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Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond Hardcover – 6 May 2014

4.7 out of 5 stars 614 customer reviews

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Sabrina Ghayour Amazon Fine Wine

Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Mitchell Beazley; 01 edition (6 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184533910X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845339104
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 2.8 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (614 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


A lovingly-written homage to the enchanting dishes of the Middle East. Sabrina Ghayour takes the reader on her magic carpet to the ancient and beautiful lands of rose-scented sherbets...and to a table of abundant feasts, and of honeyed and spiced delights. What a fantastic treasure trove of good food! Within these pages, the cook will find recipes for tagines, soups, stews, salads and plenty of sweet treats. Through the pages of Persiana, Sabrina delivers the Eastern promise in its delicious, gastronomic form. If you want to eat like an Arabian Knight, then start here...but be sure to stock up on cinnamon, cumin and coriander... (Raymond Blanc)

Sabrina Ghayour is a phenomenal Persian chef. (Gizzi Erskine)

Sabrina cooks the kind of food I love to eat: lots of flavours distilled out of love and generosity. In this book Sabrina demystifies the use of spices. The Eastern promise is definitely delivered in her book and it will have a place on the shelves of my kitchen. (Bruno Loubet)

This is Ottolenghi with rocket fuel (William Sitwell The Times)

Loving Persiana. (Nigella Lawson)

The Golden Girl (Shahesta Shaitly Observer Food Monthly)

Completely dispels any notion that this style of cooking is long-winded and intimidating...brilliant for the novice, the time-poor and even the seasoned cook. (Eve O’Sullivan Guardian)

Will have you salivating with Pavlovian gusto on page after page. (Independent)

Worthy of becoming a kitchen shelf staple. (Food & Travel)

This book will delight fans of Ottolenghi-style food. (Waitrose Kitchen)

Tehran-born Ghayour can help you load your table with incredible feasts. (Sunday Times Travel Magazine)

Ghayour brings authentic recipes up to date using a handful of simple, easily acquired ingredients. (Weight Watchers)

"This wonderful Persian-born chef is a master of the Middle East and her book is sumptuous, thrilling, learned and downright brilliant. (Tom Parker-Bowles Mail on Sunday)

Unlike other Middle Eastern cookbooks, this one is easy to decipher, packed with lots of flavour and recipes are surprisingly easy to pull off. (Huffington Post)

Ghayour helps the reader realise that the back of the store cupboard could be a magical haven for flavour... her love for each dish, whether it is steeped in Persian heritage or created in her own kitchen, shines through. You'll never look at a kebab in the same way again. (Charlotte Jones Glam UK)

A gorgeously produced ode to richly spiced, exotic food from the Middle East and beyond. (A Little Bird)

The latest doyenne of Persian food... there's a dashing Ghayour stamp on classic combos - think Persian saffron chicken or ras-el hanout chicken wraps. (Chloe Scott Metro)

Persiana stands alone as a brilliant work of creativity... a captivating work. (John and Sally McKenna's Guides)

Sabrina... is on a mission to make the flavours of the Middle East accessible. (Sally Hughes BBC Good Food)

The loveliest cookbook I've seen in a very long time. (Daily Mail (Ireland))

The most exciting debut cookbook of the year. (Sunday Telegraph Stella)

The most appetising book. I want to eat every page of it. (Pierre Koffman)

Book Description

Persiana is a celebration of the food and flavours from the regions near the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, with over 100 recipes for modern and accessible Middle Eastern dishes, including Lamb & Sour Cherry Meatballs; Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Olive Tagine; Blood Orange & Radicchio Salad; Persian Flatbread; and Spiced Carrot, Pistachio & Coconut Cake with Rosewater Cream.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book with high hopes (on flicking through, all the recipes sound staggeringly good), but with a few reservations. The one review I'd read (in a magazine) had tested a recipe and found a mistake in the ingredients, so I was a little wary. The first thing I made was hummus - absolutely delicious (although a VAST quantity for the suggested six servings) until I added the recommended 2tbsp of sea salt, which made it completely inedible. It went into the bin.

