Tag Archives: Christine Amina Benlafquih


Christine Amina Benlafquih invites us to try this aromatic condiment in a myriad of ways.

Post originally from Sisters Magazine – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/03/07/pleasantly-pungent-ginger/


What comes to mind when you think of ginger? Asian dishes such as teriyaki, baked treats like gingerbread and ginger snaps, or perhaps a beverage along the lines of ginger ale? For many years, that was pretty much the extent of my own encounters with ginger, but today the spice represents considerably more.

In my Moroccan kitchen, for example, I use ground ginger almost daily in dishes which run the gamut from savoury soups and stewed veggies to well-seasoned chicken, meat and fish preparations. Use a little, and ginger can be described as fragrant, sweet and peppery; use a lot, and you’ll notice that it’s also a bit fiery.

The Qur’an cites ginger as a food of Paradise:
“And they will be given to drink a cup whose mixture is of ginger.” (Al-Insan:17)

There is little to be found in the Sunnah with explicit references to ginger (zanjabeel in Arabic). However, one hadith narrated by Abu Said al’ Khudri shows that the Prophet (SAW) tasted and shared some preserved ginger which he received as a gift from the Byzantine emperor. (Medicine of the Prophet)

In addition to being a remedy for colds, flus and respiratory infections, ginger is widely recognised as an effective treatment for indigestion, heartburn, diarrhoea, flatulence and nausea. Some pregnant women find that ginger alleviates the symptoms of morning sickness, while some travellers conclude that it’s useful in combatting motion sickness.

While these therapeutic qualities are notable, ginger’s chemical properties go beyond improving how one feels. Ginger is also said to improve the memory, increase sex drive, benefit the circulatory system by reducing cholesterol levels and preventing blood clots, and work as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fungal and anti-viral. It can be used to treat headaches, muscular and joint inflammation and menstrual cramps.

Ginger in fresh rhizome and dry, ground form is available all year round. The rhizome can be refrigerated (or peeled, wrapped and frozen) to preserve its shelf-life; dry ginger should be stored in an airtight container and replaced every few months.

Although the flavour and pungency of fresh and dry ginger differ a bit, one can be substituted for the other using a ratio of 4 to 6 measures of freshly grated ginger to every 1 measure of dry.

The plethora of international dishes which call for ginger make it easy to incorporate this sunnah food into our diet. To get started, try these easy recipes:
Ginger and Honey Tea
Fresh ginger tea is a healthy concoction that can aid digestion, soothe an upset stomach and provide relief from cold and flu symptoms. Honey, another sunnah food, adds flavour and additional health benefits.

• 2 ½ cups water
• 1 ½ inch section of fresh ginger
• 2-3 tbsp honey, or to taste

1. Peel the ginger. Cut into thin slices and put it in a small pot with the water.
2. Bring the water to a boil and allow it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or a bit longer if you prefer a stronger tea.
3. Strain the tea into cups, add honey to taste and serve.

Grilled Ginger Salmon
This Asian-influenced marinade works well with salmon, swordfish or firm fish steaks. You can also try it on chicken or turkey breasts.

• 1 kg salmon
• ½ cup orange juice
• ½ cup soy sauce
• 1/3 cup honey
• 2 tbsp Dijon style mustard (optional)
• 1½ tsp dry ground ginger
• 1½ tsp garlic powder
• Freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Wash the fish. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, whisking until smooth.
2. Reserve ¼ cup of marinade and set aside.
3. Add the fish to the bowl, turning it over several times to coat it with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours.
4. Remove the fish from the bowl and place over medium heat on a grill (alternatively you can use a grill pan or broiler). Cook for approximately ten minutes each side, basting occasionally with the reserved marinade. Serve.

Christine Amina Benlafquih is an expert on Moroccan Food. Her culinary creations can be found on http://moroccanfood.about.com


Tharid 1

Article originally from SISTERS MAGAZINE – https://www.sisters-magazine.com/2016/02/13/the-prophet-saws-favourite-dish/

There may be nothing elegant about pouring hot meat and broth over a plateful of bread, yet around the world such humble fare is regarded as savoury, satisfying comfort food at its best. In Morocco, you’ll find chicken and lentils served this way; in Iraq, chicken and chickpeas and in the UAE, lamb and vegetables. In Italy, a number of soups are ladled over bread, while in America, roast beef and gravy ‘sandwiches’ might be presented in similar fashion.

