Kinds of Starch Dishes: Couscous, Rice, Meat Porridges (Harisas), Noodles and the Like.

Tharîdas[144] are heavy and phlegmatic. However, they moisten dry bodies and are good and beneficial for them, very nutritious, of much chyme for him who has that temperament. They are also good for young people, especially what are tempered with vinegar and meat of fat calves and what you may want of spices and those of unleavened dough and the like, because they are heavier and slower to digest and of more phlegm and cause constipation. The use of rich tharidas is more beneficial in winter than in summer because of the strength in digesting in winter, unless one tempers them with vinegar and light meats, like lamb, kid, and chicken and with gourd and vinegar and with purslane and saltwort, because these belong to summer and autumn on account of the dryness that governs these two seasons, especially in the dry and warm temperaments that are naturally fond of eating tharidas.


The Perfect Tharîd (The Complete Tharîd)

Take fat beef from the chest, hip, shoulder blade, waist, neck, belly and from the fatty sites, cut it up and put it in a big pot with salt, [p. 57, recto] onion, pepper, ginger, coriander seed, cumin and a quantity of oil, cook it over a moderate fire until it is ready; take the meat out of the pot and leave it to one side. Then take meat from a fat sheep, and do the same with it; cook it also in the pot with the spices that go best with it and oil until it is done and leave it also and the same with cooked chicken and young domestic pigeons or turtledoves cooked separately and fried birds. Take the broths of these specified meats and put them together in a clean pot, after removing the bones and add to it what is needed of strong vinegar, saffron, and pepper and what is needed of spices and prunes infused with vinegar; cook until it is done and moisten with it a tharid crumbled from white bread crumbs and leavened semolina well kneaded and baked. When it is properly moistened, put its meat on top. Arrange the beef in a circle on the dish, and near it the lamb, and on top of it the chickens, and at the lowest part of the platter put the pigeons and turtledoves. Spot on top of it the fried birds, meatballs and fried sausage, the ahrash, egg yolks, olives and chopped almonds; then sprinkle it with the necessary amount of ground pepper [the text says spikenard, but that is certainly a scribal error] and cinnamon; cover it with a flatbread (raghîfa) or isfîriyâ and serve it. It is a dish of kings and viziers.


Vinegar Tharîda, Which is One of the Best

Take the fatty meat from the fattest parts, chop it and put it in the pot with salt, onion, pepper, saffron, cumin, garlic, strong vinegar and a quantity of oil, put it on a moderate fire and when the meat is done put in what you have of vegetables, such as large tender turnips, eggplants and gourds, peeled and cooked separately [from the meat]. As for the eggplants, make the tharida with them whole and uncut, and the turnips likewise, and the gourds [should be] the largest possible, after pressing out their water. And add vinegar to taste and when it is all cooked, take it off the fire, moisten with it the crumbled tharid of leavened bread and repeat the moistening until it is ready, pour the couscous on it and it turns out marvelously.


Soldiers' Couscous (Kuskusû Fityâni)

The usual moistened couscous is known by the whole world. The fityâni is the one where the meat is cooked with its vegetables, as is usual, and when it is done, take out the meat and the vegetables from the pot and put them to one side; strain the bones and the rest from the broth and return the pot to the fire; when it has boiled, put in the couscous cooked and rubbed with fat[145] and leave it for a little [p. 57, verso -- HM actually says p. 57, recto here] on a reduced fire or the hearthstone until it takes in the proper amount of the sauce; then throw it on a platter and level it, put on top of it the cooked meat and vegetables, sprinkle it with cinnamon and serve it. This is called Fityâni[146] in Marrakesh.


I Have Seen a Couscous Made with Crumbs of the Finest White Bread

For this one you take crumbs and rub with the palm on the platter, as one rubs the soup [hasu; unless this is a scribal error for hashu, "filling"], and let the bread be neither cold nor very hot; put it in a pierced pot [the colander-like perforated top portion of a couscousiere or couscous steamer] and when it's steam has left, throw it on the platter and rub with fat or moisten with the broth of the meat prepared for it. I have also seen a couscous that one makes from a fat chicken or stuffed and fattened capons and it was as if it were moistened only with fat, and in it were turnips of Toledo and "cow's eyes."


