Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford

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Notes about this book

  • jlg84 on October 08, 2016

    Beautiful book, with a lot of recipes that I plan to try. But I noticed an error in the pumpkin manti recipe--for the filling the instructions call for butter that is not included in the list of ingredients (and the ingredients call for olive oil that is not used). A minor error, but makes me wonder what other errors slipped by.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Sweet and sour braised carrots

    • Aggie92 on April 24, 2017

      Wow! I loved this. Lightly sweet, sour and spicy. The sugar and cinnamon gave the carrots an initial dessert-like quality on the palate and then the red pepper flakes kick in and promptly return this dish right back to savory. The only thing I did different was to double the amount of water. The initial amount was way too skimpy and left the carrots in a thick goo that would not have allow them to braise. I removed the pan cover a few minutes before the end of the cooking time which allowed the glaze to thicken. Also doubled the amount of raisins too, as 1 tablespoon just didn't seem like enough.

    • rumon on October 07, 2017

      I make this all the time, an extremely useful veg side dish to have up your sleeve as it has a relatively long braise time and is quite happy sitting around once cooked. I can assure you that the recipe works perfectly with the stated amount of water and raisins. There is enough moisture in the pan with the lid on to slowly braise the carrots and the flavours intensify this way.

    • jenburkholder on August 17, 2020

      I didn’t love this one; it felt a bit monotonely sweet. Wouldn’t repeat, probably.

  • Melting potatoes with dill

    • TrishaCP on May 20, 2017

      I agree these are amazing. A must have if you like dill. I really like the idea of oven roasting the potatoes for more even cooking.

    • zorra on June 16, 2017

      A celebration of dill. Reminds me of my late uncle in Australia who loved to serve "bread with grass" (buttery crostini covered with minced dill & parsley.) Reduced the butter slightly & it was still luscious.

    • Lepa on May 09, 2019

      This is easy and delicious!

    • Frogcake on March 19, 2017

      Excellent! These are truly meltingly delicious. So simple -you just have to be patient and let the potatoes pan roast. I've also roasted the potato onion butter combination in the oven, slow roasting for 45 minutes at 350 Fahrenheit with great success. I prefer the oven roasting technique for the more intense potato onion flavour. The results were just as buttery too.

    • Frogcake on March 31, 2018

      A reminder to self not to forget about this amazing recipe! Served with spiced lamb steaks and sultans delight eggplant sauce.

    • jenburkholder on July 15, 2020

      I have to be a dissenting voice here. These were tasty enough, sure (potatoes, butter, and dill, so of course), but nothing special. We didn’t feel that they were more than the sum of their parts, or that the cooking method had much benefit over the even-easier roasting. Ok, but never repeated.

  • Tomatoes, dill, and purple basil

    • TrishaCP on July 10, 2017

      I had all of the ingredients on hand, which led me to make this salad. It is quite austere- not even any oil or vinegar- just the onion, herbs, and sugar/salt/chile flake mixture adding the flavor. I had an avocado that needed to be used, so added it on top. This was fine but we probably won't be repeating it.

  • Apricot and red lentil soup

    • TrishaCP on October 13, 2017

      This was a very delicious and different (to me) twist on lentil soup. It cooked up quickly enough to work for a weeknight. It calls for red split lentils, but I didn't have quite enough, so used half green lentils, which was fine. (The apricots and carrots provided enough orange color.) I had huge lemons so only used half of one and it added the right level of acidity to offset the sweetness of the apricots.

    • jenburkholder on August 17, 2020

      We agree this is very good, although as one would expect, it’s quite sweet. Perhaps not one to eat in large portions, but well-balanced with the acid. We threw in kale at the end.

  • Chicken shashlik with pink onions and pomegranate

    • TrishaCP on May 22, 2017

      This is probably the best chicken kabob that I have tried. We marinated the chicken overnight and it was incredibly moist and flavorful. I adored the pink onions too to cut the richness of the chicken. In particular, the addition of pomegranate seeds (I used frozen) is inspired.

    • Frogcake on April 29, 2017

      Amazing combination of flavours. My chicken marinated for about four hours. Another simple but flavourful recipe from this book. Will be making this again.

    • Frenchfoodie on October 21, 2018

      So good. A regular in our house. Still delicious without the pomegranate seeds (we rarely have them in).

