05 February 2013

Sanbusaq Cairo Recipe: Food Item Fourteen: A&S 50 Challenge

Recipe of Sanbūsaq [samosa] 1373 Cairo
Food Item Fourteen: A&S 50 Challenge
Translation by Charles Perry
Redaction by Sayyeda al-Kaslaania

Take all lean meat, without fat, and remove the tendons, and boil it lightly. Then pound it in a mortar and dry it in the air. You mince four bunches of parsley, and you mince a bunch of green mint for it. You pound the weight of half an ounce {an ounce here is 33 grams} of pepper, half an ounce of caraway, three sticks of Ceylon cinnamon, a race of ginger and the weight of a mithqual {4.5 grams} of atraf tib {spice powder} of cardamom and cloves. Then you put the pounded meat in the pot and you put the minced parsley [sc. and mint] on it, and you put half the spices on it, and you fry it. You put the quantity of [the juice of] twelve lemons on it and leave it until it thirsts and dries out. Then put it in a bowl [zubdiyya] and throw half the spices on it and mix it well. You take kunafa [a fine pancake] and roll it up and stuff it with it and seal it with dough and fry them in a tagine until they float. It comes out good.

[“The Description of Familiar Foods: Kitāb Waṣf al-Aṭ’ima al-Mu’tāsa.” Translated by Charles Perry in Medieval Arab Cookery: Essays and Translations. Edited by Maxime Rodinson, A.J. Arberry, and Charles Perry. Prospect Books: 2006. Pp 273-466.] al-Kaslaania’s notes in {}.
Mountain of Sanbusaj

Samosa recipe (reduced volume)

1 pound ground beef or lamb
1 bunch parsley
1 handful fresh mint
Tsp ground black pepper
Tsp ground caraway
2 tsp ground Ceylon cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
Dash ground Cardamom
Dash ground Cloves
Juice from one lemon
Flatbread pastry (a good recipe can be found here http://xawaash.com/?p=3412) or wonton wrappers
Oil for deep frying (pale sesame oil or safflower oil)

Mix ground spices together. Mince parsley and mint. [“Boiling lightly” was done to tenderize the meat for mincing, and to remove the unpleasant raw-meat smell before working with it. By starting with ground beef, I am skipping this step.]

Brown the ground beef, adding greens and half of the spice mixture about half way through (to make up for what would have been par-cooked meat). Remove from the heat and mix with lemon juice (in the middle ages, lemons were smaller than modern limes and full of seeds, so less is used then you might expect).

Allow to cool, then refrigerate (this is the “drying out” part).
liquids to "dry out"

While the meat is cooling, make the pastry dough. Wonton wrappers are good substitute (and a good idea to have as backup). Stuff the pastries, using a paste of flour and water to seal them. Aim for a “triangular” shape by first sealing two adjoining sides, then folding the remaining point down after stuffing. Be careful not to over-stuff them and break holes in the pastry.

Deep fry until the pastry is golden and crispy. Turn over each pastry once during cooking. Drain on paper towels to cool.

Serve warm or room temperature with mustard and other vinegary condiments. These were considered a “cold” dish that was pre-set on the table as diners were joining the table. Sanbūsaq, both sweet and savory, were also often used to adorn other dishes. Sanbūsaq were also a commonly seen street food in urban areas.

Both the mint and the parsley mellow with cooking. Many people frowned saying, “Is that mint?” but continued to eat them and praise them. I forgot to add the second half of the spices. While they were tasty meat pastries, they were slightly lacking in full flavor.

·    Pale sesame oil is untoasted and found in Middle Eastern grocery stores for much less money than standard US grocery stores. Safflower does not have a strong flavor and tolerates heat well.
·    Even if making your own pastry, keeping wonton wrappers on hand is not a bad idea. I was able to use four from my original batch of 24.
·    In humoral science, lamb is considered a better meat. Beef should be reserved for those who do physical labor.

No comments:

Post a Comment