 minutes before being added to lentils. Cook lettuce or chard version for about 10 minutes, until leaves are soft. Cook squash or cucumber version about 20 minutes. Be careful not to burn during the final cooking.

 

Adas

Ibn al-Mabrad p. 21

The best way of cooking lentils is to crush them and then cook them and put with them chard and taro. When it is done, sumac, fried onion, parsley, vinegar and oil are put with it.

1 c lentils
1/2 lb chard
2 lb taro
2 t dried sumac
3/4 t salt
1/2 lb onion
2 T parsley (chopped)
1 T vinegar
1 T oil

Grind the lentils in a mortar or a spice/coffee grinder (a gadget like a miniature food processor), then simmer them in 4 1/2 c water about 1 hour. Simmer the taro about 15 minutes, drain, peel, and slice. Rinse and chop the chard. At the end of the hour add the taro and chard. Simmer together about another 1/2 hour. Chop and fry the onion in a little oil. At the end of the half hour, add onion, parsley, vinegar, oil, salt and sumac. Stir together and serve. Note that taro is sometimes available in Chinese or Indian grocery stores.

 

Isfanakh Mutajjan

al-Baghdadi p. 206/12

Take spinach, cut off the lower roots, and wash: then boil lightly in salt and water, and dry. Refine sesame-oil, drop in the spinach, and stir until fragrant. Chop up a little garlic, and add. Sprinkle with fine-ground cumin, dry coriander, and cinnamon: then remove.

1 lb spinach
1 T sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1/4 t cumin
1/8 t coriander
1/2 t cinnamon

Boil spinach in salted water about 2 minutes.

 

Jannniyya

(the Gardener's Dish)

Andalusian p. A-52

It was the custom among us to make this in the flower and vegetable gardens. If you make it in summer or fall, take saltwort, Swiss chard, gourd, small eggplants, "eyes" of fennel, fox-grapes, the best parts of tender gourd and flesh of ribbed cucumber and smooth cucumber; chop all this very small, as vegetables are chopped, and cook with water and salt; then drain off the water. Take a clean pot and in it pour a little water and a lot of oil, pounded onion, garlic, pepper, coriander seed and caraway; put on a moderate fire and when it has boiled, put in the boiled vegetables. When it has finished cooking, add grated or pounded bread and dissolved [sour] dough, and break over it as many eggs as you are able, and squeeze in the juice of tender coriander and of mint, and leave on the hearthstone until the eggs set. If you make it in spring, then [use] lettuce, fennel, peeled fresh fava beans, spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, fresh cilantro and so on, cook it all and add the spices already indicated, plenty of oil, cheese, dissolved [sour] dough and eggs. Spring version

1/4 lb lettuce
1 oz fennel leaves
2 c frozen or fresh lima beans
3 oz spinach
1/4 lb chard or beet leaves
2 carrots, sliced
1 c water
1/2 c oil
2 medium onions
2 large cloves garlic
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t ground coriander
1/4 t caraway seeds
1/2 c bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 t green coriander, mashed to juice
1/2 t mint, mashed to juice
3 oz grated cheese
4 T green coriander

Note: we have not found fresh fava beans; lima beans are New World, but are closer than anything else I know of.

Chop greens, slice carrots, put with beans into boiling salted water for about 5 minutes (if using frozen beans, put them in first and wait until water comes to a boil again before adding greens), and drain. Mix water, oil, sliced onion and garlic, and seasonings in clean pan, boil about 10 minutes and add greens. Cook about 3 minutes and add bread crumbs, eggs, coriander and mint juice, and cheese. Cook over low heat until egg sets and cheese melts.

 

Baid Masus

al-Baghdadi p. 202/11

Take fresh sesame-oil, place in the saucepan, and boil: then put in celery. Add a little fine-brayed coriander, cummin and cinnamon, and some mastic; then pour in vinegar as required, and colour with a little saffron. When thoroughly boiling, break eggs, and drop in whole: when set, remove.

2 T sesame oil
1/2 lb celery
1/2 T coriander
1 t cumin
1/2 t cinnamon
1/16 t mastic (measured ground)
1 1/2 T vinegar
12 threads saffron
6 eggs

Trim celery and cut into 1/4" bits. Heat oil. Saute celery in oil over moderate heat for 7 minutes, adding spices just after putting in the celery. Stir vigorously. Crush saffron into vinegar; pour vinegar into pan with celery. Immediately crack in whole eggs and let cook, covered, until egg white is set.

Some of us like this; others do not like anything that has enough mastic to taste.

Islamic Dishes

Without (much) Vegetable

 

Recipe for the Barmakiyya

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
(1 c water+1/4 c for yeast)
1 1/2 c white flour
1 1/2 c semolina
3 T olive oil for dough
1 lb boned chicken (or lamb)
10 oz chopped onion
1/2 t pepper
(1 t salt in dough)
1 1/2 t (lavender or) cinnamon
3 T olive oil
3 T more olive oil for frying
1 T (byzantine) murri
1 t coriander

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.

