Meat Porridges (Hara’is) and Oven Dishes (Tannuriyyat)

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This is a dish to try if you have a large volume of yogurt on hand and want to try a new dish.  I think it’s ok.  The flavors are good but I’ve had better yogurt dishes to be honest.  I can’t say this is amazing but it is filling.  Perhaps over noodles or rice it would be a bit better.  Perhaps with a bit of cheese sprinkled over it as well.

This is obviously a very close relative to Al-Madira in name, but that’s about it.  There are different spices and cooking style, enough so that these are barely kissing cousin recipes..


(Meat in Yogurt with Leeks)


A pound of meat, four pounds of yoghurt.  Put them with curdled milk, a shifaya of leeks, a quarter shifaya of green onions – and if the onions are green, they can be dispensed with – and a stick of ginger, a stick of Ceylon cinnamon, both whole and the weight of a quart dirham of whole mastic.  Then you put the yoghurt in the pot, and when it boils and sticks to the ladle, throw the meat in.  When it boils tow or three times, cut up the leeks, which have been split, and throw them in.  And when the leeks boil, cut up the onions and throw them in with the mastic, Ceylon cinnamon and ginger.  When it all smells good and boils, throw in the mint, half a bunch.  Its fire should be gentle, so that it smells good and binds; if it doesn’t bind, throw in it the quantity of half an ounce of heart starch or a handful of rice.  When the yoghurt is nearly done, take it down.  (Rodison, pp. 327.)



1 lb meat (beef) cut up.

4 lbs yogurt

1/2 C curdled milk (sour milk?)

1 leek

4 green onions

1 stick of ginger (do not chop!)

1 stick cinnamon or 1/2 tsp ground

1/4 tsp mastic



I gathered up almost everything, forgetting to picture the leeks and mint.

The yogurt went into the pot to boil.

Once the yogurt had started to boil and liquefy, I added the beef chunks.

I let this boil before adding the split, sliced and washed leek.

Bring the yogurt mixture to a boil three times before adding the onions, ginger (do NOT chop), cinnamon and mastic.

Put the flame, or stove top on low, and let simmer until the yogurt starts thickening up.  If the yogurt doesn’t thicken add rice or arrow root.

Once the dish has thickened, add the mint then serve forth.


The dish doesn’t look like much, and I found it a little bland but exceptionally filling.  I thought I was going to have to add starch; however as I let the liquefied yogurt reduce for about 20 minutes.  The curds came together like small granules of rice.  It takes a bit of time but it’s worth the wait.  I also found the taste and excellent blend of onion, yogurt, beef and mastic, with a slight hint of ginger and cinnamon.  I added a bit of salt and found this made a world of difference!

July 24, 2017 | No comments

I made yogurt the other day, which gave me 5 largish jars.  That’s a LOT of yogurt…so like anything else you have extra of on hand, you find recipes to use the extra in.  This is no different.  Other than I also get to use mastic.  Mastic is one of those rare(ish) type of ingredients that just smells divine!


Crammed Meat

Kabis 021


Cut up fat meat medium and put it in the pot.  When it boils, you remove its scum and throw in as many chickpeas as needed, and Chinese cinnamon sticks, mastic and bunches of dill.  Season with salt and add water, and leave it in the tannur, and seal its top for a night until the next day.  Then you put a little dry coriander, cumin and finely milled caraway on it, and you put a thurda (crumbled bread) under it.  If you want to make it sour, sprinkle finely pounded sumac on it.  If you want, put a little yoghurt and garlic (on it) before ladling it out.  Chinese cinnamon and cumin are sprinkled on its surface and us it. (Rodinson, pp. 368)


Fat meat – Beef, Lamb, Camel, Chicken etc

1 C Garbanzo beans

1 cinnamon stick

.5 tsp ground Mastic

1 tsp dill

Salt to taste

1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander and caraway

2 C yoghurt (Plain thick i.e. Greek yogurt or homemade)

2-5 cloves ground garlic

1 C dough (water flour salt…this will be used.  Make it tasty!)


All the spices and extras, looking good!

Kabis 004So for the fat meat, I decided to go with chicken thighs.  It’s fast easy and readily available.  You can use beef, mutton or all of a chicken not just the thighs.

Kabis 001Cover your Dutch oven with water, letting this boil till scum floats to the surface.

Kabis 003Why a Dutch oven?  Because I have several with matching lids for sealing.  When we seal the lid to the pot, we are creating a double boiler low tech style.  So you have to have a pot/dish with a lid.  If you have something other than a Dutch oven with a matching lid, use that.  The pot just needs a lid that can be sealed.

