Flavors of the Sun: The Sahadi’s Guide to Understanding, Buying, and Using Middle Eastern Ingredients

Chronicle. Sept. 2021. 352p. ISBN 9781452182452. $35. COOKING
The James Beard award–winning market Sahadi’s, based in Brooklyn, NY, has long been a hub for immigrant families seeking staples for home cooking. Seeing the wide popularity of foods and flavors from the Middle East, Sahadi Whelan (the market’s culinary director and fourth-generation co-owner) has written an inviting collection of versatile recipes for both new and experienced home cooks. Dishes both sweet and savory reflect the author’s Lebanese heritage, along with culinary connections to Syria, Israel, Jordan, Greece, Turkey, and North Africa. Communal cooking is at the heart of the book. Recipes are sorted into five chapters, each dedicated to a flavor profile: bright (pomegranate molasses, sumac); savory (za’atar, mint); spiced (harissa, ras el hanout); nutty (tahini, dukkah); and sweet (date syrup, honey). Sahadi Whelan’s detailed descriptions of each ingredient stand out. The serving suggestions and the sections listing 10 ways to use any given ingredient are worth the price of admission. In addition to subsections on starters, salads, entrees, and sweets, the cookbook helpfully suggests menus that mix and match recipes, like Herbed Egg Bites served with Individual Spinach Walnut Pies.
VERDICT Blending essential guidance with winning recipes, this debut will satisfy a variety of tastes; it pairs well with Eden Grinshpan’s Eating Out Loud.
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