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Recipe for Psoai
(Pork in a piquant sauce)

from the Heidelburg Papyrus


This recipe comes from a papyrus fragment of a cookery book that was found in Egypt and first published in 1921.

Original recipe:

Translation: Loin and pieces of meat: mix together in sufficient qantity with salt, coriander, and fig sap. Cook until it has thickened. Make a hot sauce in a pan: wine vinegar, one part of olive oil to two parts of sweet wine, a pinch of salt. When it has boiled, add a handful of oregano, skim off the froth and sprinkle on some green stuff.


  • 2 lb. pork
  • 4 oz. olive oil
  • 1 cup sweet white wine
  • 5 figs (dried or fresh)
  • 2 tsp. coriander seeds ground in a pestle, or 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • A handful of fresh parsely
  • Sea salt


  • Chop the figs into smal pieces and boil in 2 cups of water for about 20 minutes or until the water is reduced in half.
  • Cut pork into 1-inch cubes, place them into a casserole and fry in a little olive oil until brown.
  • Toss the pork with some salt, the ground coriander, and a bit of the boiled fig stock (poured through a strainer to keep the seeds a fig pieces out).
  • Add the wine, oregano, vinegar, and the rest of the fig stock to the pork.
  • Bake in covered casserole in a 350º oven for an hour and a half.
  • Sprinkle parsely on the pork shortly before serving.
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