Personally, I never worried about the scum however we’re following this recipe and it takes 5 seconds to scrap it off into the trash.

Add your garbanzo beans (dried or canned).  Here I used dried.

Kabis 005What I had on hand.  Add your cinnamon stick, ground mastic and dill. You can use scraped/ground cinnamon if you don’t have a stick on hand.  Once the stick is used, it’s done for.

Kabis 006Seal with the dough around the edge of the Dutch oven. (remember low tech double boiler)

Kabis 009The dough does double duty.  It seals up the dutch oven and it becomes the thurda.  The dough sealing the dutch oven, tastes pretty damn good dipped into just the juice before the rest of the spices are added.  That’s why you want to make it tasty.  This dough, is about to become your dumpling.  Trust me, this step is well worth the effort!

Place in the oven on low for 5 hours at 150 -200.  You want low slow and steady.  Yes, the recipe says overnight but that’s assuming your leaving your dish over coals.  We’re not, and most people don’t have a fire place or pit that can support this low tech level.  Just keep this in mind on why the recipe says overnight not just what you don’t have and adjust as you can.

After a few hours, pull the Dutch oven out.

Pull off the cooked dough, which will be both hard (on the outside) and slightly springy (on the inner portion that held the seal together).  Break this into bite sized pieces and add to your shredded chicken.

Kabis 015After taking off the lid, just push a wooden spoon through the chicken.  If you used whole thighs with skin and bone (highly recommended for better flavor) the meat will separate off the bone.  The meat is so tender, it will start shredding into bits and pieces as you stir.

Kabis 014At this point you want to sprinkle with the last of the spices.

Kabis 011

Yogurt and garlic next.  I added 2 cups of yogurt and 3 large cloves of garlic.  Salt to taste.

Kabis 016Now just sprinkle with a little ground cinnamon.

Kabis 019And serve!  This is excellent by itself, over rice or steamed veggies.  Oh my tasty!

Kabis 021

February 21, 2017 | No comments

I finished making another original redaction (The Ansteorran Dragon).  This is the recipe I used for the main body.  OMG…so damn good.  Meat with meat and meat scales.  If you like your meat this is the dish for you!

Sharah’Ih (Strips of Meat wrapped around Lamb)

Finalized Dragon pics 016Translation:

Pound lean meat. Add pepper, mastic, Chinese cinnamon, caraway, salt and oil to it and make it into cakes. Wrap them in the wrapping of the fine fat which is on the stomach. Then put them on a skewer and grill them on low fire and eat them. (Rodinson, pp. 375).


4 lbs. ground beef

4 Tbs. ground pepper

1 tsp. ground mastic

4 Tbs. caraway seeds

4 Tbs. salt

1/4 C. oil (olive, walnut or sesame)

1 lb. beef brisket bacon



2 lbs. lamb ribs

2 Tbs. limous lamb rub.

Long wooden skewers



I took a couple of liberties with the finalized version.  I took my favorite spice (Rogan Josh) and added it to the ground meat.

Finalized Dragon pics 001Take 4lb’s of meat with spices and mix together.

Finalized Dragon pics 002Take the lamb ribs and rub with the limous lamb rub.

Finalized Dragon pics 005Here you see the ribs as connected.  If you aren’t worried about making actual “dragon spines” you can totally do it this way.  If you are going to make spaced out dragon spines you will need to cut through the ribs to have individual “spines”.

Next I made a hollow in the ground meat.

Finalized Dragon pics 007Then I added the lamb ribs also known as the “dragon spines”.

Finalized Dragon pics 008Packing the ground meat around each spine.

I had to take a bit of liberty since caul fat (fat found around organ meats) is unavailable at the regular stores, much like unicorn meat. You have to know someone who knows someone at a farm for organ meat fat. Remember the smoked beef brisket bacon a little bit ago?  Well here is THE recipe to use it on!

Slice the beef brisket bacon into to triangular pieces with fat or long strips.

Finalized Dragon pics 011Next place the beef brisket bacon (skewered with wooden tooth picks) along the top and sides of the ground beef.

Finalized Dragon pics 012Cook for 35 minutes at 350.

The final dish is a carnivores mouthwatering dream.

Finalized Dragon pics 016

March 6, 2015 | No comments

I really like oven roasted dishes.  You throw everything in a clay pot and let it sit in a low set oven for hours till tender and well blended in flavor.  Excellent year round be especially good for those cool/cold fall and winter evenings.

Sikbaj Tannuri

(Oven Roasted Meat w/Vegetables)


This and other cooked dishes, when you want them tannuri, you combine the ingredients and adjust their salt and water and spices and put them in the tannur covered overnight until morning.  Sikbaj is more suitable in the tannur then others.  Take meat as needed and cut into pieces larger then medium and wash clean.  Add its ingredients to it, such as carrots, onions, leeks and some turnips, and season it with vinegar and date molasses and colour it with saffron, and season with salt and spices.  Lid the top of the pot and put it in the tannur through out the night on a moderate fire until morning, then it is taken up.

Rodiscon, pp. 371-372


1 lb chuck roast or stew meat            2 C. carrots      1 onion 1 leek

1 eggplant                     1 Tbs chopped garlic                ½ C. date molasses

1 tsp cumin, coriander, cinnamon, saffron, salt and pepper


Any type of meat can be used for this dish.  Choose a well marbled cut.  The meat will be slow cooking for hours and really lean meat will dry out very quickly, while marbled meat will have that melt in the mouth texture.  I did substitute eggplant of turnips as this is not the season for turnips but eggplants were readily available.

Sikbaj spices

This meat is beef stew meat, that was chopped in to slightly larger then bite sized pieces and placed in a bowl.  Goat, chicken or lamb would work well in the clay pot for slow cooking.  Experiment with the meat and the flavors so that this dish remains new and appealing!

The eggplant was cut into cubes (rough cubes) while baby carrots were used.  (I had those on hand).  Period wise, red carrots would have been used after the inner woody core had been removed then cut into bite sized pieces.  Only 1 leek was need though 2 could have been used.  I used one full yellow onion.  Now onion flavoring is up to the modern cook though period onions were probably a little smaller then the store bought onions we buy today and probably a little lighter in flavor then the small intense onions that are grown with out fertilizer or regular watering.  These were cut into small pieces and place in the bowl with the other vegetables.

Sikbaj all mixed

Once the last of the vegetables were cut into pieces the ground spices and garlic were added.  Everything was mixed together very well.

This is where the date syrup would be added…however having used all of mine earlier and forgetting this I had to compensate with honey.  Just as tasty just not quiet what the recipe called for.  If neither date syrup or honey are on hand try a few chopped up dates.  You want the play of sweet against the spicy.

Oil up a tanjine or a deep pottery cooking dish (or Dutch oven) and pour everything in.  Add just enough water to cover and place in the oven for several hours on a low temperature.  When I cooked this I did not add water (though a little bit, about 1 cup of water, would have been good) and put the oven on for 350.  2.5 hours later…every thing came out very well cooked and VERY tender.

Sikbaj Tannuri

This was sooo yummy.  I would suggest barley cooked in broth or rice cooked with saffron.   The hubby liked his with a bit of cheese and lots of meat.   So a bit of goat cheese sprinkled on top is also a tasty suggestion!

I had always wondered why lentils would be served to guests.  I have tried them prior and was just not impressed with the bland flavoring.  It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I pulled out my freshly bought lentils for one more old fashion cooking try.  I boiled up a cup for a different recipe added some butter for a tentative taste (I mean what doesn’t taste good with butter?).  This batch was what converted me into a lentil lover!  The lentils were startchy, a little crunchy from the cooking till the water was ALL gone and then some, to buttery melt in your mouth.

The recipe I did fix from that batch is not this.  However this recipe is excellent as well!

Adas Tannuri

Oven Lentils


Cut up fat meat in pieces larger than medium and wash them, and put them in the pot and fry them.  Throw three pounds of peeled, washed, picked-over lentils on two pounds of it and a sufficiency of Swiss chard, washed and cut up four fingers (long), and add four times it’s quantity of water to it.  If it is necessary to add water during the night, do so.  Then adjust the salt and cover the top of the pot, and put it in the tannur overnight, and when it is morning, take it up.  Pound garlic and dry coriander for it, as much as needed, and put them into the lentils, then stew it.  Put finely pounded mastic cumin, and caraway on it; and lemon juice for him who wants that, for this is according to desire.

Rodison, pp. 371


1 lb. chuck roast           1 bunch Swiss chard                 1 cup lentils

1 tsp salt, cumin, caraway, coriander                             1 Tbs garlic

4 C. water (or preferred meat stock)


Gather all of your ingredients in one area, so that time is not wasted wondering back and forth and doing small tasks.  Part of the prepping is to de-ribb the chard and cut into smaller ribbons.  To do this, cut along the main stem in the leaf on either side to separate the edible portion for the tough chewy, not so tasty, rib.  Throw away the rib portion.  Cut the leaves into horizontal strips roughly the size of 2 fingers.  The leaves will cook down a lot!