White Tharîda with Onion, called Kâfûriyya (Camphor-White)

This tharid is made with mutton or with chicken and much clarified butter. Take young fat meat, cut it up and put it in the pot with salt, pepper, coriander seed, oil, mild clarified or fresh butter. When it has fried in its fat and its spices, throw into it some juice of pounded, squeezed onions, about a ratl or more, so that the meat is covered abundantly and finishes cooking; when it is done, break the necessary amount of whole eggs and soak with them a tharid of crumbs of white leavened bread or leavened semolina, and with clarified butter kneaded in it like ka'k (biscotti) dough, and don't beat it much. When the tharida absorbs and is level, put its meat on top of it and serve it. There are those who make it with pounded cut large onions.


Tharîd Mudhakkar[147] with Vinegar and Whole Onions

Take fat beef, cut it in the pot with salt, pepper, coriander seed, saffron, cumin and strong vinegar; when it is almost cooked, add big whole onions without cutting them, cooked separately, and finish cooking it all; when it has finished cooking, take the pot from the fire and moisten with it a tharid crumbled from clean bread kneaded with white flour dough, and when the tharid absorbs it and is level, arrange the meat and the whole onions and serve it. And you might moisten couscous with it.


Tharîda with Lamb and Spinach, Moist Cheese and Butter

This used to be made in Cordoba in the spring by the doctor Abu al-Hasan al-Bunani, God have mercy on him and pardon us and him. Take the meat of a fat lamb, cut it and put it in the pot with salt, onion juice, pepper, coriander seed, [p. 58, recto] caraway and oil; put it to the fire and when it has finished, put in it chopped and washed spinach in sufficient quantity, rubbed moist cheese[148] and butter. When it has finished, take the pot off the fire and moisten with butter. Let there be crumbs of bread moderately leavened, and put your meat on them, and if he (God have mercy on him) lacked lamb meat, he would make a tharida of spinach, moist cheese, butter and the previously mentioned spices and eggs instead of meat.


Tharîda in the Style of the People of Bijaya (Bougie, a city in Algeria) Which They Call the Shâ shiyya of Ibn al-Wadi'.

Take the meat of fat spring lamb, from its flanks, its chest and its fat part; cut it up and put it in a pot with salt, onion, pepper and coriander seed; put it on a moderate fire and when it is almost done, add to it lettuce, spinach, fennel "eyes" and tender turnips. When all is ready, add peeled green fava beans and fresh cilantro; when it is finished cooking, moisten with it the tharid and arrange on it that meat, the vegetables and the beans; put on top of the tharid, on the highest part, a small amount of butter that will pour down the sides among the vegetables. For that reason it has been likened to the shashiyya of Ibn al-Wadi, as if that white butter were the cotton [tassel] of the shashiyya,[149] that falls all over.


Tharid that the People of Ifriqiyya (Tunisia) Call Fatîr

It is one of the best of their dishes. Among them this fatir is made with fat chicken, while others make it with the meat of a fat lamb. Take whatever of the two you have on hand, clean and cut up. Put it in the pot with salt, onion, pepper, coriander seed and oil, and cook it until it is done; then take out the meat from the pot and let the broth remain, and add to it both clarified and fresh butter, and fry [or boil] it. Then fabricate crumbs of a fatîr[150] that have been prepared from well-made layered thin flatbread cooked in the tajine with sourdough, and repeatedly moisten the dish [evidently, the dish in which the crumbs are] until it's right. Then spread on it the meat of that chicken, after frying it in the pan with fresh oil or butter and dot it with egg yolks, olives and chopped almonds; sprinkle it with cinnamon and serve it.


