[Sca-cooks] More al-Warraq

David Friedman ddfr at daviddfriedman.com
Sat Sep 8 00:58:31 PDT 2012

I think I already mentioned the recipe that turned out, the first time I 
did it, as a sort of sugar cookie. The ingredients are sugar, semolina, 
a little sesame oil and, in my interpretation, a little water--the 
recipe says to knead it like dough, and without the water that seems 
almost impossible.

Here's the recipe:

*A Recipe for exotic Khushkananaj Wathiqi by Abu Samin:*

Grind 3 ratls refined sugar and sift it in a fine mesh sieve. Add 1 ½ 
ratls fine samidh flour. Mix them well. Att ¼ ratl sesame oil and knead 
mixture the way you usually do with flour dough.

Put the mixture in a mortar and pound it to crush ingredients into each 
other and help them bind

Take a small bowl, the smallest you have, or anything similar in shape 
such as wooden or brass huqqa (bowl) with a rounded base and a wide rim. 
Stuff the bowl tightly with some of the sugar flour mixture and turn 
over on to a khiwan (wide low table). Do this with the rest of the mixture.

Prepare a large level pan with low sides and arrange the moded pieces, 
leaving a space between them.

Lower the pan into a slow burning tannur. Let cookies bake until they 
are golden brown. Take the pan out and take the cookies out of the pan 
with a thin spatula. You carefully slide the spatula underneath each 
cookie and transfer it to a clean platter. Arrange the pieces in one 
layer, God willing.

The first time I did it, I ended up with flat cookies. They tasted 
pretty good, but I couldn't see why the recipe would have the elaborate 
procedure to make hemispheres of dough if they were supposed to flatten.

The second time I made three changes. The first was to grind the 
granulated sugar in a spice grinder, making it much finer--I thought 
that might fit the "sift it in a fine mesh sieve," and would change 
texture. The second was to add only half as much water as before. The 
third was to bake it at 350 instead of 300.

That time it worked--the cookies came out roughly hemispherical. Which 
of the changes was responsible I don't know. The one remaining problem 
is that, although they are good when made, a day later they are very hard.

But still tasty.

I also redid the chicken dish I mentioned earlier, using half as much of 
everything but chicken, on the theory that "pullets" might imply a 
larger mass of chicken than a single five pound chicken. It came out all 
right and didn't take as long (less water to boil off), but on the whole 
I preferred the earlier and more strongly flavored version.

Also, I think I should cut it into more pieces, on the assumption that 
pullets are smaller birds, hence disjointed pullets will end up as 
smaller pieces than a disjointed five pound chicken. The recipe, for the 
final cooking, tells you to stir it, which would work more smoothly with 
smaller pieces.

Tomorrow is a cooking workshop, with six al-Warraq recipes, all new, to 
be done.

David Friedman

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