In this updated and greatly enlarged edition of her Book of Middle Eastern Food, Claudia Roden re-creates a classic. The book was originally published here in 1972 and was hailed by James Beard as "a landmark in the field of cookery"; this new version represents the accumulation of the author's thirty years of further extensive travel throughout the ever-changing landscape of the Middle East, gathering recipes and stories.
Now Ms. Roden gives us more than 800 recipes, including the aromatic variations that accent a dish and define the country of origin: fried garlic and cumin and coriander from Egypt, cinnamon and allspice from Turkey, sumac and tamarind from Syria and Lebanon, pomegranate syrup from Iran, preserved lemon and harissa from North Africa. She has worked out simpler approaches to traditional dishes, using healthier ingredients and time-saving methods without ever sacrificing any of the extraordinary flavor, freshness, and texture that distinguish the cooking of this part of the world.
Throughout these pages she draws on all four of the region's major cooking styles:
- The refined haute cuisine of Iran, based on rice exquisitely prepared and embellished with a range of meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts
- Arab cooking from Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan--at its finest today, and a good source for vegetable and bulgur wheat dishes
- The legendary Turkish cuisine, with its kebabs, wheat and rice dishes, yogurt salads, savory pies, and syrupy pastries
- North African cooking, particularly the splendid fare of Morocco, with its heady mix of hot and sweet, orchestrated to perfection in its couscous dishes and tagines
From the tantalizing mezze--those succulent bites of filled fillo crescents and cigars, chopped salads, and stuffed morsels, as well as tahina, chickpeas, and eggplant in their many guises--to the skewered meats and savory stews and hearty grain and vegetable dishes, here is a rich array of the cooking that Americans embrace today. No longer considered exotic--all the essential ingredients are now available in supermarkets, and the more rare can be obtained through mail order sources (readily available on the Internet)--the foods of the Middle East are a boon to the home cook looking for healthy, inexpensive, flavorful, and wonderfully satisfying dishes, both for everyday eating and for special occasions.
When Roden published The Book of Middle Eastern Food in 1972, the cuisines of Morocco, Turkey, Greece, Egypt and their neighbors were mysteries in this country. Today, their fresh flavors are better known, and much loved, and Roden has expanded and updated her classic to meet modern needs. The new version includes more than 800 recipes, as well as folk tales, tips, anecdotes and just about all the information anyone needs to reproduce foods from that part of the world. Miraculously, Roden manages to be this thorough while never sacrificing her personal toneDthis is a book that is both encyclopedic and intimate. Much of Middle Eastern food is light tasting and vegetable-based, and the recipes reflect these qualities without neglecting more complex and unusual preparations. A chapter on appetizers and salads includes a Moroccan Lettuce and Orange Salad, Tabbouleh, Lemony Chicken Jelly and even a Brain Salad. While Roden is no stickler for starting from scratch, she always provides plenty of options for those who wish to do so. In a section on yogurtDa key ingredient in many recipes, such as Tagliatelle with Yogurt and Fried Onions, and Chickpeas with Yogurt and Soaked BreadDshe gives both guidelines for buying yogurt and instructions for making your own. A sub-section on Persian sauces for rice is outstanding, as is another on stuffed eggplants. Desserts include Egyptian "Bread-and-Butter" Pudding and Arab Pancakes with various filings. Roden won a James Beard award for The Book of Jewish Food in 1997. She will certainly be in the running once more with this impressive work. 24 pages of color photos.