An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century


Translated by Charles Perry


Recipe for Mirkâs (Merguez Sausage)

It is as nutritious as meatballs[1] (banâdiq) and quick to digest, since the pounding ripens its and makes it quick to digest, and it is good nutrition. First get some meat from the leg or shoulder of a lamb and pound it until it becomes like meatballs. Knead it in a bowl, mixing in some oil and some murri naqî', pepper, coriander seed, lavender, and cinnamon. Then add three quarters as much of fat, which should not be pounded, as it would melt while frying, but chopped up with a knife or beaten on a cutting board. Using the instrument made for stuffing, stuff it in the washed gut, tied with thread to make sausages, small or large. Then fry them with some fresh oil, and when it is done and browned, make a sauce of vinegar and oil and use it while hot. Some people make the sauce with the juice of cilantro and mint and some pounded onion. Some cook it in a pot with oil and vinegar, some make it râhibi with onion and lots of oil until it is fried and browned. It is good whichever of these methods you use.


Recipe for Making Ahrash, Fried Lamb Patties

This is similar in nutrition to mirkâs and meatballs. Take a piece of tender meat, free of tendons, and pound it fine, as you previously described for mirkâs. Knead it with some murri ...[word or words missing]... of oil, pepper, cinnamon, and coriander seed. The secret of this recipe lies in adding some fine white flour, which i_s holds the mixture together so that it becomes a flat loaf (raghîf). Then put frying pan with oil over a moderate fire and form the loaf into the like of meatballs, and arrange them in the pan so that they all touch, leaving the raghîf until it is done, and turn it over so that it browns on both sides. Then make a sauce with vinegar, oil, garlic, a little murri naqî', and whoever wants to may add sinâb [a sauce of mustard and raisins ].


A Type of Ahrash

This is the recipe used by Sayyid Abu al-Hasan and others in Morocco, and they called it isfîriyâ. Take red lamb, pound it vigorously and season it with some murri naqî', 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.


Meatball Dish

This dish is delicious and nutritious, and similar to the previous recipe. Take red, tender meat, free of tendons, and pound it as in what preceded about meatballs. Put the pounded meat on a platter and add a bit of the juice of a pounded onion, some oil, murri naqî', pepper, coriander, cumin, and saffron. Add enough egg to envelope the mixture, and knead until it is mixed, and make large meatballs like pieces of meat, then set it aside. Take a clean pot and put in it some oil, vinegar, a little bit of murri, garlic, and whatever quantity of spices is necessary, and put it on the fire. When it boils and you have cooked the meatballs in it, let it stand for a while, and when it has finished cooking, set the container aside on the hearthstone and cover the contents with some beaten egg, saffron, and pepper and let it congeal. You might dye the dish as any variety of tafaya, or any dish you want.


A Recipe of Isfîriyâ

Take some red meat and pound as before. Put it in some water and add some sour dough dissolved with as much egg as the meat will take, and salt, pepper, saffron, cumin, and coriander seed, and knead it all together. Then put a pan with fresh oil on the fire, and when the oil has boiled, add a spoon of isfîriya and pour it in the frying pan carefully so that it forms thin cakes. Then make a sauce for it.


Simple Isfîriyâ

Break however many eggs you like into a big plate and add some sourdough, dissolved with a commensurate number of eggs, and also pepper, coriander, saffron, cumin, and cinnamon. Beat it all together, then put it in a frying pan with oil over a moderate fire and make thin cakes out of it, as before.


Counterfeit (Vegetarian) Isfîriyâof Garbanzos

Pound some garbanzos, take out the skins and grind them into flour. And take some of the flour and put into a bowl with a bit of sourdough and some egg, and beat with spices until it's all mixed. Fry it as before in thin cakes, and make a sauce for them.


