For further medieval food information, see my main food site.

Islamic Feast Recipes

Credits: The recipies came from Cariadoc's Miscellany. They are originally from al-Baghdadi and al-Andalusi.

This feast was served at the NoMountain Calontir Spring Event in 1997.



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Western Islamic 13th c. from Andalusian, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

It was the custom among us to make this in the flower and vegetable gardens. If you make it in summer or fall, take saltwort, Swiss chard, gourd, small eggplants, "eyes" of fennel, fox-grapes, the best parts of tender gourd and flesh of ribbed cucumber and smooth cucumber; chop all this very small, as vegetables are chopped, and cook with water and salt; then drain off the water. Take a clean pot and in it pour a little water and a lot of oil, pounded onion, garlic, pepper, coriander seed and caraway; put on a moderate fire and when it has boiled, put in the boiled vegetables. When it has finished cooking, add grated or pounded bread and dissolved [sour] dough, and break over it as many eggs as you are able, and squeeze in the juice of tender coriander and of mint, and leave on the hearthstone until the eggs set. If you make it in spring, then [use] lettuce, fennel, peeled fresh fava beans, spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, fresh cilantro and so on, cook it all and add the spices already indicated, plenty of oil, cheese, dissolved [sour] dough and eggs.

greens: (chopped) 
1/4 lb lettuce 
4 oz spinach 
1/4 lb bok choy 
2 c lima beans (not period, substituted for fava beans) 
2 carrots, sliced 
2 c water 
1/2 c oil 
2 onions, sliced 
2 cloves garlic, sliced 
1/2 t pepper 
1/2 t ground coriander 
1/4 t caraway seeds 
1/2 c bread crumbs 
2 eggs 
1 t green coriander, mashed to juice 
1/2 t mint, mashed to juice 
3 oz grated cheese 
4 T green coriander 

Put greens and veggies into boiling salted water for about 5 minutes and drain, putting aside for a few minutes. Mix water, oil, onion and garlic, and spices in the pot, boil about 10 minutes and add the greens again. Cook about 3 minutes and add bread crumbs, eggs, coriander and mint juice, and cheese. Cook over low heat until egg sets and cheese melts.

A Muzawwara

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Western Islamic 13th c. from Andalusian, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Take boiled peeled lentils and wash in hot water several times; put in the pot and add water without covering them; cook and then throw in pieces of gourd, or the stems [ribs] of Swiss chard, or of lettuce and its tender sprigs, or the flesh of cucumber or melon, and vinegar, coriander seed, a little cumin, Chinese cinnamon, saffron and two qiyas of fresh oil; balance with a little salt and cook. Taste, and if its flavor is pleasingly balanced between sweet and sour, [good;] and if not, reinforce until it is equalized, according to taste, and leave it to lose its heat until it is cold and then serve.

2 c lentils 
5 c water 
1/4 c cider vinegar 
3/4 t ground coriander 
3/4 t cumin 
1 1/2 t cinnamon 
6 threads saffron (if you have it) 
1/4 c oil 
1 t salt 
1 lb lettuce or chard 

Clean lentils. Boil lentils about 40 minutes until they start to get mushy. Add spices and vinegar and oil. Cook greens for about 10 minutes, until leaves are soft. Add to lentils.

Isfanakh Mutajjan

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Eastern Islamic 13th c. from al-Baghdadi, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Take spinach, cut off the lower roots, and wash: then boil lightly in salt and water, and dry. Refine sesame-oil, drop in the spinach, and stir until fragrant. Chop up a little garlic, and add. Sprinkle with fine-ground cumin, dry coriander,and cinnamon: then remove.

1 lb spinach 
1 T sesame oil 
1 clove garlic 
1/4 t cumin 
1/8 t coriander 
1/2 t cinnamon 

Boil spinach in salted water about 2 minutes. Remove from water, strain and add oil and spices. Mix well.


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Eastern Islamic 15th c. from Ibn al-Mabrad, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Meat is boiled and bread is moistened with the broth. Yoghurt, garlic and mint are put with it and the meat is put with it. Likewise there is a tharid without meat.

1 1/4 c chicken  (1-2 pieces)??? 	 
2 c water	 
4 slices bread			 
1/2 c yogurt			 
5 small cloves garlic	 
8 sprigs mint (leaves only)	 

Cut meat into bite-sized pieces and boil in water about 30-40 minutes, by which time the broth is down to about one cup and remove meat from broth (put in a pan...). Crush bread into broth, chop garlic and mint, and add them and the yogurt to the bread mixture; serve this sauce over meat and sprinkle on some pepper.


