[Sca-cooks] Khabisa with Pomegranate

Elaine Koogler kiridono at gmail.com
Mon Mar 31 13:22:19 PDT 2008

Honestly, I thought I posted it, but may not have in the furor of trying to
get stuff done.  One thing I will note for sure:  Middle Eastern Cuisine is
really labor-intensive.  The event was so successful, as was the feast, that
the autocrat got a request to expand the feast next year to 200!  I really
don't think one cook can handle a mezze (dayboard) as extensive as we
had...in addition to a feast.  So if we do this, there will have to be one
person in charge of the dayboard and a second in charge of the feast.  And,
as tired as I am right now, I may not be either one of them!!  (But we all
know that I'll change my mind....it's that helium-hand thing!)

Everyone loved what we prepared, and I've received numerous requests for
recipes.  However, most of the dishes we did for the feast part were
provided by Dame Hauviette from her forthcoming e-book on Turkish cuisine,
so I can't share those recipes as they are copyrighted.  But her book should
be finished and available in the next few weeks...I'll keep you folks
posted.  It was quite exciting to cook dishes that probably haven't seen the
light of day in over 400 years.

The menu:


      Appetizer:  Etli Yaprak Dolmasi (meat stuffed grapeleaves) (*)
      Soup:          Bogda çzorba—Wheat berry soup (*)
      Meat:          Salma (lamb/pasta dish)  (*)
                         Kavurma (Fricassee of Chicken)  (*)
                        Sumak summaqiya (Fish [tilapia] with Sumac)
      Veggies:     Muzawwara (lentils with additional veggies)
                        Jannâniyya (the Gardener's Dish)  (variety of
      Sweet:        Cakarli Borak (Mutbaq--14th c. Arabic Stuffed Pastry) (*

Savories:         *
     *Bread:  Ain i Akbari (Mughal, 16th c.)
                Hummus Kasa*
                Lift Mukhallal (Pickled turnips)
                Panir (fresh homemade cheese) in apricot paste
                Sals Abyad
                Shiraz Laban bi buqui (thickened yoghurt with herbs)
                Zaitun Mubakhkhar (Smoked Olives)
                Badinjan Muhassa (eggplant with walnuts

       Mezze Sweets:
                Minted Grapes*
                Rutab Mu'assal*
                Subhani (apricots with marzipan)*
                Dafâir (braided bread with sauce)**
                Hais (dates, nuts, breadcrumbs made into balls, dusted with
                Khabisa with Pomegranite

         Mezze Drinks:
               Cherry Sharbat
               Rose Sharbat
               Lemon-ginger drink
               Grape Sharbat

In addition, we served goat cheese, several different kinds of
pita/flatbread, sliced melon, dates and spiced almonds.  The almond dish was
sort of created off the top of my head...I had a bunch of blanched almonds
left over from prepping the stuffed date dish, so we sauteed the almonds in
sesame oil with a little salt and freshly ground cardamom...turned out to be
a really great way to do these...we had a lot of folks who were disappointed
that they didn't get any.

In a couple of cases, we didn't exactly follow the recipe.  For example, the
Sumak Summaqiya called for "boiling" the fish in the sauce.  When I tried
this, the fish disintegrated so much that I had more of a fish sauce than
fish with a sauce over it.  So what we did was to make the sauce up ahead of
time, put a layer of fish in a baking dish, spoon the sauce over the fish
(actually, the sauce was thick enough that we sort of spread it over the
fish), covered the pan with foil and slid it into a 450 oven for about 10
minutes.  Worked perfectly!  We also learned that making the sauce ahead of
time made it even better as the seasonings all melded together much better.

Most everything worked just fine, though there were a few glitches.  The
worst one was that I ordered a very special kind of pasta (orichette) from
an online site.  I had to order it because our searches in the area around
here came up empty.  So...paid extra to get the stuff here on time, but when
we opened the carton, it turned out to be rigatoni!  Could have purchased
that anywhere!  Sigh.  It still worked (it was part of the lamb dish), but
it would have been MUCH better with the smaller disk-type .  As it was, the
pasta sort of, IMHO, overpowered the wonderful taste of the lamb and its

I'm pretty happy about the way things came out.  I came in under budget and,
for the dayboard, fed about 50 people more than were budgeted for.  I can
definitely say that, if you have a Restaurant
Depot<http://www.restaurantdepot.com>near you, be sure to check it
out.  I got incredible buys...$1.27/lb for
boneless, skinless chicken breasts, $3.99/lb for boneless leg of lamb, 10#
of tilapia filets for $24....and so on.  And it's all first quality stuff.

If anyone wants any of the recipes, other than the ones that have a (*)
beside them, let me know and I'll be happy to share.  Stefan, if you want
them for the Florilegium, give me a few days, and I can do that as well.


On Sun, Mar 30, 2008 at 4:51 PM, <ranvaig at columbus.rr.com> wrote:

> >Thanks to your suggestion on the list...and the recipe you so kindly
> >provided a couple of weeks ago, we served Khabisa at our "A Day in the
> >Middle East" yesterday.
> How did the feast go?  Did you post the menu?  I don't remember seeing it.
>  I'd love to hear details of what you cooked and how it worked out.
> Ranvaig
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> Sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
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