[Sca-cooks] The use of sumac in medieval Arabic cooking

Christiane christianetrue at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 30 08:52:04 PST 2008

>You can search it through medievalcookery.com and find that it's mentioned
>oddly enough by Charles Perry.
>This is an excerpt from *An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook*
>(Andalusia, 13th c. - Charles Perry, trans.)
>The original source can be found at David Friedman's website 
>Customs that Many People Follow in Their Countries. Many are fond and 
>inclined toward foods that others detest, and this is why the people of 
>Yemen cook with dates ...[one word missing]... and like nothing better; 
>the Persians cook rice with sumac ...

Thank you. Of course, it's mentioned in the Perry book I don't have. Hee hee.

I've got two huge containers of sumac from a local Turkish store, and I want to cook more with them. 

Here's a recipe I made up recently that uses curry and sumac. 

Chicken-sumac-curry with coucous, chickpeas, and spinach

2 large boneless chicken breasts
1 8oz. can of chickpeas
1 pack of frozen, chopped spinach
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup of couscous
2 tablespoons of mild yellow curry
2 tablespoons of sumac
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
splash of white balsamic vinegar
lemon juice
sea salt
olive oil

Take a large frying pan; in the olive oil, gently saute the onions until they turn translucent. Add the diced chicken, and sprinkle with the curry, sumac, white pepper, and sea salt to taste. Brown the chicken in the olive oil/onion/spice mixture, and deglaze the pan with a healthy splash of white balsamic vinegar. Reduce for a minute or two, and add the chickpeas in their liquid and the spinach, with a little extra water. Simmer gently until the spinach block falls apart. Add a little lemon juice; and then as much water as directed for one cup couscous. Bring to a slow rolling boil, add the couscous, cover the pan, and take off the heat. Wait 5 minute, fluff the mixture, add more salt to taste, and that's it.

For a vegan version of this, use two or three peeled, finely diced large Yukon gold or white potatoes. Treat them just as you would have the chicken (saute with the onions). 


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