The Arab Table: Recipes & Culinary Traditions by May S. Bsisu

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Notes about this book

  • robm on September 17, 2011

    Wonderful book with recipes from all over the Arab world, from Morocco to the Gulf. Very well written and detailed. In addition to the recipes there's lots of information about how the Muslim and Christian holidays are celebrated in the Arab world, with festive menus and useful tips on etiquette if you're invited to a holiday meal in an Arab home! This book rivals Claudia Roden's books on Middle Eastern cuisine and deserves a spot on your shelf.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Stewed tomato sauce (Damaa')

    • Yildiz100 on August 30, 2016

      I made this to accompany a chickpea and chicken pilaf and it was an excellent combination. However, I reduced the onions by quite a bit. I used half a large onion. (She calls for 1.5 pounds of onions for one can of crushed tomatoes!) I did use the full 7 cloves of garlic. This was tasty and a perfect accompaniment for my pilaf, however, I think the version in Easter Mediterranean Feasts is a bit better, as well as more like what I had in Egypt, and easier to boot.

  • Chickpea dip (Hummus)

    • Yildiz100 on May 22, 2016

      Halved the recipe and made the dried chickpea variation. This makes a very mild hummus-not too much garlic, tahini, or lemon. I did decide to add quite a bit more lemon to taste. I probably increased it by 50%. I also needed to add quite a bit more water than she suggested. Starting with the two tablespoons as indicated, this was basically a chickpea dough. However, once I adjusted the lemon and water this was pretty good, but I prefer the version in "Food for the Vegetarian-Lebanese Traditional Recipes." It requires less adjusting.

  • Cucumber and yogurt (Khiyar bi laban)

    • Yildiz100 on August 09, 2015

      I really want to try her suggestion of adding harissa to make a dip for vegetables.

  • Dressed chickpeas (Balila)

    • Yildiz100 on September 27, 2015

      I expected this to be good but unexciting. I instead it was delicious! Keys to getting the same results: be generous with the salt and lemon and double the jalapeño, but remove the pith. Also added radish.

  • Fara beans (Ful mudamas)

    • Yildiz100 on January 11, 2018

      Used this recipe as a guide but omitted the dill and used jalapeno as a garnish instead of grinding it and mixing it in. All the flavors were very good but the amount of tahini gave the beans an unpleasant chalky appearance. I am pretty sure the ful medames that I have enjoyed in the past did not include it. The taste was excellent however. I would repeat this for sure, but first will try a tahini free version.

  • Yogurt cheese wraps (Aroose labneh)

    • Yildiz100 on May 08, 2016

      This is a nice refreshing breakfast. I didn't have the right bread on hand so I made with some frozen naan and it was great. Next time I'll use more olives as they really brightened up the flavors. I'll either omit the mint or use very little. (Did not use basil.)

    • Wlow on October 05, 2018

      With purchased labneh, really good fresh whole wheat pita (kind of sweet), local farmstand heirloom tomatoes and green olives, and homegrown mint and basil, this was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

  • Onion rice (Ruz bi basal)

    • Yildiz100 on October 11, 2019

      Made a half recipe. I thought this rice was a little over spiced on its own for a Lebanese meal, but it complemented the baked cod with tahini (from Moro) beautifully. Note, however, that I forgot the cinnamon, so that may have changed things. It seems like a lot of onions when chopping, but actually the ratio is perfect once you have sauteed them. They shrink quite a bit. This only needs a bit more salt for my taste. I used 1/2 tsp, as per the recipe, plus a sprinkle on the onions during the saute phase. Next time use 3/4 tsp plus a sprinkle on the onions. This rice uses a 1 to 1 rice to water ratio and it does work, but it takes longer and must be cooked on a lower heat, then must be stirred and allowed to sit tightly covered so the top grains get soft. I added the extra step of rinsing the rice before cooking to remove extra starch and adding a tiiiny bit more water.

  • Warm lentils with rice (Mudardara)

    • Yildiz100 on December 28, 2017

      Didn't care for this version. It was quite dry and a bit bland. Needed some butter or something, and had quite a lot of rice for the amount of lentils.

  • Baked kafta in tahini sauce (Kafta bi tahini)

    • Lindalib on November 22, 2014

      Unusual and delicious.

  • Chickpeas with yogurt (Fatteh hummus bi laben)

    • Yildiz100 on April 27, 2017

      I did not follow this recipe exactly as I eyeballed all the quantities but I still learned some useful things for next time. First the toasting time listed (7 mins) is not nearly enough in a 350 oven. I did 13 and the pita was still too chewy. Second, I prefer a stronger tahini flavor. I will make the sauce to taste with more tahini next time.

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Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 0060586141
  • ISBN 13 9780060586140
  • Published Sep 01 2005
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 369
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Morrow Cookbooks
  • Imprint Morrow Cookbooks

Publishers Text

A comprehensive guide that examines the rich foods and traditions of the Arab table. The 175 recipes in the book, from basic ingredients to wonderfully
elaborate dishes, reflect the marvelous diversity of the Middle East/Arab cuisine with distinctive flavors, unique preparations resulting in delicious, healthy and easy to prepare meals. The recipes are broken down into 35 menus and include everything from light soups and salads to hearty meats and stews, poultry, fish, and desserts.

The book also tells personal stories and anecdotes reflecting the author's journey through life and informing the reader a great deal about the customs and traditions of the Arab world. Sections on Ramadan and other major Arab holidays explain their significance, provide information on the customs, and offer tips like what to bring to someone's home during Ramadan (dates and nuts), and what to say.