Medieval and secret culinary recipes from the Egyptian cookbook Eid Al-Sultan

At the end of the morning, can you believe that the bowl of creamy and milk-like dessert you tasted was the first buttermilk rice made with chicken? Or, centuries ago, the famous sambo was sweeter than it tasted. Kunafa was once also a thin bread stuffed with nuts, unlike the current version of shredded pillow dough soaked in syrup and stuffed with cheese.

These rare rivets come from the culinary history of the most important cuisines of the Middle East Sultan’s DayTranslated and edited by Daniel Newman, Head of Department of Arabic Studies at Durham University, UK.

Winner of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2021, Sultan’s Day An English translation of a fifteenth-century Egyptian cookbook by Ibn Mubarak Shah. Modern bloom in the stylish capital (Flower book in the stylish food garden)

From the Middle Ages to the Modern Age

The bilingual dom contains more than 330 recipes, offering a unique perspective on the medieval world of Arabic gastronomic writing. Basically, the book introduces the reader to all aspects of the best food. “It’s not just food recipes, but also drinks, pickles, medicines, spices and recipes for chefs,” says Newman. national.

Through the book, the reader can discover that the medieval Arabs, if taken to the contemporary table, will be acquainted with several recipes, including kebab, tared, harissa, coke, shish barak, jalabiya and kadayif.

On the other hand, the recipes in the book also refer to a variety of exotic ingredients that are rarely found today in Middle Eastern cuisine, such as amber, rhubarb, nard, mastic and moss.

“Medieval Arabs had a sweet and sour taste – they had vinegar or sour grape juice and fruit and vegetable peels made from grapes,” says the author.

“The oldest version of chicken juice with a lot of fruit is mentioned. Sultan’s DayFor example, the thirteenth century went to Syria. He then traveled to Egypt and made a sauce with pomegranate seeds, sugar, ground almonds, ginger, quince and apple slices.

dear cubes

Traveling extensively in the Arabic-speaking parts of the world, Neumann has lived in Tunisia, Egypt and Qatar, focusing on Arabic cuisine, geography and travel literature. On his website,, the lecturer, who holds a doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies in the UK, publishes some recipes he recreates from medieval cookbooks with delicious historical facts.

For example, he wrote that the traditions of Arabic cuisine developed in the mid-tenth century and compiled an essay on cooking entitled Al-Warraq, whose life is unknown. Application book (food book) Contains more than 600 recipes.

Over the centuries, the Arab-Islamic world has produced cookbooks and recipe books, mainly from Baghdad, Aleppo, Egypt, Islamic Spain, Morocco and Tunisia. The amount of old but nine year old cookbooks still stands. Sultan’s Day One of these rare books, a book owned by Ottoman Cairo, revived its flavors several decades ago.

Newman says little is known about Ibn Mubarak Shah, the original translator of the book. “He is a mystic, but I will say that he is a Renaissance man with an interest in science and a member of a well-known group of scholars. He has a wonderful poetic collection. I will combine cooking tips.

culinary culture

The translation of the book highlights the growing tastes of generations of Arabs, but also serves as the historian of society and history. Through a cooking history book, we get information on how food travels without any social or political barriers.

“When people travel, they keep not only their passports and possessions, but also the memories of their lands, an important part of which is the culinary tradition,” Newman wrote.

He shows how food takes precedence over politics and cites an interesting example Sultan’s Day. Couscous, a predominantly North African food, was mentioned in another book two centuries later, in medieval Spain, when Muslims were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula. At this time, even eating a food that originated in the Islamic world was in question. In particular, the couscous recipe is still included in the Book of the Chief of the King of Spain, which shows how people endured cooking even in war.

The book also reveals cultural exchanges across the trade routes of the Arab world, India, China, North Africa and Europe, resulting in the movement of products, fruits and spices that enrich the culinary traditions of every era. Newman notes that “Arab traders played an active role in introducing European cuisines from the Indian subcontinent, such as ginger, cinnamon, calendula, cassia and cumin, to European cuisines in Italy and Spain.”

Readers also look at antique kitchen items Sultan’s Day. In addition to different types of pots and pans, medieval cooks used knives and sieves of various shapes. In some kitchens are still found today tandoori (clay stoves) and ovens (brick stoves) used at that time.

sudden appearance

A sugar-dried rose petal is similar to the Indian Kulkandi Murappa.  Photo: Daniel Neumann

A search for medieval culinary books led Neumann to many developments in the field of gastronomy. When making rose petals or sugar-dried pink morabs, he discovered that his earliest modern incarnation was the Indian Kulkanth..

He found startling medieval Arabic origins in two excellent English dishes: jam and fish and chips.

“I found a similar recipe for jam today in a 14th century Egyptian cookbook. The grilled fish, which is generally believed to have originated in the Jewish community of England, was actually found in a thirteenth-century Andalusian cookbook that may have traveled to England with Jewish immigrants from Muslim Spain.

It took him five years to write and authorize the book, and he says creating over 200 recipes is hard work full of love and passion.

“Since prescriptions often have very little or no accurate information regarding measurements, it was a matter of trial and error. Fortunately, the results so far have been amazing and I have always enjoyed eating foods.

Updated: 20 April 2022, 07:51

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