Next I made the Pistachio, Honey and Orange Flower Water Ice Cream. Very doubtfully I added the 200ml of orange flower water (three bottles of the stuff, costing £12 alone), since I'd only ever used it in teaspoon quantities in recipes before. I know ice cream always tastes completely different once it is frozen, so I trusted the recipe. It left a disgusting bitter taste that overshadowed the entire recipe, as though I'd added a pint of Mr Muscle to it!

Please read on, as not all is lost!

I was pretty annoyed about ruining these recipes, when I knew I'd followed them to the letter. I found Sabrina Ghayour's email address online and sent her my complaints. Amazingly, this lovely lady wrote back to me within a couple of hours with answers to my concerns. If you use these recipes, please bear the following in mind, and I'm sure your food will taste utterly divine:

1. Check the ingredients of orange flower water before you buy it (this is used in many of the book's recipes). I unfortunately used the Nielsen Massey orange flower water from Waitrose. This contains alcohol, and is nowhere near authentic (let's not even think about how they can manufacture an ingredient that's 40% alcohol for recipes that are mainly from Muslim countries).
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Format: Hardcover
In a Nutshell:

Stylishly designed and passionately written collection of selective Persian and Middle Eastern recipes with a bold twist. Great gift for the adventurous food aficionado or even as coffee table appetizer.

The Facts:
• Recipes I have cooked from book: 35+ over past 6 months
• Types of recipes: mostly from scratch with multiple fresh ingredients to impress friends at a dinner party rather than everyday (but then that is exactly how this book was created).
• Skill level required: low to intermediate. Mainly dips, salads, stews and some roasts with some leeway for error. Good chopping skills essential.
• Sourcing of ingredients: a well-stocked Middle Eastern spice rack is strongly recommended. Many dishes require some more exotic ingredients, which should however be available at larger supermarkets. Some highly specialised ingredients (e.g. kashk, edible rose petals, rose water, sumac, barberry, dried sour orange peel, dried whole limes, fenugreek leaves, pomegranate molasses) will require local or online Persian speciality shops.
• Photography: mouth-watering food photography with one image for most dishes
• Metric/imperial: both
• Cost of dishes: low to medium, assuming you can purchase from local Mediterranean style shops and internet specialists rather than speciality selections of supermarkets.
• Specialist utensils required: None, but a set of good knives really helps.
• Time required: Some quick salads and dips, but many dishes require advance preparation and some longer cooking times. Also remember, Persian food is not about eating a single dish but about sampling different dishes, so you are likely to be spending some hours in the kitchen for a dinner party.
• Portion size: tends to be on the large side.
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Format: Hardcover
Being male and over 40 it seemed to me rather unlikely that I would ever find myself deeply engrossed in kitchen activities, yet since purchasing this book last Christmas I have prepared some 25 dishes, all of which have been eminently edible. Last Sunday I was busy for nearly four hours making two seperate meals with four seperate dishes, well it is winter-time right now so the motorbike has remained motionless in the garage and instead I spent my time in the warmest room of the house, which I figured to be a fair exchange...

I'm guessing this book is really a general introduction to Levantine cooking, judging by the glossy photos, but for a beginner such as I these are of real practical assistance - firstly as I lack the understanding and experience to have any clue what the end result might actually look like and secondly to experience the sensation of slight incredularity that has occured when I noticed that my finished product looked just like the real thing (well actually sometimes mine looks a little better, but I can't help pretending to be nonchalently modest here). So these are a useful motivation and confidence booster.

There are a variety of regionally seperate styles included, Persian/Morrocan/Turkish/Lebanse etc. and the author clearly states that some of the dishes are of her own composition, thus the overall feel is relaxed and encourages flexibility. Some of the ingredients quite naturally are a little more time consuming to get hold of - I'm still struggling to find Fenugreek leaves and edible Rose Petals for example, however if one spends a little time contemplating the receipes that initially appeal including taking a careful note of the required ingredients this should not present much of a hindrance.
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