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murri-msg - 2/14/08

 

The fermented barley paste condiment of medieval Arabia.

 

NOTE: See also the files: sauces-msg, rice-msg, grains-msg, yeasts-msg, verjuice-msg, vinegar-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I  have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I  have done  a limited amount  of  editing. Messages having to do  with separate topics  were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the  message IDs  were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make  no claims  as  to the accuracy  of  the information  given by the individual authors.

 

Please  respect the time  and  efforts of  those who have written  these messages. The  copyright status  of these messages  is  unclear at this time. If  information  is  published  from  these  messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: mdcarey at compuserve.com (M+D (Mary + Doug Piero Carey))

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Murri citations

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 03:21:37 GMT

Organization: RAEX Corporation - North Canton, OH

 

Some time ago, my lord Cariadoc posted a message about the sauce

murri.  I did a little digging and found that Charles Perry did indeed

publish several articles mentioning murri in the L. A. Times.  All are

in ther Food section. I apologize for the lack of page numbers.  The

Times' website doesn't give that information.  (one is expected to

fork over $2 to download each article. Anyone who thinks this

particular cheapskate is going to pay that kind of money for an 89

word article needs to think again! Especially when my Interlibrary

Loan Department can provide it for free.)  Anyway, here is the list:

 

ALL THE LOST FLAVORS   May 18, 1995  2502 words

 

ROT SAUCE   December 21, 1995  198 words  ( on murri & Kam^makh)

 

CHICKEN WITH 4 U^QIYAS OF GARLIC   May 30, 1996  219 words

 

*WHAT ROT!  January 14, 1998     89 words

 

*STILL ROTTING   February 18, 1998  169 words

 

*O. K., IT'S ROTTED, IS IT SAFE?  April 1, 1998     228 words

 

*ROT OF AGES   April 1, 1998   1411 words

 

GOT ROTTED MILK?   September 2, 1998  226 words

 

The asterisks mark the articles in which I was certain he was

discussing technique.  Further details after I make a research run to

Cleveland, or ILL has time to tickle their databases for me.

 

 

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 16:58:29 +1100 (EST)

From: Charles McCN <charlesn at sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>

Subject: SC - SC murri

 

Someone asked what it was. the web address for this is

http://www.mpce.mq.edu.au/~gnott/interests/NVG/article2_sup.html

 

and the page says...

Ok, if you really want to know what this stuff murri is, then cop a load

of this! This recipe was kindly supplied by Rick Cullinan

who has actually made it.

 

Byzantine Murri

Kitab Wasf, Sina'ah 52, p.56, Sina'ah 51, p. 65: Charles Perry tr.

 

Description

 

     There is taken, upon the name of God the Most High, of honey

scorched in naqrah (perhaps this word means 'a silver vessel'), three ratls, pounded scorched oven bread, ten loaves; starch, half a ratl; roasted anise, fennel and nigelia, two uqiyahs of each; Byzantine saffron, an uqiya; celery

seed, an uqiyah; Syrian Carob, half a ratl; fifty peeled walnuts, as much as half a ratl; split quinces, five; salt, half makkauk dissolved in honey; thirty ratls water; and the rest of the ingredients are thrown in it, and it is boiled

on a slow flame until a third of the water is absorbed. Then it is strained well in a clean nosebag of hair. It is taken up in a greased glass or pottery vessel with a narrow top. A little lemon from Takranjiya (? Sina'ah 51 has Bakr Fahr) is thrown on it, and if it suits that a little water is thrown on the dough and it is boiled upon it and strained, it would be a second (infusion). The weights and measurements that are given are Antiochan and Zahiri [as] in Mayyafariqin.

 

     The following quantities are for 1/32 of the above recipe. The first

time I used more bread and the mixture was too thick. I have not discovered what a mukkuk is, so the salt is pure guesswork.

     1 ratl = 12 uquiya = 600mL

 

Recipe

3 tbls honey

45g bread

1 tbls wheat starch

2/3 tsp anise

2/3 tsp fennel

2/3 tsp nigelia DANGER: This plant is poisonous, omit from recipe

1/4 tsp saffron

1/3 tsp celery seed

3/2 tsp carob

3/2 tsp walnut

45g quince

1/8 tsp salt

600mL water

1/4 of a lemon

 

     I cooked the honey in a small frying pan, bringing it to a boil then

turning off the heat several times; it tasted scorched. The bread was sliced white bread, toasted in a toaster to be somewhat blackened, then mashed in a mortar. The anise and fennel were toasted in a frying pan, then put

in a mortar with celery seed and walnut, and ground. After it was all boiled together, it was put in a cloth bag and the liquid drained out and used.

 

Reference

 

     Kitab al Tibakhah, A Fifteenth-Century Cookbook, Charles Perry, tr.

     The translation was published in Petis Propos Culinaires #21. The

original author is Ibn al-Mabrad or Ibn

     al-Mubarrad. Cited in The Islamic World - The Complete Anachronist

#51 , September 1990, SCA Inc.

 

So have fun...

