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     >   National + Regional Cookbooks   >   Middle Eastern   >   Arab


    How to Cook dishes from the Arab world

    Arabia The Arab world is a vast region of Southwest Asia and North Africa that stretches from the Arabian Sea in the East, to the Atlantic Ocean in the West, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Horn of Africa. It encompasses the whole of the Arabian peninsula, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, the whole of North Africa, Mauritania, Sudan, Djibouti, and Somalia. Of course, not everybody in this area is an Arab, or defines themselves as ethnically Arab, and likewise many Arabs live outside of this area, but nevertheless many people find the Arab world to be a useful term to describe this region.

    In terms of cuisine, it should be noted that different countries and regions within the Arab world, do have their own particular ingredients and dishes, and there are distinct differences between (for example) Egyptian cuisine, Lebanese cuisine, and Moroccan cuisine.

    Some popular Arab recipes and dishes include:
    • Bathenjan makli - This is a dish from Lebanese cuisine. It is made from fried eggplant with tahini sauce, lettuce, parsley and tomatoes. Sumac, bell peppers, lemon, and garlic are also often added. The dish is usually eaten with bread.

      Bathenjan makli

    • Falafel - Balls or patties made from fava beans or chickpeas, and fried.

    • Ful medames - This very filling dish is considered one of Egyptian cuisine's signature dishes. Its principal ingredient is fava beans which are mashed and slow cooked. The dish also contains onion, parsley, garlic, lemon and olive oil. Ful medames is usually as a breakfast, which is particularly useful during the Ramadan period, when participating Muslims do not eat or drink between dawn and sunset).

    • Mansaf - This is the national dish of Jordan. It is made from lamb which is cooked in a yoghurt-like product can jameed. The dish is served on a large platter, at the bottom of which is a layer of flatbread (markook), then rice, then the meat, then a garnish of almonds and pine nuts, and finally a sauce poured on top.

    • Masgouf - A traditional dish from Iraq. A fish is cut open and spiced with pepper, salt and tamarind. The skin is brushed with olive oil, and then slowly cooked until the fish becomes crispy. Before serving, the masgouf is sprinkled with lemon, and it is eaten garnished with chopped onions and tomatoes, as well as with flatbread, rice, salad, and pickles.

    • Mrouzia - This is one of Moroccan cuisine's most famous dishes. It is prepared in a tajine (a special heavy clay pot), and is made from lamb with raisins and almonds.

    • Musakhan - This is a Palestinian dish made of roasted chicken with onions. It is flavored with allspice, fried pine nuts, saffron and sumac, and is eaten on top of taboon bread (flatbread).

    • Sfiha - Meat pies, originally from Syria, although they have since become popular throughout the region. The pies made from ground mutton and have no top dough.


    • Shawarma - Thinly cut slivers of meat (chicken, goat or lamb). It is eaten in pita bread, usually with hummus, tomato and cucumber.

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    The Arab Table: Recipes and Culinary Traditions

    By May Bsisu

    Bsisu, May S.
    Released: 2005-09-06
    Hardcover (384 pages)

    The Arab Table: Recipes and Culinary Traditions
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    • William Morrow Company
    Product Description:

    It is one of the world's oldest and most intriguing cuisines, yet few have explored the diverse dishes and enchanting flavors of Arab cookery beyond hummus and tabouleh. In 188 recipes, The Arab Table introduces home cooks to the fresh foods, exquisite tastes, and generous spirit of the Arab table.

    May S. Bsisu, who has lived and cooked in Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, England, and now the United States, takes you along a reassuringly down-to-earth and warmly personal path through exciting culinary territory. The Arab Table focuses intimately on the foods of Arab countries such as Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Syria.

    The book offers a bountiful range of appealing dishes: cold and hot mezza, or little dishes; vibrant salads and fresh vegetable preparations; savory soups, stews, and hearty casseroles; baked and grilled meats, poultry, and fish; cooling drinks; and ambrosial desserts. There are recipes for familiar dishes including Falafel, Chicken and Lamb Kebabs, and Baklava, as well as a diverse selection of lesser known delights greatly enjoyed around the world, such as Eggplant Pomegranate Salad, Zucchini with Bread and Mint, Grilled Halloumi Cheese Triangles, and Arab Flatbread. Celebration dishes, the cornerstone of Arab cuisine, include Moroccan and Lebanese Couscous, Baked Lamb with Rice and Chickpeas, and Baked Sea Bass with Rice and Caramelized Onions. No Arab cookbook would be complete without an ample selection of soups and stews, the customary way to break the fast at the end of each day during Ramadan. The Arab table is also well known for its sweets: Semolina Pistachio Layer Cake, Milk Pudding, and, of course, date-, nut-, and cream-filled pastries perfumed with rose and orange-blossom water are just a sampling of the desserts included here.

