Black Barida Dish

Source: Kitab al’Tabikh, by Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq

Carefully crush some black raisins, mix with a little vinegar, strain, and add a little cinnamon, just enough galangale, and a little ginger, oil and chopped rue.  Pour [sauce] over the chicken.


500g chicken breast 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 ½  cups raisins 2 tsp ginger
2 tbs wine vinegar ½ tsp galangal
3 tbs olive oil 1 tsp salt


  1. Poach the chicken breast gently in water or chicken stock.  When cool, shred it.
  2. To make the sauce, pulverise all other ingredients in a food processor.
  3. Combine the sauce and the chicken and serve cold.


    • A Barida is a cold dish served at the start of the feast.  It was believed the stomach took a while to “warm up,” and putting hot food into an unwarmed stomach would cause indigestion.
    • I have omitted the rue.  It has a regrettable tendency to cause allergic reactions (and miscarriages), plus is very bitter.  If you would like to add a bitter taste to the dish, I would suggest using rocket or feverfew, which have a similar flavour profile without the problems.
    • I recommend using powdered galangal rather than fresh – fresh galangal can be tough, so it’s difficult to peel and cut.

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