As for Maghmuma
you fill a pot with a layer of onions, and a layer of carrots, and [a layer of] favas, and [a layer of] peeled eggplants cut in rounds, and in this fashion up to two-thirds of the pot. Sprinkle coriander and caraway on each layer. Throw on two parts good vinegar and one part murri (soy sauce), [enough] to cover, and boil until nearly done. Throw on a good amount of green olive oil and sesame oil, and cover with a thin flat bread and leave on the coals until it settles. This is the salty variety of it.
2 small onions, cut in half, then sliced in half-rounds
1 bunch tiny white carrots, sliced in rounds
about 16 pods fresh fava beans - removed beans from pods and peel
2 small long thin eggplants, peeled and cut in rounds
1 Tb. ground coriander seed
1-1/2 tsp. ground toasted caraway seeds
2 cups white wine vinegar
1 cup water
1-1/2 cups Japanese soy sauce, for murri
1/2 cup green olive oil
1/2 cup unroasted sesame oil
part of a Sangak, a Persian flat bread
- Prepare vegetables.
- Layer onions, then carrots, then favas, then eggplants.
- Sprinkle coriander and caraway on each layer.
- Repeat until the pot is two-thirds full.
This made only two layers of each ingredient.
- Add enough vinegar and murri (soy sauce) to cover.
- Bring to a boil and cook until nearly done.
- Add a good amount of green olive oil and sesame oil.
- Cover with a thin flat bread and leave until it settles - let bread be well-moistened by sauce.
- Eat the bread with the vegetables.
- For reasons why i use and recommend Japanese soy sauce as a replacement for murri, see end notes.
- The white carrots were rather bitter. Also, there were not enough in a bunch and that little bunch was expensive. If doing this again, i'd use a larger amount of regular orange carrots or a mix of carrots and parsnips.
- I used less vinegar than the original stipulates because the dish would have been far too acidic (and i like sour food), i substituted one cup of water for one cup of vinegar. Even so, when i entered this dish in a cooking competition, one judge thought it was too vinegary.
Some people studying Medieval food think that vinegar may often have been somewhere between wine and modern vinegar. This is because they have documented the use of a wooden keg for vinegar into which waste wine was thrown, so that the contents were constantly changing in acidity. I don't know if they mixed red and white - i would guess they did. While this is not a subject i have studied in depth myself, this recipe might be worth trying with 1-1/2 cups white wine vinegar and 1-1/2 cups sweet white wine to see how it tastes.
How to Flavor Cabbage
Take walnuts, blanched almonds, toasted hazelnuts. Pound everything, then take caraway, which you toast and pound fine, and with it a little thyme and garlic seed. Then you perfume the cabbage with good oil. Then you take a little bit of vinegar, dissolve the walnuts and ingredients with it. Then you throw on a sufficiency of tahineh and let there be a little Syrian cheese with it. Add the spices to them and arrange them and then [you throw the rest of the ingredients on the bowl. Then ] throw in the first spice, enough to perfume their taste and aroma. It is not eaten until the next day.
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup blanched almonds
1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts
1 tsp. toasted caraway seeds, pounded fine
1/2 tsp. garlic seed (nigella)
1 heaping tsp. fresh thyme
1/2 medium-small cabbage
3 TB. unroasted sesame oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
2 TB tahineh
a little Syrian cheese - omitted for Lent - used 1/2 tsp. salt
the first spice (i'm not sure what this is?)
- Blanch almonds: put into boiling water, bring back to a boil, turn off fire; let cool a little, pour out hot water, run in some cold water, pour out water; squeeze nuts out of skins. Discard skins.
- Toast hazelnuts in a pre-heated 350 degree F. oven for about 15 min. Cool slightly. Rub between hands to remove skins. Nuts don't need to be completely, perfectly free of skins.
- Grind walnuts, blanched almonds, and toasted hazelnuts. I left them medium-coarse, because i like the texture. I'm not sure how finely ground they would have been in 14th c. Cairo.
- Toast caraway seeds and grind, grind nigella. Mix both with a little thyme.
- Shred cabbage medium-fine.
- "Perfume the cabbage with good oil." This is unclear. My interpretation was to cook the cabbage in the oil until just tender.
- Mix together the nuts and spices in a little bit of vinegar.
- Stir tahineh and a little Syrian cheese into vinegar. Since i didn't use the cheese, because this was for Lent, i added about 1/2 tsp. salt.
- Toss the sauce together with the cabbage in a bowl.
- Eat it the next day.
As for Thurda
Boil peeled fava beans with a little salt until they are done. Cut up the tharid (crumbled bread) and throw cumin and sumac leaves (?) on it and lemon juice, walnuts, and sour whey or yogurt, or clarified butter, or olive oil and sesame oil, and soak it with the fava bean water and serve.
1-16 ounce can of fava beans
a little salt, to taste
1 small artisanal sandwich bun
1/2 tsp. ground cumin seed, or to taste
2 tsp. powdered sumac, or to taste [from Middle Eastern market]
lemon juice from one lemon
1/2 cup broken walnut halves
3 tablespoon green olive oil
3 tablespoon unroasted sesame oil
- Drain fava beans, saving canning liquid.
- Heat beans on a medium-low fire with a little salt until they are warm.
- While they are heating, tear up a small bun for the tharid.
- To the beans, add cumin, sumac, lemon juice, walnuts, and olive oil and sesame oil. Stir well.
- Add torn bread.
- Moisten with the reserved fava bean water and stir well.
- Warm through.
- Serve warm.
- Can also be made with fresh fava beans
- I didn't use sour whey, yogurt, or butter because this was for Lent.
Boil broad beans, they being covered in water, and put them on a platter. Pour sweetened mustard on them, and vinegar, and washed raisins in equal parts. Sprinkle with pounded almonds and rue leaves cut up with celery leaves, God the Most High willing.
2 TB. soaked dried currants
fresh or canned fava beans
water to cover, if using fresh beans
2 TB. prepared stone-ground mustard
honey or sugar to taste
2 TB. wine vinegar
rue leaves (optional - i didn't use them)
chopped or torn celery leaves
- Put currants in a small bowl and just cover with warm water. Leave to soak while preparing other ingredients.
- Prepare fresh favas, if using. If using canned, drain them.
- Put beans in a serving dish.
- Mix together mustard, honey or sugar, vinegar, and currants.
- Pour over beans.
- Sprinkle with ground almonds and chopped leaves, and serve.
- Broad beans in the Medieval context are fava beans.
- I chose to use dried currants because:
(a) being small they will be better distributed in the dish
(b) since they are actually dried Corinth grapes, which are tiny grapes occasionally sold fresh here in California, and therefore a type of raisin, this does not "violate" the recipe.
- A Barida is a "cold" dish, served at room temperature.
- While not historically accurate, sherry vinegar would taste good in this dish.
- Raw rue leaves can cause contact dermititis in some people, i.e., people get a rash or even small blisters where they have touched rue leaves. Once cooked the leaves do not cause this problem. Large quantities of rue may pose a danger of miscarriage to pregnant women.