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Sadly I've failed to be impressed by this book. Persian cuisine is a favourite of mine and I tend to snap up any book I can find on the subject. But this is not really a contender to greatness among others available.

Too often it strays away from the essence of Iranian food in its recipes. There are ingredients here such as oats, amaranth, quinoa, lentils, tofu and tempeh, plus recipes such as a semifreddo, a goat's cheese cheesecake and Turkish ezme dip. In many ways it's a bit too much of a health food fanatic's rather loose take on Persian, with much of the fun taken out of it. It's food that is probably quite good for you, but not always particularly exciting. At bottom there is little new in this book which would tempt me to be honest, and it really provides nothing which demands to be added to my repertoire beyond those in my existing Iranian recipe books (for the better of which, see anon).

I can't really comprehend what market this book is projected at. Non-Iranian westerners coming to Iranian cuisine will probably be intending to cook the country's food as special occasion meals rather than wanting to eat this kind of food everyday, and will be expecting something exotic but which is also authentic and traditional. And would the niche market of the Iranian diaspora want to see the food which reminds them of their homeland messed about with in such a cavalier manner?

It's well presented book and well laid-out. There are excellent photographs of many of the recipes (and thankfully just a mere two of those highly artificial posed photographs of the author grinning wildly at a non-existent person off to one side), and asides on cultural information as well as discussion of ingredients, and the six-page section on cooking rice and creating the perfect tahdig is quite good.

The book is American, so names are in Americanese ('cilantro', 'scallions' and so on), and weights and measures are imperial, including those annoying cup measurements (though there is a conversion chart inside the back cover).

If new to Iranian cooking, there are better alternatives to consider:

The Legendary Cuisine of Persia - a very good introduction, though the recipes are often a bit simplified and less flavoursome than equivalents in other books.

A Taste of Persia: An Introduction to Persian Cuisine &Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies - an excellent pair of works both by Najmieh Batmanglij, probably only available in used copies.

New Persian Cooking: A Fresh Approach to the Classic Cuisine of Iran - another decent introduction but again some of the recipes are a bit cut-down.

Saraban: A Chef's Journey Through Persia - rather coffee-table-ish but some good recipes.

Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes
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on 17 May 2013
Finally a cookbook has come onto the market which introduces Persian flavours to a Western audience in an accessible, innovative and health-conscious way. This book stands out through its inclusion of recipes for classic Persian favorites alongside modern Persian inspired dishes. It is a great introduction to Iranian food.

As a half-Iranian writer, cook and Persian-food enthusiast, I've long been waiting for a book like this and have really enjoyed the recipes I have tried so far (the beet burgers and the rhubarb and strawberry salad are already firm favorites in our house!). I really appreciated the number of vegetarian and gluten-free recipes in the book which makes it much more suited to today's modern audiences then most of the other Iranian cookbooks I own. All in all this was a fantastic find. Highly recommended.
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on 12 May 2013
Although not a Persian myself, I grew up with some of the London Persian 'mafia', many of whom I still share meals with today - often eating at Hafez or Alounak on Westbourne Grove and partaking in Nourouz feasts at friends' homes. So I know and love Persian food. This book is a brilliant breath of fresh air: it offers all of the quintessential elements - pomegranate, tamarind, rosewater etc. in an exciting, contemporary, global context. The recipes are healthy, clean, and exotic, and the style of writing makes even the more complex methods easy enough to follow. Some of the Persian cookbooks out there are so slavishly traditional that they just haven't moved on. Not this one; this is one for fun, modern, global Persians, as well as for those new to Persian food.
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on 12 February 2014
This is a fantastic book filled with delicious recipes, however I have rated it four stars due to the lack of pictures. You do see the odd picture, but why oh why don't the authors realise that the majority of readers prefer an accompanying picture for each and every recipe? If one was familiar with what the dishes should look like it wouldn't matter.
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on 16 November 2013
Really happy with this book. Everyone should experience Persian cooking - unusual combinations of fruit and meat, beautiful, scented desserts. All the traditional dishes of Iran, plus more modern recipes to add to my repertoire. I love it! Delivery very prompt, book well-packed as usual. Thank you.
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on 8 December 2013
Quick purchase decision that has over-delivered! We have tried more than 3 easy recipes already, and repeatedly used one! Very easy to do, follow and a great introduction to Persian cuisine. Would make a good gift too!
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on 10 June 2013
I didn't know much about Persian/Iranian cooking before this, so this has been an enjoyable voyage of discovery. New flavours and combinations abound here.
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