[151]Recipe for Fidaush (Noodles)

This is made from dough and has three types: the long one shaped like wheat grains, the round one like coriander seeds that is called in Bijaya (Bougie) and its region humais [literally, little garbanzos] and the one that is made in thin sheets, as thin as paper and which is food for women; they cook it with gourd, spices and fat; it is one of the qatâif. Fidaush is cooked like itriyya [see next recipe].


[152][p. 58, verso] Preparation of the Cooking of Itriyya

Take the hind ends of the meat, fat tail, chest, waist and whatever of those parts that may be fat, cut and put in a pot with salt, pepper, coriander seed and oil; put it on a moderate fire and cook it until it is done; then take it from the pot and clarify the sauce, return it to the pot and add fresh or clarified butter or fresh oil; when it has boiled, put in itriyya in a sufficient quantity, boil it and stir it gently and when the water dries up and it is ready, take it off the fire and leave it for a little; empty it into the platter and level it until the fat separates, then take that meat cooked as it is or fried, whichever you want, and arrange it on the platter, pound some of it on the itriyya and sprinkle it with cinnamon and ginger and serve it. You can make rice and noodles according to this recipe.


Preparation of Rice Cooked Over Water [a double boiler method]

Take rice washed with hot water and put it in the pot and throw to it fresh, pure milk fresh from milking; put this pot in a copper kettle that has water up to the halfway point or a little more; arrange the copper kettle on the fire and the pot with the rice and milk well-settled in it so that it doesn't tip and is kept from the fire. Leave it to cook without stirring, and when the milk has dried up, add more of the same kind of milk so that the rice dissolves and is ready; add to it fresh butter and cook the rice with it; when the rice is done and dissolved, take off the pot and rub it with a spoon until it breaks up; then throw it on the platter and level it, dust it with ground sugar, cinnamon and butter and use. With this same recipe one cooks itriyya, fidaush and tharî d al-laban [milk tharid].


Recipe for Milk Tharîd

Take fresh sheep's milk, because you don't prepare this except with sheep's milk still warm from milking, and put it in a clean pot on a moderate fire; stir it gently from time to time, add fresh butter and continue stirring it until it thickens and forms a white foam on top; then add crumbs of thin flatbread made with semolina or wheat flour, of middling sourness, crumbled as fine as possible, and leave it until it is all absorbed and it is finished; then throw it on a platter; make in its center a hollow filled with fresh butter and sprinkle it with a lot of sugar and cinnamon and use it.


Making Muhallabiyya

[p. 59, recto] It is reported that a cook of Persia had his residence next to that of Muhallab b. Abi Safra and that he presented himself to prepare for him a good dish and so that he could test him; he prepared it and offered it to him; he was pleased and called it Muhallabiyya.


Its Recipe

Take four ratls of fat lamb, cut it up and put it in a pot and pour in four ûqiyas of oil, two dirhams of salt, a piece of Chinese cinnamon, galingale, chopped onion and a sufficient amount of camphor; cook it until it is almost done; then take from the fire, take out the meat and put it in a receptacle. Take lamb fat and cut it with a knife as you cut vegetables; then take a clean pot and put a strip of fat in the bottom; afterwards put over it another strip of cooked meat and another of thin flatbread cut up and made into tharida and don't stop doing this -- a layer of meat, a layer of fat, a layer of thin flatbread -- until you are finished; then pour on it enough fresh milk to cover the thin flatbread, and add to it enough ground sugar for its sweetness to appear in all. Then take 20 eggs and beat them until they are mixed. Put them in the pot on top of the meat and bread and keep tipping it from side to side and moisten it until all the milk has spread throughout the contents. When the milk appears on top, put it in a hot clay oven (tannur) and cover it, and leave it until it is done. Then take it out and turn it onto a pretty vessel and serve it.


