Plain Dishes (Sawadhij)

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So when I started this project, I thought the worst thing was going to be to grind the fat. I was sooo wrong. That was actually one of the easiest. The second worst thing about making sausages is cleaning the equipment. Everything is stuck with ground meat that wants to cling…like an ex you just want to get rid of 2 weeks ago. The absolutely worst part? Getting the meat to get into the casing. It’s like stuffing an extra-large man into an extra small condom. It’s a real bitch and no one’s happy. The meat is yummy the sausages look horrible but are tasty. Not a complete loss but I’ll be taking my time doing this again.

Masir al-Dawwara (A Stuffed Sausage)

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Finely chop red meat (lean) and chop as much alya (sheep’s tail fat). Finely chop fresh herbs, onion, and rue. (add to the meat) then pound the meat mixture with a knife until it has the consistency of ointment. Add cassia, black pepper, caraway, ma kamakh (liquid fermented sauce), a little vinegar, and olive oil. Kneed the mixture very well and stuff it into a large intestine with the fat adhering to it. Also stuff with some small intestines. Cook them with whatever dish you prefer, God willing. (al-Warraq, pp. 187)

2 lbs. ground meat
1 lb. beef fat
1 tsp. ea. Ground cassia, black pepper, caraway
2 tbs. vinegar
1 tbs. fish sauce
1/4 C olive oil.
1 onion (chopped)
Warning now…this gets messy.  Really  messy!  Grind up the fat and combine with the meat.

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Chop your onion and add this to the meat. Do NOT add rue. Some people have a reaction to rue that most have to poison ivy. Baaaad juju! No rue!


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Next add your spices and liquid ingredients.


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Combine well. Set up your intestine and stuff.

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Here I use lamb intestine (not pork for obvious reasons).

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Start your stuffing and telling dirty jokes!  This part really doesn’t have any good pictures just less dirty innuendo pictures.

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This recipe seems to think the sausage can be served in a dish or as a side dish. Cook whichever way is good and serve.

Currant 013These were eaten as is.  I am going to suggest (as usual) playing with the recipe.  I found these a little dry so would probably add more fat and/or liquid but not more fish sauce.   Perhaps a good red wine but definitly more fat!

March 8, 2016 | No comments

So this one…is just a bit outside of my taste range.  I’m sure it was an excellent and enjoyable treat.  This dish is NOT your typical omelet.  More like a savory sweet for the cook to show off their skill.  Posting this as a “Hmmm…how creative/showing off do I really want to do here.”

Ujaj Mudawwarat

(Another Omelet)

June 2015 077


Take some eggs and spate the whites from the yolks. Add a little honey to the whites, beat them together, and add to them chopped rue, tarragon, mint and basil. Beat this mixture well, put it in a pot and light a fire underneath it until it sets and thickens. Sprinkle it with ta little cumin cassia, murrie and olive oil. Turn the egg white disc onto a platter and spread it on the egg yolk you have separated, sweetened with sugar and cooked until thickened and set. (al-Warraq’s, pp. 329)


3 eggs (Separate the whites from the yolk)

1 tsp honey

1/8 tsp ground tarragon, mint and basil

1/2 tsp sugar


Cumin, cinnamon, fish sauce, and olive oil



Separate your eggs, the whites from the yolks.

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Mix the whites with the honey.


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Pour the mixture into a lightly greased pan.

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Once out of the pan sprinkle with cumin, cinnamon, fish sauce and olive oil (a few drops not too much). Put the finished whites on a plate.


Next take the yolk add the sugar and cook.

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Add the yolks on top of the whites for a crowned omelet.


June 2015 077I know this is a bit of a messy picture.  The omelet cooking in two parts was a bit of a messy project.  Try this once just to say you have.  This is a good learning experience with out taking to much time or to many costly ingredients.

October 23, 2015 | No comments

This dish did not turn out as expected.  It was an experiment where a lot was learned and will be retried.  So here is my mistake with my ideas on how to do it better next time!

