The medieval Arab equivalent of garum, only better: murrī (مرّي)

Undoubtedly the most famous condiment of medieval Arab cuisine, the standard version usually involves forty days of fermentation of rotted barley. It has been said to taste like soya sauce, which can indeed serve as an alternative if your pantry is low on the real thing. There will be another post devoted to the various …

Andalusian saffron chicken (الجعفرية, al-Ja’fariyya)

A wonderful chicken dish from a 13th-century Tuniso-Andalusian treatise which requires salt, olive oil, vinegar, pepper, coriander, cumin, onions, almonds, chickpeas, garlic, murrī, citron (leaves), fennel, and, of course, saffron. The chicken is first cooked in a pot and then transferred to a glazed casserole dish (tajine) for roasting in the oven until golden brown. …

Spotlight on: Rabbits

The rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a member of the Leporidae (Latin, lepus, ‘hare’) family, which includes various species of hare, and is native to the Western Mediterranean, more specifically Morocco and the Iberian Peninsula. The animal was unknown as food in ancient Greece, and the Romans were the first to import the animals (from Spain) …

Medieval jerky

The preserving of meat and fish through drying, curing (salting), and pickling goes back to ancient Egypt, and in what is considered the oldest Arabic cookery book (10th century), there is already a recipe for antelope (!) jerky (قديد, qadīd). The recipe recreated here is from a 13th-century Tuniso-Andalusian cookery book and can be made …

Spotlight on: Quince

In the “Tale of the Porter and the Three Ladies” (الحمّال والصبايا الثلاثة, al-ḥammāl wa-l-ṣubāyā al-thalātha) from the 1001 Nights (ألف ليلة وليلة, alf layla wa layla), also known in the West as the Arabian Nights, one of the protagonists praises the quince as it ‘puts to shame the scent of musk and ambergris’, citing …