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Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Arabian Cooking [Hardcover]

Habeeb Salloum
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing (15 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804841020
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804841023
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 22.5 x 1.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Over the past several years, I've taught hundreds of students from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE, and they were eager to share their native cuisine with me; we would frequently have Saudi coffee breaks with homemade pastries courtesy of their wives, or talk about the finer points of making kabsa or hunting for desert truffles. I was interested in learning more about these dishes, but found that most recent cookbooks on Middle Eastern cooking were focused more on Turkey, Morocco, Syria, or Iran with the exception of one or two recent releases like Cardamom and Lime: Recipes from the Arabian Gulf.

I own Habeeb Salooum's excellent Classic Vegetarian Cooking: From the Middle East and North Africa, so I was very interested to see his "The Arabian Nights Cookbook." "Arabian Nights" revisits and expands upon several Gulf favorites first introduced in his "Classic Vegetarian Cooking" and includes the many chicken, lamb and seafood dishes found in the Gulf, including kabsa, al-mandi, zurbian, laham (mini Saudi pizzas that are distinct from their Syrian cousins), and several Indian-inspired fish preparations including a Kuwaiti fish curry.

In "Arabian Nights," you'll find numerous suggestions from appetizers to Gulf-style coffee and beverages to round out your meal (although strangely there is no mention of Saudi coffee made with freshly roasted green coffee beans) and sweets including baklava, a heavenly cardamom-scented fruit salad, fritters and other fried desserts, and rosewater-scented custards and puddings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars only for aficionados of coriander and cumin 8 April 2011
By wogan
Format:Hardcover
As a cookbook for those who want to cook as modern day Arabs cook, this book would be perfect. The title alludes to Arabian Nights, so hopefully readers would realize that recipes are not going to be those of more that 100 years ago.
The recipes themselves are typical of the area, but most do contain the spices of mint or coriander or cumin. The print is not very big, but there are pictures for most of the recipes. Included are basics, such as crunchy pickled garlic and homemade plain yogurt, appetizers and snacks, salads, soups, chicken, meats, seafood, vegetarian, breads, rice and side dishes, desserts and drinks.

There is a brief but interesting segment on the diversity of modern Arab Gulf cooking, Arab hospitality and the geography. The equipment, tools and ingredients needed are shown and described. There is a resource guide to find them which has the addresses, phone numbers and web sites. There is also help in some photographic diagrams showing how to stuff and roll a grape leaves, for example.
The recipes are not that hard and would give a cook many different dishes to prepare.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious and easy Middle Eastern recipes. 11 Dec 2010
Format:Hardcover
Easy to follow recipes and a good selection of the best dishes from the Middle East. Beautiful photos - I love this book.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars only for aficionados of coriander and cumin 23 Mar 2011
By wogan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a cookbook for those who want to cook as modern day Arabs cook, this book would be perfect. The title alludes to Arabian Nights, so hopefully readers would realize that recipes are not going to be those of more that 100 years ago.
The recipes themselves are typical of the area, but most do contain the spices of mint or coriander or cumin. The print is not very big, but there are pictures for most of the recipes. Included are basics, such as crunchy pickled garlic and homemade plain yogurt, appetizers and snacks, salads, soups, chicken, meats, seafood, vegetarian, breads, rice and side dishes, desserts and drinks.

