Greek Recipes

Greek and Cypriot recipes

Tabaahaja Byzantine recipe

Serves four.

This recipe, from the manuscript of Yahya ibn Khalid al-Barmaki, makes striking use of murri,the indigenous Middle Eastern barley “soy sauce.” Most dishes flavored with murri were vinegary, but this is the exception, being quite sweet. The result is surprisingly reminiscent of a Chinese “red-stewed” meat dish. The name comes from the Persian word for frying pan, tavah.


  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 5 teaspoons honey
  • ¾ teaspoon ground coriander seed
  • 1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder
  • ½ cup oil
  • cilantro (green coriander, kuzbarah)
  • rue, preferably fresh, optional
  • mustard greens, optional


  • Mix soy sauce, honey, ground coriander, cinnamon and pepper.
  • Add meat and marinate half an hour.
  • Heat oil in large frying pan.
  • When hot, spoon in meat and marinade.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low and cover pan loosely for half an hour.
  • Remove lid and cook, stirring often to prevent scorching, until meat is tender and sauce is reduced to a thick glaze.
  • Pour off oil and serve, sprinkled with cilantro, rue and mustard greens, accompanied by flatbread.

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