In the middle of a busy restaurant kitchen in London, Sam and Samantha Clark stand contemplating a saucepan filled with cooked, sprouting broad beans. The Clarks, owner-chefs of Moro, have been cooking with dried beans for decades, but it took reading an ancient recipe before they thought to try sprouting them first.
“What’s insane,” says Sam, pausing to taste a bean he has marinated in olive oil, cumin and coriander, “is how much we recognise, how much we don’t and how sophisticated the recipes are.”
He is talking about a newly discovered copy of a 13th-century manuscript titled Faḍālat al-khiwān fī ayyibāt al-ṭaʿām wa-al-alwān (Best of Delectable Foods and Dishes from al-Andalus and al-Maghrib) and written by Ibn Razīn al-Tujībī. Since they opened Moro in 1997, the Clarks have championed the food of the Arabic-Iberian world, but al-Tujībī’s tome is a revelation. “It will affect the way we