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Western Islamic 13th c. from Andalusian, Redaction be Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Take a young, cleaned hen and put it in a pot with a little salt, pepper, coriander, cinnamon, saffron and sufficient of vinegar and sweet oil, and when the meat is cooked, take peeled, crushed almonds and good white sugar, four ounces of each; dissolve them in rosewater, pour in the pot and let it boil; then leave it on the embers until the fat rises. It is very nutritious and good for all temperaments; this dish is made with hens or pigeons or doves, or with the meat of a young lamb.

1 chicken (about 2-2 1/2 lbs) 
1/2 t salt 
1/2 t pepper 
1 t coriander 
2 t cinnamon 
20 threads saffron (lots of color)(this dish glows in the dark) 
2 T wine vinegar 
2 T olive oil 
1/2 c sugar 
3 T rosewater (use sugar water if we need extra) 

Put cut-up chicken, spices, vinegar, and oil into pot. Add just enough vinegar and oil so the meat has something to boil in. Bring to boil, cook covered over moderate to low heat 40 minutes, stirring periodically to keep the chicken from sticking. Mix sugar and rosewater to make a paste. Stir this in with chicken, bring back to a boil and cook about 8 minutes until sauce thickens.

Roast of Meat

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Western Islamic 13th c. from Andalusian, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Roast salted, well-marbled meat [cut up] like fingertips, and put in a pot spices, onion, salt, oil and soaked garbanzos. Cook until done and add the roast meat; cover the contents of the pot with cilantro and sprinkle with pepper and cinnamon; and if you add whole pine nuts or walnuts in place of garbanzos, it will be good.

1 lb beef 
2 15 oz cans chickpeas 
3 onions, sliced 
1/4 t cumin 
1/2 t coriander  
1/2 t cinnamon 
1/4 t black pepper 
3 T olive oil 
1 t salt 
1/4 c green coriander, pressed down 
1/8 t more pepper 
1/4 t more cinnamon 
rice (2 c water per 1 c rice) 

Roast meat and cut into about 1/4" by 1/2" pieces. Slice onions. Put chickpeas, onion, spices, salt and oil in a pot and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 10 minutes, turning down the heat it gets dry; add meat and cook one minute, add green coriander and cook another minute, and turn off heat.

When serving: Sprinkle with pepper and cinnamon. Serve with rice.

Al Ghassani's Tharda

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Western Islamic 13th c. from Andalusian, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Take fat meat and cut it up, arrange in a large pot and throw in coriander seed, chopped onion, cilantro, caraway, pepper, soaked garbanzos, three whole eggs and enough water to cover the meat and salt; when the meat is done, reduce the fire below it and throw in two dirhams of saffron; when you see that it is colored, remove part of the sauce, leaving enough to cover the meat; boil the meat with the saffron and then take off the fire, strain the sauce and leave in the pot, take one kail of sauce and three of honey, then take the pot to the fire and bring it to the boil three times with the honey and the sauce. Then take best white bread, crumble it and sieve the crumbs, cover the pot with them and put in it fat and pepper; pour into the platter over bread soaked in the broth and serve, God willing.

2 c lamb tightly packed (1 lb) 
1/2 t dry celantro 
3 chopped onions 
2 T fresh parsley (packed down) 
1/2 t caraway 
1/2 t pepper 
2 15 oz can chickpeas 
3 eggs 
less than 1 1/2 c water 
1/4 t salt 
6 T honey 
1/4 lb bread for crumbs 
3 T melted lamb fat (from the lamb, as much as seems decent) 
1/2 t pepper 
more pepper 
8 slices bread on platter 

Cut lamb in 1" cubes; combine lamb, onion, etc, in pot, breaking the eggs in whole to poach in the pot. Simmer about 30 minutes (until the lamb is cooked), mostly uncovered, stirring occasionally. Lower heat, simmer 10 minutes and stir.

Turn off the heat, remove 2 T of sauce, mix it with honey and return the mixture to the pot. Bring back to a boil, then stir in bread crumbs (crumble them in a blender or food processor. Add fat and pepper.

When serving: arrange bread, toasted if you like, on a large platter (10-12"). Spoon liquid part of the broth on to the bread, then ladle everything on top.


