cover image The Aleppo Cookbook: Celebrating the Legendary Cuisine of Syria

The Aleppo Cookbook: Celebrating the Legendary Cuisine of Syria

Marlene Matar, photos by Rania Matar. Interlink, $35 (288p) ISBN 978-1-56656-98

The rich culinary heritage of Aleppo comes to life in this tribute to the Syrian city at the ancient Mediterranean crossroads. While acknowledging that war, migration, and climate change challenge modern-day Aleppo, Marlene Matar, Lebanese chef of television and cooking school fame, offers delicious ways to celebrate the diverse historical roots of Middle Eastern cooking in over 200 recipes for foundation dishes and fancier meals. Chapters include appetizers, grains, and stuffed dishes; stews, soups, and sauce-based recipes; flatbread, pickles, and preserves; and drinks and desserts. Nearly 30 variations of kibbeh are featured, including quince in a pomegranate meat stock. Numerous vegetable main dishes are included, such as a stew of lentils, bulgar, and caramelized onions, and a traditional Aleppian dish with the delightful name of “Hidden Love” that consists of stuffed zucchini cooked with green beans in a tomato sauce. Desserts include lemony milk pudding infused with rosewater and orange blossoms. Ingredients are regional but accessible to home cooks, and there’s a glossary. This introduction to Middle Eastern cooking techniques will equally satisfy beginners or experienced fans of the regional fare. Cityscape photos and colorful prepared dishes captivate as Mater brings Aleppo’s aromas, marketplace, and table to life. (July)