(as of Jan 18,2020 15:04:07 UTC – Details)
Najmieh takes us with her on an extraordinary culinary journey: from the daily fish market in Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf, where she and her host buy and cook a 14-pound grouper in a tamarind, cilantro, and garlic sauce, to the heart of historical Isfahan, in central Iran, where she prepares lamb necks in a yogurt, saffron, and candied orange peel sauce topped with caramelized barberries. Traveling north to the Caspian Sea, she introduces us to the authentic Gilaki version of slow-cooked duck in a pomegranate and walnut sauce, served over smoked rice; and the unique flavors of a duck-egg omelet with smoked eggplant and baby garlic. Lingering in the north, in tribal Kurdistan, she treats us to lamb-and-bulgur meatballs filled with caramelized onions and raisins in a saffron sauce. Dropping south, to Bandar Abbas on the coast, she teases our palate with rice cooked in date juice and served with spicy fish, while in Baluchistan she cooks spiced goat in a pit overnight and celebrates the age-old method of making bread in hot ashes.
At every village and off-the-beaten-track community, Najmieh unearths traditional recipes and makes surprising new discoveries, giving us a glimpse along the way of the places where many of the ingredients for the recipes are grown. She treks through the fields and orchards of Iran, showing us saffron being picked in Khorasan and pomegranates in Yazd, dates harvested by the Persian Gulf, pistachios in Kerman, and tea and rice by the Caspian.
With more than 250 recipes and 400 photographs, Cooking in Iran is packed with inspiring ideas and practical tips everything you’ll need for recreating these glorious dishes so that you can embark on a culinary journey of your own.
“Starred Review” Batmanglij (Joon: Persian Cooking Made Simple), who grew up in Iran and has written extensively of the country’s cuisine, offers a massive and thorough guide to Persian cuisine. Batmanglij spent three years traversing the country, stopping in all of its regions, and in this collection of more than 250 recipes she shares an assortment of kebabs as well as osh, a traditional porridge-like soup made with butternut squash or carrot and bulgar. Highlights abound: Azerbaijani dumpling soup, featuring dumplings stuffed with ground meat in a spicy tomato broth; saffroned almond and pistachio baklava; walnut and sumac meatballs (made with lamb or turkey thigh); a savory mushroom pie, similar to the Russian pirozhki; and pistachio cake. Batmanglij fills the book with photos of vendors, farmers, and ancient ruins, and offers history lessons and bits of trivia (“The oldest archeological evidence of pistachios was found in Jarmo”). Stories of intimate family dinners shared on her journey and recipes she discovered talking with the locals—such as sweet and sour patties with chicken, mint, and turmeric, and almond paste with saffron (a friend’s mother would “spread the almonds on a clean sheet and cover them with pussy willow flowers”)—lend the feel of flipping through a scrapbook with a friend. This is a terrific, reverential, and accessible cookbook. (Nov.) Reviewed on: 10/01/2018