Charles

 

 

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 02:17:12 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - SC murri

 

At 4:58 PM +1100 10/24/97, Charles McCN wrote:

>Someone asked what it was. the web address for this is

>http://www.mpce.mq.edu.au/~gnott/interests/NVG/article2_sup.html

>

>and the page says...

>Ok, if you really want to know what this stuff murri is, then cop a load

>of this! This recipe was kindly supplied by Rick Cullinan

>who has actually made it.

>

>Byzantine Murri

>Kitab Wasf, Sina'ah 52, p.56, Sina'ah 51, p. 65: Charles Perry tr.

>

<snip>

>

>Reference

>

>     Kitab al Tibakhah, A Fifteenth-Century Cookbook, Charles Perry, tr.

>     The translation was published in Petis Propos Culinaires #21. The

>original author is Ibn al-Mabrad or Ibn

>     al-Mubarrad. Cited in The Islamic World - The Complete Anachronist

>#51 , September 1990, SCA Inc.

>

>So have fun...

>Charles

 

1. You or Rick is confusing your sources. Charles Perry did translate Ibn

al Mubarrad (as well as Manuscrito Anonymo), but it isn't the source for

his Byzantine Murri recipe--as you can tell by the notes just under the

title.

 

2. Nigella is an ingredient in Indian cooking, also known as kalonji or

black onion seed. I have no reason to believe it is poisonous, and

routinely use it in making Byzantine Murri without ill effects. There are

other things called "Nigella," however, and it is possible Rick was

thinking of one of them.

 

3. The recipe you have from Rick is the version in the _Miscellany_ at

least two editions back, via my article on Islamic cooking in C.A.; there

are a couple of changes, such as the comment on Nigella and translating my

ounces of bread to grams.  The "I" in the recipe you gave is me, not Rick.

Since then, I got more information on what a Makkuk was. The result is to

drastically increase the amount of salt. The version in the current

Miscellany is:

- ---

The following quantities are for 1/32 of the above recipe.

 

3 T honey     2/3 t nigela  1 1/2 oz quince

1 1/2 oz bread or 1/3 c breadcrumbs 1/4 t saffron 1/2 c salt in 3 T honey

1 T wheat starch     1/3 t celery seed    1 pint water

2/3 t anise   1/4 oz carob = 1 T   lemon (1/4 of one)

2/3 t fennel  1/4 oz walnut

 

Cook the honey in a small frying pan on medium heat, bringing it to a boil

then turning off the heat and repeating several times; it will taste

scorched. The bread is sliced white bread, toasted in a toaster to be

somewhat blackened, then mashed in a mortar. Toast the anise, fennel and

nigela in a frying pan or roast under a broiler, then grind in a mortar

with celery seed and walnuts. The quince is quartered and cored. Boil all

but the lemon together for about 2 hours, then put it in a potato ricer,

squeeze out the liquid and add lemon juice to it; this is the murri. The

recipe generates about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 c of liquid.  You can then add

another 1/2 c of water to the residue, simmer 1/2 hr -1 hr, and squeeze out

that liquid for the second infusion, which yields about 1/3 c. A third

infusion using 1/3 c yields another 1/4 c or so.

- ---

David/Cariadoc

 

 

Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 17:46:15 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re- eggs

 

Stefan asked some questions about the Andalusian recipe for stuffed eggs;

>Any idea what *murri* is?

 

Real murri was an ingredient made by a long process of fermentation; it has

evidently not been made since about the 14th or 15th century.  Think of it

as occupying the same position in medieval Islamic cuisine as soysauce in

modern Chinese--fermented, strongly flavored, salty flavoring liquid where

a lot is made at once, then you put a spoonful or two of it into half the

things you cook.  (Note that I am not saying it tastes like soy sauce).

There was also a period fake murri made from scorched honey, burnt bread,

quince, anise, fennel, carob (only period use for carob I've seen), etc,

etc., salt.  The recipe for this is in the Miscellany, and this is what we

use when recipes call for murri.  You make up a batch, then keep it in the

refrigerator for months, using it when you are doing medieval Islamic

cooking.  One of my best-received feast dishes ever was lamb in a marinade

based on murri and honey (also in the Miscellany, one of the Tabahaya

recipes).

 

Elizabeth of Dendermonde/Betty Cook

 

 

Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 17:46:15 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re- eggs

 

Stefan asked some questions about the Andalusian recipe for stuffed eggs;

>Any idea what *murri* is?

 

Real murri was an ingredient made by a long process of fermentation; it has

evidently not been made since about the 14th or 15th century.  Think of it

as occupying the same position in medieval Islamic cuisine as soysauce in

modern Chinese--fermented, strongly flavored, salty flavoring liquid where

a lot is made at once, then you put a spoonful or two of it into half the

things you cook.  (Note that I am not saying it tastes like soy sauce).

There was also a period fake murri made from scorched honey, burnt bread,

quince, anise, fennel, carob (only period use for carob I've seen), etc,

etc., salt.  The recipe for this is in the Miscellany, and this is what we

use when recipes call for murri.  You make up a batch, then keep it in the

refrigerator for months, using it when you are doing medieval Islamic

cooking.  One of my best-received feast dishes ever was lamb in a marinade

based on murri and honey (also in the Miscellany, one of the Tabahaya

recipes).

