[Sca-cooks] looking for lentil recipe
lilinah at earthlink.net
lilinah at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 8 16:48:53 PST 2011
Gwen Cat wrote:
> not particular to period, or location (norther Europe and 13-1500s
>is fine, but
> honestly I adore mujadarah (though have not found a period recipe for it)
> I am looking specifically for vegetarian or better yet vegan safe.
>(last week I
> did a pea soup that has onions browned in olive oil, and is seasoned with
> pepper, (I added some salt) and herbs. dont want to repeat but something
> similar would thrill me
The 13th c. anonymous Andalusian cookbook (on Cariadoc's web site)
has several lentil recipes, including one for mujaddara.
A Muzawwara (Vegetarian Dish) Beneficial for Tertian Fevers and Acute Fevers.
as translated by Charles Perry
Take boiled peeled lentils and wash in hot water several times;put in
the pot and add water without covering them; cook and then throw in
pieces of gourd, or the stems [ribs] of Swiss chard, or of lettuce
and its tender sprigs, or the flesh of cucumber or melon, and
vinegar, coriander seed, a little cumin, Chinese cinnamon, saffron
and two uqiyas of fresh oil; balance with a little salt and cook.
Taste, and if its flavor is pleasingly balanced between sweet and
sour, [good;] and if not, reinforce until it is equalized, according
to taste, and leave it to lose its heat until it is cold and then
Urtatim sez: Modern mujaddara is eaten over rice, but within SCA
period in the Near and Middle East, rice was, for the most part, the
food of the wealthy and privileged (outside of the rice growing
province in Persia). But lentils were eaten by everyone. The basic
food for all was wheaten flat bread (and i do not mean modern pita),
so this would be eaten with bread rather than over rice.
As for the similarity or dissimilarity of muzawwara and mujaddara, i
wrote to this list in Oct. 2006:
Charles Perry explains the source of "muzawwara":
in his article in the on-line Saudi Aramco magazine, Cooking With the Caliphs:
"The book gives only a few vegetarian dishes, called muzaw-waraat
(literally, "counterfeit" dishes, which reminds us of the Turkish
name for vegetables with a meatless stuffing: yalanci dolma, "lying
dolma"). They were known as the dishes that Christians ate on fast
days, and they were thought to be good for the health - and they had
indeed been introduced by the Nestorian Christian physicians favored
by the caliphs. There were also cold dishes, sometimes
vegetable-based but more often containing meat, called baaridah. Some
of them are probably descended from the pre-Islamic Persian dishes
According to what i've read, the word "mujadara" suggests that the
final dish looks "pock marked", which the round lentils may give to
the surface of the rice or bulghur.
So there may be some superficial similarities between the dishes, and
"mujadara" may be a sub-set of "muzaw-warat", but they are not the
same thing. One is a specific dish and one is a class of dishes.
I found this recipe in Cariadoc's Miscellany. It is vegetarian, but not vegan.
The bibliography of the Miscellany says:
>La Cocina Arabigoandaluza,** translated from Arabic into Spanish by
>Fernando de la Granja Santamaria and from Spanish into English by
>Melody Asplund-Faith. This consists of selections from a much longer
>Arabic original. It is referred to below as "al-Andalusi."
This is, in fact, the 13th century Fadalat al-khiwan fi-tayybat
by Ibn Razin al-Tujibi, who was an Andalusi...
Cooked Dish of Lentils (adasiyya?)
al-Andalusi p. C-5 (no. 377)
Wash lentils and put them to cook in a pot with sweet water, oil,
pepper, coriander and cut onion. When they are cooked throw in salt,
a little saffron and vinegar; break three eggs, leave for a while on
the flame and later retire the pot. Other times cook without onion.
If you wish cook it with Egyptian beans pricked into which have been
given a boil. Or better with dissolved yeast over a gentle fire. When
the lentils begin to thicken add good butter or sweet oil, bit by
bit, alike until it gets absorbed, until they are sufficiently cooked
and have enough oil. Then retire it from the flame and sprinkle with
1 1/2 c dried lentils = 10 oz
2 1/4 c water
1 1/2 T oil
3/8 t pepper
1 1/2 t coriander
2 medium onions = 1/2 lb
3/4 t salt
12 threads saffron
2 T vinegar
4 T butter (or oil)
Slice onions. Put lentils, water, oil, pepper, coriander and onion in
a pot, bring to a boil, and turn down to a bare simmer. Cook covered
50 minutes, stirring periodically. Add butter in lumps and cook while
stirring for about 5 minutes. Add salt, saffron (crushed into 1 t
water) and vinegar, and bring back to a boil. Put eggs on top, cover
pot and keep lentils at a simmer; stir cautiously every few minutes
in order to scrape the bottom of the pot without stirring in the
eggs. We find that if the heat is off, the eggs don't cook; if the
heat is up at medium, the eggs cook, but the lentils start to stick
to the pot. A larger quantity might hold enough heat to cook the eggs
without leaving it on the flame. When the eggs are cooked, sprinkle
with a little more pepper and serve. Makes 5 1/4 c.