 

Maqluba

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
2 T dried sumac
1/2 c water
1 T lemon juice
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t cumin
1/2 t (white) pepper
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t dry mint
1 1/4 c walnuts
5 eggs
2 T sesame oil

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.

 

Another Tabhajiyya

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?)
about 2 T oil
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/4 t cumin
1 T vinegar
1 egg
1 T vinegar
1 T murri
1 T fresh coriander
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t dried rue
1/4 t cinnamon

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.

 

Tabhajah

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 quiyah, 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 dniqs 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 quiyahs of good oil. And when the oil begins to boil, throw the strips in the pot with the condiment and two dniqs 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 Tabhajah 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
4 t honey
scant 1/2 t coriander
5/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t pepper
1 lb trimmed lamb
1/3 c olive oil
1/8 t salt
2 1/2 T green coriander leaves = 1/5 oz
1 T rue = 1/20 oz
3 T mustard greens = 1/2 leaf
(asafoetida)

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.

 

Preparing Covered Tabhajiyya

[Tabahajiyya Maghmuma]

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?)
1 lb onion
3/8 oz = 1 1/2 t caraway
1/8 oz = 1 t pepper
1/3 lb = 2/3 c vinegar
4 oz = 1/2 c oil
flour and water (for dough)

 

Rutabiya

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)
"tail" (lamb fat)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t coriander leaves
1/3 c almonds
1/3 c pistachios
1/8 t saffron
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t coriander
1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t mastic
1 lb ground red meat (lamb)
25 whole almonds
15 dates
1 T "scented sugar"?
camphor?
2 T rosewater

 

Shurba

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
lamb fat: 2 T+ rendered out
3 c water
2 t salt
15 oz can chickpeas = 1 3/4 c
3 3" sticks cinnamon
2 t dry dill in cheesecloth
2 t dry coriander
1/2 t ginger
1 t pepper
9 c more water
4 1/2 c rice

kebabs (optional):

3/4 lb lamb
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ginger
1/2 t coriander

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.

 

Rishta

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
1/2 stick cinnamon
6 T peeled chickpeas (canned will do)
1 t salt
3 T lentils
2 c flour
1/2 c water

"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.

 

Salma

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
about 1/4 c water
1/2 c plain yogurt
5 ounces meat (lamb)
1/2 oz tail (lamb fat)
1 small to medium onion = 1/4 lb
1 T mint
2-4 cloves crushed garlic
[1/2 t salt]

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.

 

Shushbarak

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)
2 c flour
1/4 c water
3 eggs
4 ounces yogurt
1 clove garlic
1 sprig mint

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.

 

Tharid

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
2 c water
4 slices bread
1/2 c yogurt
5 small cloves garlic
8 sprigs mint (leaves only)

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.

 

Harisah

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
2 c water
(1/2 stick cinnamon)
(3/4 t salt)
5 ounces of cracked wheat
1 c milk
(1 1/2 T liquid tail)
(1/4 t cumin)
(1/2 t cinnamon)
(1/2 T lemon)

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).

 

Mufarraka

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
14 oz chicken gizzards
1/2 t salt
8 egg yolks
1 1/2 t coriander
1 1/2 t cumin
3/4 t pepper
1 1/2 t cinnamon
2 T sesame oil for frying
1/4 c lemon juice

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 making of Bad'i

, 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
1/4 t salt
1/2 small onion (2 oz)
1/2 t ground coriander
1/2 t ground dried lavender
4 threads saffron, ground
2 T olive oil
6 oz cheese (Mozzarella)
6 more threads saffron
1/2 t lavender
2 beaten eggs
3 more threads saffron
1/2 t more lavender
1/2 t cinnamon
4 whole egg yolks
2 T olive oil

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.

 

Cooked Fried Chicken

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 naq' 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
1/4 c oil
1/4 c vinegar
2 T murri
2 T oil
1 t pepper
4 sprigs cilantro = ~1/16 oz
1/4 t cumin
1/4 t crushed garlic
3 threads saffron

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.

 

The Recipe of ibn al-Mahdi's Maghmm

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 qiyas of vinegar, two qiyas of pressed onion juice, an qiya of cilantro juice, an qiya of murri naq', and four qiyas 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)
1 T (4 g) coriander
1 t (2 g) pepper
1 1/2 t (2 g) cinnamon
1/2 t (1 g) ginger
1/2 t (1 g) galingale
~1 T (1 g) dried lavender blossoms ground in a mortar
1/2 t (1 g) cloves
3/8 c (3 oz) vinegar
2 T (1 oz) coriander juice = 2 T water +~1 oz green coriander
1/4 c (2 oz) onion juice
2 T (1 oz) murri
1/2 c (4 oz) olive oil
2 t rosewater
2 medium pita breads

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.

