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The New Persian Kitchen Hardcover – April 16, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Featured Recipe from The New Persian Kitchen: Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime

Turmeric Chicken
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 juicy limes, halved
  • Sumac, for garnish

In a small bowl, mix the turmeric with 1 tablespoon salt and 2 teaspoons pepper. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with the spice mixture, turning to coat both sides.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Brown the chicken well on both sides, about 7 minutes per side. Pour in the water, then add the garlic, stirring it into the water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cover. Braise the chicken for 25 minutes, until the inside is opaque. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, turn up the heat to high, and reduce the cooking liquid for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until it’s slightly thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and pour the sauce over the chicken.

Dust the chicken with sumac and pepper, garnish with lime halves, and serve.

Featured Recipe from The New Persian Kitchen: Saffron Corn Soup

Saffron Corn Soup
  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 2 yellow onions, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 6 large ears corn, shucked
  • 3 dried limes, soaked in hot water to cover for 15 minutes
  • 6 cups chicken stock or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron, ground and steeped in 1 tablespoon hot water
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat and cook the onions for about 10 minutes, until they start to brown. Add the turmeric and corn. Pierce the limes with a knife or fork and add them to the pot along with their soaking water. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until the corn is just tender.

Squeeze the limes against the side of the pot with a long spoon to extract their concentrated flavor before removing them from the soup. Blend half of the soup in a blender, then return it to the pot. Add the saffron and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lemon juice to taste, and serve.



Every once in a while I pick up a cookbook and want to cook everything in it, which was the case with this one. 
—Martha Rose Shulman, The New York Times

“Louisa does a beautiful job of weaving the traditional Persian culinary palette into something of her own. She takes fantastical ingredients—rose water, pomegranates, sumac, and saffron—and spins them into an inspired and unique collection of recipes that are fresh, bright, and brilliantly full of flavor.”
—Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Every Day
“This is a highly evocative book telling the story of the marvelous cuisine of Iran, one of my favorites and one that has yet to be properly discovered in the West.”
—Yotam Ottolenghi, coauthor of Jerusalem
“The New Persian Kitchen is the perfect introduction to Persian cooking, full of classic ingredients and not-so-traditional ones, like tofu and quinoa. This book has something for everyone: practical recipes, anecdotes about the culture and history of Iran, and beautiful photography.” 
—Firoozeh Dumas, author of Funny in Farsi

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 1 edition (April 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607743574
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607743576
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I borrowed this book from my local library and found it so interesting that I went on a two-week binge of Persian cooking! Needless to say, I have now purchased my own copy of the book.

This book is a great introduction to Persian cuisine, which is new to me and probably to most Americans. Shafia starts off by discussing the history of the cuisine and its unique ingredients. The Persian cuisine, as described by her, is sort of fantastically healthy. Typical recipes include many vegetables, herbs, nuts, fruits, and yogurt. Most dishes contain very little added fat, just a few tablespoons of oil for cooking. Meat is eaten, but is not the main focus, and cheese is not featured much either. As a result, the finished dishes are light, yet flavorful, complex, and satisfying.

I've tried about 10 recipes so far, and all have been very good. The Chicken Kebabs in Yogurt Marinade is a classic Persian recipe, according to the author, and very tasty. The Turmeric Chicken with Sumac and Lime is quite easy to make and full of flavor. The Tomato and Cucumber Salad is reminiscent of the mixed chopped vegetable salads in most Mediterranean cuisines, but adds a unique Persian twist with lime and dried mint. Some of my favorite recipes so far are the delicious Persian rice dishes, which to me scale the heights of rice cookery. Her Sweet Rice with Carrots & Nuts is exotic and delicate; and I feel like I could happily eat Rice with Favas & Dill at least every other week. The recipes are very healthy to start with, and Shafia adds a further dimension by offering recipe variations substituting vegetables, tofu, or tempeh for meat, and whole grains for white grains. I really like her attention to health issues and flexibility in using new ingredients.
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Format: Hardcover
There are several books on Persian cuisine on the market, but none create such a timely fusion of traditional tastes and techniques with more health-conscious and organic-leaning ingredients, and few, if any, are so engaging, conversational and effortlessly informative as "The New Persian Kitchen." I learned a great deal about, for instance, the regional variations in Iranian cuisine, while still getting a perspective that is distinctly Iranian-American, a fascinating take in itself, as documentaries like the recent "The Iranian-Americans" on PBS explain. I don't know if old-school purists will have any issue with the creative (and healthy!) license Shafia takes with some of these recipes, such as Fesenjan and Shirin Pollo, but I figure younger, hipper Iranians and Americans alike are going to be thrilled to be able to reinvent and reimagine these dishes with ingredients like quinoa and other gluten-free grains, alternative sweeteners, and other healthier choices than just butter, butter, butter, and white rice for days. With a firm footing in the Persian traditions, and an awesome grasp of natural foods, this book is the best of both worlds, and brings together, oh, a few thousand years of global food culture! Highly, unreservedly recommended. . . .
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first found out about Louisa Shafia's new book through a recent Epicurious interview that was promoting it; excited to try some new flavors, I sampled a few of the recipes (the Majoon and the Carrot Salad) and was immediately smitten. The ingredients worked beautifully together--from the carrots, cilantro and red chile flakes to the dates, yogurt and nutty, textured topping of the smoothie/shake. I decided that I had to have the book and pre-ordered it; since receiving it, I've made several more dishes: the Turmeric Chicken (flavorful and tender; the combination of the yellow chicken with the lime garnish was also visually pleasing), the Rhubarb, Strawberry and Mint salad (as refreshing as it sounds and a celebration of spring produce) and the Beet Burgers (a tasty and textured veggie burger). I can't wait until the weather gets cooler to try some of the soups and stews. This book is inspiring, lovely and with well-written and original recipes. Perhaps I feel this way (at least about the originality) since I don't know all about much about Persian cooking, but this is definitely a good resource to introduce one to both traditional and experimental Persian flavors.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a surprisingly excellent collection of recipes that aren't terribly laborious or complicated (although this opinion comes from someone who doesn't mind spending 5 hours in the kitchen to make a great weekend meal). There are lots of recipes I want to try, and the ones I've used have yielded excellent results.

The recipes call for a number of ingredients that may be difficult to find, but once you've acquired a few staples you'll be set for most of the recipes in the book. The author admits that she was going for authentic flavors, and not necessarily authentic recipes, and I'm sure some people will criticize the lack of authenticity with respect to traditional Persian cuisine. However, as an American, I appreciate that these recipes were adapted to include ingredients that are familiar to my palate and are readily available in American grocery stores. Most of these recipes will be very easy to anyone who has a good grasp on basic kitchen techniques.

One thing I will point out is that most of the savory recipes call for saffron. I have no problem with this, as it's kind of fun to use luxurious ingredients properly, but cooking your way through this book will get a little pricy. If you are considering purchasing The New Persian Kitchen as a gift, the recipient will be even more happy if you include a gram or two of saffron threads to accompany the book.
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