An insightful exploration into the bounty of both familiar and new Middle Eastern ingredients plus 90 modern and traditional dishes in which to use them, from the author of Mastering Spice and The Spice Companion
“Get ready to go on a transformative cultural journey that begins in your kitchen.”—Carla Hall, bestselling author of Carla Hall’s Soul Food
Growing up on a kibbutz in northern Israel, spice master Lior Lev Sercarz has long had an affinity for local ingredients and produce. After becoming a chef and then devoting his creativity and career to sourcing and blending spices, he recognized the intensive labor, skill, and craftsmanship that goes into the development of Middle Eastern pantry staples, from olives to silan (date molasses), and tahini to sujuk (a fermented and dried sausage).
In this cookbook and culinary resource, he homes in on the everyday ingredients used throughout this vast region, including Turkey, Tunisia, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Armenia, Jordan, and more, as he offers an homage to the pantry staples that define Middle Eastern cuisine. Lior offers an in-depth look at the production, history, cultural resonance, and storage of each pantry item, then shares an array of mouthwatering recipes crafted for home kitchens. Dishes range from a hearty Verjus and Lamb Stew to snacky Kibbeh with Pine Nuts, Roasted Vegetables with Egyptian Dukkah, tangy Iraqi amba mango sauce, a sweet-syrupy-cheesy kunafe, and a creamy Turkish rice pudding.
This book is for home cooks who crave not only recipes but also origin stories that lend cultural relevance and insight into one of the world’s most ancient and beloved cuisines.
About the Author
Lior Lev Sercarz is the chef and owner of La Boîte, a destination spice atelier in New York City, and the author of Mastering Spice and The Spice Companion. His collections are sold online and in select stores. He lives in New York City with his wife and children.
“The magic touch that Lior possesses is what helps elevate his flavors and all of the food he cooks. In A Middle Eastern Pantry he goes through the tips, tricks, and techniques that will take your palate to new heights. Along with being one of my favorite people, I have never met someone so passionate and knowledgeable about spices, which is what makes his food so special. I can’t wait until you dig into this book and watch your taste buds explode.”—Michael Symon, James Beard Award–winning chef and New York Times bestselling author
“Through history and storytelling, Lior takes the pantry out of the closet and puts it front and center exactly where it should be. Get ready to go on a transformative cultural journey that begins in your kitchen.”—Carla Hall, bestselling author of Carla Hall’s Soul Food
“Lior is the only person I trust to spice up my life, and his Middle Eastern pantry is sure to liven up any kitchen. His knowledge of these ingredients is only matched by his mastery of how to use them in the most magical recipes!”—Jake Cohen, New York Times bestselling author of Jew-ish
“Part cookbook, part history lesson, part beguiling travelogue, A Middle Eastern Pantry overdelivers on beauty, inspiration, and pure joy. Crisscrossing the region, ingredient by ingredient, Lior’s book is a must-have for all who are intoxicated by the flavors of the Middle East. It’s an instant classic that you’ll return to again and again.”—Nilou Motamed, food and travel expert and TV personality