17 June 2011

Banana chicken dessert

A recipe for Judhaba of bananas by Ibn al Mahdi
Al-Warraq, 10th century Baghdadi recipe

Translation: Peel the bananas and set them aside. Spread a ruqaqa (thin round of bread) in the pan and spread a layer of bananas over it. Sprinkle the banana layer with pure sugar, and spread another ruqaqa all over it. Repeat the layering of banana, sugar, and ruqaqa until the pan is full. Pour enough rose water to drench the layered ingredients, [put the pan in a hot tannur,] suspend a fine chicken over it [and let it roast] God willing.

10 oz Iranian lavash ( typically four sheets)
1-4 T rose water
3 ¼ lb ripe plantains or bananas
[strawberries, optional]
4-5 lb fryer chicken
½ c sugar
2 lemons

Oil the bottom of a pot. Line the pot with lavash. Cover that with sliced (or mashed) bananas and sliced strawberries, if used. Use one half lemon to sprinkle lemon juice over each layer. Sprinkle over them 2 T of sugar. Cover with another layer of lavash. Repeat, and top with the last layer of lavash. Sprinkle the rose water sparingly over that.

Slice 1 ½ lemons and slide the lemons under the chicken skin. Arrange your chicken so it is suspended above the layers. Bake the chicken until done—roughly 20 minutes a pound at 350°, to an internal temperature of about 190°—letting the drippings fall on and soak into the layered bread and bananas. Serve the chicken for dinner and then the dessert will be just the right temperature to serve. Ingus recommends a cold glass of milk with dessert.

• Cariadoc did it by running a hardwood skewer lengthwise through the chicken and laying it across the top edge of a pot.
• Samia did it by using a large convection oven and placing the chickens directly on an oven rack. The lavash and fruit were layered on a jelly roll pan which was placed on a lower oven rack beneath the chicken.
• Ingus made the banana-lavash layers in an 8 inch cake pan. Place cake pan inside a Dutch oven, cover with the cooling rack, and place chicken on cooling rack, suspending it about 2 inches above the lavash. Put Dutch Oven and lemon-impregnated chicken into pre-heated 350 degree oven for one hour, then turn chicken over for another hour.

NOTICE: Normally, 20 minutes per pound at 350 is sufficient to cook chicken, but the lack of heat from below because of the cake cooking there inhibits the roasting, and the meats within, around the thigh bones and along the spine, do not cook as quickly. Since the point of this was to have chicken that could service double duty, it is important to give it the extra cooking time to get the flesh fully brought up to temp.

Many thanks to Master Ingus Moen (of bardic fame) for the detailed cooking suggestions. Thanks also to Baroness Euriaut Deri for testing the recipe for a party so I could decide it wasn't awful!

Modified from: How to Milk an Almond Stuff an Egg And Armor a Turnip: A Thousand Years of Recipes By David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook ISBN: 978-1-460-92498-3 http://www.daviddfriedman.com/Medieval/To_Milk_an_Almond.pdf Used with permission.


  1. One thing I'm quite unsure of in that recipe is the quantity of bananas. We did it using layers of either sliced or mashed bananas, but I can imagine an interpretation using layers of whole bananas, with a much higher ratio of bananas to bread.

  2. We made it with sliced bananas and sliced strawberries in a (mostly) single layer that covered the whole surface of the lavash.

    I was surprised about the differences in lavash from one store to the next! It was generally the same thing--but like pita bread and naan are generally the same thing.

    Adding the lemons made a difference in color of the bananas and overall flavor of the whole thing.

  3. Would it have been much different if you have used banana flour?

    I am not sure of the availability of such a commodity in your country or mine but Google comes up with quite a few sites telling you how to make it.

  4. I've never seen banana flour! I'll have to look for it. Let me know if you try this recipe with it.