Royal Sanhâji[2]

Take a large, deep tajine [clay casserole with a lid] and put some red beef in it, cut up without fat, from the leg, the shoulder, and the hip of the cow. Add a very large quantity of oil, vinegar, a little murri naqî', pepper, saffron, cumin, and garlic. Cook it until it's half done, and then add some red sheep's meat and cook. Then add to this cleaned chickens, cut into pieces; partridges, young pigeons or wild doves, and other small birds, mirkâ s and meatballs. Sprinkle it with split almonds, and salt it to taste. Cover it with a lot of oil, put it in the oven, and leave in until it is done, and take it out. This is simple sanhâ ji, used by the renowned; as for the common people, their sanhâji will be dealt with in its own proper time, God willing.


Mirkâs with Fresh Cheese

Take some meat, carefully pounded as described earlier, add fresh cheese that isn't too soft lest it fall apart, and half a piece of cut-up meat and some egg, for it is what holds it together, and pepper, cloves, and dry coriander. Squeeze on it some mint juice and cilantro juice. Beat it all and use it to stuff the innards, which are tied with thread in the usual way. Then fry it with fresh oil, as aforementioned, and eat it as by nibbling, without sauce, or however you like.


Recipe for the Dish Mentioned by Al-Razi[3]

Gives strength to the sick and those weakened by lengthy disease, and benefits those of a bilious disposition. Take meat of a plump calf shoulder, chest, neck, entrails and stomach and its fat and bone marrow, and put it in a new pot with a little salt, coriander, cumin, pepper, saffron, cinnamon, some onion, a little rue-leaf, celery leaves, and mint and citron and lemon leaves, and oil. Cover it with strong vinegar without water and cook until the meat softens and falls apart; then moisten with its fat a tharid[4] of the crumb of leavened bread, which shall have been made with fine white flour. This is said to be an excellent dish.


The Dish Sinâbi

Take the meat of a plump sheep and cut it up small. Put it in a clean pot with salt, onion juice, pepper, coriander, a little rue-leaf, oil and a spoonful of strong vinegar; put it on a moderate fire and cook until it is done, then get a little grated heart of leavened white bread, and mix with two eggs and two spoonfuls of well-made prepared mustard [sinab; see below]. Cover the contents of the pot with it and put it on the hearthstone, leaving it until it thickens and the fat rises. It might be covered with blanched, pounded almonds, in place of breadcrumbs.


The Dish Misri (Egyptian)

Take fat meat from the fatty parts of it, cut it up and put it in a pot with pepper, coriander, saffron, a little thyme, two or three citron leaves and a few "eyes" of fennel with its flowers, garlic, plenty of oil, and sufficient of murri naqî'. Put it in the oven until it is cooked and the broth evaporates, and take it out.


The Dish Jimli

Take the meat of a plump calf, or a sheep, and cut it in small bits; put it in a pot and add to it pepper, coriander and a little cumin, saffron and whatever oil is necessary, strong vinegar and murri naqî'-less of the murri than of the vinegar-and meatballs already made, citron leaves and peeled and split almonds; put this on a moderate fire, and when the meat is cooked, cover it with two eggs, a little beaten with cinnamon and saffron, and leave it on the hearthstone until it binds and the fat rises and the broth evaporates.


The Dish Mukhallal

Take the meat of a plump cow or sheep, cut it small, and put it in a new pot with salt, pepper, coriander, cumin, plenty of saffron, garlic peeled and diced, almonds peeled and split, and plenty of oil; cover it with strong, very pure vinegar, without the slightest bit of water; put it on a moderate charcoal fire and stir it, then boil it. When it cooks and the meat softens and it reduces, then put it on the hearthstone and coat it with much egg, cinnamon and lavender; color it with plenty of saffron, as desired, and put in it whole egg yolks and leave it on the hearthstone until it thickens and the broth evaporates and the fat appears. This dish lasts many days without changing or spoiling; it is called "wedding food" in the West [or the Algarve], and it is one of the seven dishes cited as used among us at banquets in Cordoba and Seville.


Recipe of Fartûn

Take the utensil called fartûn, which has the shape of a large cup with a wide mouth and a narrow bottom; put it on a slow fire and put in oil, and when it is heated up, beat egg in a dish with vinegar, saffron and cinnamon, as necessary, and add to this a bit of almonds cooked in vinegar and pour everything onto it, and when thick, slide a knife around between the fartûn and the meat [sic; for almond?] and the egg, until it comes apart, and remove it from the container. Pour oil in the hole left by the knife, so that it will not stick to the container. Do this gently so as to preserve the shape; then overturn it whole on a serving-dish and it will come out as though it were the genuine Râs al-Maimûn (Monkey's Head).