There is a brief but interesting segment on the diversity of modern Arab Gulf cooking, Arab hospitality and the geography. The equipment, tools and ingredients needed are shown and described. There is a resource guide to find them which has the addresses, phone numbers and web sites. There is also help in some photographic diagrams showing how to stuff and roll a grape leaves, for example.
The recipes are not that hard and would give a cook many different dishes to prepare.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YUMMMMM! 9 Feb 2011
By Judy Acuna - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I happened to be in a bookstore after a dr.apt and of course had to check out the cookbook section. I picked this book up and glanced through it...and KNEW that I had to have it!!! The title is kind of silly...but the contents of the book are EXCELLENT!! I have been to many different restaurants throughout my dance career..thus eating quite a sampling of Middle Eastern cooking. This book is REALLY the authentic recipes of a home cook in the Arabic region. I couldn't get home fast enough to order it! I am about half way through it...and am dying to try some of the recipes!! There is no shortage of Middle Eastern cookbooks out there(I know...I think that I have most of them!)...but this book is happily a change from the sometimes "Americanized" recipes. It is hardcore... for sure!! So..I shall be off next week to pick up supplies from my Arabic store and will be testing recipes for the grand opening of my dance studio!! I make a MEAN baklava, but would like my friends to try some more diverse Middle Eastern food!! I used to cater at lots of dance events...so I know my way around some of the more challenging recipes. But this book is VERY easy to follow!! So ....buy this book! What more can I say..I LOVE it!!!! You won't be disappointed!!!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Arabian Nights" will infuse your kitchen with the captivating aromas of the Middle East 24 Mar 2013
By Bundtlust - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Over the past several years, I've taught hundreds of students from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE, and they were eager to share their native cuisine with me; we would frequently have Saudi coffee breaks with homemade pastries courtesy of their wives, or talk about the finer points of making kabsa or hunting for desert truffles. I was interested in learning more about these dishes, but found that most recent cookbooks on Middle Eastern cooking were focused more on Turkey, Morocco, Syria, or Iran with the exception of one or two recent releases like Cardamom and Lime: Recipes from the Arabian Gulf.

I own Habeeb Salooum's excellent Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East and North Africa, so I was very interested to see his "The Arabian Nights Cookbook." "Arabian Nights" revisits and expands upon several Gulf favorites first introduced in his "Classic Vegetarian Cooking" and includes the many chicken, lamb and seafood dishes found in the Gulf, including kabsa, al-mandi, zurbian, laham (mini Saudi pizzas that are distinct from their Syrian cousins), and several Indian-inspired fish preparations including a Kuwaiti fish curry.

In "Arabian Nights," you'll find numerous suggestions from appetizers to Gulf-style coffee and beverages to round out your meal (although strangely there is no mention of Saudi coffee made with freshly roasted green coffee beans) and sweets including baklava, a heavenly cardamom-scented fruit salad, fritters and other fried desserts, and rosewater-scented custards and puddings. Most recipes here use at least stick of butter or cup of oil for the rice dishes, and there are many fried dishes, but there are also a wide variety of fresh, delicious vegetable salads, pickled veggies, and yogurt-based dips and drinks represented, so you can assemble your own Arabian-inspired meal however you wish (including vegetarian, as there are many wonderful salads, soups, breads and rice dishes to choose from).

The book begins with a compact illustrated glossary of useful tools and implements (particularly related to brewing and serving Gulf-style coffee) and an illustrated list of essential Arabian ingredients that gives names in English and Arabic. Several basic recipes including pickled garlic, strained yogurt and tangy hot tomato sauce set the stage. You'll find many familiar dishes that have migrated to the Gulf such as baba ghanouj, muhammara, hummus and tabbouleh, a lovely orange and olive salad originally from Morocco, and many imports by way of India: baqoura (pakoras), samboosak (samosas), curries, etc. Each recipe gives a brief history of the dish and its origins, along with preparation tips and hints.

I tried several of the recipes including Mung Beans and Rice with Almonds, Aromatic Rice with Almonds, Sweet Holiday Biscuits, Sweetened Vermicelli Omelet, Olive and Orange Salad, Zesty Tomato and Fresh Coriander Salad, and the Refreshing Green Salad. The first time I made the Mung Beans and Rice with Almonds, I followed the recipe exactly, and I found the cooking time FAR too long (25 minutes at a simmer followed by 30 minutes to steam off the heat): the rice had disintegrated into a glutinous paste rather than fluffy separate grains. I tossed out the first batch and started over, but this time I used the directions from the Aromatic Rice with Almonds, fusing the two recipes (I added raisins with the mung beans and used the larger quantity of almonds), which only has you cook the rice for 12 minutes before steaming for 30. This time, the rice was fluffy and perfectly cooked, so I would start with half the cooking time if you're following the recipe for Mung Beans.

I also enjoyed learning to make Arabian breads like sweet holiday biscuits (khubz mohala), a yeasted dough sweetened with date syrup (I made my own using the instructions in the sidebar) that makes a lovely accompaniment to coffee and dates. The dessert section contains standards like baklava as well as a cardamom-scented fruit salad with a fabulous cardamom honey dressing that's great on any kind of fruit.

