10 Recipes from Medieval Arabic Texts

Medieval Arabic cookery books are a delight:

Photo credit: Anny Gaul.

The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were — among other things — a wonderful period for Arabic cookery compilations, several of which have recently been translated to English. The thirteenth-century cookbook Scents and Flavors was edited and translated by Charles Perry, a culinary historian who has translated a number of pre-modern texts, including A Baghdad Cookery Book: The Book of Dishes. ArabLit Quarterly regular Nawal Nasrallah has translated the beautiful fourteenth-century Egyptian cookbook Treasure Trove of Benefits and Variety at the Table as well as Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens: Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq’s Tenth-century Baghdadi Cookbook.

The recipe adaptations below are taken from the Library of Arabic Literature blog, Nawal Nasrallah’s websites, and scholar-chef Anny Gaul’s “Cooking with Gaul.”

Starters and Sides:

*Cheesy Cookies: Adapted from 13th Century Book of Recipes of the Traditional Dishes

*Carrots, Cowpeas, and Caraway: A Recipe from the 13th Century Scents and Flavors

*Cowpeas Dressed with Walnut and Caraway: A Recipe from the 13th Century Scents and Flavors

*Fourteenth-century Cairene Hummus: From 14th Century Treasures

*Laymūn Māliḥ, Lemon Preserved in Salt: From 14th Century Treasures

Drinks:

*Subiya (grain-based digestive non-alcoholic beer): From 14th Century Treasures

Stuffing:

*Lemon-Pistachio Stuffing: A Recipe from the 13th Century Scents and Flavors

Main dishes:

*Fried Fish with Sumac Sauce, Samak Maḥshī: From 14th Century Treasures

Desserts:

*Almond Kisses: Adapted from 13th Century Book of Recipes of the Traditional Dishes

*An Early Baklava Recipe:  A Recipe from the 13th Century Scents and Flavors

Also read: 

14th-Century Cookbook ‘Profoundly Rich Resource for Egyptian Culinary Heritage’

Click HERE to read more from this author.


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