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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well presented, but could do with more recipes, 31 Mar 2011
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This review is from: New Persian Cooking: A Fresh Approach to the Classic Cuisine of Iran (Hardcover)
For me, Middle Eastern cuisine is the best on Earth, and Iranian the best of the Middle East. Despite already having an extensive collection of cookbooks of this region, any new or forthcoming publication is likely to go straight into my wishlist or even be purchased blind straightaway as with this new issue.

This bills itself as "a fresh approach", but I'm not sure that I can ascertain exactly what the fresh approach is here. The style is very much classic Iranian as in all my other volumes, including some famous dishes like fesenjan and zereshk polow and morasa polow, but then admittedly there are some variations I have not come across before. For instance, ash-e anar, herb and pomegranate soup (with a full 300ml of pomegranate molasses! That'll mek yer tabs laugh, as my mum used to say.); koresht-e seebzamini, lamb and potato stew with tamarind; barreh za'farani, saffron yoghurt lamb; and kofteh aloo, meatballs each individually stuffed with a prune, and served in a pomegranate sauce.

It's a beautifully presented book. The photography is excellent. The recipes are well described with extensive instructions, and there is a good introduction and section on ingredients. There are chapters on soups, stews, kebabs & meatballs, rice, salads & side dishes, desserts and drinks. But overall for the size of the book it feels like there are too few recipes. With the relatively large font and spacing plus photography, some recipes take up three entire pages (and personally I find it a little annoying if the instructions spill over onto an overleaf page), so really you are getting fewer dishes than you might think for a book of this size. This is particularly evident in that there is one sole recipe for a kookoo (a quasi-omelette dish which is very popular in Iran) in the entire book.

So overall I would recommend it, and it is certainly more than suitable for initiates into the region's cooking, but perhaps consider the available alternatives as well. I always direct beginners to Margaret Shaida's The Legendary Cuisine of Persia and Najmieh Batmanglij's A Taste of Persia: An Introduction to Persian Cuisine, which are where I started with Iranian cuisine.
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