Sweetened Mukhallal

Take two ratls or more of good meat without bones, and cut it up small; put it in a clean pot with salt, onion, pepper and a little cumin, cinnamon and saffron. Choose as much strong vinegar as is necessary and enough good oil to cover it. Put it on a moderate fire and then add to it a spoonful of peeled, split almonds and a little peeled, split garlic and two or three citron leaves. Cook it and stir it, and when the meat is dry, then add to it strong vinegar, instead of water, and two ûqiyas or more of rose petal jam. When the meat is done, take ten eggs, broken into a dish, and add to them pepper, cinnamon, lavender, cloves, and plenty of saffron, until it has the desired color; beat them with a spoon and cover the contents of the pot with this and add to it whole egg yolks and leave it over the hearthstone until it thickens and the sauce dries, and use, God willing.


'Ujja (Frittata) of Pigeons

Take two clean, active pigeons, and fry them in a pan with fresh oil; then place them in a pot and add to them some murri naqî ', vinegar, oil, cilantro, Chinese cinnamon and thyme; when it is cooked, break eight eggs with it and pour out. It is finished.


Note on the Kinds of Roast

Although roasts are easy dishes, it is fitting that what has already been explained be followed, except that concerning the "covering." Take meat of a young, plump animal and cut it with a knife in thin fillets, so that the meat is mixed with fat, without bones, from the tender parts, meat from the shoulder or hip or similar things. Place it in a dish and pour on it whatever is needed of murri naqî ', vinegar, thyme, pepper, pounded garlic and a little oil; beat everything and coat the fillets with this; then order them on a spit, not placing the ones between the others, so that the fire reaches them, and turn them on the spit on a charcoal fire, turning continuously, until they are cooked and browned. Baste with this sauce, being careful until done; then sprinkle with this sauce or made mustard, already prepared, and use. This strengthens and increases the blood, but is difficult to digest and slow to go down.


Roast in a Tajine

Take an entire side of a young, plump kid and place it in a large tajine big enough to hold it; put it in the oven and leave it there until the top is browned; then take it out, turn it and put it in the oven a second time until it is done and browned on both sides. Then take it out and sprinkle it with salt ground with pepper and cinnamon. This is extremely good and is the most notable roast that exists, because the fat and moisture stay in the bottom of the pan and nothing is lost in the fire, as in the roast on a spit and the roast in a tannur.


Recipe for Roast Chickens

Take young, fat chickens, clean and boil in a pot with water, salt and spices, as is done with tafaya; then take it out of the pot and pour the broth with the fat in a dish and add to it what has been said for the roast over coals; rub this into the boiled hen and then arrange it on a spit and turn it over a moderate fire with a continuous movement and baste it constantly, until it is ready and browned; then sprinkle it with what remains of the sauce and use. Its nutrition is nicer than that of livestock meat, and more uniform; in this way one also roasts the other birds.


Hen Roasted in a Pot in the Oven

Take a young, plump, cleaned hen, and put it on a wooden spit like a lance; place in a new pot of its size, not touching the sides or the bottom, and seal on it with dough a lid pierced in the middle, so that the end of the lance sticks out through the hole, so that it stays upright. The lid is made to touch with the dough. Put the pot in a moderate oven and leave it until it is ready; then take it out and prepare for it salt ground with pepper and cinnamon, and sprinkle salt over it upon opening the pot. Then cover it a little after beating it until the salt penetrates it.


Hen Roasted in a Pot at Home[5]

Take a young, plump, cleaned hen; slice it on all sides and then make for it a sauce of oil, murri naqî', a little vinegar, crushed garlic, pepper and a little thyme. Grease all parts of the hen with this, inside and out; then put it in the pot and pour over it whatever remains of the sauce, and cook it; then remove the fire from beneath it and return the cover to it and leave it until it smells good and is fried. Then take it out and use it.


