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 battered aubergine bites

A wonderful 13th-century vegetarian recipe for fried battered aubergine — a much-used vegetable in Andalusian cuisine — from The Exile’s Cookbook. The dish was known as al-mughaffar (المغفّر), meaning ‘the protected one’, in reference to the batter covering the aubergine. It requires sweet aubergines, which after being cut up, are boiled before being battered with …

Spotlight on: anise

Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is a plant that has been grown for its aromatc seeds since Greek Antiquity and originated from the Eastern Mediterranean. According to Dioscorides, Cretan anise was the best, followed by the Egyptian variety. The Greeks already used it in a medicinal decoction called anisaton, which is the ancestor to the present-day ouzo …