Recipe for Folded Bread from Ifriqiyya

Take coarsely ground good semolina and divide it into three parts. Leave one third aside and knead the other two well and it is made from it. Roll out thin bread and grease it. Sprinkle some of the remaining semolina on top and fold over it and roll it up. Then roll it out a second time and grease it, sprinkle some semolina on top and fold it over like muwarraqa (puff pastry). Do this several times until you use up the remaining third of the semolina. Then put it in the oven and leave it until it sets. Remove it when tender but not excessively so. If you want, cook the flatbreads at home in the tajine. Then crumble it and with the crumbs make a tharid like fatir, either with milk like tharid laban, which is eaten with butter and sugar, or with chicken or other meat broth, upon which you put fried meat and a lot of fat. Dust it with cinnamon and serve it.[153]


How Rice Is Cooked in the East

[p. 59, verso] Take rice washed with hot water and put it in a pot and with the rice put fat mutton, from the chest, the hind parts and from the waist, and the fat and the leg bones. Add water to cover it plus a little more and sufficient salt. Put it in the bread oven overnight and take it out the next morning. When it is all mushy, turn it onto a platter and dust it with cinnamon, spikenard, ginger and ground sugar. You can cook this at home with fresh milk and it is better and more delicious.



It is made in the country of al-Andalus and in the Gharb [almost certainly an error for the Maghrib = North Africa]. It is made with all kinds of birds, such as chickens, geese and capons, that are fattened, as well as young pigeons and so on. Take what you have on hand of them, cleaned and with the breast split, and partly cook them as white tafâyâ. Then take from the bread oven and raise on the spit and baste with the sauce specified for roasts. Turn the spit over a moderate charcoal fire, little by little, carefully, until it done and browned. Leave to one side. There are some who make it fried and immerse it after frying in this sauce, with garlic pounded with almonds and walnuts. Then make well-made thin breads of white flour. When done, break them into crumbs the size of a dinar.[155] Strain [the bones] from the chicken broth and return the pot to a moderate fire and add a quantity of oil, pepper and cumin. When the pot boils, take it off and put in garlic pounded with walnuts, almonds and grated cheese on the iskalfaj. Add these crumbs and then take the roasted chicken and put it on it on top of the platter after rubbing and rolling in the sauce. Top it with eggs, olives and split almonds. Dust it with grated cheese and cinnamon and cover it with a sheet of isfîriyya made with egg.


[156]Mu'allak and Maqlû

The shepherds in the Cordoba area used to prepare these two dishes.[157] They are strong and heavy dishes, slow to digest and very nutritious.


[158]Recipe for Mu'allak

Take fat young mutton, clean it and cut the meat into big pieces. Put it in the earthenware pot and add pepper, onion, oil and coriander. Cook until the meat is done, then remove it and set it aside. Strain the bones from the broth and return it to a quiet fire. When it has boiled, put in crumbs made from thin bread which was made from wheat dough and add soft, rubbed cheese, as much as the crumbs. [p. 60, recto] Blend with a spoon until it makes one mass and when its broth has dried up, pour on fresh milk and leave it until its foam is dispersed. Then return the meat that was removed and when it has formed a mass, take it off the fire, leave it a little and use it.


Recipe for Maqlû

Take fat, tender mutton, cut it and put it in an earthenware pot. Cook it a little and then pour in fresh milk and leave it until it is done. Then put with it mild cow's or sheep's milk cheese and a lot of butter. Cook it until it sticks together and fry it until its fat spreads.


Tharîd Made with Fattened Chickens or with Well-Fed, Fattened Capons

Take what you please of them, cut them up and put them in the pot with salt, onion, pepper, coriander seed, cumin, saffron, oil and strong vinegar. Put it on the fire and when it is almost done, add prunes infused in vinegar and turnips cut into big pieces, boiled separately. Finish cooking and when it has finished, take it off the fire and moisten with it a tharid crumbled from leavened bread that has been properly kneaded with good semolina. Leave it until it absorbs the sauce and is ready. Use it and it is very good.


Tharid Made with Garbanzo Water, Chicken, Cheese and Olives; It is Good for Him Who Fasts

Cover garbanzos with water and boil them vigorously until their strength enters the water. Then strain it and toss out the garbanzos. Keep the water and return it to the pot and add three fat pigeons old enough to fly, clean and whole, with a third of a ratl of oil, pepper, coriander seed and a piece of onion, a little cumin and some salt. When the pigeons are ready, take the pot to the hot ashes and break in five eggs. Then crumble enough clean white bread and moisten it with the sauce until it soaks it up. Put the pigeons in the middle and around the outside arrange the eggs, the olives and the fresh cheese. Serve it and it is good for [breaking] the [Ramadan] fast.