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Eastern Islamic 13th c. from al-Baghdadi, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Cut fat meat into middling pieces, place in the saucepan, and cover with water, fresh coriander, cinnamon bark, and salt to taste. When boiling, remove the froth and cream with a ladle, and throw away. Remove the fresh coriander, and add dry coriander. Take white onions, Syrian leeks, and carrots if in season, or else egg plant. Skin, splitting the egg plant thoroughly, and half stew in water in a separate saucepan: then strain, and leave in the saucepan on top of the meat. Add seasonings and salt to taste. When almost cooked, take wine vinegar and date juice, or honey if preferred-date juice is the more suitable-and mix together so that the mixture is midway between sharp and sweet, then pour into the saucepan and boil for a while. When ready to take off the fire, remove a little of the broth, bray into it saffron as required, and pour back into the saucepan. Then take sweet almonds, peel, split, and place on top of the pan, together with a few raisins, currants, and dried figs. Cover for a while, to settle over the heat of the fire. Wipe the sides with a clean rag, and sprinkle rosewater on top. When settled, remove.

1 lb fat lamb 
3 c water 
1/4 oz fresh parsley 
1 stick cinnamon bark 
6 white onions 
2 leeks 
5 carrots 
1 t dry coriander 
1/2 t pepper 
1/2 t cinnamon 
1 t cumin 
1/3 c wine vinegar 
1/3 c honey 
20 split almonds (1 oz) 
2 T raisins (1 oz) 
1 T currants (1/2 oz) 
2 T figs (1 oz) 
1 t rose water 
4 c rice (2 c water per 1 c rice) 

Cut lamb in about 1/2" cubes. Bring to a boil with water and parsley, cinnamon stick, and then skim. Meanwhile chop leeks and carrots, cut onions in halves or quarters, boil 10 minutes in a separate pot and strain. After meat simmers 20 minutes add vegetables and seasonings (add more spices if you like) and simmer 1/2 hour. Mix vinegar and honey, add and simmer another 10 minutes. Sprinkle on fruit, cover and let sit 15 minutes on low heat.

When serving: sprinkle on rosewater. serve with rice.


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Western Islamic from Andalusian, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Knead a well-made dough from semolina like the "sponge" dough with yeast, and break in it as many eggs as you can, and knead the dough with them until it is slack. Then set up a frying pan of clay [hantam] on a hot fire, and when it has heated, grease it with clarified butter or oil. Put in a thin flat loaf of the dough and when the bread is done, turn over. Take some of the dough in the hand and smear the surface of the bread with it. Then turn the smeared surface to the pan, changing the lower part with the upper, and smear this side with dough too. Then turn it over in the pan and smear it, and keep smearing it with dough and turning it over in the tajine, and pile it up and raise it until it becomes a great, tall loaf. Then turn it by the edges a few times in the tajine until it is done on the sides, and when it is done, as it is desired, put it in a serving dish and make large holes with a stick, and pour into them melted butter and plenty of honey, so that it covers the bread, and present it.

2 1/4 c flour 
1/2 c water 
1/2 c sourdough (for starter) 
4 eggs 
1/4 c more water 
1-2 T oil for frying 
1/2 c butter 
2/8 c honey 

There are 2 dough choices for this one

1) oil your hands. Combine flour, 1/2 c water, and sourdough and knead smooth. Cover with a damp cloth and leave overnight to rise. In the morning knead in an additional 1/4 c water, making it into a sticky mess, and leave another few hours in a warm place to rise. Add 2 eggs, and stir until they are absorbed into the dough.

2) use 12 oz Bread machine sourdough mix (Dromedary bakery), follow directions on box. needs: flour, water, eggs, honey, butter

To make pancakes: Heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat and grease it with oil. beat 2 eggs into a bowl. Put 2 (5 inch diameter) thin pancakes in the pan. When one side is cooked (about 2 minutes) turn them over. Smear egg on the cooked sides and smush the pancakes together. put a new pancake in the pan. When the new sides are done; turn them over, egg them and stick them together. Repeat until the stack is 4 pancakes high. Cook the last raw side of the stack and start another stack.

When serving: Punch 8-10 holes in the top with the handle of a wooden spoon, or make X's with a knife, being careful not to get through the bottom layer. Pour in honey and melted butter, letting it soak into the loaf.

