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Monday, October 31, 2016

NAYRUZ (Ar), WITH 13TH CENTURY AL-ANDALUS RECIPE FOR FRIED CHICKEN

Persian New Year celebration
at university in Tajikistan
Photo from: Damon Lynch
Sp. Nayrouz, Pers. Nawruz (originally No Roz, new day), Eng Newros, Nowruz, Nayrouz, New Year. This is an Islamic celebration of the spring equinox, usually March 21st marking the beginning of the fiscal agriculture year. Seven kinds of seeds are sown.

Jews celebrate Shavuot, their feast of the harvest or the first fruits of the wheat harvest. As the Jews, Muslims clean their homes. They also make new clothes, exchange gifts and sprinkle each other with water. The breakfast food is symbolic of the new season including fish, eggs, parsley, green onions, fresh cheese and milk.


The Islamic holiday originated in Persia. Ziryab initiated the celebration of the New Year in the 9th C. court of Cordova and henceforth in Europe. It is considered to be the triumph of the warm light or spring over the cold darkness of winter. The occasion is celebrated for seven days from March 21st.

Besides gifts, there were picnics music, dancing and songs. In Kurdistan, Ziryab’s native land, there are still bonfires at night on top of roofs and mountains. Fire is the Divine symbol of life and of energy summoning the sun. It also symbolizes Kawa, a legendary Kurdish blacksmith who murdered the tyrant King Zuhak with his hammer and thus freed the Kurds thousands of years ago.

[Benavides-Barajas. Alhambra. 1999:55; ES: KU. Apr 8, 03; and ES: Hassan. Apr 14, 99; and
ES: Ziryab. May 22, 05]

FRIED CHICKEN ADAPTED FROM HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF AL-ANDALUS #75 PLATO DE GALLINA FRITA, p. 54[1]


Frying Chicken
An example of medieval cooking twice
(boiling and frying in this case)
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Ingredients


1 chicken
salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
½ tbp vinegar
1 whole onion
fennel stalks
citron leaves[2]

½ c peeled almonds
½ tsp white pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp caraway
1 tsp coriander
8 eggs
oil for frying

Garnish
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp white pepper

Preparation

A Showy Dish for Guests
Photo by: Lord-Williams
Kill a fat hen. Tie it by its legs and hang it overnight.

The following day pluck it. Clean well. Put it in a pot and cover with water. Add salt to taste. Add oil, vinegar, a chopped onion, fennel stalks, citron leaves, almonds, pepper, cinnamon, a little cumin, caraway, and coriander, well ground.

Cook over moderate heat. When cooked, remove from pot. Carve it and fry it in oil until browned.

Remove the leaves from the sauce. Pour the sauce into a food processor with four raw eggs and grind. Beat until blended. Pour this into a pan and heat. Stir constantly until it thickens. Take care not to let the sauce boil.

Separate four whole eggs from yolks. Fry the yolks in a frying pan until crisp.

Put the chicken in a bowl and pour the sauce over it. Cover with citron leaves.[3]
Decorate with the fried egg yolks and sprinkled with spices such as cinnamon and white pepper.



[1] As chicken was prepared for banquets, this recipe could have been used for New Year celebrations.  
[2] 1 peeled lemon was used instead.
[3] Parsley and basil leaves were used as citron leaves were not on hand.


HUICI’S TRANSLATION OF AL-ANDALUS #75 



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