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Mediterranean / Middle Eastern cookbook recomendations?

To be a little more specific, more Moroccon influence than anything else would be ideal. I've flicked through a few in stores and never seen anything that grabs my attention. At the moment I'm hooked on 'Mangoes and Curry Leaves' and the other book on Asian food by this couple, so anything along those lines would be great.

The books I've seen are either a little two text heavy (I can live with limited photo's, but a few would be good) or the photo's do the food no juistice - can't stand cookbooks with poor photography.

Any ideas would be appreciated, thanks

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    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      for this Paula Wolfert is the best - look out though - not all of her books contain moroccan dishes if that is your specific interest.

      Recipes are sometimes relatively complex but carefully explained and not hard to execute. You may have to find ingredients though (I like doing this so its not an issue) You can really trust her though, and the results are justification enough

      Ive cooked out of Roden's first book, which was at the simplistic end of the spectrum ingredientwise and also in terms of her relatively scant descriptions of technique (admittedly she was writing in London and there were not a lot of resources for an ethnic cook then) but not the new one - if you want delicious special food I would go to wolfert first.

    2. Paula Wolferts' books are not heavily into photography (the cost of producing a cookbook with colour photos is huge!), but she really, really knows what she's talking about and, best of all, her recipes work.

      I, too, am a fan of Naomi Duguid and Jeff Alford. They're an enormously talented team, and reading their books is like immersing oneself in an anthropological culinary journey.

      1. I'm going to do a little research on Paula, like I say I can live without the photo's as long as I can feel that the recipes and accompaning test can interest me. Thanks

        1. Have you seen Arabesque by Claudia Roden? It's a beautiful book with simple, honest recipes. It covers Turkey, Morocco and Lebanon. A lot of the dishes are surpisingly clean and light.

          As for Duguid and Alford, they're currently working on a book about China, which I'm greatly looking forward to. It's a huge genre to tackle but they always do justice to their subjects with style.

          4 Replies
          1. re: gingersweetiepie

            I also like Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food. It actually covers N. Africa (Morocco, Egypt) as well as the Middle East. It also contains some great history about Mid. Eastern cuisine and cooking. She's great!

            1. re: nyclibkat

              Do you mean there is actually something better than the original Roden book? :-) Her text is a lot more informative than a bunch of glossy pictures.

              1. re: nyclibkat

                Agree. This is my go-to book. Paula Wolfert's wonderful, but to me, the Roden recipes are more intuitive/accessible/easy.

                1. re: Notorious EMDB

                  I love Claudia Roden's New Book of Middle Eastern Food. I've had it for several years now and use it very often with great success. It is one of my favorite cookbooks.

                  She provides excellent instructions and also provides lots of suggestions for modifications to recipes reflective of different regions. She actually has a new cookbook out called Arabesque or something like that which might have more Morroccan recipes. I don't have it yet.

            2. Another Paula Wolfert fan here. I think I have all her books which, as already said, are full of recipes that work. Also check Claudia Roden. Her New Book on Middle Eastern Cooking is heavy on text but solid with information. Her more recent book, Arabesque, has more pictures but again is full of good facts.

              1. Has anyone tried Ana Sortun's book, Spices? Paula Wolfert's a fan of Ana Sortun, and has one of her recipes in her "Slow Cooking of the Mediterranean."

                But count me in as another Paula Wolfert fan--I own 2 of her books, and have cooked from more.

                2 Replies
                1. re: AppleSister

                  I love Spice and have said so many times on this board. I wasn't sure if the OP wanted traditional Mediterranean/ME cooking or not. Sortun's book is more her take on Turkish cooking so not as authentic as Wolfert or Roden.

                  1. re: cheryl_h

                    I have it as well and really like it. Very good food, and vefry clear instructions.
                    I saw a book titled "Turquoise" (author's last name is Malouf, I think). Very good looking Turkish recipes.


                2. Joanne Weir's Tapas to Mezze is a nice book for appetizers in the region. No photos but the recipes are clear and well written.

                  I too love the D&A books and at the moment going through Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet bookmarking recipes to make for next month since it is our book of the month. I had forgotten how many good Vietnamese recipes are in HSSS

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Candy

                    Great suggestion!! I've had the book since it first came out and use it often. Additionally, the background information is really helpful. I received The Moroccan Cookbook by Irene E. Day as a gift and use it often as a reference book to supplement Moroccan recipes that catch my fancy. No photos, but if you did a web search for the image of some of the recipes it might help.


                  2. My first cooking experience with 'Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet ' didn't go down to well. this region is one that I've never really explored until this book and the fish sauce I got was way to strong, that and the mistake I made using a dried sweet basil turned the chicken with basil dish into a disaster - it was vile. I have since coked it correctly and the wife has forgiven me for that first attempt!

                    There is a spicy potato dish in this book that is so good I've been amking them a few times a week to go with absolutly anything. Boiled and then finished in the wok with chilli's and green onion - so good!

                    1. Two other books I consult regularly are "Classical Turkish Cooking" by Ayla Algar, which has the best eggplant salad recipe ever, and "Food from the Arab World" by Marie Khayat and Margaret Keatinge.

                      Huh, I see that the latter is online in its entirety:


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I like Ms. Algar's book, too, but would also recommend "Classic Turkish Cooking" by Ghillie Basan. My favourite recipes include Carrots and Lentils in Olive Oil, Hunkar Begendi (lamb stew served with eggplant puree), and Imam Bayildi. This book contains gorgeous photos of most of the dishes.

                        1. re: FlavoursGal

                          Just a note to advise that I am referring to Ms. Basan's 1997 book, not to her more recent book (with a very similar name), which I have not used.

                        2. re: Robert Lauriston

                          Thanks for that link! (Another Algar fan here.)

                        3. I got Lebanese Cooking by Susan Ward and have not yet cooked out of it. But plan to get into it soon, once my cooktop is repaired, cooking with one burner slows you down. Anyway I did read through the book and the photos are gorgeous. Recipes succint and clear and I am getting excited about trying some of them ASAP. It is a British book that was also co-published in the US and measurements are given both by weight and US measurements.

                          1. You have to check out this company for amazing international cookbooks- the photography is incredible and a lot of them have travel stories and cultural anecdotes.. My favorites are the North African Kitchen, mezze modern and (slightly unrelated) the paris neighborhood cookbook.