Raison sauce and tongue pie 025


Take some fatty meat and cut it into thin slices, the thinner you can get them. Take some round onions and slice them thinly crosswise into discs like coins.

Now prepare a clean pot of soapstone. Spread its bottom with a layer of the meat; sprinkle it with black pepper, coriander, and caraway; and spread a layer of the onion slices. Put another layer of the meat and fat sprinkle it with spices and salt then another layer of onion.

Cover with round of bread. Cook the pot on a slow-burning fire until meat is cooked. Invert the pot onto a wide bowl and serve it, God willing. (Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, pp. 311)

Ingredients:1.5 lbs thin sliced meat i.e. tongue or brisket

1 tsp ground pepper

2 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp caraway seed

1 onion sliced in rounds; if too big to cut into coin sized rounds cut the onion in half and thinly sliced half pieces

1 round of raw dough.


This recipe was made with tongue, a tough piece of fairly lean meat. I personally believe that a fatty piece of meat such as a brisket would have been a good choice as well.

The skin of the tongue was peeled,

Raison sauce and tongue pie 008then sliced it as thinly as possible. Some slices were thinner than others.

The spices were gathered together then mixed together.

Raison sauce and tongue pie 012The clay pot was oiled on the bottom before the meat was added.

Raison sauce and tongue pie 017

The meat was added then spiced. Rounds of onions were scattered over the meat. I used dabs of butter for the fat as the tongue is very lean.

Raison sauce and tongue pie 016A second layer was added and the final round of spiced meat.

Raison sauce and tongue pie 022            At this point a layer of dough should have been added over the meat; however as this was a first time dish not all of the directions were read. I have to say it was a good misfortune to have missed the dough. The dish came out very tasty but very moist, almost soupy, with all of the butter and juice from the tongue. Had a crust been added, it would have been soggy and nasty.

The meat came out of the oven a little too early. The very thin slices were perfect at 350 for an hour. The thicker slices were good but chewier and could have stood for another hour of cooking.

Raison sauce and tongue pie 024            Over all the dish was tasty, even with missing the crust. I would probably suggest using a tough and fatty meat for next time such as brisket. The brisket would negate the necessity of butter while allowing for a non-soggy crust.

October 8, 2015 | No comments

So whats for dinner?  Beef!  I had a yen for a new dish and a bit of time on hand.  This gem showcases different flavors in the best of way.

Tabahija with Honey (Slice Meat with Honey)

Sliced meat with honey 019


In a green glazed bowl, mix to blend 1/4 ratl murri with 2 Tbs. honey. Strain the mix through a sieve. Add 3 grams coriander, 1 1/2 grams black pepper, 1 gram cinnamon, and 1 gram asafetida.

Slice 2 lbs. lamb and marinate it in the sauce. Set up a pot on the fire and add 2/3 C. sweet olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced meat with the marinade along with 1 gram crushed salt.

Cook the meat until the sauce is greatly reduced. Let the pot settle for a while then serve the Tabajija garnished with chopped cilantro and rue. (Iban Sayyar al-Warraq. Pp. 358, 359)



2 lbs. slice meat (beef or lamb)

2 tsp fish sauce

1 tsp soy sauce

2 tsp coriander

1 tsp black pepper

1 tsp cinnamon

3 cloves minced garic

2/3 – 1 C. olive oil


1 tsp sea salt

1 C. mead or sweet wine


I gathered the spices together and had to make a few changes (it’s cooking you’re allowed to change things a little).  I know…cinnamon and garlic and cumin just sound weird but it works.  Give it a try!

Sliced meat with honey 003I used fish sauce mixed with soy sauce to mimic a good murri.   Then I mixed this with honey but I did not strain before mixing.

Sliced meat with honey 006There were neither vegetable matter nor bug parts from the murri or honey that needed to be strained out.

I sliced up the meat.

Sliced meat with honey 011I had a hunk of beef brisket tip that needed a long slow cooking recipe, this was that recipe. The meat was sliced roughly 1/2 inch thick as this will cook down and I didn’t want paper thin strips without texture. You can if you want cut the meat paper thin; this is a texture/taste issue!