 

Elizabeth of Dendermonde/Betty Cook

 

 

Date: Sat, 1 Nov 1997 22:05:06 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - fermented murri

 

At 11:14 PM -0500 11/1/97, LrdRas at aol.com wrote:

> There are exrznt recipes for real murri im Cariadoc's Collections of

>Medieval Recipes. However, he also conveys the warning that if the real murri

>recipes atr followed the resulting sauce is extremely carcinogenic. For me I

>think I'll stick to the Byzantine fake maurri.

 

I have a good deal of information on the subject from Charles Perry. The

conjecture about its being carcinogenic is from him; I'm not inclined to

take it too seriously, but I could be wrong.

 

David/Cariadoc

http://www.best.com/~ddfr/

 

 

Date: Wed, 25 Mar 1998 13:01:14 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: SC - Murri: Late Breaking News

 

I just spoke on the phone to Charles Perry, who translated _Manuscrito

Anonimo_ and Ibn al Mubarad and knows more about medieval Islamic cooking

than anyone else I know. He has made murri and will describe the process in

an article in this weekend's L.A. Times (he's a food editor there).

 

He says it is similar, both in taste and chemical composition, to soy

sauce! Of course, it does not contain any soy beans--but apparently the

cheaper grades of soy sauce, although they have some soy beans, are based

in part on grains, as is murri. He no longer believes that it is

sufficiently carcinogenic to be a problem--a conjecture he once offered to

explain its disappearance.

 

Incidentally, if any of you are actually engaged in translating period

Arabic cookbooks (I have a hard time keeping track of who is doing what),

Perry is willing to correspond on the subject.

 

The reason I had called him was to ask permission to web his translation of

_Manuscrito Anonimo_. He says I can, but he wants to make some corrections

first.

 

David/Cariadoc

http://www.best.com/~ddfr/

 

 

Date: Sun, 5 Apr 1998 08:59:54 -1000

From: Paul Buell <pdbuell at sprintmail.com>

To: "MEDIEV-L at raven.cc.ukans.edu" <MEDIEV-L at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Arabic Rotten Condiments

 

Food historian Gene Anderson was good enough to sent this news to me and

I thought it might be of interest to the list. Perry, the acknowledged

expert in Medieval Arabic and Turkic foods, is food critic for the Los

Angeles Times. This is not the first rotted condiment he has re-created.

He did bunn several years ago, and some others. I don't know if

Anderson's party guests survived.

 

<snip>

 

- --Charles Perry re-created murri, the rotted barley paste condiment of

medieval Arabia.  He followed the most likely recipe but tried out 2 others

(which proved abortive).  Barley meal, made into wet lumps, covered with fig

leaves, left in warm place for 4 months (there are some other

manipulations). The LATimes staff gave names to each lump--"Whiskers,"

"Spot," etc.--according to the moldiness.  Anyway, the 4 months were up

March 28, and they tried it out.  The murri is to be mushed up in water.  So

they did:

"...and it tasted like...

Soy sauce."

Turns out that murri is basically a koji, and the resulting sauce is

essentially just ordinary soy sauce.  So he wrote it up in the LAT Food

Section, and gave a recipe for a dish with it--you can, of course, use soy

sauce if you don't want to let barley rot for 4 months in your kitchen. I'm

gonna try it for a party tomorrow.

 

Gene Anderson

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Apr 1998 23:16:38 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Arabic Rotten Condiments (fwd)

 

>GREAT!! It takes a year to make good soy sauce, this might be a shortcut!! Or

>is it GOOD soy sauce?? Well, not so good soy had wheat in it too...

 

As I think I mentioned when I posted on this some days ago--before the LA

Times article--Charles Perry suggested that cheap soy sauce would have a

higher ratio of wheat to soy, so be closer to murri.

 

David/Cariadoc

 

 

Date: Tue, 6 Oct 1998 19:35:57 -0700

From: "needlwitch at msn.com" <needlewitch at email.msn.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Ingredient question

 

>I am working on a Spanish/Andalusian feast and have come across the

>ingredient "murri" several times, especially in relation to stuffed

>eggs.

>

>Does anyone know what this is and where I could find it or how to make

>it?  (BTW, I am going to a Middle Eastern specialty store this weekend.)

>

>Failenn

 

Murri

 

The 13th-century Islamic recipes frequently contain an ingredient translated

as "murri" or "almori." It is one of a group of condiments that were popular

in early Islamic cooking and vanished sometime after the fourteenth century.

Al-Baghdadi gives the following recipes for murri; if you try one and it

works out, let me know. According to Charles Perry, the translator of the

Kitab al Tibakhah mentioned above, the penny-royal in these recipes is a

mis-translation and should be budhaj (rotted barley). He gives the following

instructions for making budhaj:

 

"All the recipes concur that budhaj was made from barley flour (or a mixture

of barley and wheat) kneaded without leaven or salt. Loaves of this dough

were rotted, generally in closed containers for 40 days, and then dried and

ground into flour for further rotting into the condiments."

