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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

MURIA A STAPLE IN ISLAMIC COOKING

salmuera, Leon salmueira, L muria (salt liquor, brine) Ar. murrī , al mori, kamakh, and bunn, Fr. almori Eng. murri. 1. a mixture of rotten unleavened bread or rotted barley dough, herbs, spices and salt tempered with water. It was used often as a coating for fowl or as a paste to add to oil when frying.

According to Perry 30% of the recipes in Anón Al-Andalus call for murri. This sauce was a staple in Islamic cooking. It was inherited from the Ancient World (Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans) and spread throughout Andalusia. It disappeared in the 14th C.

It is made from a compact base of barley or other cereal grain, shaped into balls and fermented in wild fig leaves for 20 days in dry conditions. These are scraped regularly with a knife and powdered with bran. Then they are ground with wheat flour and mixed with salt. They were placed in a container that has been rinsed with olive oil and containing seasoning (spices and herbs such as fennel, coriander, oregano, anise, negilla and some fig tree bark.) A pinecone, without nuts, or wood from a pine tree are placed in this. Water is added and they are left for 60-70 days, stirring daily. Then the mixture is ground and mixed with a liquid extract from ground broom. Next it is sifted and made into compact waffers in crystallized salt. It is fermented with fig leaves, stirred, covered and then uncovered.
Then it is conserved in bottles or vessels that are closed air-tight.

Murri is black and bitter tasting. Ibn Razin claimed that after garum murri it is the best.

2. a brine made with mashed vetch and honey.

3. a brine made with crustaceans and mussels.

4. a brine, like garum, made from fish. All murris were consumed as medicinal food as they were thought to clean and warm the stomach, which aided digestion. >Sumac occasionally substituted murri. Due to the rigorous restrictions of the Church Christians adopted murri readily for a pleasant change in cuisine.

Arberry recommends soy sauce as a substitute although there are no soybeans in murri. Other authors recommend Worcestershire Sauce. Normally soy sauce is better but it depends upon the dish. Do not confuse this with almorí al-andalus.
See almorí de pescado, budhaj and salsugo.

[Alonso, Martín. 1994:I:A:275; Anón/Huici.1966:1:15:12:21;73:52-53 etc; Bolens. 1990:193-194; ES: Benavides–Barajas.“Cocina.” Sep 29, 01; ES: Anon/Perry. Sep 5, 02: “General Notes”; García Rey. 1934:140; and Gitlitz. 1999:19-20]


For further information on murri recipes, see blogs as follows: almorí published August 25, 2011; almorí de pescado published August 26, 2011 and almorí macerado published August 29, 2011.

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