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Just wanted to contribute another "introduction to smen" experience: I just returned from my Turkish grocer downstairs who also sells lots of Moroccan foodstuffs...I picked up some smen since my most recent Moroccan cookbook purchase lists it frequently as an ingredient.

It's...interesting. Definitely stinky (my wife just called down from upstairs "smells like burnt blue cheese"). A slightly bitter aftertaste. But not rancid, as in bad. I'm also interested in these smen recipes mentioned above. I'll post one of my adaptations out of this Moroccan book as soon as I get around to cooking one.

mem

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just to add my two cents...

Samen, or samneh as we say in Syria/Lebanon/Jordan, is a sort of clarified butter made from cows milk. All the major brands here in Syria and Lebanon usually say "cow samne" and have a big image of a cow on them. They come in a metal tin and yes, they smell very strong. "Zubde" is plain butter, Lurpak or Plugra are the common brands available.

I always said there are two secrets to Syrian cooking: samne and lemon juice, both used in copious amounts. The pervasive smell of samne wafts through the streets and is used in everything from basic rice to baklava. Pine nuts are fried in it and poured on top of fette, it gives heft to mansaf and flavors roast chicken and maqloubeh.

In New York you can get samen/samneh at Kalustyans, at the Indian Grocery at 1st Avenue and 6th Street, and in the Brooklyn groceries along Atlantic Ave like Sahadis, as well as many other locals.

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