 

Another Dish: Andalusian chicken

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
1 t salt
1 T oil
2 t murri
1/2 t pepper
1 t coriander
2 t fresh chopped oregano (1/12 oz) or 1 t dried oregano
1 c green coriander packed = 3 oz + 1/4 c water = almost 1/2 c juice
1/4 c onion juice
1/2 c bread crumbs
3 eggs
1/4 t more pepper
12 threads saffron

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.

 

Zirbaya

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
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 t coriander
2 t cinnamon
20 threads saffron
2 T wine vinegar
2 T olive oil
4 oz = 2/3 c almonds
1/2 c sugar
4 T rosewater

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.

 

Chicken with Mustard

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
1 t salt
1 3/8 lb onion, chopped
1/4 c green coriander leaves
2 T olive oil
2 t coriander seed
3/4 t pepper
2 t caraway
3 T coriander juice (from 1/4 c coriander + 7 t water)
3 T vinegar
2 T murri
1/4 lb blanched almonds
1 egg
1/4 t more pepper
2 T more green coriander
1/4 t more coriander seed
4 t mustard powder
3 more eggs

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).

 

Zabarbada of Fresh Cheese

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
1 c loosely packed chopped green coriander = 1 oz
2 onions = 6 oz
1 t ground coriander seed
1 t cumin
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t pepper
2 T oil
1 T water
1/2 t salt
1 egg
2-3 T flour

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.

Vegetarian Soups from the Middle East

By Habeeb Salloum

Wholesome, tasty, and simple to prepare, vegetarian soups have been on the everyday menu of the Middle Eastern peasant since the dawn of history. Through the centuries, at very little cost, the farmers and laborers of these lands have enjoyed healthy and nutritious broths, refined by their ancestors. Since the days of the Sumerians and the ancient Egyptians, generation after generation has been sustained by these peasant soups. The people, especially those of the countryside, have always been fond of their simple, delectable vegetarian broths. Hence, when Middle Easterners move to other parts of the world, they take with them these culinary delights.

My parents, having immigrated to western Canada from Syria in the early 1920s, were no exception. Having inherited the ingenuity of their ancestors who had farmed in the dry Biblical lands, they raised a healthy family through the Great Depression by the daily consumption of vegetarian edibles developed in their land of origin. When our neighbors found great difficulties in finding enough food to sustain them-selves, we thrived on our vegetarian stews and soups.

Hardy legumes such as broad beans, chickpeas, lentils, and a number of common vegetables which thrive in semi-arid lands kept us well-fed and healthy. Fresh from our hand-watered garden in summer and dried in winter, they were prepared with herbs and spices, becoming the sustenance of our lives. As the basis of various types of savory soups, they graced our table day after day. Even after over half a century, I can still visualize pots of these simmering vegetarian delights diffusing their enticing aromas.

Made from easily obtained vegetables and legumes, these soups are simple to prepare. They are succulent, inexpensive, filling, and do not require exotic ingredients, only herbs and spices to give them zest and tang. There is no need for meat to make a rich and full-bodied stock. Any available vegetable can be simmered with these seasonings to produce a delectable soup-base.

It is an irony that in the Middle Eastern homes of the affluent, vegetarian soups do not usually form part of the meal offered to guests. As long as they do not have visitors who could betray their eating habits, the well-to-do consume these soups privately with great gusto. On the other hand, to keep their status as part of the wealthy class, they disdain them in public, pretending to consider them as the food of the poor.

A good number of Middle Eastern soups are enriched by first sauting some of the vegetables with herbs, especially fresh coriander, thus making them, besides being wholesome, tasty. Many can be served with a salad and pita bread as a one-dish meal. These hot soups not only satisfy hunger and are healthy, but give warmth, pleasure, and excitement to the diner.

To the peasants of the Middle Eastern lands, they are a necessity of life. To vegetarians in other countries who have gourmet tastes, they are a very healthy and mouth-watering addition to their daily menu.

Recipes

PUREED LENTIL SOUP - SHAWRBAT `ADAS MAJROOSHA
(Serves from 8 to 10)

Try this hearty soup.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 large onions, chopped
1 small hot pepper, finely chopped
8 cups water
1 cup split lentils, rinsed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Pinch of saffron
2 Tablespoons white rice, uncooked
1/4 cup lemon juice

Heat oil in a saucepan and saut onions and hot pepper over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, and bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes. Puree; then return to saucepan and reheat. Stir in lemon juice; then serve.

Total Calories Per Serving: 98
Fat: 2 grams LENTIL AND TOMATO SOUP - SHAWRBAT `ADAS MAA BANADOURA
(Serves from 8 to 10)

Enjoy this delicious soup.