(First recipe)

 

Take 5 ratls each of penny-royal and flour. Make the flour into a good dough

without leaven or salt, bake, and leave until dry. Then grind up fine with

the penny-royal, knead into a green trough with a third the quantity of

salt, and put out into the sun for 40 days in the heat of the summer,

kneading every day at dawn and evening, and sprinkling with water. When

black, put into conserving jars, cover with an equal quantity of water,

stirring morning and evening: then strain it into the first murri. Add

cinnamon, saffron and some aromatic herbs.

(Second recipe)

 

Take penny-royal and wheaten or barley flour, make into a dry dough with hot

water, using no leaven or salt, and bake into a loaf with a hole in the

middle. Wrap in fig leaves, stuff into a preserving-jar, and leave in the

shade until fetid. Then remove and dry.

As you can see, making murri is an elaborate process, and tasting

unsuccessful experiments might be a hazardous one; Charles Perry, who has

done experiments along these lines, warns that the products may be seriously

carcinogenic.

 

In addition to the surviving recipes for murri, there are also at least two

surviving references to what was apparently a fake murri, a substitute made

by a much simpler process. If one cannot have real murri, period fake murri

seems like the next best thing. The recipe is as follows:

 

Byzantine Murri

 

Kitab Wasf, Sina'ah 52, p. 56, Sina'ah 51, p. 65: Charles Perry tr.

 

Description of byzantine murri [made] right away: There is taken, upon the

name of God the Most High, of honey scorched in a nuqrah [perhaps this word

means 'a silver vessel'], three ratls; pounded scorched oven bread, ten

loaves; starch, half a ratl; roasted anise, fennel and nigella, two uqiyahs

of each; byzantine saffron, an uqiya; celery seed, an uqiyah; syrian carob,

half a ratl; fifty peeled walnuts, as much as half a ratl; split quinces,

five; salt, half a makkuk dissolved in honey; thirty ratls water; and the

rest of the ingredients are thrown on it, and it is boiled on a slow flame

until a third of the water is absorbed. Then it is strained well in a clean

nosebag of hair. It is taken up in a greased glass or pottery vessel with a

narrow top. A little lemon from Takranjiya (? Sina'ah 51 has Bakr Fahr) is

thrown on it, and if it suits that a little water is thrown on the dough and

it is boiled upon it and strained, it would be a second (infusion). The

weights and measurements that are given are Antiochan and Zahiri [as] in

Mayyafariqin.

 

1 ratl = 12 uqiya = 1 pint

1 Makkuk = 7.5-18.8 liters dry measure

 

Thorbjorn the Cook

Shittemwoode/Antir

{Northwest Washington}

 

 

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 10:57:21 EST

From: Acanthusbk at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Murri

 

Mordonna22 at aol.com writes:

>  LrdRas at aol.com writes:

>  >  I made the Byzantine Murri but I did include Barley in my seed order

>  >  so I could try the original in the fall. :-)

 

> Do let us know how it turns out.  I'm not sure I would be brave enough to

> try it.  The recipes I have seen seem to me to be a sure breeding ground for

> ergot or one of it's cousins.

 

Just last week I reread an interesting paper, _Medieval Near Eastern Rotted

Condiments_ by Charles Perry, about kamakh, murri and bunn. Bottom

line...Perry says when prepared in the traditional manner involving rotted

grain and bread "it is strongly advised not to eat any of these preparations.

They are highly carcinogenic." Further discussion follows re rotted grains

being rich in aflatoxins, considered among the most virulent carcinogens

known. This article appears in the 1987 Oxford Symposium Proceedings

("Taste"), as well as in part (recipes excluded) in Paul Levy's _Penguin

Book of Food and Drink_.

 

Amanda

 

 

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 12:46:23 -0500

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Murri

 

Mordonna22 at aol.com writes:

>  LrdRas at aol.com writes:

>  >  I made the Byzantine Murri but I did include Barley in my seed order

>  >  so I could try the original in the fall. :-)

 

> >  Do let us know how it turns out.  I'm not sure I would be brave enough to

> >  try it.  The recipes I have seen seem to me to be a sure breeding ground

> >  for ergot or one of it's cousins.

 

I vaguely recall HG Cariadoc telling us on this list that Perry had

since revised his opinion about the carcinogenic qualities of murri.

 

As I recall, the process for making murri is fairly similar to what is

involved in making certain grades of soy sauce, and while the solidified

soy-wheat cake dregs are sometimes eaten, and are believed to be in part

responsible for the high rate of stomach cancer in parts of Asia, I'm

not aware of anyone concluding soy sauce was carcinogenic.

 

It's possible that Perry applied a similar logic in revising his findings.

 

Adamantius

¯stgardr, East

 

 

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 12:43:36 -0800

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Murri

 

At 12:46 PM -0500 1/15/99, Philip & Susan Troy wrote:

>I vaguely recall HG Cariadoc telling us on this list that Perry had

>since revised his opinion about the carcinogenic qualities of murri.

 

I never found Charles Perry's argument convincing, since I doubt it would

have been in common use for so long if it had really serious problems of

that sort. In any case, he made some murri some months back, and published

an article on it in the L.A. Times. He says it is somewhat similar to soy

sauce. Apparently soy sauce is made not only from soy beans but also from

fermented grain--like murri, although murri uses barley.