Tharid – A One Dish Meal
Meat and bread dishes date back centuries, if not thousands of years. Not only can references for such stews be found in medieval cookbooks and texts, but tharid, a meat dish served communally on top of a platter of bread, was known to be the favourite meal of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). As Abdullah ibn Abbas said, “The food the Apostle of Allah (SAW) liked best was tharid made from bread and tharid made from Hays.” (Sunan Abudawud)

In fact, the Prophet (SAW) is famously quoted as saying, “The superiority of ‘Aisha to other ladies is like the superiority of tharid to other meals.” (Bukhari)

From another hadith, we learn that, on at least one occasion, the tharid served to the Prophet r included gourds along with the meat.

Likewise, modern day versions of tharid typically feature lamb, beef or poultry stewed with either beans or vegetables. Seasonings vary from one country to another. In some cuisines the consistency may be as thin as soup while, in others, it’s as thick as stew. In Morocco, the word trid(assumed to have derived from tharid) describes a traditional preparation of meat or poultry served atop shredded bread, while in Iraq, meat and bread dishes may be referred to as tharid, taghrib or tashreeb.

Talbina – A Soup, Condiment and Cure
In the time of the Prophet (SAW), tharid wasn’t always served plain – it might also be garnished with a healthy quantity of talbina, a barley flour-based soup with the consistency of yoghurt.Tharid prepared this way was a traditional meal offered to a bereaved family, while talbina itself was believed to be beneficial for the sick. The Prophet (SAW) said: “At-talbina gives rest to the heart of the patient and makes it active and relieves some of his sorrow and grief.” (Bukhari)

Modern science shows that barley is indeed good for our health. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, barley is also low in fat and significantly high in fibre. Not only does the soluble fibre in barley help reduce cholesterol and help slow sugar absorption, but the insoluble fibre in barley may help to reduce the risk of certain cancers, according to http://www.barleyfoods.org

Make Your Own Talbina
Talbina is easy to make. Simply cook one tablespoon of barley flour in one cup of milk or water for about 15 minutes or until thick, stirring several times while the mixture simmers over low heat. If desired, stir in a little honey to sweeten the mixture to taste. Serve plain or spooned over tharid.

Although we don’t know precisely how the tharid enjoyed by the Prophet (SAW) was prepared, you can replicate his favourite meal by serving any soup or stew of your choice over slices of day old bread, shredded pita or torn flatbread. Or, try the curry-style tharid recipe below.


Iraqi Tharid with Chicken – Tashreeb Djaj
(Serves 4 to 6)
• 1 whole chicken, cut into 4 to 8 pieces
• 4 tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 or 2 onions, chopped
• 4 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 or 3 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
• small bunch of cilantro (coriander ), chopped
• 1 to 2 tbsp curry powder
• 1½ tsp salt, or to taste
• ½ tsp black pepper, or to taste
• ½ tsp turmeric
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups water
• 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas
• 3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 6 servings of pita, naan or other bread
1. Wash and pat the chicken dry. If desired, remove and discard the skin.
2. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed stock pot or Dutch oven. In batches, brown the chicken on all sides. Remove the chicken from the oil and set aside.
3. Add the onions and garlic to the oil and cook for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes, coriander and spices. Cook for several minutes, until the tomatoes begin to soften.
4. Return the chicken to the pot and add the water and broth. Bring the liquids to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is tender, about 45 minutes. Add the chickpeas and potatoes (and a little more water to cover if necessary – you’ll want ample broth) and continue simmering until the potatoes are cooked and the chickpeas are heated through. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
5. On a large serving platter or in individual bowls, make a bed of broken or torn bread. Arrange the chicken in the middle and spoon the sauce, chickpeas and potatoes over all. Serve immediately.

Christine (Amina) Benlafquih writes on varied topics including religion, food, health and culture. You can find more of her writing on the web at Moroccan Food at About.com (http://moroccanfood.about.com).