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Re: [Authentic_SCA] Yummy Period Turkish Food

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  • lilinah@earthlink.net
    As i believe i ve mentioned here, i have translated into English a French book about 15th and 16th c. Ottoman food (primarily as eaten in Istanbul and nearby
    Message 1 of 12 , Sep 17 4:55 PM
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      As i believe i've mentioned here, i have
      translated into English a French book about 15th
      and 16th c. Ottoman food (primarily as eaten in
      Istanbul and nearby large cities)

      Stephane Yerasimos
      A la table du Grand Turc
      Editions Actes Sud, from the 'L'Orient Gourmand / Sindbad' series
      Arles France, 2001

      I'm nearly done typing it in from my handwritten translation.

      Well, waaaaay back on Thusday, 7 April 2005, Jeffrey S. Heilveil wrote:
      >Only to be eaten by non-European personae, thanks to Hans Derschwam.
      >
      >From a 1553-1555 account:
      >
      >Rice boiled in honey-water. Throw saffron on it, and sprinkle with
      >almonds roasted in fat.
      >
      >It is REALLY REALLY good. I'll be making it for the class I'm teaching
      >this weekend.

      In Yerasimos I found a description of what may
      well have been the dish that Hans Derschwam ate.
      Yerasimos found much food information in the
      account books of the palaces and soup
      kitchens/alms houses, records of circumcision
      celebrations, menus from sultan's meals, and
      tales of feasts by ambassadors from Europe to
      Istanbul.

      ----- begin quote from my translation -----

      Zerde

      Literally "yellow dish", from the Persian zerd.
      It is the most popular sweet dish and the
      indispensable accompaniment to pilaf in all the
      public soup kitchens/alms houses, where it was
      served on particular occasions: on Friday
      evenings, on the evenings of Ramadan, the days of
      the two great holidays, and those of the birth
      and the ascension of the Prophet Muhammad. It is
      sometimes qualified as a dish of the poor by the
      account books of the celebrations of 1539 and
      appears only in the common/public feasts. It is
      replaced in the feast of dignitaries by the zerde
      with milk, where the milk steps in with an equal
      quantity with the sugar. The simple zerde appears
      in the menu of Topkap┬× in winter. Shirvani, as
      well as the cookbooks of the XVIII century and of
      the beginning of the XIX century are unaware of
      it.

      ----- end quote -----

      Yerasimos could not find a "period" recipe, but
      the ingredients as described in documents of the
      era are
      rice, water or milk, sugar, starch, saffron,
      pounded pistachios, and sliced almonds. He
      supplied a recipe derived from modern recipes. In
      the modern recipe, the rice is cooked in the
      water with the sugar until half done. Saffron is
      crushed in a small amount of warm water, and
      starch (historically wheat starch, modernly
      cornstarch) is diluted in the necessary quantity
      of warm water. Both are added to the half-cooked
      rice. It is then cooked until it is thick and the
      rice is soft. It is poured into serving bowls and
      let cool. Then it is topped with pistachios and
      almonds and served.

      I also found a very similar dish called Zard
      Pulao in a Moghul cookbook supposedly from the
      first half of the 17th century,
      Nuskha-e-Shahjahani - actually there are TWO Zard
      Pulao recipes. Clearly the name is from the same
      Persian word as the Ottoman dish. Both Moghul
      recipes include quantities of ingredients in
      archaic measurements.

      In one Moghul recipe, a syrup is made of the
      water and sugar, then saffron and ghee (clarified
      butter) are added to the syrup, which is then set
      aside. Next, rice is half-cooked in water, after
      which the saffron-ghee-syrup is stirred in, a bit
      more ghee is poured on top, the pot is sealed,
      and the dish is steamed over a low fire. The
      finished dish is served with raisins, pistachios,
      and almonds fried (in butter).

      In the second Mughul recipe for Zard Pulao, a
      syrup is made of water, sugar, and some ground
      cinnamon. Then the rice is half-cooked in water,
      after which the spiced syrup is added, ghee is
      poured on top, the pot is sealed, and the dish is
      steamed on a low fire. It is served with fried
      raisins. HOWEVER, the ingredients listed include
      cloves and cardamom, so i assume they were added
      to the syrup with the cinnamon - and the raisins
      are not in the ingredient list.

      I have not yet cooked any of the four versions to
      see how they differ. I intend to when i get "A la
      table du Grand Turc" typed in and partly revised.

      --
      Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
      the persona formerly known as Anahita
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