Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Recommended Posts

During the mid 1950s there was a great influx of North African Jews into Israel. One of our neighbors was a settler from Libya. I recall a wonderfully spicy fish dish that she prepared every Friday. It was prepared in a thick red sauce that didn’t taste of tomato. I recall a strong hint of cumin and that it was fiery hot. I believe she called it something like H’reimi and she served it with fresh homemade pita.

Is anyone familiar with this dish? How is it prepared?

Elie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a well known Lybian dish and the correct transliteration is not H’reimi but Haraymi.

It is basically a fish dish and unfortunatly does include tomatoes in the recipe although the taste gets lost with the Lemon - Garlic - Cumin and Chilli peper.

If you do a search for Haraymi you will come back with the same recipe as copied from one of the sites as follows:

Ingredients:

4 pieces of fish

Tomato paste

½ spoon salt

½ chopped garlic

½ spoon Cumin

lemon juice

½ spoon chilli

Marinate the fish in lemon, salt, Cumin and garlic. Put some oil in pan heat it up until it sizzles then put onions, garlic and heat till coloured. Add 3 spoon tomato paste and tomato juice. Leave for 5 minutes then add salt, Cumin and water. After 10 min. Add the marinated fish to the mixture and heat up for 15 min.

Try it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen it spelled H’reimi, as well as Haraymi.

Another problem with transliteration is that the Roman alphabet is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world.

There is a standard method for transliterating Arabic into English. But this standard will vary from the French standard.

1. English transliterations are based on classic/standard Arabic pronunciation.

2. French transliterations are based on classic/standard Arabic as well as North African derja.

H'reimi looks more like North African derja to me written in French.

(I'm only very lightly getting into language. I don't really have the energy to get into long discussion on this online.)

As for the recipe. I am pretty sure that the tomato paste would be sauteed in the olive oil for a few minutes before adding the juice. (btw, I wouldn't add tomato juice). This is a common North African cooking technique, it intensifies the flavor of the tomato paste, but seems to take out some of the flavor of tomatoes. I'm probably not describing it correctly (sick and not enough sleep).

Anyway, I would suggest Elie try sauteeing the tomato paste in the olive oil.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tricky stuff is transliteration. Obviously it is phonetics related and one must be able to speak and understand the lingo before attempting to transliterate. It also implies that the person is proficient in the language to be transliterated into.

In some cases, allowances are made as means of compromise as you could end up with quite a few versions:

Humos-Homos-Hummos-Hommos-Houmos...etc

In the Haraymi case. The Arabic spelling is with the letter Ha'a stress on the H cause there is another letter Ha'a with a soft H. So the stong H is followed in arabic with an R which reads HAR. If the word in Arabic was written with a soft H then H'reimi would be correct.

Now I have no idea if Haraimi as a word means anything in local Lybian lingo and I hazard that it does not have any specific meaning. However HAR in Arabic stands for Chilli and as the dish is quite heavy on spices, I would go for the Haraimi transliteration. (incidentally the begining of the word Haraimi in Arabic is HRAIMI and an A accent has to go on the letter H to read as HAR...

The H'reimi phonetics implies a soft H which is not in line with the spelling and pronounciation. It also does not bear any meaning.

So to sum up, the word is written in Arabic with a strong Ha'a and thus Haraimi is correct.

But in any case it is a very nice dish.


Edited by Almass (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The French transliteration of Harissa as written by Algerian linguists is Ahrissa.

Not only is the beginning "h" dropped altogether so is the 'har' which as you say is standard for chili.

I've also seen it commonly spelled h'rissa by Algerians in France.

Certainly where Algeria and Libya meet the dialect would be similar. Of course they don't meet where any fresh fish dishes are prepared.

Thank you for the informaton Almass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The French transliteration of Harissa as written by Algerian linguists is Ahrissa.

Not only is the beginning "h" dropped altogether so is the 'har' which as you say is standard for chili.

I've also seen it commonly spelled h'rissa by Algerians in France.

Certainly where Algeria and Libya meet the dialect would be similar. Of course they don't meet where any fresh fish dishes are prepared.

