[Sca-cooks] Khabisa with Pomegranate

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Mar 28 12:27:09 PDT 2008

Lady Anne du Bosc Known as Mordonna The Cook wrote:
>Since the original recipe calls for "semolina" and not "ground semolina" or
>"semolina flour", I would substitute wheat berries.  Whole different texture
>going on, I'd think.

I do not agree. Nearly all the recipes in the 
Andalusian cookbook that call for semolina treat 
it as a flour or at least a milled grain. In some 
one mixes it with water and works it with the 
hands, not what one would do with a whole grain. 
In the case of the Pomegranate Khabisa as well, i 
believe strongly that milled grain would be what 
would be used.

Here are some examples - i've put *asterisks* 
around the first use of the word in each recipe...


66. Recipe for Barmakiyya

It is made with a hen, pigeons, doves, small 
birds or lamb. Take what you have of them, after 
cleaning, and cut up and put in a pot with salt, 
an onion, pepper, coriander and lavender or 
cinnamon, some murri naqi', and oil. Put it on a 
gentle fire until it is nearly done and the sauce 
is dried. Take it out and fry it in fresh oil 
without overdoing it, and leave it aside. Then 
take fine flour and *semolina*, make a well-made 
dough with leaven, and if it has some oil it will 
be more flavorful. Then roll out from it a flat 
bread and put inside it the fried and cooked meat 
of these birds, cover it with another flat bread 
and stick the ends together. Put it in the oven, 
and when the bread is done, take it out. It is 
very good on journeys. You might make it with 
fish and that can be used for journeying too.


125. Making Stuffed Isfunj

Take *semolina* and sift it, and take the flour 
and put it in a dish. Take water and sprinkle it 
lightly on the semolina. Then put your hand in it 
and gather it all up and cover it with a second 
dish, leaving it until it sweats. Then uncover it 
and mix it until it becomes like white flour 
[that is, the durum ground wheat should resemble 
soft wheat flour]. Throw oil in it, and mix it, 
and put in leavening and eggs, throw in a measure 
of five eggs and then mix the dough with the 
eggs. Then put it in a new pot, after greasing it 
with oil, and leave it until it rises. Then take 
almonds, walnuts, pine nuts and pistachios, all 
peeled, and pound in a mortar until as fine as 
salt. Then take pure honey and put it on the fire 
and boil it until it is on the point of 
thickening. Then take the almonds, walnuts, 
pistachios and pine-nuts that you have pounded, 
and throw all this upon the honey and stir it 
until it is thickened. Then take the semolina 
dough that was put in the pot, and make a thin, 
small flat cake (raghif) of it, and put on it a 
morsel of this thickened paste. Then take the 
raghif with your hand and turn it until it is 
smooth and round and bite-sized. [This sentence 
is in Huici-Miranda's Spanish translation but not 
in the published Arabic text] Make all the dough 
according to this recipe, until the filling is 
used up. The dough should be only moderately 
thin. Then take a frying pan and put oil in it, 
and when it starts to boil, throw in a piece of 
isfunj and fry it with a gentle fire until it is 
done. And if you wish to thicken with sugar, do 
so, and if you with to throw almonds, ground 
sugar, and rosewater into the filling, do so and 
it will come out aromatic and agreeable.


134. A Sukkariyya from His Dictation

Take a ratl of sugar, pound and sift. Take a 
third of a ratl of fresh oil and put it in an 
earthenware pot, and when it is on the point of 
boiling, throw in a third of a ratl of white 
flour and two uqiyas of bread crumbs from white 
wheat or *semolina*, and stir it two or three 
times. Throw in the sugar and two uqiyas of 
rosewater and scrape it [yuhakk; if not an error 
for yuharrak, stir it ] until the oil appears as 
a ring and the faludhaja (pudding) appears 
combined and coagulated. Take it off the fire, 
remove the oil and present it, God willing.

145. The Making of Dafâir, Braids

Take what you will of white flour or of 
*semolina*, which is better in these things. 
Moisten it with hot water after sifting, and 
knead well, after adding some fine flour, 
leavening, and salt. Moisten it again and again 
until it has middling consistency. Then break 
into it, for each ratl of semolina, five eggs and 
a dirham of saffron, and beat all this very well, 
and put the dough in a dish, cover it and leave 
it to rise, and the way to tell when this is done 
is what was mentioned before [it holds an 
indentation]. When it has risen, clean a frying 
pan and fill it with fresh oil, then put it on 
the fire. When it starts to boil, make braids of 
the leavened dough like hair-braids, of a 
handspan or less in size. Coat them with oil and 
throw them in the oil and fry them until they 
brown. When their cooking is done, arrange them 
on an earthenware plate and pour over them 
skimmed honey spiced with pepper, cinnamon, 
Chinese cinnamon, and lavender. Sprinkle it with 
ground sugar and present it, God willing. This 
same way you make isfunj, except that the dough 
for the isfunj will be rather light. Leave out 
the saffron, make it into balls and fry them in 
that shape, God willing. And if you wish stuffed 
dafair or isfunj, stuff them with a filling of 
almonds and sugar, as indicated for making 

195.  Preparation of Sanbûsak (Stuffed Dumplings):

Take meat of the innards or any meat you wish and 
pound fine, and pick out its tendons, and put 
cut-up fat with it, about a third the amount of 
the meat, and throw upon all many spices, and 
increase the pepper, onion juice, cilantro, rue 
and salt, and mix well, and throw in oil and a 
little water until wrinkled. Take *semolina* and 
knead well with clarified butter and a little 
pepper, and take an amount of the dough the size 
of a walnut, and roll it out as large as half a 
hand-span, and take a piece of stuffing as large 
as a walnut and put it in the middle of the 
dough, and wrap up the edges over it, and fry it 
in fresh oil, and dispose of it as you wish, God 


One can search the Anonymous Andalusian cookbook 
to find that there are quite a few more recipes 
that call for flour or semolina or for bread made 
of flour or of semolina, all of which lead me to 
believe that the ground grain is being called for 
in the Pomegranate Khabisa recipe and not a whole 
Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

My LibraryThing

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