Zabib Wa-Nana Raisins and Mint

Zabib Wa-NaNa

(Raisins and Mint)

This next recipe is the first step for another recipe.    I figured you would want this recipe instead of having to guess where the raisins and mint came from in Hubaishiyya (Chicken with Carrots and Raisins).

The original translation goes as follows:


Take black raisins, as big as you want, and put them in lukewarm water awhile.  Then wash them and leave them on a woven mat to dry well in the shade.  Then take Chinese cinnamon, mastic and rose hips, all ground fine, and a little salt all the afwah al-tib, and sprinkle them on it and put it in a glass jar.  Pour sharp vinegar on it to cover by two fingers and put it up.  As for mint, strip its leaves from its stems and sprinkle with those spices and afwah and put them in a glass jar and put with vinegar and cover the tops.

(Rodinson, pp. 395)

The ingredients I use are:

2 cups black raisons

1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp mastic

2 tbs rose hips

¼ tsp salt

2 tbs dried mint

My redaction for this recipe:

I took the raisins, placing them in a bowl, and soaked them in warm water for about 3 minutes.  I went on to a limb and assumed the the period dried raisins were extremely dry and hard and required a lot of re-hydration which modern raisins do not.  I drained the excess water from the bowl of raisins then added ground cinnamon, mastic and rose hips.  (Funny store about how I have 8 lbs of rose hips on hand but that’s for another time.)  Once the raisins and spices were mixed, I place everything into a jar and poured vinegar over them till the mixture was covered by 1 1/4 inch of liquid.  If you want to add honey to this for a sweet(er)/tart flavor.  Covering the extra 1 1/4 inch prevents mold from reaching the fruit and growing.  Vinegar with or with out honey and water was one of the natural ways in which a medieval culture preserved their foods.

I don’t have a picture of these prior to cooking in the dish Hubaishiyya.  At this point imagine a bowl of raisins in a bowl with vinegar.   (I know sounds absolutely hideous to today’s modern palate but the sweet and sharp of these raisins arepretty good!


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