Friday, September 18, 2009

Desi style Suraid (shredded bread with broth and meat)







Salmaan (R) said that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: Blessings are found in three things, the Group (Al-Jama'ah), Ath-thareed (a type of food) and As-Sahoor (the Pre-dawn meal)." [At-Tabaraanee, Abu Na'eem]

Al Thareed, meaning literally "small pieces (of bread or food) which have been cut" is a traditional Gulf Arab dish which is even mentioned in the above hadeeth, has its variations in South Asia, too. The Pakhtoons have versions, known as painda, randa chargha, or soobutt. This should ideally be made with very thin Pakhtoon bread. Further south, it is made with shredded wholewheat flat bread or roti, hence it is called "roti ke tukray." It is also known in Urdu as sareed or suraid, the -s- being the Urdu articulation of Arabic -tha-. It is basically a liquidy meat or chicken stew poured on top of shredded bread. Here is a Gulf Arab version, and here is a Pakhtoon recipe. Both recipes are highly worth checking out. There are many versions of this around the world, from fatta or similar dishes in other parts of the Arab world, to Mexican caserola with leftover tortillas, to Italian or French recipes using day old bread. It is basically a way to use up leftover bread and avoid waste. Perhaps that is why it is a blessed dish. The Arabian Gulf versions of thareed or margooga are sometimes eaten as an Eid dish, so it is simultaneously a humble and fancy dish.

I am forever fascinated foods which have distinct yet similar versions all over the world, like barbecued meats, stuffed dumplings, types of pasta soups, pickled vegetables, rice puddings, and of course this dish, suraid.

Below is my home recipe:

12-15 chappatis shredded into large pieces

or

6 giant extra thin Afghan flat breads (pasti), these are available where I live, but you can sub any very thin naan for this if you like. The pasti where I live is roughly the length and width of 2 sheets of A-4 paper put together, and less than a cm thick. But really, any thin flatbread should do.

I enjoy both the chapatti version and the thin naan version, and can't recommend one over the other.

For the shorba:
1/4 cup oil
1 chicken skinned and cut into 12 pieces
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 large onion chopped finely
1 tbs garlic paste
1tsp ginger paste
2 fresh green chiles finely chopped
2 fresh tomatoes pureed
1/2 tsp haldi
1 tsp red chile powder
1 tbs garam masala
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp dried fenugreek (qasoori methi)
2 tbs whipped yoghurt
3.5 cups water
a big dose of salt
1 tbs lemon juice
1 pinch garam masala for final ingredient

garnish: chopped fresh green chiles, chopped cilantro, small chunks of butter or a few tsps ghee, and lemon wedges

Heat oil in pan. Add cumin seeds and allow to sizzle. Add in chopped onions. Fry on high heat, stirring frequently until they become golden and have lost a lot of moisture. Stir in ginger garlic chile paste. When the ginger garlic are golden, add in the turmeric and chile powder. Quickly add in the tomato puree. Cook for a while until the tomatos have lost their moisture and the oil has risen to the top. Add in the chicken and stir, still on high heat, until the chicken has all changed color. Add in yoghurt and stir for a moment. Pour in water. Add in garam masala and coriander powder. Now you can salt the dish. You should add in double the amount of salt that you normally would for a waterless curry. The amount of salt should be enough so that the shorba flavor doesn't become bland when mixed with the flatbread. I'd estimate 2 heaping teaspoons or more. When the water boils, cover and lower heat. Cook until chicken is done, maybe 25-30 minutes. When the shorba (liquidy meat soup) is done, add in the fenugreek, a pinch of garam masala, and lemon juice.

Set the shredded flatbread in a wide flat dish like a casserole dish. Using tongs, place the pieces of chicken on top of the bread. Then pour the shorba on top of the bread. The bread should absorb the shorba but it shouldn't be too liquidy or soupy. Now add the garnish and serve.

You could also do this dish with bone in goat or lamb, adjusting cooking time of the shorba as appropriate. Another variation would be to leave out the tomatos and yoghurt.

A delicious dish full of history and blessings.

2 comments:

The Gori Wife said...

How do you eat this? The naan's too soggy and it seems strange to serve rice with a naan-ish dish....perhaps with a spoon since it's so close to soup?

luckyfatima said...

With your hand! The naan is the starch. It is a complete meal in one dish.It isn't soupy. The thin naan rather becomes like layers of dumplings (spaetzle type dumplings, I mean).

Serve with yoghurt or raita, mash around on your plate.

With Arabs I have been served on the floor around a giant circular platter and we all dig our hands in the space in the platter directly in front of us, eating it all from one dish. I think that is the Sunnah, too!