 

David/Cariadoc

http://www.best.com/~ddfr/

 

 

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 21:55:02 EST

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Murri

 

<< Charles Perry made some a few months back; he says it tastes somewhat

like soy sauce.

 

David Friedman >>

 

Thank, Your Grace. The fake version is also in the same league as soy sauce

also. Now my curiosity is really in full gear to see what subtle differences

there are between the fake and real stuff.

 

I made the the mistake of stepping away from the stove for a little while

while boiling the Byzantine murri and it bubbled out of the pot and ran all

down the sides of the pan but other than that I am very pleased with the final

product. At the very least it opens up whole new doors in my on going project

of redacting recipes from al-Baghdadi. One of the most intriguing things was

that despite the amount of honey used over all, the finished murri is not

what I would call sweet. Salty but not sweet. The flavor is surprisingly good

and I suspect that murri will find it's way into my modern cooking also. :-)

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1999 10:03:03 EDT

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Byzantine murri naqi

 

stefan at texas.net writes:

<< Would you say it tastes similar to soy sauce? If different, can you

describe how it differs in taste? >>

 

Describing taste is  a difficult thing to do. It is salty, has a spicy under

taste that is difficult to pinpoint, with subtle hints of 'smokyness' and an

elusive sweetness. This a really poor description, I know but can you tell me

what celery tastes like? :-)

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 21:31:32 EDT

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Murri question

 

lilinah at grin.net writes:

<< Is there anything that is a vaguely suitable substitute?>>

 

Tastewise? Not really. It has a taste uniquely it's own. If you have a few

minutes at the site you might try reducing some regular soy sauce with some

honey in it and a dash of 5 spice powder by half. It really won't taste very

similar at all but it should give you the salty/sweet/spicy taste murri has.

 

<<I've never tasted murri so can't try to come up with one myself. >>

 

It tastes like chicken. :-)

 

Seriously though, there is really nothing I have ever tasted that tastes

very much like it at all. :-(

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1999 16:28:24 EST

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Quinces

 

lilinah at grin.net writes:

<< Now that I'm home, I'm planning to make a bit of Byzantine murri with

the quinces. They sure smell sweet and fragrant! >>

 

Do make the murri. It is wonderful stuff. I have went through 2 qt. in the

kitchen for regular cooking since I first made it a while back. It is a pain

in the butt to make but it sure beats some of the commercial 'sauces', IMO.

:-)

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 22:07:13 EDT

From: LrdRas at aol.com

Subject: SC - Murri flavor

 

KallipygosRed at aol.com writes:

<< What does the Murri taste like? Can I get a comparison?  >>

 

Caramelized saltiness with an under flavor of fennel (?) perhaps. They are

many spices in the Byzantine murri and no one predominates, IMO. I would say

that the flavor is as different from soy sauce as Worcestershire sauce is

different from fish sauce, if that makes any sense......

 

Ras

 

 

Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 23:12:04 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Murri flavor

 

At 12:01 AM -0400 9/21/00, Philip & Susan Troy wrote:

>Charles Perry, a translator of the recipes for both types, IIRC, was the

>one who originally decided murri proper (not Byzantine murri) oughtta be

>like soy sauce since it was made in a similar way from similar

>ingredients.

 

More significantly, he made murri and reported that it tasted rather

like soy sauce.

 

>However, that's no reason to assume Byzantine murri would

>taste the same. On the other hand, since there's a fairly broad range of

>different flavors associated with different types of soy sauce,

>including some which aren't made in an especially traditional manner,

>maybe a perceived dissimilarity between the two types of murri doesn't

>make either one less viable as murri.

 

But we do have a period warning (in the Andalusian cookbook) against

using what sounds like Byzantine murri. And since it is much easier

to make, there is at least a presumption that it was considered an

inferior substitute--otherwise why would anyone make the real murri?

- --

David Friedman

ddfr at best.com

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/

 

 

Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2000 23:29:57 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Murri flavor

 

LrdRas at aol.com wrote:

> We also have Perry's warning that actual murri is carcinogenic. Then we have

> a later statement that perhaps it is not....  Neither opinion was backed by

> any information  that would support either view. :-(

 

No, actually there's at least an indirect foundation. Soy sauce is made,

as we said before, by allowing cooked grains (and beans), formed into

loaves, to grow a mold culture. (Not unlike tempeh.) These loaves of

moldy grain are then steeped in brine, which is the soy sauce. People in

parts of China where soy sauce is made actually eat the brined cakes,

once the soy sauce is drained off. China has the highest rate of stomach

cancer in the world, and epicenters for the highest rates of stomach

cancer in China are those areas where soy sauce is produced, and the

cakes eaten. It's been theorized that the cakes contain carcinogens

(incidentally, _some_ forms of tempeh have been alleged to contain

carcinogens as well). There seems to be no real evidence to suggest that

soy sauce itself is a carcinogen, and murri appears to be in a nearly

identical situation (not necessarily in regard to a map showing

incidence of stomach cancer, but as to manufacture). And as I recall

Perry didn't exactly say that murri was carcinogenic, but said that due

to research concerning soy sauce, he had reason to suspect murri might

similarly contain some unknown level of carcinogenic chemicals. In other

words, not that he knew it was carcinigenic, but that he didn't know it

wasn't, and hoped for a little more research to be done to be sure he

wasn't promoting a dangerous product.    

