Friday, February 5, 2010

Alya (Sheep Tail Fat)

A staple of the Arab kitchen since 3000B.C. , alya also known as aliya or roghan-e donbeh in Farsi is the rendered fat from the tail of the Awassi sheep, an Asian breed of sheep that are commonly found in parts of Africa, the Middle East,Northern India,Mongolia, and Western China.Just like the camel, these sheep hold most of their energy reserves in their tail which can weigh upwards of up to 25+lbs. and are able to survive in hot, arid climates.

Alya is hardly used anymore except in rural areas because of the widespread availability of other more convenient cooking fats and oils but it was used extensively in Medieval Arab recipes.Most Medieval Arab cookbooks refer to it's method of employment as "melt tail" or "fry in tail".Nowadays,certain rural areas of Lebanon and Syria have been known to use it where it is a common ingredient in the Lebanese dish qawarma, pieces of meat that are fried in alya , then preserved for later consumption.
Bookmark and Share


  1. Hello there! I am going to link back to your blog! By the way, i wish you would link to your blog when you leave me comments~ I am not able to respond to your comments AND I don't want to seem rude.

  2. Thanks Joumana for your comment and the link.