Recipe for a Tharîd Soaked in the Fat of Ten Fattened Chickens

Put one chicken aside and put the other nine cut up ones in a new pot. Cook them with the needed amount of oil and spices until they are done and the flesh falls apart. Then take the pot off the fire and clarify the chicken juices of fat without the meat and return it to the pot with the tenth chicken that had remained aside. Add pepper, Chinese cinnamon and whatever you need of the rest of the spices [p. 60, verso] and cook with this fat until it is ready. Remove the pot and moisten with it a tharid that has been crumbled from white, leavened bread and repeat sprinkling the crumbs until the round loaf is ready. Then put the tenth chicken on top, leave it a while and use it.


Recipe for Rice Dissolved With Sugar

Wash what you want of the rice and cook it as usual. Then take it to the hearthstone and leave it a while and when it is ready and has become mushy, mash it with a spoon until it dissolves and not a trace of the grain remains. Then feed it ground white Egyptian sugar and stir it vigorously. Add sugar bit by bit until its sweetness dominates and it becomes like dissolved fanid [taffy, to judge by the recipe given for it in this book]. Then turn it onto a platter and make a hole in the center that you fill with fresh butter, or with oil of fresh sweet almonds. If you cook this with fresh milk instead of water, it will be more delicious and better.


Information about Harîsa According to its Kinds

Harisa is heating, moist, very nutritious, strengthening and fertilizing for dry, thin bodies. It increases blood and sperm, with increased ability in coitus, but makes digestion and good bowel elimination difficult. If one can digest it well, it is beneficial for the person who wishes to strengthen and make good use of his body after ...[words missing]... free of fever and intestinal heaviness. It is good for the thin and those with strong stomachs, especially if they are mild and easy tempered and do not have severe constipation, because mildness and compliance hasten bowel elimination and its effect on fat delays its growth. [Last few words obscure; in the MS a marginal notation reads sic.] It is indicated for emptying the stomach. What is needed for its digestion is to take with it some murri naqî' and ground Chinese cinnamon. If you eat it alone don't mix it with another food, it is more nutritious and easier to digest, and more quick in digestion. It is the custom of the people and they have agreed on eating harîsa made with dough fried in oil. This adds to its heaviness and slowness to digest and leads to constipation, because all the foods that one fries with dough in fat are constipating and are harmful to the liver. Because of this, the zulâ biyya, which is isfunj (the sponge), is the worst that can be eaten and will be its equal. The slowness in digesting it produces a sulfurousness of the kidneys and the harm that it does is more than its benefits. Since one uses wheat and fat in rafîs, in the same way with harisa. With its meat and fat, there is no need [p. 61, recto] for other wheat, but harisa eaten alone is more beneficial and gives more rapid digestion with less harm in all situations.
Among the kinds of harisa that there are, there is one that is made with fat veal or with three-year-old sheep or with breasts or legs of geese and meat from chicken breasts and legs. All these have a flavor and taste that is not like the others and have a virtue that the others do not have. The conditions of harisa are that they be delicious to the palate and have little salt, like the different kinds of rafî's [NB: not rafîs, a different word meaning exquisite] because no salt appears in it. There are those who prefer the harisa with a lot of meat and those who want a moderate amount. The easiest to eat, the most easily evacuated from the body, is that which has two thirds of wheat and one of meat.


The Method of Making It

Take good wheat and soak it in water. Then pound it in a wooden or stone mortar until it is free from husks. Then shake it and put the clean wheat [its marrow] in a pot with clean red meat and cover it with a lot of fresh water. Put it on a strong fire until it falls apart. Then stir it with the rikshâb[159] very forcefully until it becomes blended and one part shades into the other. Then pour on enough melted fresh fat to cover it and beat them together until they are mixed. When it seems that the fat begins to separate and remain on top, turn it onto a platter and recover it with salted fat; dust it with ground cinnamon and use it as you please.