Chicken Called Madhûna, Greased

Take a cleaned hen, still whole; slice the breast and pierce with wood [skewers] on all sides, grease with oil, murri naqî', pepper, saffron, cinnamon, cloves, lavender, and ginger; grease inside and out with this; then put it in a pot and pour on what remains of the oil and murri; cover the pot with a sealed lid and place it in the oven, leaving it there until the hen is done; take it out and use. It is extraordinarily good.


Cooked Fried Chicken

Cut up the chicken, making two pieces from each limb; fry it with plenty of fresh oil; then take a pot and throw in four spoonfuls of vinegar and two of murri naqî' and the same amount of oil, pepper, cilantro, cumin, a little garlic and saffron. Put the pot on the fire and when it has boiled, put in the fried chicken spoken of before, and when it is done, then empty it out and present it.


Stuffed and Roast Mutton; Called "The Complete" [or "The Inclusive"]

Take a plump skinned ram; make a narrow opening in the belly between the thighs and take out what is inside it and clean. Then take as many plump chickens, pigeons, doves and small birds as you can; take out their entrails and clean them; split the breasts and cook them, each part by itself; then fry them with plenty of oil and set them aside. Then take what remains of their broth and add grated wheat breadcrumbs and break over them sufficient of eggs, pepper, ginger, split and pounded almonds and plenty of oil; beat all this and stuff inside the fried birds and put them inside the ram, one after another, and pour upon it the rest of the stuffing of cooked meatballs, fried mirkâs and whole egg yolks. When it is stuffed, sew up the cut place and sprinkle the ram inside and out with a sauce made of murri naqî', oil and thyme, and put it, as it is, in a heated tannur [clay oven] and leave it a while; then take it out and sprinkle again with the sauce, return to the oven and leave it until it is completely done and browned. The take it out and present it.


Roast Lamb

Take a skinned lamb, clean the inside, as in the preceding; gather the innards, after cleaning, cover [literally, "bend"] them with grease and wrap up in fine gut; then stuff the inside of the lamb with small birds and starlings, fried and stuffed as was explained before; sew it up, put in a tajine large enough to hold it and pour on it the sauce, according to the preceding, with cilantro juice and oil; put it in the oven and leave it until it is done, take it out and present it.


Lamb Roast Badî'i

Take a plump, cleaned lamb, whose opening is narrow. Then take the meat of another lamb and cut it in small pieces and put it in the pot with salt, pepper, coriander, saffron, cinnamon, lavender and oil. Put it over a moderate fire until it is done. Then add tender meat, eggs, grated crumbs and whatever spices are wanting and fill inside of the [first] lamb with all this and place it in a heated tannur, as in the preceding, and when it is done, take it out. If the lamb is very small, put it in a tajine, as has been explained before.


Lamb Roast with Its Skin

Take a plump ram and take out what is in it, as is is, in its skin, through a narrow place, and put it in a tub or kettle, pour boiling water on it, and pull out [Huici Miranda's plausible guess: the verb sumika is unknown] the wool so that none of it remains in the skin; then get what was taken from inside it, clean it and make of it a stuffing and cook with spices, oil and a bit of murri naqî' and return it into the inside of the ram, after beating it with egg and spices and whatever you wish. Sew up the belly and the neck and any other openings so that no place remains for the fat to run out; place it in the tannur and leave it until it is done; then take it out and cut it in pieces with a sharp knife and sprinkle it with ground salt, pepper, and cinnamon.


Roast Calf, which was made for the Sayyid Abu al-'Ala in Ceuta[6]

Take a young, plump lamb, skinned and cleaned. Make a narrow opening between the thighs and carefully take out everything inside of it of its entrails. Then put in the interior a roasted goose and into its belly a roasted hen and in the belly of the hen a roasted pigeon and in the belly of the pigeon a roasted starling and in the belly of this a small bird, roasted or fried, all this roasted and greased with the sauce described for roasting. Sew up this opening and place the ram in a hot tannur and leave it until it is done and browned. Paint it with that sauce and then place it in the body cavity of a calf which has been prepared clean; sew it up and place it in the hot tannur and leave it until it is done and browned; then take it out and present it.


