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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rose petals, angelica powder, barberries and dried Persian limes are among the unusual elements that will awaken Western palates in the fare served up by chef and teacher Batmanglij (New Food of Life). Before presenting an array of recipes aimed at the adventurous cook, she notes that the cuisine of Persia (known as Iran, since 1935) is akin to Chinese in that it is thousands of years old. Some dishes, such as Shish Kabab and other skewered meals, are familiar, but many will be decidedly exotic to the uninitiated: Pistachio Soup is based on the nut with a name derived from a Persian word; Sweet and Sour Stuffed Chicken boasts a filling of onion, garlic, prunes, apples, dried apricots and cinnamon; a spice rarely used in this country flavors Grilled Fish with Sumac. Thirteen braised dishes known as khoreshes include Rhubarb Khoresh, which can be made with either chicken or red meat. Most Persian rice dishes are cooked so that a savory golden crust, known as tah dig, forms on the bottom. Desserts include Rose Water Rice Pudding and a labor-intensive Baklava. Cooks accustomed to simple recipes will find other complicated offerings, such as Jeweled Rice, but most are not overly intimidating. Color photos and a dictionary of terms and ingredients are helpful, as is a resource guide to groceries and restaurants.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A Taste of Persia is suffused with food-laden nostalgia...stresses the pre-Islamic continuity of Iranian cuisine...[and] succeeds in producing naturalistic and mouth-watering pictures." --Robert Irwin, The Times Literary Supplement

"Najmieh Batmanglij is the guru of Persian cuisine." --The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Mage Publishers; 2nd edition (December 20, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933823135
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933823133
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #996,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Najmieh Batmanglij was born and raised in Iran. During her childhood, her mother wouldn't allow her in the kitchen. "Concentrate on your education," she would say. "There will be plenty of time for you to cook later in life."

Najmieh came to America in the 1960s to study at university and would cook Persian food with fresh local produce using recipes sent by her mother in letters. Her housemates loved the food she made and encouraged her to cook all the more. Little did she know that the American food revolution had just begun. Later, when Najmieh returned to Iran with her master's degree in education in hand, her mother welcomed her into the kitchen and started to work with her.

At the end of 1979, as the Iranian Revolution took a more fundamentalist turn, Najmieh and her husband fled to France, where their first son Zal was born.

It was in France that Najmieh decided to follow her passion for cooking. With the help of her friends and neighbors, she wrote her first cookbook, Ma Cuisine d'Iran.

In 1983 she and her husband emigrated to America, where she gave birth to their second son, Rostam, and wrote her first book in English, Food of Life.

Najmieh has spent the past 35 years cooking, traveling, and adapting authentic Persian recipes to tastes and techniques in the West. She has been hailed as "the guru of Persian cuisine" by The Washington Post. Her Food of Life was called "the definitive book on Iranian cooking" by the Los Angeles Times. Her Silk Road Cooking was selected as one of the 10 best vegetarian cookbooks of 2004 by The New York Times; and her book From Persia to Napa: Wine at the Persian Table won the Gourmand Cookbook Award for the best wine history book of 2007.

Najmieh is a member of Les Dames d'Escoffier and lives in Washington, DC, where she teaches Persian cooking, and consults with restaurants around the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Thadeus Inge (thadinge@aol.com) on October 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
Having been in love with Persia, since I lived there as a young man, I was delighted to find Najmieh Batmanglij's latest book to be such an uncompromised gateway back to this amazing land. She has created yet another masterpeice. This time more afforable and easier for us non-chefs to understand. Thank You Najmieh for your beautiful recepies and book!
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
I love Persian food but thought the recipes were too complicated for a someone like me who has no idea what I'm doing in the kitchen. This book changed that for me! It is very simple and clear. One great thing about the book is that if she says it takes 15 mins to make something, it really does!!!
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By MayR on July 11, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a Persian who's trying to learn to cook persian food, this is the best Persian cookbook I have. It lists the most popular foods, the receipes are easy to follow and turn out great! Almost as good as my own mom cooks them... I would definitley recommend this book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Supramy on February 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I have used many of the recipes, modified them, cooked them with friends and family. I have given my first copy away to my mom and then had to search bookstores to replace it. I even took it on the plane when I visited my family to make a special dinner for my dad's birthday with the whole family there. Grandma even loved it! I especially like to make the crusted saffron, yogurt rice for others. The presentation is great, but best made with a friend to share in the prep. As the author says, nushjan!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Wilkinson on March 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're a fan of America's Test Kitchen, this book may be somewhat frustrating in its lack of detailed descriptions of technique. There are also several pictures of dishes in the book that seem not to be included among the book's recipes. Beautiful photos, nice little essays, some good recipes.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By jaxgev on July 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
I've rated this book better than Batmanglij's New Food of Life but there are still some typos and inaccuracies that make it difficult to give this book a perfect review. I've verified the typos with Batmanglij but I wish she had a section on her website for updates BEFORE I stumble into them. The recipe for ghormeh sabzi is priceless. In fact, my husband says it's better than his mom's!
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. ShahidiAzizabadi on May 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately I think the authoress makes this book a bit "too" exotic. yes Irani cooking is really awesome, ancient and beautiful but most Iranian recipies are actually quite simple and use a minimal of spices and other things...she just adds far to much to everything. I think she is trying to make Persian cooking more exotic than it really is.

For example the way I make tas kabob is NOT like how she says it is, it had no fruit in it!? Since when does tas kabob ever have fruit in it? uh, never... It has lamb, potato and tomato and some advieh and salt...um, thats it.
There are many other examples I could share but wont.

I prefer Margaret Shaida's Legendary Cusine of Persia. She gives the REAL recipies and ways of cooking dishes that Iranians actually use. Infact I have a in Farsi cookbook I got in tehran during my last trip over to see Family...the Venus cookbook and the majority of the recipies are the same or very very similar.

Anyway, I wish this women would put out a REAL Iranian cookbook not a overly exoticized, hyped up version...
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amir on November 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It seems she is more obsessed with adding more and more to food without getting actually the real taste out of the final dish. Ghorme Sabzi or Loobia Polo among most favorite and well known Persian dishes for Pesians will be absolutely different from what you would get from this book. I am not sure what part of Iran her recipes are coming from but it is absolutely different from main stream food and taste.

lemon and lime are being used wrong from time to time. I am not happy about this book but it seems like more ligid source than online resources.

again, to cook by this book you must spend all the day in kitchen!!!!
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