[Sca-cooks] Desert Tribes?

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Fri Jan 13 12:46:15 PST 2012

Aldyth wrote:
> And a cute kicker here. The event steward thinks it will be
> hard to find recipes that are simple enough to put up on the website so
> that people can bring something authentic to the potluck feast. I think I
> can start with kabobs...

Bear in mind that in Arabic at this time a kabab is a meatball - not so much a chunk o' meat on a stick. Kebobs as chunks on a stick are more Ottoman Turkish. If you look in the on-line Andalusian cookbook, there are many recipes that include kabab/meat balls, although few that delineate all the ingredients.

Heck, there are even recipes for lamb burgers!
A Type of Ahrash
This is the recipe used by Sayyid Abu al-Hasan and others in Morocco, and they called it isfiriya. Take red lamb, pound it vigorously and season it with some murri naqi', vinegar, oil, pounded garlic, pepper, saffron, cumin, coriander, lavender, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, chopped lard, and meat with all the gristle removed and pounded and divided, and enough egg to envelop the whole. Make small round flatbreads (qursas) out of them about the size of a palm or smaller, and fry them in a pan with a lot of oil until they are browned. Then make for them a sauce of vinegar, oil, and garlic, and leave some of it without any sauce: it is very good.

Here's my worked out version:
It's pretty easy - mix meat with seasonings, make patties, pan fry, serve with sauce...

While not specified for use with ahrash or kababs, there's a honey-mustard recipe in that cookbook, too, which i made for a feast for 150 at a camping event where we could only cook in the parking lot due to fire hazard (Purgatorio).
Clean good mustard and wash it with water several times, then dry it and pound it until it is as fine as kohl. Sift it with a sieve of hair, and then pound shelled almonds and put them with the mustard and stir them together. Then press out their oil and knead them with breadcrumbs little by little, not putting in the breadcrumbs all at once but only little by little. Then pour strong vinegar, white of color, over this dough for the dish, having dissolved sufficient salt in the vinegar. Then dissolve it well to the desired point, and strain it thoroughly with a clean cloth; and there are those who after it is strained add a little honey to lessen its heat. Either way it is good.

Also from what i've read, semi-nomadic pastoralists tended not to eat red meat often, mostly on special occasions - it would be like eating your bank account. They tended to eat more "white meat", i.e., fermented, dried, and preserved dairy products, and flat breads (NOT like modern pita) - Trader Joe's (if there's one near you) sells flat breads or nan (probably - there are regional variations) which would be appropriate.

Plus i think looking for food in Ibn Battuta would be fascinating. Don't read an abridged version, since the fun stuff seems to be mostly edited out. Your library should be able to get the volumes if they don't have them. If your time is limited, you can skip the final volume, which some scholars think has a lot of "made up" stuff to please his patrons.

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
the persona sometimes still called Anahita

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