Recipe for Roast Hare

Take a skinned, cleaned hare. Boil it lightly with water and salt in a heavy boiling-pot [heavy boiling pot not mentioned in published Arabic text]; drain off the water and thread it on a skewer and turn it over a moderate charcoal fire; then grease it with fresh butter once and when the meat is done, remove from its joints and cut it up in a serving dish. Pour on it a sauce of vinegar and a little murri naqî', ginger, thyme, cumin, oil and a little pounded garlic; boil all this and pour it on it. Greasing it with fresh butter at the time of roasting is to moderated the dryness of its nature. If coated with oil of sweet almonds it is very good.


Recipe for Small Birds Made of Sheep's Meat

Cut up a piece of meat in small bits in the shape of small birds, and place them on a skewer, roast them or fry them with plenty of oil until they are done, and leave them aside. Then take a pot and put in three spoonfuls of vinegar and one spoonful of murri naqî ', two spoonfuls of fresh oil, pepper, cumin and some saffron. Put the pot on the fire and when it boils, put in it those mentioned fried small birds, and leave a while until it boils, take it out and present it. These imitation birds may also made with pounded meat after adding spices to it, and you shape them like small birds, starlings and other kinds of birds, and fry as has been said.


Roast Lamb Breast [literally, "flank"][7]

Pound a ratl of meat in a stone mortar and add the same amount of cut-up fat, a little onion and both cilantro and coriander and cheese ...[word illegible because of a worm hole, Huici Miranda writes; probably an adjective describing the cheese such as "fresh"]... and almonds, a large handful of shelled and pounded walnuts, and some murri naqî' to moderate its taste; add to it Chinese cinnamon, pepper, ginger and pound all this with the meat until it is mixed, and knead it until uniform. Then take a breast of plump ram and cleave it between the ribs and the meat, and fill it with the stuffing; then sew it up with gut or palm leaves and smear the breast with oil and dust it with ground starch. Hang it in a tannur and shut it, and when it is ready, take it out and present it: it is a good roast.


Another Kind of Lamb Breast

Get the breast of a plump lamb, pierce it between the meat and the ribs, so that the hand and fingers can fit in; then get a large handful each of peeled almonds and hazelnuts, and a dirham each of Chinese cinnamon, lavender, cloves, saffron and pepper, and a little salt; pound all this and mix it with breadcrumbs and knead it with oil, and knead until it thickens and can be used as a stuffing. When it is stuffed, sew up the breast with clean gut and hang it in a tannur, and set under it an earthen pot into which what melts from the breast can drip, and when it is done take it out.


Another Extraordinarily Good Lamb Breast

Take the breast of a plump lamb and cook it in vinegar until it is done, then take it out and leave it to dry. Then take a wide frying pan and pour in fresh oil, juice of cilantro, mint, thyme and a whole, cleaned onion; when its flavor is discernible, take it out of the oil and put in the lamb, which should be fried until the sides are browned. Then sprinkle with murri naqî', sprinkle with cinnamon and cut it up. You might do it in the oven [instead].


Recipe for an Extraordinary Sausage

Take a fat large intestine and turn it inside out, then get eggs known to fill it, and break them into a large dish and add to them a bit of crushed onion, cloves, pepper, oil, peeled almonds, both pounded and not pounded, and sugar according to how much the diner likes sweetness. Mix all this and pour it into the intestine with a funnel [reading qum' for fakha']. Tie up the two ends with a thread and lower it into a slow tannur and leave it until it is done and browned, and take it out. And you might fry it in a frying pan with fresh oil.


