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Saraban: A chef's journey through Persia [Hardcover]

Greg Malouf , Lucy Malouf
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 2010
Following on from the success of their award-winning books, Saha and Turquoise, Greg and Lucy Malouf now explore one of the world s earliest and greatest empires: Saraban is an unforgettable journey through the culinary landscapes of ancient Persia and modern-day Iran. Persian cuisine is one of the oldest and most sophisticated in the world and its influence spread across India and the Middle East to North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula and even through Medieval Europe. It s a cuisine that is subtle, elegant and alluring, which rejoices in rice, uses fresh herbs in abundance and combines meat, fish, fruit and vegetables with exotic spices, such as saffron, cardamom and dried limes. In Saraban, Greg and Lucy discover a land where the rich diversity of climate, countryside, architecture and poetry provide a fitting background for an equal variety and richness of cuisine. Join them as they visit bustling bazaars and tiny soup kitchens, pick saffron before dawn and fish, in time-honoured tradition, from wooden dhows in the Persian Gulf.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Hardie Grant Books (1 Nov 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1740668626
  • ISBN-13: 978-1740668620
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 27.8 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 392,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Filled with gorgeous photographs and interesting stories, "[Saraban]" also offers excellent recipes, both traditional and modern." --Bois de Jasmine

About the Author

Widely acclaimed as the master of modern Middle Eastern cooking, Greg Malouf has transformed the international restaurant scene with his innovative food. He is currently head chef at London s Petersham Nurseries. Lucy Malouf is a food writer and editor based in France.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Visually stunning, but a coffee table book 22 Nov 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Following on from their earlier Saha and Turquoise, Greg and Lucy Malouf turn their attentions to Iran. In the same vein as those earlier books, it is mostly a travelogue and photograph album, and almost secondarily it seems a recipe book. 'Turquoise' I thought had too many photos of old blokes sitting around smoking tabs and kids mucking around in grubby back streets of Istanbul. 'Saha' was a bit better in that respect as the photographs were generally more food related and added to the 'food atmosphere'. This new book falls somewhere between those two stools, but having said that, this is probably a prime contender for the most visually stunning cookbook I have seen, with a riot of colour and patterns depicted in the country's art and architecture.

As to the recipes themselves, there are plenty of classics such as shirin polow, zereshk polow (here with rose petals), morasa polow (jewelled rice, here sadly somewhat understated compared to other cookbooks) and a version of duck fesenjan. However there's also a reasonable selection of items I haven't come across before despite having a sizeable collection of cookbooks of Persian and Middle Eastern cooking, from simple street food such as grilled corn on the cob but enlivened with sumaq and lime zest and juice, to koofteh Tabrizi, giant meatballs stuffed with fruit and nuts. I can't wait to have a go at the cardamom and pistachio fudge which undoubtedly tastes as amazing as it looks in the photograph (albeit in the photo it also contains rose petals which are not mentioned in the text - don't you just hate it when they do that in cookbooks?).

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Persian food is hearty yet healthy, loaded with flavour and aroma. Herbs feature heavily, used every bit as abundantly as in Vietnamese cuisine. By contrast, though, they're often added to long-cooked stews and egg dishes, resulting in deep, rich, elusive flavours that linger in the mind. Chapters are divided into topics such as 'Staples', 'Sweets' and 'Small Dishes', reflecting the generosity with which Persian food is presented.

Greg's recipes are consistently compelling, displaying a slight avant-garde spin toward traditional Persian recipes. From Barberi breads at breakfast to a Fresh herb stew with lamb and dried lime at dinner, opportunities for use are limitless. Tempting Cardamom-pistachio butter fudge jostles for attention alongside the 'Longest night grazing mix' or the clever Olive, pomegranate and grated walnut salad.

The Maloufs weave the tale of a relatively unknown cuisine with verve, revealing elements of the country's complex history. The book's design includes gold cut-outs dividing chapters and a dust jacket which unfolds to reveal beautifully patterned paper in warm earth tones.

When a book delivers such wealth, it's difficult to categorise. You have to make up your own mind...Enjoy
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute 'Must Have'! 7 Aug 2012
I was looking for a recipe book that would remind me of the sights and sounds of my month traveling Iran, and I found it. Saraban is a 'Must Have' book if you have spent any time in Iran. It has exquisite photos, an accurate account of the diverse country and its hospitable people, and a collection of fantastic recipes. Greg Malouf presents classic Persian recipes in a contemporary way. They are easy to follow and simple to prepare for the home cook. This book has broadened my culinary repertoire and looks great on my kitchen bench too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saraban 1 Jun 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lovely book with beautiful pictures and lovely recipes. Very interesting and more than happy with this purchase - can recommend as a present for others.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mouth-watering in every way 28 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a most beautifully presented book both in terms of the recipes and the stunning photographs, which makes it one to pick up and browse over with pleasure every so often, as well as being one to treasure. I'm not much of a cook, but I've been to Persia and I adored the food, so I am going to try out the recipes!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book 8 Oct 2012
By M Lovey
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Greg Malouf is synonymous with great middle eastern inspired recipes and his wife Lucy is a great travel writer. This latest book is more like a travelogue/coffee table book. The quality is beautiful, the recipes work and it reads very well as a travelogue. All in all a great gift for yourself or someone you like who loves good food.
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