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 13:48:39 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at best.com>

Subject: Re: SC - A murri question

 

Quite a while back Katja wrote:

 

>Okay, could you good cooks on the list give me some input, please? I made

>Byzantine murri (from His Grace's Miscellany) for a Middle Eastern feast two

>years ago and was incredibly unhappy with the result.

>

>It was the *only* time in six years that I've redacted/made a period recipe

>and found the resulting dish completely unpalatable... not just bland, over-

>or under-spiced, or wrong in texture, but absolutely unpleasant and nasty!

 

As Ras already said, it's not meant to be eaten straight.

 

>I should note that my murri was *very* liquid - not at all thick or

>pastelike.

 

Ours is a thick or gloppy liquid, not a paste. Maybe you need to cook

it down a bit longer?

 

>The only derivation I made from Duke Sir Cariadoc's printed recipe was the

>use of quince - I could not find fresh quinces in any of the public markets,

>health food stores, or supermarkets in the Rochester, NY area, so I ended up

>using a couple of tablespoons of quince jelly as a substitute. (Yes, I

>already had wheat starch and nigella in my kitchen.)

 

If I have to substitute for quince I use a cooking apple--I think

using the related fresh fruit gives you a much closer substitute than

the jelly would--and as far as I can tell, it comes out pretty

similar to the way it does with quince. Typically, the places that

have quince only have it in season, which means fall, while apples

are available year round.

 

Next time you make some, try it in the recipe for Tabâhajah from the

manuscript of Yahya b. Khalid (in the Miscellany--I can post it if

you can't find it). Everyone I know of who has tried that likes it.

 

Elizabeth/Betty Cook (about a month behind on the list)

 

 

From: mdcarey at compuserve.com (M+D (Mary + Doug Piero Carey))

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Murri citations

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 03:21:37 GMT

Organization: RAEX Corporation - North Canton, OH

 

Some time ago, my lord Cariadoc posted a message about the sauce

murri.  I did a little digging and found that Charles Perry did indeed

publish several articles mentioning murri in the L. A. Times.  All are

in ther Food section. I apologize for the lack of page numbers.  The

Times' website doesn't give that information.  (one is expected to

fork over $2 to download each article. Anyone who thinks this

particular cheapskate is going to pay that kind of money for an 89

word article needs to think again! Especially when my Interlibrary

Loan Department can provide it for free.)  Anyway, here is the list:

 

ALL THE LOST FLAVORS   May 18, 1995  2502 words

 

ROT SAUCE   December 21, 1995  198 words  ( on murri & Kam^makh)

 

CHICKEN WITH 4 U^QIYAS OF GARLIC   May 30, 1996  219 words

 

*WHAT ROT!  January 14, 1998     89 words

 

*STILL ROTTING   February 18, 1998  169 words

 

*O. K., IT'S ROTTED, IS IT SAFE?  April 1, 1998     228 words

 

*ROT OF AGES   April 1, 1998   1411 words

 

GOT ROTTED MILK?   September 2, 1998  226 words

 

The asterisks mark the articles in which I was certain he was

discussing technique.  Further details after I make a research run to

Cleveland, or ILL has time to tickle their databases for me.

 

 

Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2001 20:35:27 -0800

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Murri

 

>I'm planning on using HG Cariadoc's recipe for "fake murri."  And all

>those yummy recipes is exactly why _I_ want to make it, too.

>Say....does anyone know how long murri keeps? Does it need to be

>refrigerated, or can it sit on the shelf with my soy sauce,

>worchestershire, etc.?

>--Maire

 

We keep it in the refrigerator, where it lasts for a very long time.

I haven't tried leaving it out; given how salty it is, it's possible

that it would be all right.

--

David/Cariadoc

http://www.daviddfriedman.com/

 

 

Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2003 09:32:35 -0700

From: david friedman <ddfr at daviddfriedman.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Fake murri (was: adventures in doing things with

      Spanish...)

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Generys wrote:

> Having made this recipe both ways, I highly recommend making a batch of the

> "fake murri" in the Miscellany and use that instead of the soy sauce - it's

> a *really* interesting, hard to describe flavor, that people REALLY liked

> when I served it at feast.

 

Note that this is a good time of the year to make the Byzantine

murri, because quinces are available now. (If you can't get a quince,

substitute a cooking apple--we have done it that way and it works.)

The stuff will then keep in the refrigerator long term.

 

Elizabeth/Betty Cook

 

 

Date: Sun, 4 Dec 2005 23:39:56 -0800

From: lilinah at earthlink.net

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Uses for fava beans....