The instructions are straightforward and most of the ingredients should be easy to find, although you may have to mail order some of the spices such as za'tar, sumac, date syrup and rose / orange blossom water depending on whether you have any Middle Eastern / Indian markets in your area. The book is gorgeous to look at as well; there are photos for nearly every recipe, as well as some step-by-step photos for the more difficult ones (stuffing lamb / veal). There is also a suggested resource guide arranged by geographic regions of the U.S. and Canada. The index includes English recipe titles only.

Mr. Salloum has created a wonderful, compact introduction to Gulf cooking that is accessible by all levels of home chefs; most importantly, his recipes are practical for home kitchens (my students used to regale me with tales of roasting a whole camel in a pit in the Saudi desert; luckily the largest thing in this cookbook is the roast leg of lamb!). "The Arabian Nights Cookbook" will infuse your kitchen with the captivating tastes and aromas of the Arabian Gulf and add a whole new layer of flavor to your repertoire!

(Review copy courtesy of Tuttle Publishing)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Authentic Recipes 13 Jan 2012
By Sunny - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I was thumbing through a lot of Middle Eastern Cookbooks, and I'm so glad I found this one! It has pictures with most of the dishes so you have something to expect when you get a final product, and it has helpful hints for many of the recipes. It has all the basic how-to's for Middle Eastern dishes. It's a great resource for beginners. Every single dish I've made so far from this book has been delicious. It tastes like actual Middle-Eastern food, not as if I attempted to make something and it came out as a mystery dish.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Superb Cookbook--Absolutely Superb 5 Mar 2013
By Terry Sunday - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
My wife and I have been serious ethnic cooking hobbyists for decades. We've even planned some of our world travel itineraries around the cuisines of the countries we've visited, such as Spain and India. With a cookbook library of more than 400 volumes covering cuisines from all around the world, we have literally thousands of recipes to choose from when we undertake our weekend cooking marathons. We mark each recipe that we make with a little orange Avery stick-on dot so we won't inadvertently repeat them. With few exceptions, everything we cook is new to us. Having so much experience with the unique herbs, spices and preparation techniques of international ethnic foods, we've also become pretty good judges of whether a recipe is good just by reading the list of ingredients. And the 100+ recipes in Habeeb Salloum's "The Arabian Nights Cookbook" are excellent indeed.

It's a really neat book. It starts out with a fascinating four-page introduction to the diversity of Arabian cooking and the countries from which it comes (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). Mr. Salloum next presents a four-page section covering useful tools and techniques, most of which should be familiar to the Western cook. The next 10-page section describes in detail essential Arabian cooking ingredients--spices, herbs, peppers, nuts, beans, oils, rice, etc. Most of these ingredients should be available in larger grocery stores. Some, such as baharat spice mix or loomi (dried lime), you may have to make yourself, but Mr. Salloum tells you how to do it. The wonderful recipes are next. To make menu planning a snap, they're conveniently organized into Appetizers and Snacks, Salads, Soups, Chicken Dishes, Meat Dishes, Seafood and Fish Dishes, Vegetarian Dishes, Side Dishes, Desserts and Drinks. Finally, a useful four-page regional resource guide has names, addresses, telephone numbers, websites, hours of operation and brief but informative descriptions of businesses that stock and ship Arabian ingredients. With its detailed index of recipes and ingredients, "The Arabian Nights Cookbook" is a one-volume stand-alone primer to the joys of Arabian cooking that both novices and experienced cooks should enjoy.

I have to say a few words about the book's visual layout. In short, it is stunning. Printed in vivid color on sturdy, glossy paper, its ratio of photos to text is perfect. I'm not a big fan of cookbooks with no pictures at all, or of those in which the recipes take a back seat to the food fotos. "The Arabian Nights Cookbook" gets it exactly right. I can drive myself crazy just flipping through it and drooling over the fantastic-looking dishes and the lists of ingredients. Also, in a nice touch, tinted and boxed-in sidebars provide useful tips, notes or additional details about many recipes. In all, this is an absolutely superb cookbook that I'd rate one of the best in our collection. It's going to be filled with orange Avery dots in no time...
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