I mixed the meat with the marinade.

Sliced meat with honey 012As you can tell the marinade just covers all the meat. Either I need more marinade or I can use a sweet liquid to help bolster the sauce. I decide the liquid route especially since I had a bottle of mead handy. Red or white sweet wine can be used instead if you desire to use the liquid route or you can make a lot more marinade if you have more meat than expected. It’s all good.

Once the meat was in the marinade, I poured the olive oil into a pot and let it get hot.

Sliced meat with honey 013When the oil was hot, I slide the meat, piece by piece, into the oil.

Sliced meat with honey 015The marinade liquid was poured on top after all the meat was in the oil. The heat was turned low to allow the meat to slow cook until tender.

I didn’t add any salt.  I thought the fish sauce and soy sauce gave the dish a wonderful salty flavor complimented by the honey.  Because I think the meat is well salted and flavored I would suggest serving over a savory or plain jasmine rice.

Sliced meat with honey 019

August 21, 2015 | No comments

So occasionally I find odd bits of meat pieces in the freezer.  I know what they are and about when I put them there (no freezer burn please!) I just can’t remember what the ORIGINAL use was for, so I improvise.  This improvisation came about during a “I want MEAT now!!!” phase and a few things from the cupboard.  I’m rather please with how tasty it all turned out.

Murammala bi kam’a

(Beef Stew with Truffles and Garbanzos)

Meat and onions 2 005


Cut meat into small pieces, wash it, and put it in a pot. Add soaked chickpeas, zayt maghsul (washed olive oil), galangal and cassia, a piece of each, chopped onion, chopped fresh herbs, and a little salt.

Pour some water into the pot and let it boil, skimming the froth as it comes up. Add black truffles, chopped into small pieces like meat. If truffles are not available, substitute with carrots or gourd, also chopped like the meat. Add them to the pot along with black pepper, coriander seeds,…cumin, and a small amount of cheese and ground cassia.

Garnish the top with many poached eggs, and allow the stew to settle and rest for a while. Ladle and serve the dish, god willing. (Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, pp. 283)


3 lbs. Stew meat

2 Tbsp. ea. Parsley and basil (dry if fresh is not available)

1 pinch saffron

1 Onion

1/2 C. Olive oil

1 16 oz. can garbanzo beans drained

1 Tsp ea. Ground cinnamon, black pepper, coriander, cumin, galingale

2 Tsp sea salt

3 Bruised bay leaves (fresh) or 3 whole dried to be pulled out at the end of cooking

2 C. Carrots

2 C. Water

3 or 4 eggs raw eggs or more

Cheese to taste (feta or manchago)


So the meat I used here is a bit of brisket with the fat trimmed.  This is a tough chewy chunk of meat so needs a lot of slooooow cooking.  A crock pot is really good for this or low and slow in the oven.

I cut up the beef (note the chunky quality?) This will cook down.

Chopped meatand onions (separately) then gathered all the herbs

Onion and herbs 001carrots and garbanzo beans.

GarbanzoI was being a little lazy with the carrots (no truffles were on hand) and used baby carrots unchopped.  If you have regular carrots and want to chop them by all means please do!

I poured roughly one half cup of olive oil into a crock pot then added the meat.   Once the meat was in the crock pot, I added onions, spices, carrots and salt.

Onion and herbs 009

I also added about two cups of water and the garbanzo beans.

Garbano over meat Give this a stir so that everything is well mixed and the water just a little under the ingredients.

start of stewBefore serving crack 3 or 4 eggs over the stew to poach.

Meat and onions 2 001If you don’t feel comfortable with poaching the eggs in the broth, poach them prior then serve a poached egg per bowl over the stew.

Meat and onions 2 002This is what the poached egg in beef stew looks like.  I was a little hesitant myself to do this as I was like “Really?!  Poached eggs in a beef stew?  Were they mad?!”  Turns out this adds a really nice creamy flavor to the stew.  I recommend this part highly!