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

<snip>

 

Light soy sauce is a very acceptable substitute according to Charles

Perry who made murri from scratch - moldy damp barley loaves - etc. I

finally got to read his articles about the process that were in the

LA Times, minus the photos of the loaves, alas - they had *names* -

including Spot, Whiskers, Skinhead, and Pigpen... anyway, the final

product tasted a lot like a somewhat less "rich" soy sauce. Some

Asian soy sauces are about 50 per cent grain, and those - or lesser

varieties that use even more grain - would be closer to murri than a

good aged tamari (yes, Virginia, tamari tastes significantly

different from the average Kikkoman, which is rather more watery)

--  

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)

the persona formerly known as Anahita

 

 

Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 16:36:32 -0800

From: Lilinah <lilinah at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Murri

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

Gianotta wrote:

>Does anyone know of any scholarly theories why this ubiquitous

>flavoring in medieval Arabic cooking virtually disappeared by the

>15th century?

 

Nope, but i'd sure love to know if there are some...

 

I'd ask the same question about garum/liquamen, the Greco-Roman fish

sauce. According to Andrew Dalby it was still being made in Byzantium

when the Ottomans finally conquered it. The Ottoman Turks loathed

fish, but the Christians and the poor in Istanbul continued to devour

them. So it appears that fish sauce lasted at least into the 16th C.,

a bit past the conquest of Constantinople.

 

In fact, there are some Arabic language recipes specify "fish murri",

which i interpret as being fish sauce/garum/liquamen.

 

>Since Charles Perry abandoned the carcinogenicity theory, has

>anything come officially in its place?

 

Well, he not only abandoned the carcinogen theory, in early 1998 he

*made murri from scratch* and documented the process in the LA Times.

There's synopsis of his articles at:

http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD-CONDIMENTS/murri-msg.html

You'll need to scroll down, down, down. Most of the top concerns the

carcinogenic theory and Byzantine murri.

 

Perry said that essentially those "rotted" barley loaves were like

koji, the base for Japanese soy sauce. And that following the

directions, the resulting liquid, which is murri, was like a grain

based soy sauce. He recommends using a soy sauce that is high in

grain content (and lower in soy) to replace murri in recipes. In my

study of several cookbooks, some actually specific to NOT use

"Byzantine" or fake murri.

 

I got a hold of the text of Perry's murri-making articles and have

used his conclusion as a reason to use mild soy sauce in some 14th C.

Mamluk-period recipes in Cairene "The Book of the Description of

Familiar Foods".

 

I don't mind using soy sauce, but i do find it disturbing to read

"soy sauce" in Perry's translations of Medieval Arabic language

recipes. I've considered diluting barley miso and using that, but i

haven't tried that yet. I may get around to it this year.

 

>Could severe famines have anything to do with it? (With grain

>shortages, one would imagine that making murri would fall off the

>list of priorities of what to do with the barley). Or are there

>other reasons?

 

This seems odd to me, since barley is only the basic grain for those

in the Arab/Muslim world who are rather poor. Barley was eaten by

some Berber/Amazight people - it may be the original couscous - and

by Bedouins who have rare contact with villages. The grains of the

cities were wheat - in breads, baked goods, porridges, etc. - and

rice. My understanding is that barley is much hardier than wheat, and

so it might have been available during a grain shortage - and, yes, i

can see that people might stop making murri for a while - but why not

go back when the grain shortage is over?

 

I suspect that the shortage could certainly contribute to the

disappearance of murri, but i wonder if there weren't some other

additional issues contributing, since there were other types of murri

- such as fish murri and Byzantine/fake murri - that were also being

made at the same time.

 

If you find any more information about the disappearance of grain and

fish murris, i'd love to hear.

--

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)

the persona formerly known as Anahita

 

 

Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 21:08:09 -0500

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Murri

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

On Jan 17, 2007, at 7:36 PM, Lilinah wrote:

> If you find any more information about the disappearance of grain and

> fish murris, i'd love to hear.

 

Pisalat is alive and well and living in Nice, Marseilles, etc. That's  

a little more like halec than liquamen (IOW, a paste rather than a  

clear liquid), I guess, but the process is pretty much the same and  

the flavor is similar.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2007 14:18:36 -0800

From: Lilinah <lilinah at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Murri

To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org

 

>I had forgotten about the allegations of murri (or its ingredients)

>being carcinogenic, but somehow missed the details on why this turns

>out to be untrue.

 

Lemme look at the LA Times texts. My recollection is that Perry sent

his murri out to be tested, ISTR, for aflatoxins...

 

>I know that consumption of  the solid cakes that

>are a by-product of soy sauce production has been linked to China

>having the highest per capita incidence of stomach cancer in the

>world. Has that been disproven as well?

 

AFAIK, this is still true. Of course, the Japanese also make soy

sauce, and i haven't heard they have a parallel problem there, but

maybe it just hasn't been as widely reported.

--

Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)

the persona formerly known as Anahita

 

 

Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 16:07:28 -0500 (GMT-05:00)

From: Christiane <christianetrue at earthlink.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Salty fishy liquid ( was Re: Murri )

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

 

For all those who love that rotted salty fishy stuff, Charles Perry sent me this link:

 

http://www.tipicalia.com/main/prodotti_tipici/colatura_alici.html

 

"Colatura di alice" (that last word is pronounced AH-leech in dialect), this page simultaneously claims, is directly descended from Greco-Roman cuisine or the creation of Cistercian monks. It's local to Cetara, a city on the Amalfi coast, where the Byzantines and Muslims occupied various locations at various times. It could be related to the fish murri, but again, it's impossible to tell.

