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Batter-fried chicken, was beasties and breeds

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  • lilinah-h
    Mike C. Baker wrote: [SNIP] ... [SNIP] A little off-topic, but related to your comments: I have a mid-15th c. recipe for batter-fried
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 14, 2013
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      "Mike C. Baker" <KiheBard@...> wrote:
      [SNIP]
      > Southern- or batter-fried I have yet to
      > see a completely reliable source for pre-dating Martha Washington, although
      > frying of meats was not completely unknown pre-1600 (and I *KNOW* my reading
      > is still rather spotty on this sub-subject).
      [SNIP]

      A little off-topic, but related to your comments: I have a mid-15th c. recipe for batter-fried chicken. It's from Europe, but not Western Europe. It is an Ottoman sultan's palace recipe, one of the 77 or 81 recipes added by Muhammed bin Mahmud Shirvani to his translation of al-Baghdadi's cookbook from Arabic into Eski Osmanli.

      Tavuk chevermesi or Kavurma
      Fried Chicken in Sweet and Sour Sauce

      Stephane Yerasimos says in "A la table du Grand Turc" (p. 74):
      "This is undoubtedly the kavurma of chicken with onions and eggs that appears in the menu of Mehmed II on June 11 and 20, 1469. The same dish was served at Topkapi in winter and at the circumcision celebrations of 1539. It is one of the recipes added by Shirvani."

      Shirvani, folio 111 verso - 112 recto
      Tavuk chevermesi. The art of preparing it is the following. Clean the chicken, cook it in water, as is suitable. Remove it after cooking from the water and salt it by pouring salted water on it. Next beat 15 eggs for 3 chickens, add sifted flour and beat it with the eggs in a quantity sufficient so that the mixture has the consistency of porridge. Separate each chicken into four parts, coat it with the mixture of eggs and flour, and brown it in fresh sweet butter. When the chicken is golden, cook in the same butter some finely chopped onion. When it is cooked, add a little honey and a little vinegar, in order to attain an agreeable taste, add as well some spices. Return the pieces of chicken and arrange them in the frying pan on top of some soaked bread. Next remove the frying pan from the fire and put it on the embers. Arrange it [the chicken] on a plate, putting the soaked bread on top, take it forth and eat it.


      Modern interpretation
      by Urtatim al-Qurtubiyya
      4 or 10 servings

      1 chicken, cut in quarters or in 10 pieces (see note below)
      -- or preferred chicken pieces in weight equal to one chicken
      Salt to taste
      5 eggs
      1 heaping Tb. white wheat flour
      1 c. butter
      2 small onions, finely chopped
      1/4 to 1/3 c. honey, to taste
      1/3 c. red wine vinegar
      1 Tb. cinnamon
      1 tsp. ground black or white pepper
      8 slices of artisanal white bread (not a sandwich loaf)

      1. Put chicken in a pot, add enough water to cover, salt lightly, and bring to a boil.
      2. Reduce heat and simmer until done, about 30 minutes.
      3. Drain chicken well and put in a bowl. You can save the broth for another use.

      4. Beat eggs well in a bowl, gradually add flour while beating to make batter.
      5. Pour batter over cooked drained chicken pieces to coat.

      6. In large frying pan melt half the butter, and fry half the chicken pieces on each side until golden.
      7. Remove chicken from pan and set to one side.
      8. Add more butter to pan and fry remaining chicken, again removing to plate.

      9. Cook onions in fat remaining in pan until they are transparent and slightly golden, adding more butter if necessary so that they cook properly.
      10. Add honey and vinegar to onions, stir in cinnamon and pepper, and bring to boil.
      11. Reduce heat, put in the bread slices, and let bread soak up some sauce.
      12. Put chicken on top, partially cover pan, and let warm a few minutes.
      13. Carefully remove chicken pieces, arrange on a plate, and top with soaked bread
      14. Pour any remaining sauce over the chicken and bread and serve.

      Notes:
      I. Just which spices are not specified. The Ottomans were minimalist in their spice use. My analysis of 22 savory recipes shows that the most commonly used spices were saffron, cinnamon, and pepper. These were followed by cloves, cumin and musk. Ginger and coriander seeds were used on rare occasions. When saffron is used it is specified, so i limited myself to cinnamon and pepper. However, powdered cloves, cumin, ginger, and/or coriander seeds are possible.

      II. The inhabitants of the palace ate two meals a day, with the possibility, but not guarantee, of a snack. The morning meal was the larger, quite varied, and could include pasta, one or more meat dishes, sweet porridge, rice or bulgur, and other dishes. Around sunset they had their second meal which was considerably smaller, usually soup, rice, yogurt, and one meat dish, generally the same meat dish for several weeks - or, as for the sultan's pages, the same meat dish every night all their lives in the palace. So each diner having 1/4 of a chicken would fit that pattern. They also always ate with their fingers and used a wooden spoon for soups and more liquid dishes. As modern diners, you can chose to cook quarters or standard pieces: legs, thighs, wings, and i always cut each breast into two - they are so much much larger now than when i was young - that way i have 10 pieces.

      Urtatim al-Qurtubiyya bint 'abd al-Karim al-hakam al-Fassi
    • lilinah-h
      ... I suppose i should mention that Yerasimos wrote his book in French and in Modern Turkish. I translated the entire French edition into English, so both the
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 14, 2013
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        I wrote:
        > Stephane Yerasimos says in "A la table du Grand Turc" (p. 74):
        > "This is undoubtedly the kavurma of chicken with onions and eggs that appears in > the menu of Mehmed II on June 11 and 20, 1469. The same dish was served at
        > Topkapi in winter and at the circumcision celebrations of 1539. It is one of the
        > recipes added by Shirvani."

        I suppose i should mention that Yerasimos wrote his book in French and in Modern Turkish. I translated the entire French edition into English, so both the comment and the original recipe are my translations.

        Urtatim (that's oor-tah-TEEM)
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