  • Grilled lamb kebabs with cinnamon, cloves, and hot hummus

    • TrishaCP on July 10, 2018

      I only made the lamb (didn't have time for the hummus). It was excellent. I marinated it overnight and served it with a yogurt and dill sauce. I look forward to trying the hummus at some point.

  • Thunderstone lamb chops with sour cherry sauce

    • TrishaCP on April 06, 2018

      The sauce is a nice accompaniment for lamb. Definitely go heavy on the pepper.

  • Spicy meatballs with adjika and yogurt

    • TrishaCP on June 07, 2019

      These were interesting but I don’t think I would repeat them. The meatballs were a bit tough to start, although the flavors were good. I need to consult my other recipes for adjika- this version was garlicky but I didn’t think it was very spicy.

  • Azerbaijani lamb with chestnuts

    • TrishaCP on March 21, 2017

      This was an intriguing and delicious lamb stew that I served over rice studded with chestnuts. As the recipe header indicates, it is in the vein of a sweet and sour flavor combination from the pomegranate juice/molasses, which is appealing to me but may not be to those who are generally suspicious of fruit/meat combinations. The recipe stipulates one braising lamb, which I think was an editing error. So I just used slightly over a pound of lamb stew meat and that seemed to work well.

  • Beef shashlik with tahini and pistachio sauce

    • zorra on June 01, 2017

      Delicious prepared from lamb (as the head note suggests) with the pistachio sauce. We really enjoyed the spice combination in the shashlik. Next time will try them on the outdoor grill.

  • Radish, cucumber, and herbs

    • zorra on June 07, 2017

      Disagree with instruction to serve at once. To us, the flavor was more appealing an hour later. Short on the quantity of radishes & cilantro, so just used a market bunch of each. Crunchy & herby, colorful too.

  • Green olive and walnut salad

    • zorra on June 12, 2017

      Olive-lover's excuse to consume too many. (But it's a salad, right?) Intriguing flavor from the combination of seasonings.

    • mjes on October 07, 2021

      This is a salad/salsa of walnuts (fresh) and green olives (high quality) and herbs. This Central Aisan blend is adictive when served with fresh pitas to scoop it up.

  • Buckwheat kasha with caramelized mushrooms

    • zorra on June 15, 2017

      When I want a simple mushroom-loaded dish the answer is usually an omelette, but this is a good alternative. Used cremini which appear to be close to chestnut mushrooms, but a mix might be even better. Cut the quantity of groats by 25% & would do so again. Liked the generous fresh herbs. Maybe some garlic next time?

    • kitchen_chick on March 16, 2018

      Delicious! I couldn’t find groats, so I substituted quinoa. Works well with quinoa. I also used 2/3 veggie stock and 1/3 mushroom stock for extra mushroomy goodness.

  • Grape and pistachio orzo

    • zorra on June 12, 2017

      Grateful for the suggestion to halve the recipe, it could easily serve 8. We found it a bit bland, so added sheep's milk feta, which made it more to our liking.

    • hirsheys on March 17, 2017

      This is incredibly easy - took me all of 15 minutes flat. (Everything gets done while the pasta boils.) I made a half recipe and it made a vat. Waking the garlic up in the oil has a huge effect and the combo of flavors is interesting and tasty.

    • lkgrover on December 21, 2019

      Refreshing pasta salad with an unusual combination of ingredients. I used regular green basil, and dry roasted the pistachio nuts. This was a favorite item at a potluck Christmas party today!

    • Frogcake on May 04, 2017

      We really enjoyed the flavour combinations here. As another reviewer noted, it's so easy coming together very quickly. I've made it as written and with a few adaptations when I didn't have all of the ingredients. The recipe worked well for me using Costco quinoa penne instead of orzo, and drained pomegranate seeds instead of grapes. I've also used green basil. I would definitely dry roast the pistachios next time.

    • ricki on September 15, 2021

      We liked this. Israeli couscous instead of orzo and only had green basil, but otherwise as written. A little saucy, so maybe cut back on oil and lemon juice next time?

  • Spinach khachapuri

    • Bloominanglophile on August 18, 2020

      This link is no longer available.