Thank you for the informaton Almass

Yes you are right for Harissa and spelled Ahrissa or H'rissa. Because the Arabic writting is with the Soft Ha'a. While Haraimi is written with the hard Ha'a.

Take Homos or Humos or whichever pronunciation. Humos in Arabic is written with the hard Ha'a. However any non Arab would pronounce the word Humos with a soft H for the simple reason that they simply cannot pronounce the hard Arabic H as it does not exist in the latin alphabet and hence they have problem with the phonetics.

Same for the Arabic word Da'l and Da'ad as two different Arabic letters for the same letter "D". Same for Caf and Kaf. Same for Kha'a and Gha'a.

And that's why the Arabic language is called Lughat al Da'ad i.e. the Da'ad language.

There is also another reference for the purest spoken and written Arabic but we shall be slightly starting to go out of the topic in this thread and maybe Arabic transliteration needs its own thread.

Thank you for your interest

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As others have pointed out, transliteration, especially fro Arabic and/or Hebrew is especially difficult because of the hard "ch" involved. According to the style manuals of both HaAretz and the Jerusealem Post newspapers, when writing in English the accepted spelling is in fact "chreimeh". Spell it and pronounce it as well as you like but when you get into the discussion about whether the dish has its origins in Tunisia, Algeria or Libya, they you're in trouble as the discussions can get even more heated than the dish itself.

Whatever, here is the recipe I have used succesfully for quite some time, the recipe adapted from Ron Meiberg's excellent book "Taste of Israel"

3 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

8-12 cloves garlic, chopped

2Tbsp. tomato paste

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp.lemon juice

1/2 tsp. black pepper

ground coriander to taste

1/2 tsp.paprika (hot or sweet to choice)

1 1/2 cups water

1 lb fresh sea bass,grey mullet or carp

Heat the oil in a saucepan and in this saute the onions and parsley for 5minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, salt, lemon juice, pepper and coriander. Add the water, mixwell and cook for 5 - 10 minutes over a moderate heat, stirring regularly.

Lay the fish in the saucepan, cover and poach for about 25 minutes.


Edited by Daniel Rogov (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
According to the stylke manuals of both HaAretz and the Jerusealem Post newspapers, when writing in English the accepted spelling is in fact "chreimeh

You mean transliterating from Hebrew to English? Seems obvious you mean that, Just to clarify.

EDIT: I don't think anyone here was talking about the origins of the dish. Only the first post which mentioned that a Libyan neighbor made the dish, but even that post didn't call it a Libyan dish. We were discussing different dialects of Arabic and transliterating into different languages...


Edited by touaregsand (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
According to the stylke manuals of both HaAretz and the Jerusealem Post newspapers, when writing in English the accepted spelling is in fact "chreimeh

You mean transliterating from Hebrew to English? Seems obvious you mean that, Just to clarify.

EDIT: I don't think anyone here was talking about the origins of the dish. Only the first post which mentioned that a Libyan neighbor made the dish, but even that post didn't call it a Libyan dish. We were discussing different dialects of Arabic and transliterating into different languages...

Mm, actually, Almass stated that it's a Libyan dish. It does seem to be something with a lot of different identities and potential origins, from what I'm reading here. I'm looking forward to trying it! This is a new dish for me, and I'm looking forward to trying Almass' and Daniel's versions.

This is fascinating stuff, and couldn't come at a better time for me. You noted that transliteration seems to depend a lot on how the transliterator pronounces the word. Almass notes that there is a standard system, but I wonder (based on my experiences in Egypt and my cookbooks) whether it's really well established yet outside the newspapers and academic world. Maybe it's too new to have reached the streets? An Egyptian speaker will pronounce something differently than a Lebanese or Moroccan speaker, and from what I can tell none of them will make it sound quite like Modern Standard Arabic. So, the transliteration from the written word - I assume that's Modern Standard, but I could be wrong about that - is more likely to be standardized than what the restaurant owner is going to put in his menu. If I go to 3 Egyptian restaurants I'm liable to find 3 spellings for tameyya and molokhia.

Daniel, I'm glad you spoke up too. This will sound silly, but it hadn't even occurred to me that Hebrew would pose the same problems of transliteration. If your 'ch' is pronounced as I think it is, it looks as though the Israeli version is actually pronounced differently than the Libyan version.

Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to trying this dish in all its variations, whatever its origins.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of possible related interest, from 14 – 16 June, the Konrad Adenauer Conference Centre at Mishkenat Sha'anaim in Jeruslem is hosting the international conference "A Taste of the Mediterranean". The conference will host Mediterranean, Israeli and Palestinian chefs, food connoisseurs and historians in order to examine andexperience the tastes of the region.

My own talk at the conference will discuss the hypothesis that throughout the Mediterranean basin recipes cross borders far more easily than people. The talk will trace the somewhat dubious history and even folklore of folk-style culinary offerings such as shwarma, kebabs, taramasalata, chreimeh, felafel and kubbeh as well as more sophisticated dishes and tying them to the culinary, social, ethnic and religious composition of various neighboring countries. I am also planning an offering of amusing anecdotes of different countries each claiming to have been the "originator" of this dish or that and a more serious social analysis of how the foods of perceived "enemies" come to be absorbed into one's own national setting. Part of the talk with be devoted not only to variations on various culinary themes but as well to the different names/pronunciations of those dishes.

I gather the talks, tastings and attendant tours will be open to the public. Those interested can garner further information by contacting project coordinator Beverley Hemo by email at programme@mishkenot.org.il


Edited by Daniel Rogov (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mm, actually, Almass stated that it's a Libyan dish. It does seem to be something with a lot of different identities and potential origins, from what I'm reading here. I'm looking forward to trying it! This is a new dish for me, and I'm looking forward to trying Almass' and Daniel's versions.

This is fascinating stuff, and couldn't come at a better time for me. You noted that transliteration seems to depend a lot on how the transliterator pronounces the word. Almass notes that there is a standard system, but I wonder (based on my experiences in Egypt and my cookbooks) whether it's really well established yet outside the newspapers and academic world.

I got the impression that Almass said it's a Libyan dish because he found a recipe off of a Libyan website, not that the dish originates in Libya. But that's a hair that doesn't need to be split. I did it anyway. :raz:

The standard form in English is this. The link was provided by Clifford Wright.

The problem with Algerian derja is that there is really no standard dialect. Some say maybe Algiers where my sister in law is from, many resist this and want to keep regional variations alive.

The variations in Arabic pronuniciation in the Magrhib aren't wildy different (I won't even bring up Amazigh or Berber dialects). Think of American regional accents (not a great comparison). But the idea is that speakers of Maghrib derja whether from Morocco, Algeria or Tunisia are mutually understandable. Whereas it can be very difficult for Mashriq and Maghrib Arabic speakers to understand eachother. But that's not impossible either with some repetition and of course it depends on the ear of the speaker. I'm speaking in very, very broad strokes here.

Algeria is in the center of the Magrhib there are regions where the speakers sound Tunisian, Annaba for instance. I have friends from there who don't sound as sing songy as the Tunisians do, but it's pretty similar. Of course in Tlemcen is very close to Morocco. And deep into sub-saharan Algeria the accent will be affected by Mali, Mauritania and Niger...

Back on topic to food and dishes. The French transiterations take into account regional variations in pronunciation in varying degrees. And different regions of Algeria will use loan words from other languages so the same dish will have a different name. Throw in Arab-Berber hybrids, Berber-Arab hybrids, Berber dialects... it's a big soup or tajine as the case may be.

If H'reimi is called h'reimi in Morocco chances are the dish will have the same name in Tlemcen. But in Oran it will be called Sardina something (off the top of my head I think Sardina be Dirsa).

Let's talk Ladino now! :biggrin:

All of these linguistic elements make it really challenging for scholars but I believe Algerian oral traditions, forms of sung poetry in particular are especially lovely to listen to. Of course it's also given the country a rich culinary history as well.

EDIT: I thought of another Agerian dish that is similar called Badjidj be dersa.


Edited by touaregsand (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The haraymi I'm familiar with is a Tunisian dish, hamrāya, which is sea bream (Sparus pagrus L.) and is a dish of mullet or sea bream cooked with lemon juice, olive oil, tomato puree, paprika, harīsa served hot or cold. But, alternatively, the Tunisian authority Muhammad Kouki identifies it as a ragout of cuttlefish from Sfax.