On the Making of Marrow

What is wanted in this recipe is to make that of which the taste and flavor resemble the taste of marrow, because many kings and rulers like to eat it and consider it of very good nutrition. If a man limits himself to gathering what marrow he has in his kitchen, he will not lose what he has gained by it, since he attains what he desires and satisfies the appetite. Marrow is a much desired food, and the correct way to eat them is that he who comes first and takes them out to the table should not try them until the lord of the table begins to taste them, and should not try any until he gives it to the taste of his friend and him who eats at his side. I have heard that a king gave one of his retinue an important duty and that this man came in to take leave of the king and go away. The table was dressed and prepared and when the first course was done, another course was presented in which there was a portion of marrow; that man seized it and took it. The king was amazed at his conduct and did not doubt that it would be offered to him, but when he took it, he put it on a bite of bread, sprinkled it with salt and ate it himself. The king kept the matter to himself and when the table was taken away and the king washed his hands, the man rose to take his leave of the king and go away, but the king said to him: "There is between us something I need to tell you afterward." The man went home and did not go out to his job. The king was informed of this and said: "Isn't it enough for him, on a job at five thousand dirhams a year, to eat marrows?"


The Making of Marrow Without Marrow, Which No One Will Suspect

Take fresh kidney meat and remove its veins, and peel off the spleen its under-skin; take one part of the spleen, and five parts of clean kidney fat; pound all this until it is like brains, and stuff this into tripe or large intestines or cane tubes or the like, and boil it in a pot of tafaya; take it out and empty it into a serving dish and serve it hot.


The Making of Another Marrow

Take lamb's brains and clean them of their veins; then take tender meat, such as lamb's shoulder, and pound it fine in the stone (mortar); mix it with the cleaned brains, insert into intestines and cook them; then take them out and sprinkle them with powdered sugar, and if you add almonds or crushed nuts at the beginning, it is better.


The Making of Another Marrow

Take lamb's brains and add to them fresh clarified butter, eggs and fresh milk with some sugar; stuff them in intestines and hang them up. For some rulers there have been prepared glass vessels that seem from their shape to be tibias or other bones, and when [the stuffing] has just been mixed, insert it into these receptacles. Put it in a pot with water and salt and all that is necessary for the dish made with it; cook it until you know that the marrow has been done and thickened inside its container-this can be seen from outside the glass. Take it out and remove the dough from the tops of the containers, empty what is in them and serve it.


The Making of a Good Marrow, Which Will Not Be Doubted

Take three ûqiyas of new walnuts, clean of their shells, and boil them in hot water; then take the fine skin from them and pound them very hard. Then take a quarter ratl of pounded fat and as much again of spleen and combine everything. Pour first into the glass marrow container the oil of fresh almonds, or chicken fat, or fresh butter; then fill it with the stuffing and cover its top with dough and boil it in water and salt, until it is done, then coat it with butter and present it.[8]
The best of the aquatic birds is that called the qutr goose [qutr can mean "earring," "willow" or "leek": I propose "earring," referring to a marking such as the mallard has]. It is a waterfowl with a large bill, blackish in color, that fattens very quickly and is only good roasted [literally, "it is not good roasted"; the word "except" has been dropped].


Recipe for Roasting It

After killing it, hang the fowl overnight by the feet, and on the following morning clean it and leave it aside: get salt pounded with thyme, pepper, oil and coriander until like thin honey, and with this coat its body, inside and out; place it in the earthen oven and when you take it out, improve it with sauce, if desired.


Recipe for Roasting Other Dishes of the Same (Another from Abu Salih al-Rahbani in His Kitchen)

Extract juice of pressed onions and juice of tender garlic and cilantro juice and murri naqî', one ûqiya of each; half a ratl of strong vinegar and sufficient oil; coriander, Chinese cinnamon, ginger, thyme and cumin, three dirhams of each. Grind all this and dissolve it in those waters with vinegar. Then get the aforementioned bird, called the qutr-goose, which is the duck. Scald this fowl and take out what entrails there are and hang them up; then perforate its body with the point of a knife and place in each hole peeled garlic and a bit of almond paste, and in some holes a piece of peeled walnut meat, and in other holes a piece of ginger; then leave it overnight in the aforementioned liquids with vinegar and on the following morning take it out and roast it in the tannur; when it is ready, take it out, cut it up, and present it in its sauce.
Know that every roast is slow to digest, but it is very nutritious, restores the strength, is not chilling to the chyme, if well-digested; it is one of the simples,[9] because in it are