1 cup lentils, rinsed
7 cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 medium size onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups stewed tomatoes
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup white rice, uncooked
1/4 cup lemon juice

Place lentils and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, in a frying pan, heat oil and saut onions and garlic until they turn golden brown. Stir in remaining ingredients, except lemon juice, and saut for another 5 minutes.

Stir the frying pan contents into the lentils and bring to boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until rice and lentils are well-cooked. Stir in lemon juice and serve hot.

Total Calories Per Serving: 115
Fat: 2 grams LENTIL AND VERMICELLI SOUP - SHAWRBAT `ADAS MAA SH`IREEYA
(Serves from 8 to 10)

The fresh coriander and cooked vermicelli add an interesting touch to this version of lentil soup.

1 cup lentils, rinsed
8 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small hot pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
1/3 cup vermicelli, broken into small pieces

Place lentils, water, salt, pepper, and cumin in a pot and bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes.

In the meantime, heat oil in frying pan; then saut onions, garlic, and hot pepper over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add coriander and stir-fry for 3 more minutes.

Add frying pan contents and vermicelli to lentils and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes or until vermicelli and lentils are well-cooked.

Total Calories Per Serving: 108
Fat: 2 grams CHICKPEA SOUP - HASA AL-HUMMUS
(Serves from 6 to 8)

Here's a basic, yet delicious, chickpea-based soup.

1 cup chickpeas, soaked in water overnight, then drained
8 cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 medium size onions, chopped
8 cloves garlic, chopped into small pieces
1 small hot pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon ground mustard seeds
1/4 cup lemon juice

Place chickpeas and water in a saucepan and bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 1 hour.

In the meantime, heat oil in a frying pan; then stir-fry onions, garlic, and hot pepper until they begin to brown. Add frying pan contents with the remaining ingredients to the chickpeas. Cover and cook over medium heat for 1 hour or until chickpeas are well-cooked.

Total Calories Per Serving: 133
Fat: 4 grams TOMATO AND CHICKPEA SOUP - HASA AL-TAMATAT MAA HUMMUS
(Serves from 8 to 10)

Enjoy another version of chickpea soup.

1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
4 Tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves
2 cups cooked chickpeas
2 cups tomato juice
6 cups water
1/4 cup white rice, rinsed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cayenne

Heat oil in saucepan; then saut onions and garlic over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 25 minutes or until rice is cooked.

Total Calories Per Serving: 109
Fat: 3 grams BROAD BEAN SOUP - FOOL NABED
(Serves from 8 to 10)

Fresh broad beans are best for this recipe, but pre-cooked fava beans can also be used.

2 cups large broad beans, soaked for about 24 hours
8 cups water
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 Tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Drain beans and remove skins. Place beans in saucepan with water and bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 1-1/2 hours or until well-cooked. Allow to cool. Puree in a blender; then return to saucepan and bring to boil, adding more water if necessary. Stir in remaining ingredients, except parsley, and bring to boil. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Place in bowls; then garnish with parsley before serving.

Note: Cooked fava beans - another name for broad beans - in cans can be substituted for the dry broad beans. The fava in cans are usually cooked with their skins, and hence the soup will be much darker in color. Substitute 4 cups of the canned fava for the 2 cups of the dried. Combine with remaining ingredients, except parsley, and pure; then bring to boil and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Total Calories Per Serving: 108
Fat: 2 grams BROAD BEAN AND VEGETABLE SOUP - SHAWRBAT FOOL
(Serves from 8 to 10)

Here's another broad bean soup.

2 cups large broad beans, soaked for about 24 hours
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 hot pepper, finely chopped 2 medium tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 medium potato, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
8 cups water

Drain beans, remove skins, and set beans aside.

Heat oil in a saucepan; then saut onions, garlic, and hot pepper for 10 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and bring to boil. Cover and cook over medium heat for 1 hour or until broad beans are well-cooked, stirring a few times and adding more water if necessary.

Note: 4 cups of pre-cooked fava beans can be substituted for the 2 cups of dry beans. If the cooked fava beans are used, cook the soup for only about 40 minutes.

Total Calories Per Serving: 144
Fat: 2 grams VEGETABLE SOUP - HASA AL-KHADR
(Serves from 8 to 10)

A touch of ginger adds a lot to this soup.

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into small pieces
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 Tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2-inch cubes
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup finely chopped coriander leaves
7 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cumin

Heat oil in a saucepan; then stir-fry carrots, onion, garlic, and ginger over medium heat for 8 minutes. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and coriander leaves and stir-fry for another 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients a nd bring to boil. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 hour or until vegetables are well-done.

Total Calories Per Serving: 87
Fat: 4 grams

Habeeb Salloum is a freelance writer from Canada.