[Sca-cooks] Taro, was looking for lentil recipe

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Thu Mar 10 11:56:32 PST 2011

Selene wrote:
>The monthly meeting of the Culinary Historians of Southern California is
>this Saturday. The lecture topic has no bearing on this email thread,
>but I expect Charles Perry to be there and I may have to ask him about
>Taro in Arab cookery. Taro, same as in Japanese cookery? I don't
>remember seeing this ingredient around in Arabian recipes.

Alas, we do not have any SCA-period Arabian recipes.

Fortunately we have many recipes from other places written in Arabic. 
Colocasia appears in a number of medieval Arabic recipes. It appears 
to still be enjoyed in modern times, especially in Egypt. The Arabic 
name for it is transliterated as qulqas or kilkas.

Since Charles Perry translated the recipe i quoted, i imagine he will 
defend his translation.

Taro is listed in the General Index of "Medieval Arab Cookery" as 
being on pages 134, 137, 310, 326, 328, 340, 364, 446, 474, 475.

Pages 134 & 137 are within Maxime Rodinson's analysis of Wusla ila 
l-habib fi wasf il-tayyibat wa-al-tib. The recipes are not given in 
full as Rodinson intended to make a complete translation, 
concordance, and comparison of all known copies of this book, but 
WWII prevented him from viewing some copies, and he died without 
completing the project. I keep hoping that Charles Perry is working 
on it. On page 134, taro/colocasia appears in recipe 20: "a good side 
dish (naql): colocasia fried with sanbusak, meat, and small 
meatballs". Page 137 says: "8: dishes using colocasia, 5 recipes, one 
of which is named mutawakkiliyta in honour of the caliph and another 
sitt shani';" although Rodinson gives no details of any of these 5 

Pages 310, 326, 328, 340, 364, and 446 are all in the "Book of the 
Description of Familiar Foods", translated by Charles Perry.

Pages 474 and 475 are from the 15th c. Kitab al-Tabakha, also 
translated by Charles Perry, one of which i quoted in full.

I will be happy to include synsopses of all those recipes, as 
translated by Charles Perry, if you like.

I mentioned this, briefly, on 25 August 2009 in the midst of a 
discussion titled "Substitute for Potatoes"

Additionally, Colocasia appears in at least one recipe by Apicius. On 
25 Feb 2010, Mahdavi mentioned a recipe for taro/colocasia from 
Apicius in a discussion titled "Posting Menu- Trimaris Spring 
Coronation". Bear replied, challenging only her decision to frie that 
taro rather than boil it as mentioned in both the  the Vehling and 
the Flower and Rosenbaum translations
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita

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