Q: What is Thareed?


Abu Musa al-Ash?ari radhiyallaahu anhu narrated that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wasallam said, ?The virtue of Aaishah (the Prophet?s wife) over other women is like the virtue of Thareed over other food.? [Ash-Shamaail lit-Tirmizi, Chapter on the curry of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam.]

Types and ingredients
Thareed is a kind of food which was common amongst Arabs. The books of Hadith and the commentaries are hence sparse in detailed descriptions of a dish which was well known at the time. For example, Tuhfatul Ahwazi , a commentary of at-Tirmizi simply states, ?Thareed is bread mixed with meat gravy.? [Book of Virtues, Virtues of Aishah radiyallahu anha]

Of the breads available to us, the closest to the bread of the Hadith would be pita bread, although Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam ate coarse bread made of unsifted flour.

Another Hadith which al-Imam al-Bukhari narrates from Anas radiyallahu anhu establishes that green bottle gourd was also added to Thareed, ?I went along with the Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam to the house of a young tailor of his. The tailor presented a dish of Thareed to the Prophet and resumed his work. The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam started picking the pieces of gourd and I too, started picking them and putting it before him. Since then I have always loved gourd.? [al-Bukhari, Book of Foods] See our article on gourd

Since it is a general Sunnah to eat salt with food, salt could also be said to be an ingredient of Thareed.

A Hadith in Abu Dawud states that Ibn Abbas radiyallahu anhu said, ?The most liked food of Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was Thareed of bread and Thareed of Hays.? [Book of Foods, Eating Thareed]

According to the commentary in Awnul Ma?bood the first method is, ?? to crumble bread and add it to gravy??

Regarding the second kind it says, ?Hays is dates mixed with cheese and fat (butter)? the cheese can be substituted with spices?. The dates are made into dough with the fat ?. Saweeq (a barley cereal) can also be added?.as well as honey.?

Recipe ? Lamb Thareed
Since these recipes are not absolutely precise, we include here a recipe from a 700 year old recipe book of al-Andalus [the Muslim rule of Spain]. These recipes may not be the exact Thareeds of the Hadith, but nevertheless are Thareeds and part of the Muslim heritage.

Soaking – Overnight
Total second-day time – 2 hours

3 cups chickpeas
3 lbs. lamb, cut into bite-sized cubes
8 cups water
6 cups finely chopped onion
2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander
2 tsp. caraway seeds
2 tsp. pepper
6 eggs
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 tsp. saffron in 2 tbsp. water
1/2 cup honey
Enough stale bread for 2 cups of crumbs
6 rounds pita bread, quartered

Put the chickpeas into a large bowl, cover them with cold water and let soak overnight. The next day, drain the chickpeas and set them aside.

Put the lamb into a large stew pot and cover it with cold water. Bring to a boil and skim off the foam that rises to the top. Add the chickpeas, onion, ground and fresh coriander, caraway seeds and pepper; return to a boil, then reduce the heat. Break the eggs directly into the pot so that they will poach along with the stew. Let the stew cook for an hour to an hour and a half, until the chickpeas are done and the lamb is tender. Add salt and saffron, then remove 1/2 cup of broth from the pot, mix it together with the honey, and pour it back into the pot. Return to a boil and boil vigorously for 3 minutes.

Put the pita wedges in the bottom of the serving bowl and pour the tharid over them; or serve the pita wedges alongside the tharid and so that guests may put a few in the bottom of an individual soup bowl, then spoon the stew over the bread.

Recipe ? Chicken Thareed
An Arabic cookbook written about 2 -3 centuries after Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam contains the following recipe for Chicken Thareed:
Soaking – Overnight
Total second-day time – 1-1/2 hours

2 cups chickpeas
8 cups water
5 lbs. chicken, cut up
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2 tsp. dried ginger
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp. salt
2 cups milk
2 cups finely chopped onion
6 cups carrots, cut into 1/4″ slices
2 cups blanched and ground almonds
1/4 cup vinegar
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tbsp. pepper
2 tsp. cumin
8 eggs (optional)

Put the chickpeas into a large bowl, cover them with cold water and let soak overnight. The next day, drain the chickpeas and set them aside.

The next day, put the chickpeas into a pot, cover them with 8 cups of water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook for an hour.

After the chickpeas have cooked for 30 minutes, put the chicken into another large pot, add just enough water to cover by 1/2″, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the foam that floats to the top, add the ginger, cinnamon and salt, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Drain the chickpeas and put them in the pot with the chicken. Add the onions and carrots and enough water so that everything is covered. Return to a boil, reduce the heat, and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Add more water as needed to keep everything covered.

Stir in the milk, then add ground almonds and vinegar, coriander, pepper and cumin. If desired, break the eggs into the pot, one at a time. Cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.

For more Thareed recipes refer to: