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The Middle Eastern cookbooks you need on your bookshelf

by Malou Herkes

published on 1 January 2024

From Turkey to Lebanon to Egypt, the Middle East is a region that has bred some of the most exciting cuisines in the world, and thanks to a host of brilliant food writers, chefs and cooks, and better access to key ingredients, home cooks in the UK have been able to bring Middle Eastern flavours into their kitchens with increasing ease. Here are a few of the best Middle Eastern cookbooks from our favourite authors, including Claudia Roden, Yotam Ottolenghi and Tony Kitous.

Falastin

by Sami Tamimi, Tara Wigley

Falastin is a celebration of the people, culture and food of Palestine from two key members of the core Ottolenghi team. Sami Tamimi co-wrote Jerusalem with Yotam, while Tara Wigley was one of the writers of SIMPLE, so there’s not only a foreword by Ottolenghi, but the recipes boast the same vibrant authenticity and precision that you would expect from an Ottolenghi cookbook. In the pages of this culinary guide to Palestine, you’ll find mouth-watering traditional recipes alongside stories from the people living and cooking there, from the yoghurt-making ladies of Bethlehem to the restaurateurs driving modern Palestinian cuisine.

Berber & Q

by Josh Katz

From the man behind acclaimed Middle Eastern grill restaurant, Berber & Q, this eponymous cookbook is all about bringing Middle Eastern food to your barbecue. With a great variety of meat, fish and a special emphasis on vegetables too, recipes include the famed Cauliflower Shawarma, Buttermilk Chicken Shish Kebab and “>Skewered Monkfish Kebabs .

Comptoir Libanais

Comptoir Libanais

by Tony Kitous, Dan Lepard

Bringing the flavours of Lebanon and North Africa to your kitchen, this cookbook from Tony Kitous, owner of the popular London chain, Comptoir Libanais, is not one to miss. Big on spices, fresh herbs and bright citrus flavours, this cookbook has a strong focus on vegetarian and vegan dishes, alongside simple grilled or poached meats, fish and beautiful sauces that are quick to prepare.

Jerusalem

by Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi

This visually stunning cookbook is a celebration of a truly diverse cultural and religious melting pot. Ottolenghi and Tamimi bring together Jerusalem’s culinary influences from its Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian communities into their versions of dishes that span spiced Shakshuka, smoother-than-smooth hummus, lamb kibber and fresh salads.

The Modern Kebab

by Le Bab

From the chefs behind Soho’s Le Bab restaurant, The Modern Kebab will show you how to reinvent the humble kebab into dishes you can and want to make at home. Ranging from meat to fish to veg, recipes include Iskender Chicken Kebab, Aubergine Sabich, Grilled Mackerel with Dill, Pickle and Fennel Kebab and plenty of mezze dishes too.

Arabesque

Arabesque

by Claudia Roden

Since the 1960s, Claudia Roden has introduced generations of British cooks to Middle Eastern cooking, and here she does it again, collecting old and new recipes from Turkey, Lebanon and Morocco to find out how cooking has evolved since she first tasted these cuisines 50 years previously. Expect dishes like Bulgur & Chickpea Salad, Chicken with Tomato Pilaf and Mussaka’A Menazzaleh.

Meliz’s Kitchen

by Meliz Berg

In Meliz’s Kitchen, self-taught cook and recipe developer Meliz Berg draws on her Turkish-Cypriot heritage to create this celebration of the island’s varied, flavourful cuisine. With a refreshing emphasis on ease and simplicity, the book’s nine chapters cover everything from traditional breakfasts and pastries to oven-baked dishes, slow-cooked feasts, and barbecues. Think one-pot halloumi studded pasta, tender kebabs, creamy dips, and much more.

OTK: Shelf Love

by Yotam Ottolenghi, Noor Murad

Though not exclusively a Middle Eastern cookbook, it will come as no surprise that the first instalment of recipes from the Ottolenghi Test Kitchen, Shelf Love, is packed with flavours and ingredients synonymous with the region. From a mac ‘ n’ cheese finished with a za’atar pesto to salmon in a tahini sauce, fans of Middle Eastern recipes will find plenty to love here.

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