    • sosayi on November 15, 2017

      Absolutely delicious spinach/cheese boat with crunchy/chewy bread exterior. Only change: rather than have the dough rise for two hours on the counter, I did an overnight rise in the refrigerator and then just brought it to room temperature while I prepared other parts of dinner. This made it much more doable on a weeknight. My only issue was that I made a much "taller" boat, less flat than the photo, which made it harder to make room for the egg and it overflowed. Oops.

    • jenburkholder on August 17, 2020

      This is a solid khachapuri recipe, one of the better ones I’ve tried. I (unfortunately) has to replace feta with cheddar, as I was serving a feta-hating friend, but it was still delicious. Make in the heart of winter, when carbs and cheese are what you need.

  • Roast lamb with a sticky pomegranate glaze

    • NikkiPixie on November 08, 2016

      This was amazing. Very little effort for a huge reward at the end. Next time I'll double the onions though!

  • Lazy cabbage rolls (Golubtsy)

    • Rutabaga on December 05, 2016

      These are a fun and different way to make what are essentially meatballs; I never would have thought to mix raw rice into the meat, but it cooked up well in the patties. The mixture was very wet when raw but held together well once cooked. After browning the patties, I only cooked them an additional 15-20 minutes in the sauce, which was enough. I used ground dark turkey for the meat.

    • jenburkholder on July 15, 2020

      These are indeed easy and quite good, well worth trying. We liked them even better with equal parts pork and mushrooms, as opposed to all meat - more flavor and more healthful!

  • Bukharian family style chicken and rice

    • Rutabaga on December 05, 2016

      This dish is has a delicate, sweetly fragrant flavor. It's nice, but can border on bland. Although the recipe calls for chicken breasts, I wonder if thighs would be a more flavorful option. I also like the idea of adding barberries for a little sourness.

    • e_ballad on January 20, 2020

      Our family really enjoyed this, with the kids devouring their portions. It was hard to turn the chicken without ‘muddying’ the layers, so next time I plan on cooking the chicken, removing from pan, cooking veg, the layering with chicken, then the rice.

    • Jviney on February 13, 2020

      I liked this and would change up a few things next time: add more cashews - they were a highlight for me. It does feel like the dish needs more seasoning, I added salt to make up for it and took Rutabaga’s suggestion for chicken thighs.

  • Jerusalem artichokes with rice, parsley, and tarragon

    • Rutabaga on December 05, 2016

      Even though I left out the herbs, this dish was quite tasty. The Jerusalem artichokes become buttery and silky soft - it turned out to be a great way to use old sunchokes that were past their prime.

    • maestra on March 11, 2021

      I made this for a sunchoke-themed dinner party, and it was delicious. The tarragon is excellent with sunchokes. I also fried sunchoke coins until crisp and showered them over the top of the rice for texture. Great, unique recipe. I love this book!

  • Roasted cauliflower with pistachio and tarragon

    • lkgrover on September 30, 2018

      Lovely, fragrant, and delicious cauliflower side dish.

    • Jviney on February 26, 2021

      This was middling to me. The flavors were fine, the dish was completely edible, and it was pretty, but it wasn't a standout.

    • jenburkholder on August 17, 2020

      Didn’t love this. The tarragon was the only identifiable flavor, although it doesn’t seem like there’s a ton of it at the beginning. Lots of more interesting roasted cauliflower out there.

  • Lamb and noodle laghman

    • lkgrover on November 12, 2017

      Great lamb stew or noodle sauce with lots of vegetables. I substituted a green jalapeño chile for the red chile, and used udon noodles (as suggested in the note). A savory & fragrant mix of flavors.

    • grindabod on September 15, 2020

      Can't say I've eaten a lot of Uyghur dishes before! This was as delicious as it was interesting, with its combination or Far and Middle Eastern influences. It starts off as a simple stir-fry, around which you create a subtly fragrant broth with star anise and cinnamon and at the very end, you finish it off with the oomph of chilli flakes and sumac. Loved this recipe.

  • Dushanbe pilaf

    • e_ballad on August 18, 2019

      This is essentially a ‘Scotch egg’ using lamb mince, cooked in a pilaf. A couple of things worth noting: Firstly, this is a lot of carrot in the pilaf, with more carrot than rice. Secondly, season the mince very well - more than what is specified. The mince is like a rissole & if left bland, this dish is a bit meh. Thirdly, the dill really is needed to brighten the dish.