When scooping out your stew make sure to get at least one poached egg to be broken in the bowl.  Add cheese and server forth!

Meat and onions 2 005

August 14, 2015 | No comments

In the tradition of spring and summer, when the hens are laying at their peak, out come the egg dishes…because damned if I don’t have eggs coming out of my ears!  So here is the first in several egg ideas!

Ujja Bayda (White Omelet)

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Thoroughly wash a frying pan and pour into it 2 TBS sweet and mellow olive oil. Now take 10 eggs break them in a green glazed bowl and pour into them 1/3 cup milk. Add a handful of ground pistachio, almond and walnut, all ground. Beat the mixture very well and pour it into the frying pan.

When the bottom side is done, flip it to the the other side. Then take it away from the fire. It will taste like busr, remarkably excellent and delicious.

(al-Warraq’s, pp. 326)


10 raw eggs

1/3 C. Milk (or 1/2 & 1/2)

1/4 C. ea ground pistachio, walnuts, and almonds

2 Tbs Olive oil


nut meal with whipped egg

Grind your nuts to a nice flour but not nut butter. Then crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk. A green bowl is optional but does look lovely.

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Mix the nuts into the whisked eggs.

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Pour oil into the egg mixture.

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Allow to cook then flip (or attempt to flip).

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My flipping is not on par with a good chef but we try! Place flipped omelet onto plate.

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I think this is a pretty good dish, but not as an “omelet” as we know it. This is almost like a blintz. Just needs a little sweet marzipan and an apricot jam to be the perfect brunch dessert!

June 29, 2015 | No comments

I keep trying for new lamb recipes.  Lamb and mutton is iconic to the region and a very important part of traditional foods.  I’m not a huge lamb fan (and no I don’t like mutton), but I keep trying.  This dish is tasty but looks brown…plain boring brown.  Give it a try.  I think it would go well with flat bread and a nice yogurt sauce as well.  More color as the taste is already fantastic.

Lamb with garbanzo and rice 006

Sukhtur/Kiba Lamb Neck with Garbanzo Beans and Rice



It is that you have recourse to fat gut, and you wash it and clean it. Cut (meat) small, and (take) as much rice as necessary, a third as much as the meat, and a handful of chickpeas,…and dyed with saffron. Mix them with the meat and put in that gut. Season it with salt and put Chinese Cinnamon stick son it, and mastic and as much of spices as it will bear. Sew the gut shut and put it in the pot and cover it with water, and cover the top of the pot all night in a tannur on a good fire until morning. It comes out excellently. (Rodinson, pp. 368, 369)


2 lbs lamb neck (or beef or chicken)


Cinnamon sticks or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 Tbs. spices (Tan Tan Moroccan Seasoning: includes paprika, sugar, cumin, salt cinnamon, cardamom, parsley, coriander, and turmeric)

1 can Garbanzo beans

1 1/2 C Jasmine Rice

1/4 C Butter

Salt to taste


I had to change things a little bit. The first being I didn’t have a sheep stomach or stomach of any sort to sew the meat and spices into. Stomach is one of those odd organ meats that is really hard to come buy unless you own a farm or know someone who lives on a farm and can get the stomach fresh for you. So with that in mind, we’re going straight to the meat and spices.

 Lamb with garbanzo and rice 001

The second modification is that I had to use a slow cooker instead of the oven because my oven is still out!! The slow cooker will take 5 hours instead of the 2.5 hours in the oven. Dinner will still be served just not the way I had planned.

I put olive oil on the bottom of the pan as this is supposed to be a rich fatty dish. Next I add the garbanzo beans and rice with enough water to cover the rice.

Lamb with garbanzo and rice 002The crock pot looks five gallons deep.  It’s not.  This is a normal crock pot with a long shot from the top.  This will make enough to feed 4 easily.

Then comes the meat. Sprinkle the spice mixture over meat. Place the lid over this bad boy and let it simmer away while you play.

Lamb with garbanzo and rice 004

Let this slow cook for the next 5 hours (or until the meat is falling off the bone).  At the end before serving I added 1/4 C (or a stick of butter) to the dish.  This give a rich fatty taste that I believe the stomach/gut would have added and it really boosted the flavor to the next level.

