Louisa Shafia is a Brooklyn-based chef and cookbook author whose first book Lucid Food was lauded for its fresh approach to cooking with organic, seasonal food. In The New Persian Kitchen, she turns her attention to the vibrant flavors of Iran. She was introduced to this food as a child when her Iranian aunties would visit, bringing unfamiliar ingredients like pomegranate molasses, turmeric, and dried lime and filling the kitchen with enticing, delicious smells and tastes.
• Who wrote it: Louisa Shafia
• Who published it: Ten Speed Press
• Number of recipes: 80
• Recipes for right now: Whole Grilled Fava Beans; Fresh Herb Platter; Cold Pistachio Soup with Mint and Leeks; Cleansing Spring Nettle Soup; Radish, Rhubarb, and Strawberry Salad; Herb Frittata with Walnuts and Rose Petals; Roasted Stuffed Artichokes with Mint Oil; Grilled Shrimp with Lime Powder and Parsley-Olive OIl; Lamb Meatballs with Mint and Garlic; Jeweled Brown Basmati Rice and Quinoa; Rhubarb and Rosewater Sorbet; Watermelon , Mint, and Cider Vinegar Tonic.
• Other highlights: At just over 200 pages, The New Persian Kitchen isn't a big book, but it does pack in quite a lot of information about the food and ingredients of Iran. After a brief introduction, Ms. Shafia takes us through the history of Persian cooking and a wonderful guide to ingredients, with hints and tips on how to work with things like saffron and whole grains.
The book is divided into sections, including Starters and Snacks; Soups; Salads; Vegetables and Egg Entrees; Meat and Fish Entrees; Main Dish Stews and Casseroles; Rice and Grains; Sweets; Beverages; and Pickles and Preserves. Scattered throughout are short articles on Iranian food and customs, and helpful how-to's such as several methods for seeding a pomegranate. It ends with menus, resources and an index.
If you're new to Persian cooking and unfamiliar with some of the foods, this is an excellent place to start. Ms. Shafia's knowledge and enthusiasm will encourage you to explore this vibrant and delicious cuisine. She also offers a balanced approach to health by encouraging the use of whole grains and sustainably raised meats and vegetables.
• Who would enjoy this book? If you're interested in vibrant, healthy food with gorgeous ingredients such as rose petals, pomegranates, sour cherries, then you, like me, will love this book! And even if you're not so sure about some of the less familiar foods, please dive in anyway and give it a try. I'm quite sure you won't be disappointed.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia
• Visit the author's website: Louisa Shafia
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Dana Velden; author photo Sara Remington)