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Perfume makers of the medieval Islamic world


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Zeynab
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« on: December 26, 2019, 01:24:32 am »



I absolutely adore this post.   We need to thank Allah Almighty again and again for bestowing such a great history to our Muslim world.  It's we who need to reprimand ourselves for completely failing to keep it up.  Allah bless you for this amazing hard work, Sister Heba.

Concerning Sister Ruhi's query, yes, brother TS is right.  It's similar to falafel.  He's also right, in that, 'Shami' does mean Syrian and therefore by definition "Shami kebab" means Syrian kebab.  History tells us that its origin is from northern Middle East viz Syria. 

Many Syrians and Lebanese who were connoisseurs of delectable food and had been in the food business as a family profession, migrated to the land of the Mughal Empire in South Asia during the Middle Ages.  During the Mughal era South Asia was quite a wealthy region.  The rich led a very high standard of life and paid attractive wages to their employees.  Shami kebab did not originate in South Asia, it was introduced there by the early Arab immigrants.   

But in modern times, a lot of South Asians, namely Indians, try to downplay the true origin of the term "shami kebab."  They have come up with various mythical stories.  Some claim it comes from the word "sham" which in Urdu means 'evening.'  So why would this particular kebab be alluded to as 'evening kebab' while it's been a popular item for dinner, lunch and snack?   Neither is the term 'sham' (evening) ever elongated nor abbreviated as 'shami.'  This tale makes no sense.  Another one claims "shami" takes its name from 'shamama' which is supposedly the name of some South Asian perfume.    But shami kebab has a very pungent foodish fragrance in which the meat is mixed with plenty of ginger and garlic paste, yogurt, channa dal and various savory spices.  No perfume carries this kind of aroma neither is it supposed to.  I mean, shami kebab is delicious to eat, but no one would want to use a perfume on their skin or clothes that smells of ginger, garlic, yellow split pea, chilly, cumin etc.  Right?  So, this second claim is another myth just as senseless as the first.  The third gossip is the most ludicrous of all (referring to the softer texture of shami kebab compared to other kebabs) that a cook in northern India invented it for a "toothless nawab" so it would be easier for him to chew and swallow.  "Nawab" means a rich man in Urdu.  Apart from the fact that there's absolutely no evidence to support this story, it doesn't trace the etymology of the term 'shami' either.   Shami kebab is clearly and certainly a variation of the Middle-Eastern falafel which is made of ground chickpeas, fava beans, herbs, spices and onions.  In shami kebab too all of these are used except fava beans which is substituted with minced meat .. and of course herbs and spices may vary to please differing taste buds.   But both are prepared in exactly the same way, finally deep fried, and they are look alikes too. 


 
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