Lamb with garbanzo and rice 006

I really do love the flavor of this, I just don’t like the brown on brown and more brown.   I added some salt, a bit of butter and the parsley is to help break up the brown.  Dinner was tasty!

February 4, 2015 | No comments

There have been a few hurdles over the past few months that I have had to address and recover from.  However I have a new recipe to add to my list of favorite dishes.  Meat plus fire, always an excellent combination!


 (Skewered Meat)



…for the method for skewered meat: mix meat with salt onions and turmeric and boil it with whole potherbs.  Cut it into very small pieces and strain it.  Then fasten one segment of meat and one piece of onion on the skewer and rub ghee, caraway, lime juice, white ambergris, rosewater and salt on it.  Bake it well and when it is tender, wrap it in thin bread and serve it.  (Mandu, pp. 26)


2 lb cubed meat

Salt (to taste)

1 onion (finely chopped)

1 tsp turmeric

½ tsp ea. thyme, cilantro and basil

Second stage

1 onion cut into quarters


2 tsp Caraway

1 tsp lime juice

¼ tsp rosewater

Salt to taste



I am going to change this slightly.  Here instead of boiling the meat, I am placing the meat to marinade overnight in the first set of ingredients.

So first, take a good piece of meat with a bit of marbled fat for excellent flavor and cut it into cubes.

cutting up meat with onionThen mix the marinade together.

???????????????????????????????After the meat has marinated for 24 hours (or slightly longer),

???????????????????????????????I skewer all the meat.

???????????????????????????????I alternate one cube with one slice of onion, until the skewer is filled.  The onion chunks actually help with the cooking.  I did several skewers with onions and several without.  Those without onions cooked slower and the meat was still very red in between the chunks while the outside was done and slightly charred.

Once the skewers are ready to grill, I brush each one with the ghee, caraway, lime juice, rose water and salt mixture, every 5 minutes until the meat is done.


This is the raw meat grilling on a small clay pot grill.

???????????????????????????????The meat is smelling heavenly at this point but still a bit raw.

???????????????????????????????The meat is done and ready to be devoured.

The meat actually never made it into the flat bread.  We ate the cubes hot off the skewers.  It was delicious.  I regret nothing!

August 4, 2014 | No comments

I have been on a kick to find banana recipes, not only for my edification but to show that bananas are indeed a very period dish for those who still believe that the tasty wonderful banana is a new world only item.  It’s not.  Really.

Mawz Ma Lahm: Bananas with Meat

chicken with toppings on a plate


Peel green bananas.  Slice lengthwise like colcosia.  Fry them in a lot of sesame oil until the bananas have browned but remain like colcosia.  Then, cut the meat and boil it.  Fry it in the same way as colcosia {along with} fresh coriander, pounded garlic, and onion.  When the meat is brown and cooked through, put the fried bananas on it and a little broth and finely toasted shelled hazelnuts.  Let it dry until the broth has evaporated.  Then, serv….(Ibn al-Adim, Kitab al-Wuslah ila al-Habib fi Wasf al-Tayyibat wa at-Tib (Salloum, pp. 63)


4 Chicken thighs (or 1lb cubed lamb or beef stew meat)

1 onion

5 cloves garlic

1 tsp ground cilantro (you can use a handful of fresh)

4 green bananas

¼ C toasted peeled hazelnuts

1 tsp salt


I had to use only mostly green bananas.


The really green ones weren’t in for once at the store.  I sliced them in half (for better fitting into the pan when frying).

sliced bananas

Then fried them in sesame oil (not toasted sesame oil).

frying bananas

They came out a in pieces.

fried bananas

The greener the bananas the firmer the flesh, so really ripe bananas are just not going to work.

