Najmieh's first cookbook, Food of Life, has been called “the definitive book on Persian cooking” and was followed by six more cookbooks. But as she worked on these books as an Iranian exile, at home in America, a fantastical dream took hold—a craving to revisit Iran and celebrate the specialties and traditional dishes of each region.
After five years of overcoming obstacles, meticulous planning, and ten thousand miles of traveling the length and breadth of Iran—cooking with local cooks, visiting workshops, and developing recipes—Najmieh’s dream has been realized with the creation of Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes and Kitchen Secrets. It is an authoritative exploration of a cuisine whose cultural roots are among the deepest of any in the world.
Najmieh takes us with her on an extraordinary culinary journey: from the daily fish market in Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf, where she and her host buy and cook a 14-pound grouper in a tamarind, cilantro, and garlic sauce, to the heart of historical Isfahan, in central Iran, where she prepares lamb necks in a yogurt, saffron, and candied orange peel sauce topped with caramelized barberries. Traveling north to the Caspian Sea, she introduces us to the authentic Gilaki version of slow-cooked duck in a pomegranate and walnut sauce, served over smoked rice; and the unique flavors of a duck-egg omelet with smoked eggplant and baby garlic. Lingering in the north, in tribal Kurdistan, she treats us to lamb-and-bulgur meatballs filled with caramelized onions and raisins in a saffron sauce. Dropping south, to Bandar Abbas on the coast, she teases our palate with rice cooked in date juice and served with spicy fish, while in Baluchistan she cooks spiced goat in a pit overnight and celebrates the age-old method of making bread in hot ashes.
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