    Along with these treasured recipes collected from May's extended family, friends, neighbors, and her own discoveries, The Arab Table is also a resource for learning about the traditions and customs associated with this time-honored cuisine. Throughout, essays on Arab holidays, from Eid Al Adha, the feast celebrating the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca, to Ramadan and Mubarakeh, the celebration for the birth of a baby, are explained and menus are provided for each. May enlightens readers as to customary greetings (How do you say Happy Ramadan?), gifts (What do you bring to an Arab home during Ramadan?), and wishes (How do you acknowledge the birth of a baby?) that are traditionally extended during these special occasions.

    Now you can bring the abundance and flavors of The Arab Table to your table.

    The New Book of Middle Eastern Food: The Classic Cookbook, Expanded and Updated, with New Recipes and Contemporary Variations on Old Themes

    By Claudia Roden

    Alfred A Knopf
    Released: 2000-09-26
    Blue Hardcover (528 pages)

    The New Book of Middle Eastern Food: The Classic Cookbook, Expanded and Updated, with New Recipes and Contemporary Variations on Old Themes
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    • Alfred A Knopf
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    In this updated and greatly enlarged edition of her Book of Middle Eastern Food, Claudia Roden re-creates a classic. The book was originally published here in 1972 and was hailed by James Beard as "a landmark in the field of cookery"; this new version represents the accumulation of the author's thirty years of further extensive travel throughout the ever-changing landscape of the Middle East, gathering recipes and stories.

    Now Ms. Roden gives us more than 800 recipes, including the aromatic variations that accent a dish and define the country of origin: fried garlic and cumin and coriander from Egypt, cinnamon and allspice from Turkey, sumac and tamarind from Syria and Lebanon, pomegranate syrup from Iran, preserved lemon and harissa from North Africa. She has worked out simpler approaches to traditional dishes, using healthier ingredients and time-saving methods without ever sacrificing any of the extraordinary flavor, freshness, and texture that distinguish the cooking of this part of the world.

    Throughout these pages she draws on all four of the region's major cooking styles:
            -        The refined haute cuisine of Iran, based on rice exquisitely prepared and embellished with a range of meats, vegetables, fruits, and nuts
            -        Arab cooking from Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan--at its finest today, and a good source for vegetable and bulgur wheat dishes
            -        The legendary Turkish cuisine, with its kebabs, wheat and rice dishes, yogurt salads, savory pies, and syrupy pastries
            -        North African cooking, particularly the splendid fare of Morocco, with its heady mix of hot and sweet, orchestrated to perfection in its couscous dishes and tagines

    From the tantalizing mezze--those succulent bites of filled fillo crescents and cigars, chopped salads, and stuffed morsels, as well as tahina, chickpeas, and eggplant in their many guises--to the skewered meats and savory stews and hearty grain and vegetable dishes, here is a rich array of the cooking that Americans embrace today. No longer considered exotic--all the essential ingredients are now available in supermarkets, and the more rare can be obtained through mail order sources (readily available on the Internet)--the foods of the Middle East are a boon to the home cook looking for healthy, inexpensive, flavorful, and wonderfully satisfying dishes, both for everyday eating and for special occasions.

    The Food of Oman: Recipes and Stories from the Gateway to Arabia

    By Felicia Campbell

    Andrews McMeel Publishing
    Released: 2015-10-13
    Hardcover (288 pages)

    The Food of Oman: Recipes and Stories from the Gateway to Arabia
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    Featuring rustic Middle Eastern dishes infused with the flavors of East Africa, India, and Persia, The Food of Oman presents the delicious diversity of the tiny Arabian Sultanate through 100 recipes, lush photography, and stories from the people behind the food in an immersive introduction to a fascinating, little-known corner of the world.

    In the Arabian Gulf, just east of Saudi Arabia and across the sea from Iran, the kitchens of Oman are filled with the enticing, mysterious aroma of a spice bazaar: musky black limes, earthy cloves, warming cinnamon, cumin, and coriander all play against the comforting scent of simmering basmati rice. Beyond these kitchens, the rocky crags of Jabal Akhdar tower, palm trees sway along the coast of Salalah, sand dunes ripple across Sharqiyah, and the calls to prayer echo from minarets throughout urban Muscat. In The Food of Oman, American food writer Felicia Campbell invites readers to journey with her into home kitchens, beachside barbeques, royal weddings, and humble teashops. Discover with her the incredible diversity of flavors and cultures in the tiny Sultanate of Oman.