For the meat I used chicken thighs.  If you want to use a whole chicken, slice it down the breast bone and so that the entire chicken can be laid flat.  The meat is placed in water to boil for 10-15 minutes then removed and drained.  The next step is to fry the meat in sesame oil till cooked through.

chicken in oilOnce the chicken is in the oil bath add the onion, garlic and cilantro.

chicken frying with onion stuff

Any meat for the recipe i.e. chicken, lamb or beef needs to be boiled then fried.

While the meat was finishing cooking I toasted hazelnuts and peeled the paper skins off by rubbing by hand.  This is not hard…just time consuming and a bit frustrating as some of the skins refuse to come off no matter how much you try.

roasted peeled hazelnuts

Once the meat has cooked through, I added the bananas and hazelnuts.  In this recipe, I originally used 1 cup of hazelnuts.  The dish was waaay nuttier then it should have been.  I also think the bananas should have been slightly sugared for a better taste.  Other wise the bananas sort add a sesame lightly banana flavored wet bread type texture and flavor.

finished dish

This is why I suggest fewer hazelnuts.  Other wise the dish seems to be buried in small roasted hazelnuts and the other flavors are some what buried or you end up wasting the hazelnuts as you try to get more then just hazelnuts with a little chicken on your plate.


chicken with toppings on a plateThe dish is tasty, but I’d have done a few different tweaks.  Plated this dish looks awesome.  Flavor wise, I would definitely add  sugar to the frying bananas for a salty sweet meaty dish.

November 20, 2013 | No comments

This title is a little misleading.  This really should say aromatic rice in ghee with nuts not just rice in clarified butter.  So while the title is misleading don’t pass this dish by!  Give it a try the next time you have a little of everything on hand (the only thing I was missing for this dish was the coconut) and give your dinner guests a fantastic rice treat of their life!

cooked rice and nuts

Baranj Hus

(Rice in Ghee)


…Put good ghee in a cooking pot.  When it becomes hot, flavour it with camphor, rosewater and white ambergris.  Then, having mixed rice with saffron and salt, put it in the ghee and fry it well.  Then add water, pine kernels, pistachio nuts, peeled almonds, cardamoms, cloves and shelled white coconut.  Break them into pieces, do not mince them.  Mix them all together and put them into a cooking pot and cook them well.  Then having added leaves of sweet basil and sacred basil or sour-oranges, serve it.  (The Nimatnama, pp. 15)


2 C Ghee (Clarified butter)

1/8 tsp rosewater

2 C Jasmine rice

1/16th  saffron

1 tsp salt

1 ½ C water

1 C pine kernels

1 C pistachio nuts,

1 C almonds

½ tsp ground cardamom

¼ tsp ground cloves or 8 whole cloves

1 C flaked/chunked UNSWEETENED coconut.


I had to do a couple of work arounds, when I started this recipe.  Those being camphor and white ambergris are a bit hard to find.  I chose to omit these items; however I did include the rosewater.  Remember a little goes a very long way!

Mix the rice with saffron and salt.  I don’t use the expensive saffron.  I use the cheaper saffron as it is available with out costing an arm and a leg.  Amazon or a good Indian grocer will work very well for saffron shopping.

I put 2 C of clarified butter into a pot.  Clarified butter can be argued to be the same as ghee and others will disagree.

clarified butter

I clarified my own butter and called it good.  For the butter solids I had bread on hand for dipping and munching while I cooked.  Good stuff.  Then added the rose water once the butter became hot.

Next mix in the rice/saffron/salt

rice safron and salt

and stir till the ghee is well absorbed.

rice in simmering butter

Add the water after the butter has been absorbed by the rice then add the nuts, cardamom, cloves and coconut.

nuts and coconut to rice and butter

I had to make a slight substitution here as well.  I did not have any pistachios on hand so used walnuts instead.  Two different flavors yet the walnut still complimented the overall dish flavors.

Stir very well again, then bring to a boil and turn the heat to the lowest setting.  Place a lid on the pot and let cook for 10 minutes.  Check in 10 minutes, stirring.

cooked rice and nuts

Take a taste.  If the rice is just the way you like it, then you are ready to serve.  If the rice is still a bit al dente, cook for another 5 minutes and taste again.

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