The author of the thirteenth-century Arabic cookbook Kitab al-Tabīkh proposed that food was among the foremost pleasures in life. Scheherazade's Feasts invites adventurous cooks to test this hypothesis.
From the seventh to the thirteenth centuries, the influence and power of the medieval Islamic world stretched from the Middle East to the Iberian Peninsula, and this Golden Age gave rise to great innovation in gastronomy no less than in science, philosophy, and literature. The medieval Arab culinary empire was vast and varied: with trade and conquest came riches, abundance, new ingredients, and new ideas. The emergence of a luxurious cuisine in this period inspired an extensive body of literature: poets penned lyrics to the beauty of asparagus or the aroma of crushed almonds; nobles documented the dining customs obliged by etiquette and opulence; manuals prescribed meal plans to deepen the pleasure of eating and curtail digestive distress.
Drawn from this wealth of medieval Arabic writing, Scheherazade's Feasts presents more than a hundred recipes for the foods and beverages of a sophisticated and cosmopolitan empire. The recipes are translated from medieval sources and adapted for the modern cook, with replacements suggested for rare ingredients such as the first buds of the date tree or the fat rendered from the tail of a sheep. With the guidance of prolific cookbook writer Habeeb Salloum and his daughters, historians Leila and Muna, these recipes are easy to follow and deliciously appealing. The dishes are framed with verse inspired by them, culinary tips, and tales of the caliphs and kings whose courts demanded their royal preparation. To contextualize these selections, a richly researched introduction details the foodscape of the medieval Islamic world.
Habeeb Salloum is author of many books, including Classic Vegetarian Cooking from the Middle East and North Africa and The Arabian Nights Cookbook: From Lamb Kebabs to Baba Ghanouj, Delicious Homestyle Arabian Cooking. Muna Salloum and Leila Salloum Elias are coauthors of The Sweets of Araby: Enchanting Recipes from the Tales of the 1001 Arabian Nights.
Note on Translation Introduction Appetizers Green Olive Spread Labnah with Chopped Greens and Walnuts Fried Eggs with Vinegar and Spices Fava Bean Salad Fava Beans with Yogurt and Garlic Spicy Chard and Fava Bean Dip Fava Bean Dip with Fennel and Cumin Tangy Eggplant Stir-Fry Seared Eggplant with Walnuts Pickled Onions Honeyed Carrots in Rosewater Cauliflower with Tahini-Walnut Sauce Hummus with Ground Nuts Sauteed Spinach with Garlic and Coriander Cold Roasted Chicken with Almonds and Pomegranate Seeds Cold Roasted Chicken with Lime and Cucumber Herbed Chicken Salad An Almond-Mustard Condiment Herb Sauce for FishSoupsCold Yogurt and Cucumber Soup Spiced Lamb and Fava Bean Soup Hearty Lamb and Chickpea Soup Chickpea and Miso Soup Aromatic Soup with Rice and Pomegranate Seeds Squash and Lentil Soup Meatball and Chickpea SoupEntrees LambLamb and Prune Tajine Spiced Lamb with Walnuts Lamb and Sour Apple Tajine Lentil Stew with Lamb and Swiss Chard Spiced Lamb and Lentil Stir-fry with Rice Browned Lamb with Saffron-Cinnamon Rice Lamb and Rice Porridge Lamb and Cabbage Tajine Lamb with Honeyed Onions Lamb with Greens and Clockwise-Stirred Yogurt Fried Bananas with Lamb and Hazelnuts Spiced Lamb and Fennel Tajine Sweet and Sour Lamb and Vegetable Stew Savory Meatballs and Cubed Lamb with Coriander Spice-Infused Cucumbers with Lamb and Walnuts Asparagus Wrapped in Lamb Ground Meat with Fried Halloumi Cheese and Spices The Caliph's Wife's Eggplant and Lamb Stir-fry Stuffed Eggplant Lamb and Vegetables with Spiced Onion Sauce Garlicky Spinach with Buttered Lamb and Chickpeas Spiced Lamb with Honeyed Apricots Sweet and Meaty Lamb and Date Kebabs Spicy Lamb Sausage Fried Lamb Turnovers Two Ways Hearty Stuffed Tripe with Lamb, Chickpeas, and Rice Aromatic Couscous with Veal and Vegetables Stuffed Dumplings in YogurtChickenHerbed Chicken Pita Rolls Chicken Stew with Pomegranate Juice and Pumpkin Savory and Sour Chicken, Lamb, and Egg Casserole Grilled Chicken in Yogurt Fried Meatballs with Pistachios and Honey Pistachio-Stuffed Roasted Chicken Chicken and Vegetables in a Tart and Creamy Sauce Tangy Sumac Chicken Saffron Chicken Tajine Zesty Almond and Chicken Pie Aromatic Chicken with Fried and Boiled Eggs over Toasted Pita Creamy Stew with Meat and VegetablesSeafoodGinger-Fried Shrimp for Lent Fried Fish with Garlic and Coriander Sauce Poached and Baked Fish with Fennel Fried Fish with Tahini and Onions Walnut-Stuffed Roasted Fish Summertime Fried Fish Fried Salmon with Raisins and AlmondsVegetarianSweet Tooth Rice and Yogurt Sauteed Aphrodisiac Greens Garlicky Yogurt and Chard Spiced Chickpea Fritters Gardener's Vegetable TartDesserts Basic Dessert ElementsSugar Syrup Honey Syrup Rosewater and Orange Blossom Custard CreamDessertsSugared Lettuce Honey and Almond Candy Chewy Fruit and Nut Candy) Muhammad's Wedding Cookies Fried Rosewater Melts Honeyed Sesame Cakes Adult Butter Cookies Caliph's Favorite Shortbread Sesame-Nut Shortbread Hazelnut Filo Dough Cake Fried Dough with Pistachios and Rosewater Honey-Cream Crunch Seven-Layer Ricotta Cake Almond Fingers Fried Dough Bites Crunchy Beaded Honey Squares Crispy Lattice Fritters Fried Stuffed Pancakes Sweet Cheese Fritters Honey-Dipped Almond-Stuffed Rings Braided Fried Dough with Spices Aromatic Nut Cigars Almond-Sealed Stuffed Cigars Fried Nut TurnoversBeveragesHot Sweet Rosewater Drink Lemonade Aromatic Honey and Grape Juice Drink for Wintertime Zesty Mint Drink Hot Aromatic Honeyed Milk Pomegranate Seed Smoothie Sour Apple Syrup Cold Apricot Drink for Breaking a FastSample Menus for Special OccasionsA Dinner During Ramadan (Breaking the Fast) A Dinner During Lent A Dinner During Passover A Dinner for Christmas A Dinner Feast Such as That Held in the Caliph's CourtRegal Recipes for Stuffed Meats Measurements and Metric Conversion Chart Tools and Ingredients Notes Bibliography Index Acknowledgments