I've posted it elsewhere (somewhere) that there is an Arabic-English transliteration system used by writers and scholars. It is the one that I use. It can be found at

http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/arabic.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1- Haraymi - So called the Lybian version is as the recipe descriped above.

Now obviously this dish which is composed of Fish and spices, comes in different variant not on a ME basis only but all over the world.

You want to call it "chreimeh" but where is the Cumin? replaced by ground Coriander?

You want to call it "hamraya" but where is the Cumin? replaced by Harissa?

You want to call "Samkeh Harrah" with both Cumin and both ground and green Coriander?

The fact of the matter is that the name Haraymi relates to Lybia with its own recipe which differential is Cumin.

Take any recipe across borders, change one or two ingredients and claim it is original to a particular place. You can do it in some cases and next to impossible to do it in other cases.

2- As for the Arabic transliteration, I had a look at the posted link and frankly I would thread very carefully with this link which is omitting one major factor in the Arabic language which is the "Accentuation".

Although "Accentuation" might complicate sorting out a system of transliteration.

But at the end of the day you have to consider two points:

A- Arabic "Accentuation" although is not omnipresent in all text (newspapers - bestsellers...etc) is still present in the mind of the reader and while it is not always used in writing but as an Arabic pupil you learn Arabic grammar Al E'raab which comprises "Accentuation". So it is present in the mind of the reader and not necessary on paper.

B- Any word pronounced in different accents has, at the end of the day, to be put in writing. It is only when you write the word in Arabic that you can bounce back the pronunciation across all the Arabic world into one common language and phonetics. As some of you know, the written classical Arabic is somehow different from the coloquial Arabic, a lexico-grammatical and phonological combination.

Write it and read it aloud and it is the same phonetic transference and this is the power of the language.

Write Harissa in Arabic and the pronunciation is common across every Arabic speaker. Same for Haraimi and same for Humos and etc.

So transliteration can be either a representation of the coloquial pronunciation or the writing application. And when both coincide then the transliteration is at its best.


Edited by Almass (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

H'reimi means hot in Algerian derja and it is transliterated by French speaking Algerians this way.

Hamrāya has h'rissa, h'rissa almost always has cumin in it. Missing cumin found.

Maghrebi derja, especially Algerian cannot be entirely decoded or even easily understood from the point of a classical/standard speaker of Arabic or a Mashriq speaker, even in it's written form.

Algerian derja has loan words from Amazigh.

Algerian derja has Amazigh-Arab hyrbid words.

Amazigh, including food terms, are also written in Arabic.

Amazigh has Arab-Amazigh hybrid words.

The other non-Arabic loan words in our derja can probably be easily deciphered by a relatively educated person.

Hamrāya- can mean to make hot or to make something with chilis, the name has nothing to do with cumin or the type of seafood used.

The exact same Libyan recipe can be found in all three Magreb countries with the same, similar or different names. The recipe listed by the way doesn't include onions in the list of ingredients, but it does in the directions for preparation. Tomato juice is a new addition. It's not something our moms or grandmothers would have added.

Libyan Arabic overlaps with Maghrebi derja where the country borders Tunisia and Algeria.


Edited by chefzadi (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's please keep this thread on track and discuss the dish named in the subject. We might disagree how it is pronounced or transliterated, but it is obvious we are talking more or less about the same dish.

Discussions of the Arabic language and what is the best way to transliterate it can take up volumes and it does not belong here. We all know what the dish is, we all know how it is made thanks to several of you, so please keep any linguistic discussions off the forums.

Thanks,

Elie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you to Almass and Daniel Rogov for the recipes. I will be on my way to the fishmonger this weekend so that I can give them a try.

I didn’t intend to stir up a discussion of Arabic transliteration, however, thanks for the discourse. Daniel’s reference to the acceptable spelling at HaAretz and the Jerusalem Post yielded this recipe as a result of a search.

So, it looks like there will be three pots on the go this weekend. One each containing Haraymi, H’reimi and Chreimeh

Thank you all.

Elie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×