UAE-based chef Dima Al Sharif has released her first cookbook, Plated Heirlooms, a 500-page collection of over 250 recipes that pay tribute to her native Palestinian culinary traditions. “For me, food is an expression of culture and is intrinsically influenced by an appreciation of the land from which it was yielded. Palestine is such a fertile country with a rich and complex history, and its culinary culture reflects this. Food is respected, nothing is wasted, and you can tell from what region a family comes by the flavor profile of its musakhan,” explains Al Sharif.
Having grown up as part of the Palestinian community in Jordan, Al Sharif credits her mother and grandmother with teaching her about the importance of quality ingredients and the patience involved in cooking. She spent three years researching and writing Plated Heirlooms, which is a combination of family recipes, Palestinian cooking techniques, and a look at the history and influence of key ingredients from the region, including the olive tree.
“Palestinian cuisine is the least known of all the Middle Eastern cuisines. It has suffered from decades of occupation, the diaspora, the uprooting of olive trees, and the mass destruction of farms. However, Palestinian cuisine, culture, and community will always live on in the hearts of its people, wherever they are. Ultimately, food grows from the community and culture exists as plated heirlooms,” says Al Sharif.
Plated Heirlooms is available for purchase at Kinokuniya and The Change Initiative for AED 260/SAR 265.
You can also visit Dima’s Mooneh stand every Friday at The Farmers’ Market on The Terrace, Bay Avenue, Business Bay, to get your hands on a signed copy of the book.