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Recipe For Making Jûdhâba


This is an excerpt from An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook
(Andalusia, 13th c. - Charles Perry, trans.)
The original source can be found at David Friedman's website

Recipe for Making Jûdhâba, Called Umm Al-Faraj: It is an Eastern Dish. Get kidney fat from a sheep or a fat goat and clean it of its membranes and veins. Pound it in a stone or wood mortar until it takes the consistency of brains. Then take a new pot; knead the fat with your hand and smear it over the whole inside of the pot, from the bottom up the sides so that it has the thickness of a finger.
Then take thin bread made on the mirror in whole pieces without falling apart. Its preparation consists in kneading wheat dough well according to the recipe of mushahhada [literally, made like honeycomb], so that its ghurâb [literally raven or occiput -- not a common culinary term, because the MS has a "sic" in the margin; anyway, the meaning is clearly to keep the dough from becoming too stiff] doesn't form into a ball. Dilute it with water little by little until it becomes as thin as hasu. Heat the Indian mirror on a moderate charcoal fire, and when it has heated, take for the dough bowl a "moistener" (muballila) and pour [batter] on it [the mirror] with a cup until it swims. Return the dough [the excess that doesn't stick to the mirror] to the bowl, and it has attached to the mirror as a fine tissue. That is a ruqâq, and it is [also] kunafa. Shake out onto a kerchief, and it will come out round, in the shape of the mirror. Then pour the dough, as was done the first time, until you collect the necessary amount.
Then take fat, tender chickens, clean them, cut their breasts and put them into the pot, whole, as they are; add salt, oil, pepper, cinnamon and spikenard. Put it on the fire and cook it until done. When the juice has dried up, take two ruqâqs (thin breads) and put them in the bottom of the earthenware pot which has been prepared and smeared with grease. Stick them to the sides and dust the thin bread with crushed sugar, peeled almonds, spikenard, Chinese cinnamon and cloves, a handful [in all].. Dribble on a good amount of fresh oil and sprinkle it all with rose water in which some musk and camphor have been dissolved, enough to dampen the sugar. Then lay over this two thin breads and dust them, as was done earlier, with sugar, almonds, spices and oil. Sprinkle with rose water. Then lay on another thin bread and do the same with it until you reach the middle of the pot.
Then take those cooked and prepared chickens, which have been rubbed with saffron dissolved in rose water, and lay them in the center of the pot over the bread. Then cover with a thin bread also, and dust with sugar, almonds and flavorings as was done before. Don't stop doing this until the pot is full and the chicken remains buried in the middle. When you have finished, dust it with a lot of sugar, throw on oil and rose water and cover with the bread fastened to the sides. Cover the pot with a fitted lid, sealed with dough. Then put it in the oven at moderate heat and leave it there as long as you would leave a pot with meat [viz. a stew].
Then take it out and break the seal. It gives off a perfumed odor. Remove the thin bread that covered it, if the fire has gotten it, and also that which has been stuck to the sides of the pot. Then invert it, such as it is, on a big platter and serve it. It is extremely good tasting with a penetrating aroma. It is an extraordinary dish, superior in its preparation to the royal victuals, praised for its nutrition and beautiful composition.

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