[Sca-cooks] groundnuts, continued - horchata

Lilinah lilinah at earthlink.net
Thu Oct 11 14:50:53 PDT 2007

Devra wrote:
>Cyperus esculentus, also called nutsedge, earth almond, tiger nut, 
>chufa (Portuguese and Spanish)
>Nutsedge has a long history of cultivation beginning 4,000 years ago 
>in ancient Egypt. From there?it made its way throughout the Middle 
>East. In the Middle Ages, the Moors introduced nutsedge into Spain, 
>and from there it was introduced to West Africa, India, and Brazil. 
>The Constanoan, Paiute, Pomo, and Kashaya peoples of coastal areas 
>of California and Oregon ate the almond-flavored tubers both raw and 
>cooked. Though considered a native plant in North America, it has 
>spread to regions outside its original range, and in many areas it 
>has become an agricultural weed.? This grasslike?plant bears 
>slender, tapering foliage and yellow to brown, spikelike flower 
>parts.... The most famous preparation ...is the Spanish beverage? 
>horchata de chufa. It is made by soaking the crushed tubers in 
>water, straining out the solids, and adding cinnamon, 
>sugar,?vanilla, and crushed ice. In some areas people roast the 
>tubers, then grind them and use them as a caffeine-free coffee 

I'm going to be no help to Devra, but...

I was re-reading the Anonymous Andalusian cookbook and cataloging and 
comparing all its meat ball recipes, and i noticed a beverage recipe 
that calls for "silk almonds" and i've been wondering since before i 
read Devra's post if the plant mentioned above might be what the 
recipe is asking for.

Here's the Recipe, including Charles Perry's footnote:

11. Syrup of Harir: Way of Making It

Take the almonds of silk [214] and extract from them the small seeds, 
after removing their hearts, four ratls. Then divide almonds and 
clean the dirt from them, wash them very well in cold water until 
softened, and drain the water. Then take water out of a river 
oriented Eastward; heat polished steel and cool it in this water 
until the water is reduced by half and changes color. Cook the harir 
in this water until its substance comes out; press it, and add to the 
water three ratls of honey, cleaned of its foam. The bag: half an 
uqiya each of cinnamon and cloves, an uqiya of ginger, an uqiya each 
of cubebs, long pepper and galingale. Then pound roots and put them 
in a bag, which is then tied with a strong thread and added to the 
honey and the clean part. Put it on the fire and cook it until a 
syrup is made. Drink two uqiyas of this with three of hot water. It 
profits in the lack of urine, and increases desire well; it dissolves 
the fat from all parts of the body and heats it well, God willing, by 
its generosity and virtue.

[214] "harir" means silk; is this a recipe for seeds of the mulberry, 
on whose leaves silkworms feed?(CP)


I'm inclined to think of chufa, but i don't know if the plant has any 
silk-like qualities. Any opinions?

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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