It somehow seems that the borders of the culinary world keep expanding. Deciding where to eat on a weekend means deciding between culinary influences. Will you opt for Vietnamese fusion, Peruvian touches, or Turkish notes? Cooking cultures have seeped into mainstream food, and Za’atar, sumac, filo dough, and rosewater are no longer exotic ingredients, but instead pantry staples in any ordinary kitchen. The Middle East has dominated this cultural molding and its influences can be found in some of the most popular restaurants all over the globe. In celebration of this shift, we’ve compiled a list of five new Middle Eastern cookbooks to add to your library and inspire you in the kitchen.
<i>Cairo Kitchen: Recipes From the Middle East, Inspired by the Street Food of Cairo</i>
By Suzanne Zeidy
Egyptian restaurateur Suzanne Zeidy brings Cairo-inspired food to life in her book, Cairo Kitchen. Recipes cover a mix of street food and home-style dishes, both modern and traditional. Koshary is Zeidy’s signature dish and a strong focus of the book with a couple of different variations on the traditional version. Beautiful photos of stunning plates, lush ingredients, and images of the city itself adorn the pages of this book, making it a real treat for the eyes.
AED 140/SAR 143, Amazon.com
<i>Anatolia: Adventures in Turkish Cooking</i>
By Somer Sivrioglu & David Dale
Turkish-born chef Somer Sivrioglu and food writer David Dale take you on a culinary journey from the small streets of Istanbul to the lush countryside of Turkey in their cookbook, Anatolia. Highly focused on regional cuisine and neighboring influences, the book is visually stunning and includes 140 authentic recipes accompanied by folk storytelling and cultural nuances. Recipes weave through all daily meals, from a traditional Turkish breakfast including simit (similar to a sesame bagel) and cilbir (poached eggs in yogurt) to lamb kofte (meatballs) and the Ottoman favorite lokum (Turkish delight).
AED 168/SAR 172, Amazon.com
<i>Comptoir Libanais Express</i>
By Tony Kitous & Dan Lepard
The wildly popular London-based Lebanese eatery has launched its second cookbook, Comptoir Libanais Express. The book is ideal for the novice chef who doesn’t have time to make elaborate meals, as recipes focus on everyday pantry items and how they can be transformed with a Middle Eastern twist. There is also an encyclopaedic guide to Middle Eastern ingredients that is perfect for someone looking to get their feet wet in the kitchen. Recipes cover everything from meats and fish to beautiful, yet simple, salads and mezze for a vegetarian or vegan palate.
AED 112/SAR 115, Amazon.com
<i>Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh & Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen</i>
By Maureen Abood
Lebanese-American writer and blogger Maureen Abood allows readers to experience her heritage firsthand in her new book Rose Water & Orange Blossoms. Abood covers traditional Lebanese recipes such as raw kibbeh whilst sharing the stories behind them. She also adds an American twist to her cuisine, with avocado in tabbouleh for example. The book hones in on the importance of community and staying connected to your roots with vibrant photographs and poignant writing along the way.
AED 112/SAR 115, Amazon.com
By Yotam Ottolenghi & Ramael Scully
Ottolenghi’s moorish approach to Middle Eastern cuisine has become incredibly popular over the years. His transformation of humble vegetables into star mains is undeniably genius. The cookbook includes over 100 dishes from the Soho-based London eatery. The flavors fall somewhere between Asia and the Middle East, as Head Chef Ramael Scully’s heritage (think: Ginger, green chili, and tamarind) is married with Ottolenghi’s roots (think: Eggplant, yoghurt, and cumin seed). It’s truly a wonderful combination.
AED 157/SAR 161, Amazon.com