Adas spices

The chuck was cut into pieces.  Washing was not necessary with today’s modern packing techniques.  In period though washing would be a necessity to keep dirty, ash etc from becoming ingrained in fresh meat.  The meat was then fried in olive oil a little salt.

Adas Frying meat

I put 1 cup of lentils into a clay pot with 4 cups of water.

lentils in water

The swiss chard leaves were separated from the leaf rib and sliced into ribbons, roughly 1 inch wide and 3 inches long.

swiss chard in clay pot

Push the chard under the water, or if there is not enough water in the clay pot do not hesitate to add another cup or two.  Remember this is a slow cooking many hour dish.  The water will evaporate out but you don’t want the leaves or the lentils to burn so make sure there is a plenitude of liquid!  (If chicken or duck stock is desired over water by all means add that instead!)  Check the state of the liquids in the pot every 1.5 hours, just to make sure nothing is drying out.

The chard was then put in the clay pot with the lentils and waters then the fried meat was added along with the spices.

meat chard spices

The entire dish was then mixed together and put into the oven for 4 hours at 350.

Finshed beef and lentilsThis is the bowl for dinner just served from the lay pot.  It was hot steaming and melt in your mouth!  I would say this is a more fall/winter dish but I was so hungry when I ate it I really just called it delicious!


(Meat and Leeks)

This translation is one of my favorites, a warm rich thick yogurt meaty dish that has wonderful flavors.  A great winter or fall type of dish.  It’s not quite chicken soup for the soul but it does make a person go “Mmmm…comfy now!”


Cut p fat meat medium and leave it in the pot with a little salt and water to cover.  And when it is nearly done, throw big green onions on it and big Syrian Leeks, washed and with their leaves cut off.  When it is done and the water has decreased, throw spices on it and adjust the salt.  Then take it out of the pot and put it in another vessel, and take the water from the pot and throw yogurt on it as needed.  And when it boils well, add already prepared melted tail fat, with the onions and leeks which have been taken up.  Throw in a scraped stick of Chinese cinnamon, and it settles and is taken up…Throw in saffron and add sugar to it, and it comes out good.

Medieval Arab Cookery p.321


2.5  lb beef/venison/goat or chicken cubed

3 leeks sliced

3 cups water (or enough to cover the meat)

1 small onion diced

½ tsp cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, saffron, and black caraway seeds (optional)

2 C yogurt

salt to taste

1 Tsp granulated table sugar

Optional: (Cariadoc makes this suggestion for chicken)

½ lemon or ¼ cup lemon juice  ½ C fresh mint

Al-Baghdadi p. 41/6 (A Miscelleny)

I did this redaction following the techniques of the original while still incorporating a bit from Master Cariado’s suggestion.

My Redaction:

Here is a compilation of all the ingredients in one picture.

all ingredients

I cubed my meat (this time chicken).  The meat used is 10 chicken thighs (a very rough equivalent to one full chicken.  I then placed the chicken into a pot and covered with water.

chicken in pot

When the chicken was mostly done I added 1/2 the onions and 1/2 the leeks.   The remaining leeks and onions I sauteed in a pan with olive oil (sesame oil would work just as well to add a nutty taste).

sauted leeks and onions

The original translation says to add prepared tail fat with onions and leeks.  Tail fat is fat from the tail of a type of sheep.  This is a VERY strong mutton taste.  If you ever have had mutton and prefer your mutton in small quantities, don’t add tail fat.  If you LOVE mutton go to a meat market and ask for sheep tail fat and use it like you would bacon.  /shudder

The leeks were cut below the start of the leaves then sliced lengthwise and cut into smaller pieces.  This is for easier washing and rinsing of dirt that might have collected in the growing layers of the leeks.

After the leeks and onions have turned soft, I added spices then taste if additional salt is needed.

spices mint and lemon juice

The pot is left to simmer for a final round of water reduction.  After the water has reduced a bit more, I turn off the burner and add the yogurt, mint, sugar, sauteed onions and leeks.  (The original translated recipe says to remove the dry soup to another vessel, I opted to turn off the stove instead).  chicken w spices

I serve this either by itself or over brown rice to help sop up the extra juices.  Pita bread could serve the same purpose for the sopping up.  Couscous is very period for a carb/filler for an added accompaniment.

Before serving take one final taste just to make sure you have enough salt or need to add a touch extra!