A Type of Ahrash – spiced meat patties with sauce

This is the recipe used by Sayyid Abu al-Hasan and others in Morocco, and they called it isfîriyâ. Take red lamb, pound it vigorously and season it with some murri naqî*, vinegar, oil, pounded garlic, pepper, saffron, cumin, coriander, lavender, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, chopped lard, and meat with all the gristle removed and pounded and divided, and enough egg to envelop the whole. Make small round flatbreads (qursas) out of them about the size of a palm or smaller, and fry them in a pan with a lot of oil until they are browned. Then make for them a sauce of vinegar, oil, and garlic, and leave some of it without any sauce: it is very good.

serves 4-5

600 g ground meat of lamb or mutton or beef
2 tablespoon soy sauce*
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil or sesame oil
2 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of saffron
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground lavendel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/3 teaspoon cloves
3 eggs

olive oil for frying

sauce:
1 dl vinegar
1 tablespoon seesame oil
1 minced garlic clove

Mix the sauce ingredients together and let the sauce stand for couple hours. Mix together well the ground beef/lamb/mutton and rest of the ingredients and put the meat dough to the fridge for at least half an hour. Shape small round (palm size) patties from meat and fry them in olive oil until done. (Decorate patties with lavendel) Serve hot with the sauce in a separate bowl.

*Murri nagî= means a certain type of andalusian murri. Murri in other hand is a form of condiment, that has been used in arabic food but which use has significantly decrease after 14th century. If you don’t have time to do your own murri or you are not able to get ingredients for it or closer substitute sauces, then you can use soy sauce. I am not very fond of using substitutes but in this case I have bend my precepts and used soy sauce.

Comments: I wasn´t able to find lard that is suitable for arabic food from my grocery so I did leave it out.

(Anonymous Andalusian cookbook 13th century, Charles Perry)

Published: 4/2012
Updated:11/2015

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3 thoughts on “A Type of Ahrash – spiced meat patties with sauce”

  1. SInce lard comes from pigs, it would obviously not be used by Muslims.

    However, a type of fat that was commonly used throughout the Arabic speaking world is sheep tail fat.

    • Hi! You are right, thank you. I see that my comment in the recipe is not very clear and I should have opened it more and not use word lard. My point was also that the lard in Perry’s translation must be something else than from a pig. Probably sheep tail fat as you said.

      • Indeed, Perry uses the word “lard” in his English translation. Since i don’t have access to the Arabic, i don’t know what the original word is, but i’m guessing it means a certain type of animal fat the English lacks a word for, and “lard” was the closest thing.

        There are other recipes that specifically say “sheep tail fat” in the Arabic, but i guess this one didn’t.

        Also, i don’t know if i could find sheep tail fat either :-)

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