    Omani cuisine is rooted in a Bedouin culture of hospitality—using whatever is on hand to feed a wandering stranger or a crowd of friends—and is infused with the rich bounty of interloping seafarers and overland Arabian caravan traders who, over the centuries, brought with them the flavors of East Africa, Persia, Asia, and beyond. In Oman, familiar ingredients mingle in exciting new ways: Zanzibari biryani is scented with rosewater and cloves, seafood soup is enlivened with hot red pepper and turmeric, green bananas are spiked with lime, green chili, and coconut. The recipes in The Food of Oman offer cooks a new world of flavors, techniques, and inspiration, while the lush photography and fascinating stories provide an introduction to the culture of a people whose adventurous palates and deep love of feeding and being fed gave rise to this unparalleled cuisine.

    The Arabian Cookbook: Traditional Arab Cuisine with a Modern Twist

    By Ramzi Choueiry

    Released: 2012-11-13
    Hardcover (176 pages)

    The Arabian Cookbook: Traditional Arab Cuisine with a Modern Twist
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    World-renowned chef Ramzi Choueiry revolutionized Arab cuisine and raised its standards on the international culinary stage. Known for being Lebanon’s first television chef and always having a bright smile on his face, Chef Ramzi now shares his finest and tastiest recipes in The Arabian Cookbook, which combines traditional dishes with a personal twist. With an introduction by Swedish chef Bo Masser and exquisite photographs by Bruno Ehrs, this comprehensive cookbook should be in every cook’s collection.  

    Filled with a bountiful range of appealing dishes, the book features simple recipes that will make preparing these delectable meals as enjoyable as consuming them.  From classics like baba ghanoush, hummus, falafel, and baklava to the more exotic dishes such as dolmades stuffed with rice, squid in ink, sour chicken with sumac and walnuts, and fig marmalade with grape molasses, these tasty recipes bring the Arab culture right to your kitchen. Experience Arab cuisine with traditional dishes from Lebanon, Morocco, Iraq, and Egypt, and delight in the rich textures, appetizing aromas, and delicious flavors.  

    These fifty-five recipes, ranging from appetizers, dips, and main courses to desserts and pastries, are perfect for those wishing to broaden their culinary expertise, as well as beginners who want to whip up some easy and delicious Arab dishes.

    Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead: Recipes and Recollections from a Syrian Pioneer

    By Habeeb Salloum

    University of Regina Press
    Released: 2017-09-30
    Paperback (336 pages)

    Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead: Recipes and Recollections from a Syrian Pioneer
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    In the 1920s, Habeeb Salloum's parents left behind the orchards and vineyards of French-occupied Syria to seek a new life on the windswept, drought-stricken Canadian prairies. With recollections that show the grit and improvisation of early Syrian pioneers, Arab Cooking on a Prairie Homestead demonstrates Salloum's love of traditional Arab cuisine. By growing "exotic" crops brought from their country of origin--such as lentils, chickpeas, and bulgur--the Salloums survived the Dust Bowl conditions of the 1930s, and helped change the landscape of Canadian farming.

    Over 200 recipes--from dumplings and lentil pies to zucchini mint soup--in this updated classic will provide today's foodies and urban farmers with dishes that are not only delicious, but also climate-friendly and gentle on your wallet!

    Scheherazade's Feasts: Foods of the Medieval Arab World

    By Habeeb Salloum & Leila Salloum Elias

    University of Pennsylvania Press
    Hardcover (232 pages)

    Scheherazade s Feasts: Foods of the Medieval Arab World
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    The author of the thirteenth-century Arabic cookbook Kitāb al-Ṭabīkh proposed that food was among the foremost pleasures in life. Scheherazade's Feasts invites adventurous cooks to test this hypothesis.

    From the seventh to the thirteenth centuries, the influence and power of the medieval Islamic world stretched from the Middle East to the Iberian Peninsula, and this Golden Age gave rise to great innovation in gastronomy no less than in science, philosophy, and literature. The medieval Arab culinary empire was vast and varied: with trade and conquest came riches, abundance, new ingredients, and new ideas. The emergence of a luxurious cuisine in this period inspired an extensive body of literature: poets penned lyrics to the beauty of asparagus or the aroma of crushed almonds; nobles documented the dining customs obliged by etiquette and opulence; manuals prescribed meal plans to deepen the pleasure of eating and curtail digestive distress.

    Drawn from this wealth of medieval Arabic writing, Scheherazade's Feasts presents more than a hundred recipes for the foods and beverages of a sophisticated and cosmopolitan empire. The recipes are translated from medieval sources and adapted for the modern cook, with replacements suggested for rare ingredients such as the first buds of the date tree or the fat rendered from the tail of a sheep. With the guidance of prolific cookbook writer Habeeb Salloum and his daughters, historians Leila and Muna, these recipes are easy to follow and deliciously appealing. The dishes are framed with verse inspired by them, culinary tips, and tales of the caliphs and kings whose courts demanded their royal preparation. To contextualize these selections, a richly researched introduction details the foodscape of the medieval Islamic world.

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