[Sca-cooks] Atraf al-Tib

Elaine Koogler kiridono at gmail.com
Fri Jan 30 10:45:23 PST 2009

I have made atraf al-tib using regular lavender and it does have a wonderful
flavor.  The recipe I followed was the one Dame Hauviette has in her
"Celebration at the Sarayi" CD.  She used the version in the Baghdad Cookery
Book as translated by Perry.  It also called for rose hips.

So far as a recipe using sumak is concerned, I served the following at our
ME event last year and it was very successful:

2 # fish--tilapia
2 tablespoons sumac, finely ground and sieved
9 tablespoons sesame seed paste (tahini)
1 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 each lg onion, minced finely
2 teaspoons coriander
2 each lemon (or candied lemon peel)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, ground
4 tablespoons sesame oil

1.    Fry onion in oil.

2.    Place onion, sumac, sesame seed paste, garlic, pepper, coriander in a
pan, along with the juice of a lemon.  Heat until boililng.

3.    Wash fish and cut into large pieces.  Add to the pan, boiling until

4.    Plate the dish and add ground, roasted hazlenuts as a garnish.

ORIGINAL: One requires fresh fish, sumac, sesame seed paste, garlic,pepper,
onion, dried coriander, lemon (or candied lemon peel [this is what Waines
added]), hazelnuts, and sesame oil. Mince the onion fine and fry it in oil.
Sieve the sumac, grinding it and processing it twice through the sieve until
its effective properties have been extracted. Then place the minced onion in
a pan and grind in all the other ingredients, adding over it the sesame seed
paste and the juice of lemon from which the seeds have been removed. Heat
until the mixture has boiled. Wash the fish, cut into large pieces
and add to the pan, boiling until done. Place the contents in a vessel.
Roast some hazelnuts and grind them adding them to thesurface of the dish
and then serve.

I found that the mixture/sauce was thick enough that it really didn't work
all that well to cook the fish in the sauce per se.  So what I did was to
layer tilapia fillets in a baking dish with the sauce, then bake.  Turned
out really well.

Hope this helps...


On Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 12:59 PM, Susanne Mayer <susanne.mayer5 at chello.at>wrote:

> I seem to have missed the first posts (will have to look them up) but here
> are just my two bits of wisdom:
> There IS a sort of Lavender that can be mixed up with spikenard. In German
> it is Called Speik-lavendel  Lavandula latifolia, syn. L. spica and use to
> perfume soapes
> So I can see where this one comes from. It could be possible that it was
> used in Spain instead of the indian spikenard as it growes there in the wild
> between 200 and 500m  and smells definitley different than *normal*
> (Lavandula angustifolia) (it has much more camphor (up to 15%) ) than normal
> Lavender.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavender
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spikenard
> Even in the wiki thread on lavender and spikenard there are references to
> both plants used ans one and the same spikenard by the ancient Greeks and
> Romans, so probably both are valid to use (or what ever you have handy)
> http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/lavender
> lavender,
> n Latin names:
> Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula latifolia, Lavandula angustifolia,
> Lavandula stoechas; part used: flowers; uses: sedative, anxiolytic,
> insomnia, appetite stimulant, aromatherapy; precautions: CNS depression.
> Also called
> aspic, echter lavendel, English lavender, esplieg, French lavender, garden
> lavender, lavanda, lavande commun, lavandin, nardo, Spanish lavender, spigo,
> spike lavender, or
> true lavender.
> Jonas: Mosby's Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (c)
> 2005, Elsevier.
> I did have the same problem with spikenard
> I do have both oils at home and have so far not found the time to test if
> they do produce the same  sort of *spicines*
> rose buds:
> Do the arabs ever use rose hips? As far as I know rose petals and dried
> buds are fairly comon, even in modern arab cooking.
> Regards Katharina
> Drachenwald
> Ad Flumen Caerulum
> BTW does anyone have recipes where I can use all the sumak I got from Riad?
> > Message: 4
> > Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 16:49:30 -0500 (EST)
> > From: lilinah at earthlink.net
> > Subject: [Sca-cooks] Atraf al-Tib
> > To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org
> > Message-ID:
> > <10817135.1233179370895.JavaMail.root at mswamui-blood.atl.sa.earthlink.net
> >
> >
> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
> >
> > As i have previously written...
> >
> > Atraf al-tib contains twelve ingredients. Which they are depends in part
> on the translator:
> > -- A.J. Arberry, p. 132, Medieval Arab Cookery;
> > -- Charles Perry, p. 21, Medieval Arab Cookery;
> > -- Nawal Nasrallah, pp. 643-644, Annals of the Caliphs' Kitchens, listed
> in the index as afwah al-tib.
> >
> > Unfortunately, the one book that lists ingredients, the 'Abbasid "Kitab
> Wusla ila al-Habib", gives no proportions.
>  CUT
> > 10. rose buds (Rosa damascena) (zir ward) (Arberry & Nasrallah)
> > -- Perry gives rose hips, which is unlikely in my opinion, given how
> common rose petals are in cooking and how rarely rose hips appear.
> > 11. spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) (sunbul) (Perry & Nasrallah)
> > -- Arberry gave lavender, but we now know that this is inaccurate.
> Lavender does not appear in recipes from the Eastern Mediterranean and not
> in the medicinal manuals i have from the region, although it is frequently
> used in savory dishes in al-Andalus.

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