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The Persian Kitchen: Home Cooking from the Middle East Hardcover – 18 May 2006


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley (18 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845332237
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845332235
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 2.3 x 28 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 868,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

Exotic, fragrant and jewel-like in colour, Persian food has captured the imagination of cooks in the far corners of the world for centuries. It has influenced some of the great cuisines, including Italian and Greek. The ingredients alone are captivating- foods such as saffron, pomegranates, barberries, lemons, and oranges give colour and flavour to a wealth of recipes. Yet this is honest, simple food too, with dishes often consisting of ingredients combined in a pot or left to simmer away slowly until the flavours have melded - often requiring more patience than skill from the cook.
Rice is central to Persian cooking, where it is prepared as nowhere else in the world. It is steamed according to a specific method, yielding a crispy crust known as 'tahdig.' Many Persian dishes are renowned for their careful balance between fruity-sweet, sour, and savoury tastes - for example Shirin polo, a sweet rice dish containing pistachios, sultanas, bittersweet orange peel, and braised chicken. Fresh herbs are used in abundance in unusual dishes such as ÄÄsh-e jo, an old-fashioned thick barley soup with lamb, dried mint and other fresh herbs. And dishes often have a medicinal value.
This book has a wealth of new ideas for the adventurous cook, and stories and photographs of land and people portray modern Iran, where the rich history of Persia is ever-present.

From the Back Cover

Exotic and fragrant yet honest and often simple, Persian cuisine has inspired cooks all over the world for centuries.

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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Naomi Devlin on 26 Jan. 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is more than a collection of recipes. Although there seem to be relatively few recipes and simple preparation, every dish I have cooked has been subtle, delicious and fragrant. This book is all about home cooking with lovely explanations of where and when you might eat the dishes. Interspersed with the recipes are pages on Persian ettiquette and history and rich images of Iranian life; a street vendor at night with stacks of primary coloured tins covered with arabic script, Isfahan bridges in golden evening light, bold mosaic tiles, a peridot green lake below snow capped mountains and a bride dancing in candy pink tulle.

The images accompanying the recipes are no less luscious; piles of dried limes, and barberries, bright yellow saffron rice pudding in a pink floral bowl, Beggar's soup with a star of creamy 'kashk' on top, Chalqmeh (savoury pastries) sprinkled with rose petals, all presented in the most envy inducing Persian crockery. They give a real sense of what the dish should look like which I find important in a recipe book. The pictures really make you want to cook the dishes - I pored over the whole book salivating before deciding what to make first!

There is a glossary at the end of the book to help those who might not have come across the more niche ingredients. Substitutions are also given which is useful if you live outside london.

One note, if you are looking for a book on Persian sweets or deserts then you won't find many in here. There are pictures of Gaz (nougat) and Sohaan Asali (Almond brittle), but no recipes for them sadly. The fact is that like the French, most Persians would not bother making desert, but buy them from dedicated pastry shops, hence the lack of recipes for them.

There are general Middle Eastern Books out there which touch on some of these dishes, but if you want a real flavour of Persia that gets you itching to cook, buy this book!
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By greenpapaya* on 8 Sept. 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
'the Persian kitchen' by Neda Afrashi has relatively few recipes in total, but the book is more than just a simple collection of recipes.

The recipes themselves are split into sections on SIDE DISHES (BORANI, DOLMEH, KUKU & TORSHI), THICK SOUPS (ASH), RICE DISHES (BERENJ, CHELO, KATEH & POLO), BRAISED DISHES (KHORESH, KHORAK & ABGUSHT), GRILLED AND FRIED MEAT DISHES (KEBAB & KUFTEH), REGIONAL SPECIALITIES AND SAFAVID CUISINE, SWEETS AND DRINKS (SHRINI VA NUSHABEH).

But there are also sections on: an introduction to PERSIAN COOKERY ~ which is a 26 page in-depth biography of Persian cooking, covering all the variety of aspects of infuences on (trade, aristocratic, peasant & nomadic influences, religious background, medical background), ingrediants in ('The Character of Ingrediants'), and cultural aspects of Persian cookery (Slow Food, Table Manners and Hospitality), fully illustrated excerpts of PERSIAN LITERATURE related to food, for example 'Drakhti-i Asurig : The Parthian Fable of the Date-palm and the Goat', where the date palm and the goat argue their relative advantages to man, a description of NORUZ ~ the New Year's festival, the most important festival in the Persian calender, an INGREDIANTS A TO Z which includes medicinal properties of foods, and a Persian-English Glossary.

The book is also jam packed full of full colour pages of stunning photography, both of the dishes themselves (the majority of dishes have a full colour page photograph of the finnished dish), and of the landscape and people of Persia (many double paged spreads).

My only complaint is the shortage of recipes.
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By Hiba on 19 July 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is such a wonderful and exciting cookbook. It is easy to follow and has excellent explanations and tips on how to get the more exotic of ingredients. It's recipes marry tradition and practicality up perfectly for me. No detail is missed, yet it remains simple and straightforward.

Having discussed the recipes and had them critiqued by native grandmothers, I can honestly say they are as authentic as they get. Everyone is so surprised how a British born young lady is able to perfect such delicate dishes as if I'd been cooking them in Iran all my life! It's most impressive especially the Fesenjan recipe which is spot on.

The photos and stories are lovely and it is my favourite cookbook of all. I've really enjoyed cooking from it and would recommend it to all.

It's excellent!
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