Rice Harîsa

Wash the needed amount of rice and let it sit for a day in enough water to cover it. Then put it in a pot and add what you want of the meat from chicken breasts or fresh mutton; cover it in water and cook it. When it falls apart, stir it vigorously until it is thoroughly mixed up. Put it on a platter and pour on melted fat from a sheep, dust it with cinnamon and use it. You might make this harisa in the oven. For that you cover it with a lot of water and fit the pot cover with a hinge and let it spend the night in the oven. Then take it out, pound it and use it with sheep fat.


Recipe for Harîsa Made with White Bread Crumbs Instead of Wheat

Take crumbs of white bread or of samid and grate them until they become grits the size of wheat or a little larger. Spread them in the sun until they dry out and take them up and set apart until needed. Then take the meat from the legs or shoulder blades of a sheep, because you don't make harisa without sheep meat and fat. [p. 61, verso] Put it in a pot with a lot of water. Cook it until the meat falls apart and you put in a fork [hook?] and it disperses. Then add the needed amount of already mentioned prepared crumbs and let it sit a while until it becomes mushy. Stir it until it is mixed and becomes one mass. Use it with melted sheep fat, dust it with cinnamon, as has been said.


Recipe for Tharîd Shabât

You make shabât with white flour kneaded with sourdough and you cook it over the hot ashes at home or in the tannur oven over a gentle fire, without overdoing the cooking. Then take a fat chicken and boil it; stuff it with its innards and pounded meat, beaten egg, pepper, coriander, onion and oil. Add meatballs and cook it until it is done. Break eggs in it and estimate the amount of sauce that the shabat will soak up. Then pour the sauce over it and decorate it with the meatballs. Dot it with egg yolks; put the stuffed chicken on top, and pour melted butter over it, removing the froth, and serve it. With wheat, you can make whatever dishes you want and might find delicious, dishes that everyone will relish, especially in winter and on cold days.


Royal Jashîsha (Grits) Which Provides Wholesome Nutrition

Take heavy wheat; clean it and grind it in the mill by hand so that it comes out as grits. Then shake off the bran. Take out a quantity of wheat and put it in an earthenware pot. Add water to cover it and cook it. When the water diminishes, return [marginal notation: and stir] with fresh milk, time after time, and when it is done, adjust the flavor with a little salt[160] and pour on it cooked chicken fat, and add more fat, and let it [the jashisha] be delicate, of the consistency of what can be sipped. Then sip it and it will be good.


Good Jashîsha: It Fattens Thin Women and Men

Take crushed wheat and an equal amount of rice, and garbanzos and hulled and washed spices, a handful of each, and put it in a pot. Cover it with water and cook until it is completely done. Adjust it with a little salt so that it is delicate like hasa' [soup],[161] then pour on fresh butter and melted kidney fat and the broth of young, fat meat. Then sip it, because it increases one's strength greatly.


'Asîda Which Fortifies and Nourishes Much and Fattens

Take two ratls of clarified honey, cleaned of its scum. Add oil and fresh clarified butter, a quarter ratl of each, and put it on a gentle fire. When it has boiled, put in the heart [p. 62, recto] of pure leavened bread, grated, as much as is needed, and peeled and pounded almonds, and the yolks of ten eggs. Stir it and do not neglect stirring it until the oil disperses and it melts and thickens. Then take it from the fire and leave it to cool and use it like 'asida, after dusting it with ground sugar and whatever you like of the different kinds of fats.


'Asîda Made with Grits that Nourishes and Fattens

Take the mentioned cracked wheat and pour water on to cover it. Cook it until the water dries up and then moisten it with fresh milk and stir until done. Then add skimmed honey and grease from meat cooked with its fat. Repeat this several times until it is "balanced." Then add fresh butter and ground sugar, fanid (pulled taffy) and ground cinnamon. Serve it and it is a good dish.