Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes

Mitchell Beazley: Octopus. May 2019. 240p. photos. index. ISBN 9781784725754. $34.99. COOKING
Like the bazaar of the title, the taste influences of this book by food writer Ghayour (Persiana) are many. While anchored firmly in Iran with Persian ingredients (rose harissa, pomegranate, pistachio) and the more generally Middle Eastern spices (sumac, pul biber chili and za’atar), there is a pan-Eastern palette as well. Japanese miso provides umami in a dressing and paneer stands in for the sturdy haloumi. Meat is at the heart of many Iranian meals, but vegetables and vegetarian recipes are not absent from Persian cookbooks. Najmieh Batmanglij’s Joon: Persian Cooking Made Simple lists several, but this work features vegetarian dishes, from appetizers to desserts. Ingenious techniques turn standards into standouts—“Pom-Bombe,” a gorgeous pomegranate-and-pistachio encrusted version of the cheese ball could be a holiday table centerpiece. Macaroni with feta, oregano, and red chili is a sumptuous comfort food. The spices and herbaceous sauces are key to the unique tastes. While some ingredients are not readily found in all supermarkets, all are available online.
VERDICT An ancient cuisine expanded with a world of distinct flavors; readers will find dishes to savor again and again.

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