[Urtatim sez: olive oil is likely in al-Andalus]
This recipe is from a 15th c. cookbook attributed to Ibn al-Mabrad;
the recipes use relatively few spices. It was translated by Charles
Perry, in "Medieval Arab Cookery". It is vegan.
The best way of cooking lentils is to crush them and then cook them
and put with them chard and taro. When it is done, sumac, fried
onion, parsley, vinegar and oil are put with it.
Here is Cariadoc's interpretation from The Miscellany
1 c lentils
1/2 lb chard
2 lb taro
2 t dried sumac
3/4 t salt
1/2 lb onion
2 T parsley (chopped)
1 T vinegar
1 T oil
Grind the lentils in a mortar or a spice/coffee grinder (a gadget
like a miniature food processor), then simmer them in 4 1/2 c water
about 1 hour. Simmer the taro about 15 minutes, drain, peel, and
slice. Rinse and chop the chard. At the end of the hour add the taro
and chard. Simmer together about another 1/2 hour. Chop and fry the
onion in a little oil. At the end of the half hour, add onion,
parsley, vinegar, oil, salt and sumac. Stir together and serve. Note
that taro is sometimes available in Chinese or Indian grocery stores.
[Urtatim sez: taro, colocasia, is available in Berkeley also in the
Berkeley Bowl, as well as]
[Urtatim won't shut up and sez further: this Syrian recipe likely
uses yellow sesame oil or possibly olive oil]
An earlier lentil recipe includes meat:
You cook meat with chopped onion in oil and when the pot has been
brought to the boil, and the scum removed, husked lentils are thrown
in and cooked thoroughly. Then you pour in vinegar and spice it with
coriander and cumin; throw in garlic (as well). Whosoever wishes may
throw in ground cheese; whosoever wishes may colour it yellow with
saffron. Throw in beet root [Urtatim says: actually chard leaves]
without the cheese and garlic. Whosoever wishes may throw in
----- Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, Kitab al Tibikh, 10th c., printed in
In a Caliph's Kitchen (trans. David Waines)
Urtatim has even more to say:
In certain situations, when cooking for camps of vegetarians at SCA
events, I have cooked dishes that include meat, replacing the flesh
with things like seitan and/or tofu. Yeah, not period, but in period
few people in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East were
voluntarily vegetarian all the time. Heck, in some places that could
get you persecuted and prosecuted as a heretic...
I found the 15th c. recipe as written too bland. So i combined
aspects of both recipes, leaving out the meat but including the
spices of the adasiyya, making a vegetarian recipe with more
seasoning than the 15th c. recipe.
Urtatim's Quasi Medieval Middle Eastern Lentil Dish
(to serve 8)
2 cups lentils
1/2 lb. chard
1 lb taro (colocasia)
2 Tb. sumac
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground pepper, black or white
1 tsp. ground cumin seeds
1 Tb. ground coriander seeds
2 large yellow onions, fairly thinly sliced
1/4 cup yellow sesame oil (NOT the dark, roasted, East Asian sesame oil)
1/4 cup shredded flat leaf parsley, or more
1/4 cup white wine vinegar, or more, to taste
1. Remove largest toughest part of chard stalks, then shred/chop
greens and thinner veins.
2. Wash taro well, peel, and cut in large dice.
3. In a deep pot, cook lentils in 2 times as much water, with chard,
taro, salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander, until the lentils are very
tender, adding more water, if necessary. This can take 45 minutes or
longer (varies with type of lentils)
4. While lentils cook, slice then very gently fry sliced onions in
oil until almost caramelized.
5. When lentils are very soft, stir in sumac, fried onions, parsley,
vinegar and oil, and serve.
This is NOT thoroughly authentic, although it is certainly possible,
or, i think, even plausible, given that sumac, cumin, and coriander
are all native to and widely grown in regions around the
Mediterranean, and only the peppercorns are imported.
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita
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