 

I'm a bad little Italian. I can't stand sardines and have a low tolerance for anchovies, so the changes of me actually liking this stuff are very, very, low. Ecccccchhhhh!

 

Gianotta

 

 

Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 16:45:47 -0500

From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius" <adamantius1 at verizon.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Salty fishy liquid ( was Re: Murri )

To: Christiane <christianetrue at earthlink.net>, Cooks within the SCA

      <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

On Jan 19, 2007, at 4:07 PM, Christiane wrote:

 

> For all those who love that rotted salty fishy stuff, Charles Perry  

> sent me this link:

>

> http://www.tipicalia.com/main/prodotti_tipici/colatura_alici.html

>

> "Colatura di alice" (that last word is pronounced AH-leech in  

> dialect), this page simultaneously claims, is directly descended  

> from Greco-Roman cuisine or the creation of Cistercian monks. It's  

> local to Cetara, a city on the Amalfi coast, where the Byzantines  

> and Muslims occupied various locations at various times. It could  

> be related to the fish murri, but again, it's impossible to tell.

 

I'd bet money it's more closely related to the Graeco-Roman liquamen  

tradition (which may or may not be argued to be contiguous, if you  

know what I mean), given both the location and the fact that its name  

sounds quite a bit like "halec".

 

> I'm a bad little Italian. I can't stand sardines and have a low  

> tolerance for anchovies, so the changes of me actually liking this  

> stuff are very, very, low. Ecccccchhhhh!

 

<shrug> Good little Indians, Chinese, French, Filipino, and lots of  

other people add small amounts of similar products to various dishes  

in place of [some of the] salt, and most of them don't taste  

particularly fishy... just not quite "right" without them.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 19:52:16 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Murri and muria was pantry - garum

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Here's a question for you:  What is the etymology of the word "murri?"  We

have recipes for murri and Byzantine murri.  We have references to murri

naqi and fish murri.  But do we have any idea from where the word  

derives?

 

Now, let me do some pure speculation.

 

According to Curtis, Roman fish sauces come in four forms; garum, allec,

liquamen and muria.  Garum is the liquid decanted from a couple of months of

salted, fermenting fish.  Allec is the residue left after the garum is

removed.  Liquamen seems to be a suace leeched from fermenting fish

(apparently similar to modern fish sauces like Worchestershire). And muria

is a somewhat broadly defined term to refer to salt solutions extracted from

or used to preserve meats, fruits and vegetables.  All of these sauces were

used and made around the entire Mediterranean, up into the Black Sea  

and far south down the Nile.

 

I think it is highly possible that "murri" is an Arabic form of the Roman

(of Greek origin) "muria" brought into Arabic well before the Islamic

expansion.  That being said, I haven't seen any evidence to tie the two to

each other.  I also can't think of a way to prove or disprove my theory.

Anyone got any ideas?

 

Bear

 

> Terry Decker wrote:

>

>> There are references to "fish murri" in the Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook,

>> but I don't think there is a recipe available. Fish murri is often

>> considered to be garum or liquamen by assuming that it is a fermented fish

>> sauce as murri is a fermented barley sauce. While this may be a reasonable

>> assumption, there is, to my knowledge, no solid evidence to

>> incontrovertably support the idea.

>

> Cripes, I _had_ to look it up.  I could only find one reference to  

> "fish murri".

> --

> Adele de Maisieres

 

 

Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2007 14:20:22 -0400

From: Suey <lordhunt at gmail.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Murri and muria

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

 

Terry Decker wrote:

>  What is the etymology of the word "murri?"

 

The Real Academia Espanol Dictionary states that it comes from Classical

Arabic "murri", this from Armenian "murya", and this is from the Latin

"muria, salmuera"  (brine, very salty water used in preserved food).

Salmuera in literally means sal del mar - salt from the sea.

 

Suey

 

 

Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2007 14:32:22 -0400

From: Suey <lordhunt at gmail.com>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Murri and muria

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

 

I wrote:

> Terry Decker wrote:

>> What is the etymology of the word "murri?"

> The Real Academia Espanol Dictionary states that it comes from

> Classical Arabic "murri", this from Armenian "murya", and this is from

> the Latin "muria, salmuera" (brine, very salty water used in preserved

> food).

> Salmuera in literally means sal del mar - salt from the sea.

 

> Suey

 

Oops, there is more to this Garcia Rey/. /Verardo, _Vocabulario del

Bierzo_, Madrid: S. Aguirre, Impresor, 1934. Madrid. p 140 states:

salt murri, a pickling brine. The word is derived from "sal" (salt) + L.

muria (brine)

and Alonso, Mart?n. _Enciclopedia del idioma, diccionario hist?rico y

moderno de la lengua espa?ola (siglos XII al XX): etimol?gico,

tecnol?gico, regional e hispanoamericano_.1994:I:A:275 says:

Latin "muria" (salt liquor, brine).

 

Suey

 

<the end>



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