Cheese and Flour Cake

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Western Islamic 13th c. from al-Andalusi, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Knead the necessary quantity of flour, one time with water, another with oil, and to it add yeast and milk until it has the same consistency as the dough of fritters, and leave it until it has next risen. Next grease with oil a large earthen pot, stretch in it a piece of dough, and over it a bit of cheese, and over the cheese a bit of dough, and so a little of one, and a bit of the other until the last of the dough and cheese. Next cover it with dough as you did in the previous recipe and cook it in the same way in the oven. Afterwards, drizzle it with honey, sprinkle it with sugar and pepper and eat it.

2 c flour  
1/2-3/4 c water 
3 T oil 
1 1/2 t yeast 
3 T milk 
12 oz cheese 
5 T honey 
1 T sugar 
1/4 t pepper 

Knead flour and water to a very dry dough, mix warm milk and yeast, let sit 5 minutes, add oil to dough, knead in. Knead milk and yeast into the dough for about 5-10 minutes, until fairly uniform. Leave 45 minutes to rise in a warm place. Divide dough in about 8 equal portions, flour and pat, and stretch. Lay on well-greased oven-pan and layer with sliced cheese. (dough, cheese, dough, cheese, ...) Make sure the top layer is dough. Bake 45 minutes at 350deg.

When serving: Drizzle the honey over it. Serve with mixed sugar and pepper for the guests to sprinkle over to taste.


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Eastern Islamic from al-Baghdadi, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Take best white flour, made into a dough, and leave to rise. Put a basin on the fire, with some sesame-oil. When boiling, take in a reticulated ladle some of the dough, and shake it into the oil, so that as each drop of the dough falls in, it sets. As each piece is cooked, remove with another ladle to drain off the oil. Take honey as required, mix with rose water, and put over the fire to boil to a consistency: then take off, and while still in the basin, whip until white. Throw in the barad, and place out on a soft-oiled surface, pressing in the shape of the mould. Then cut into pieces, and serve.

1/2 c white flour 
1/2 c water 
1/2 t dried yeast + 2 t water 
2 c sesame oil 
1 1/2 c oil (to use when sesame runs out) 
1/2 c honey 
1 T rose water 

Make the flour and water into a smooth batter. Mix yeast and water, wait about 10 minutes, then add to the flour-water mixture. Let stand 2-3 hours.

Heat 1 c of the sesame oil to about 300deg. in a large frying pan. Pour the batter through a ladle or skimmer with small holes in it, so as to form small balls in the hot oil. Cook to a tan brown (1-3 minutes), take out, drain on paper towel. Add more sesame oil when it gets low.

Mix rose water and honey, cook to 250deg. Watch it carefully, don't let it boil over. As it cools, whip it; it eventually takes a sort of whipped butter consistency, with a light color. Mix it with the fried dough, press down on an oiled plate, press down from above with another plate or a spatula. Chill before serving.


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Eastern Islamic 15th c. from Ibn al-Mabrad, Redaction by Cariadoc and Elizabeth

Its varieties are many. Among them are the sweets made of natif. You put dibs [fruit syrup], honey, sugar or rubb [thick fruit syrup] in the pot, then you put it on a gentle fire and stir until it takes consistency. Then you beat egg white and put it with it and stir until it thickens and becomes natif. After that, if you want almond candy you put in toasted almonds and 'allaftahu; that is, you bind them. walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, toasted chickpeas, toasted sesame, flour. [apparently alternative versions]. You beat in the natif until thickens. For duhniyyah you put in flour toasted with fat. As for ... (other versions.)

(This makes 25-40 hulwa, depending on size.)
1 c honey 
1 egg white 
2 1/2-3 c nuts (almonds, walnuts, and toasted sesame seeds work well) 

Beat egg first. Simmer the honey gently until it reaches a temperature of about 300o F. This is about boiling, if you use honey thats too cold the dessert is harder to make and stickier. Beat the egg white until it is just stiff enough to hold its shape. Pour the honey into the egg white, beating continuously. You now have a thick off-white mixture; this is the natif. Mix it with chopped nuts. Squeeze the mixture into balls and set them aside to cool. Note that as the natif cools, it gets harder and less sticky, so you have to work quickly The syrup may crystallize on you as or before you pour it; if so, give up and start over. Use a high ratio of nuts to natif and have the nuts chopped more finely; this helps reduce the stickiness.