Modern Flavors of Arabia

By : | 0 Comments | On : March 7, 2016 | Category : book review

Cherrys and Mint

Recipes and Memories from My Middle Eastern Kitchen

by Suzanne Husseini, Petrina Tinslay (Photographs)

Modern Flavors of Arabia takes you on a culinary journey to the Middle East to explore a food culture that spans centuries. Each of the recipes will surprise and delight you and bring new colors, aromas and flavors to your table. Join Suzanne as she pays tribute to her mother’s cooking and enjoy her refreshingly new take on the traditional–pilafs fragrant with herbs and spices, crepes speckled with pistachios and sweetened with rose syrup, scones enhanced with dates, orange and cardamom. Discover the secrets of perfect falafel, shawarma, and homemade labneh, and try other classic dishes such as kibbeh and fattouche. Recipes are arranged by Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Dessert and a whole chapter is dedicated to mezze. Suzanne’s stories and ideas on how to serve each dish accompany the beautifully illustrated and easy-to-follow recipes.

Let Suzanne’s refined Arabian cuisine inspire you. Fill your kitchen with the warm, exotic scents of the Middle East, and surprise yourself with how easy it is to create these mouthwatering delicacies at home.

TSG Review

Took me a while to get through the review for this book but not because I didn’t enjoy it, it was hard to decide what recipe to make next.

I followed all of these recipes exactly as written.

Kafta (Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Cherry Sauce)

Ground lamb with the standard Arabic flavors of cinnamon, cumin, and cilantro. Very savory until you dip it in a chutney like cherry sauce to add the much needed sweetness. This makes a pretty different appetizer than the ones Americans normally go for. It did take longer than I thought it would take for me to cook all of the meatballs. I had to do it in batches but with interesting flavors and it’s simple to make, this goes up high on my do-it-again list.

Lemony Garlic Chicken with Rice and Yogurt Sauce (Fattet D’jaj)

The first recipe I made from this book turned out to be my favorite. Simple to make although it does dirty more pots and pans than I normally like to use in a recipe. Might be one of the best impress-somebody dishes I have seen. The bright lemon flavors the chicken and juices that get absorbed by the rice so you don’t loose any of that chickeny goodness. The garlic yogurt sauce. So many flavors combining to make an intricate dish.

Now for the downside. It was impossible to find a two pound bird like the recipe requires unless the recipe either meant 2 pounds of chicken meat or a Cornish hen instead. I just know the smallest bird I could find was closer to three pounds. I still followed the recipe for a 2 lb bird and it came out great, I am also pretty sure it would be good with a more normal American 4 lb bird. The yogurt sauce would have been sufficient if the recipe called for a half a cup but it called for three cups of the stuff. I would have had to drown the chicken and the rice in the stuff to use it all. I will be making it again with much less yogurt sauce. Try the recipe.

 Arabic Shortbread

IMG_7397I didn’t know what shortbread was before starting this recipe but now I have made it I know I like it. These little cookies remind me of Mexican wedding cakes without the powdered sugar coating. With just three ingredients and it’s easy to make too. The recipe calls for clarified butter and I thought it didn’t tell me how to make it but upon further inspections the book does have a clarified butter recipe that I did not use. I searched the web and ended up following the wrong instructions burring my first batch of butter. Make sure you use unsalted butter no matter what people on the web say! Tried another recipe and everything was fine. Next time I think I will just find a specialty store and buy clarified butter or ghee. Just sounds easier.

 

Shish Tawouk with Toum

IMG_7442Tasty bites of spice marinated chicken on skewers then grilled over an open flame. This turned out pretty well and the most difficult part of it was skewering the chicken. Marinating the meat is the most time consuming process of this recipe all the rest of it can be done in fifteen minutes. I served it with a garlic lemon sauce from another of the recipes called toum. It was a bit tart by itself but when you dip the chicken pieces in it balanced out the spices on the chicken.

Summary

All in all I really liked the recipes that I did try and I am not ready to put this book down. I am a big fan of middle east flavors and this books recipes are a great place to find them. Definitely a must get.

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