RECIPE: THAREED (NURASUNNA STYLE)Mar 24, 2022
A tailor invited the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to a meal which he had prepared. Anas said: I went along with the Messenger of Allah(ﷺ) barley bread and soup containing pumpkin and dried sliced meat. Anas said: I saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) going after the pumpkin round the dish, so I have always liked pumpkins since that day.Reference : Sunan Abi Dawud 3782
Gourd is occasionally used to describe crop plants in the family Cucurbitaceae, like pumpkins, cucumbers, squash, luffa, and melons. Gourd is known as a Baraka (bountiful) plant. If you have ever planted one, you will know that one plant produces so much that will often keep the family and neighbours fed.
Thareed is served with bread. The bread is usually cut in small pieces in a plate then the broth, meat and squash is served on top of it. The bread soaks up the broth. I personally prefer to serve it in a deep dish, then use bread like roti or naan to scoop up the meat and squash along with the stew juices.
Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash`ari:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The superiority of `Aisha to other ladies is like the superiority of Tharid (i.e. meat and bread dish) to other meals. Many men reached the level of perfection, but no woman reached such a level except Mary, the daughter of `Imran and Asia, the wife of Pharaoh.
Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 3433
Thareed was one of the Prophet Muhammad salalahu alayhi wa salam’s favourite dishes and rightfully so. Today, it is often served in Ramadan throughout the Middle East.
But why is Thareed given such a high status in Islam?
Ibn Al Qayyim writes in his book Healing with the Medicine of the Prophet “Thareed is composed of some bread, which is the best of food, and meat, which is the best of flavoring. When these two are combined together, no other food can surpass them”.
Meat is one of the foods of Jannah. For many around the globe, meat is a luxury item that is often only available during Aqiqah (Child birth), Walima (Wedding Party) or Eid. It is highly nutritious, filling and sought-after. Stewing meat over a fire (stove) helps breakdown the nutrients to make it more bioavailable for our human consumption. The longer it stews, the easier it is to digest. Most parts of the world do not eat beef as their primary meat. Goats, lambs, and other small animals are favored. Beef is more of a western norm.
For this dish, I went easy on the spices so that the meat and squash are the focal points. This is one of my favorite dishes and I love serving it to guests while sharing its prophetic history.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
How to make Thareed, Nurasunna Style!
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cooking Time: 2 Hour
- 1lb meat pieces with bones (lamb, chicken, goat, veal or beef)
- 1 small onion (finely chopped)
- 1/2 to 2/3 Butternut Squash depending on the size (peeled and sliced into big chunks). This should equal about 2 cups of butternut squash.
- 1/2 teaspoon of allspice (this is a popular middle eastern spice, but you can substitute this with your own spice mix like ras-al-hanout or garam masala).
- 1/2-1 teaspoon of salt (start with less and add more to suit your taste).
- Pinch of black pepper
- 7 cardamom pods (crushed so they are slightly open)
- 1 pinch of cinnamon stick (about 1 inch in length).
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil, or preferably ghee
- 5 cups of water
Cooking meat requires a slow, long process of stewing in order to break down the nutrients and fibers to make it easily digestible. But this hearty stew is the ideal meal on a cold fall/winter evening after a long day’s work.
- Rinse meat with bones. Set aside.
- Add oil/ghee to a medium-sized pot on medium heat.
- Add onions and sauté until soft and golden.
- Add meat and sauté with the onions until the meat has been browned on all sides (5-7 minutes).
- Add spices
- Add 5 cups of water, and bring it to a boil.
- Let the meat cook over medium heat (depending on the intensity of your stove) for about 90 minutes. Check to see when meat is soft and falls apart easily. Stir often so nothing sticks on the bottom of your pot.
- Once the meat is soft, add the squash pieces. Add ½ cup of water if the broth level does not fully immerse the squash. Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes until squash is soft.
- Once squash is soft (but not mush), turn off the stove.
- Serve with home-made roti or naan.
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