From the 1800s onwards, my family was among the "hidden Jews of Islam" in the medieval city of Meshed, Persia - strictly observant Jews at home, but Muslims to the outside world. Wine for kiddush was made in their cellars, they ground their own wheat for bread and matzah. Synagogue prayers and Hebrew lessons were conducted in secret. Shops were open on Shabbat but no sales were made.
When my parents moved to Bombay, India, they were part of large Iranian/Iraqi communities. One of my brothers qualified as a shochet so he could kill chickens for the family. As there was no refrigeration in India, the butcher would deliver the meat early in the morning. It was cooked immediately and consumed by 10am. Any leftovers were handed out to the poor in the street.
Progress in refrigeration came in the shape of a large ice block delivered to the door each morning.
My mother used to cook this mixture as grilled kebabs, which contained onions and flour - it looked and tasted wonderful. I have improvised the recipe for the oven and included wheat- and onion-free ingredients to accommodate my grandchildren's various allergies.
● 800g best minced chicken or combination lamb and chicken mince
● 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
● 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
● 2 large eggs
● 1 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
● 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
● 1 tbsp fresh dill chopped
● ½ tsp cinammon
● ½ tsp ground cumin
● ½ tsp salt
● Preheat the oven to 200°C
● Finely chop the sweet potatoes and carrots in a blender or food processor.
● Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and place in an oven-proof dish approximately 32x22cm.
● Cook in the oven for approximately 45-50 minutes until the top is golden.
● Cut into rectangles and serve.