  • Georgian chicken with walnut sauce

    • Frogcake on May 04, 2017

      Another great and unique recipe in this book! I used chicken breasts rather than a whole chicken, allowing the spice olive oil rub and fresh lemon to marinate the breasts for about two hours at room temperature. The sauce is a lovely, tasty pesto (loved the fenugreek -note to self: absolutely do not omit!) with a bit of nip added from the freshly ground pepper. I might toast the walnuts next time for some extra flavour but In my view it's a perfect recipe as it is. Will make this again. I'm sure the walnut sauce can be used in other delicious ways too!

  • Sesame and nut bulgur pilaf

    • Frogcake on May 06, 2017

      A beautiful, fragrant Pilaf that I would make again without a doubt. It's a perfect dish to prepare ahead for guests. We served this with flank steak and grilled vegetables. I'm looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch (not much). As the author suggests, would be super delicious with braised vegetables.

  • Fish and saffron pilaf

    • Frogcake on January 19, 2019

      Delicious! I used monkfish and light chicken stock instead of fish stock. The recipe comes together rather quickly. I also added a few lemon slices to the poaching water. Definitely a repeat.

  • Cinnamon potatoes with pine nuts

    • Frogcake on May 18, 2017

      Yum! One of the most interesting potato dishes I've tried. I threw some brussel sprouts into the braising liquid (they needed to be used) and this was quite good! I served this with broiled white fish, tossed salad (honey poppyseed vinegrette) and freshly baked bread.

  • Grated zucchini with pine nuts and poppy seeds

    • Frogcake on April 29, 2017

      This recipe is a eureka moment for me - a new and innovative way to eat boring zucchini! Amazingly delicious with the poppy seeds, rose petals and roasted pine nuts. And very simple, quick prep time.

  • Chapli kebabs

    • Frogcake on May 03, 2017

      We loved these kabobs. Great combination of spices and herbs and the pomegranate seeds do provide an intriguing crunch and sweetness. I baked these patties in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven to give me some leeway to make the salsa, which was also delicious -despite having lousy tomatoes. (It was a noble destination for second hand tomatoes for sure)! Although the salsa was good, I found myself looking for a garlic-tahini-yoghurt sauce for the patties -just threw one together based on taste. I didn't plan to make the non bread but made garlic-bread instead. I served this with a basmati- lentil rice pilaf and sliced cucumbers. Will be making this again. I think these patties would make a delicious and unique Afghani burger on ciabatta, toasted, with garlic aioli, fried red onion, tomato and mint leaves. Yumbo!

  • Slow-roast mutton with sultan's delight

    • Frogcake on March 31, 2018

      I was inspired by the spice paste to make something similar for leg of lamb steaks. However, I made the sultan’s delight sauce as written and served it with the lamb. Oh my, so good and I’m not a huge fan of eggplants! -will be making this again!

  • Dill, cilantro, and tarragon flatbread

    • Frogcake on April 29, 2017

      Really, really delicious flatbread, which my son and I ate as an appetizer to a late supper. We loved the combination of herbs with the gooey old cheddar. The cheddar not only added saltiness but lovely, tasty fat to the filling. Yummy. These reminded us of empanadas - very easy to make if you've made chapatis or empanadas (but less work actually). I brushed butter on the Flatbreads while they were frying on the fry pan. This generated some smoke, but no big deal with the fan. I did allow twenty minutes for the dough to rest and found the dough very workable using a rolling pin with dough between wax paper and plastic wrap. I anticipate these would come together very quickly second time around having made them once. Definitely a keeper. lOVED the dill seed, which added another dimension of flavour.

  • Uzbek pumpkin manti with sour tomato sauce

    • tmitra on October 04, 2020

      The filling and sauce were both good, but no amount of kneading yielded "elastic" dough. Consequently, the dough was nearly impossible to roll out and ended up too thick. It looks like other manti dough recipes call for more water than this one, which just suggests wetting your fingertips.

  • Tajik green lentil and rice soup

    • JulieQC on March 14, 2018

      Very good. More stew than soup. As per the suggestion in the book, subbed green paste for a handful of cilantro in the last few minutes of cooking.

  • Cucumbers with yogurt and mulberries

    • Frenchfoodie on August 03, 2019

      Fresh, tasty and beautiful looking too. Soaked dried (sweet) cranberries in cider vinegar to sub for mulberries/sour cherries.

  • Mountain Jew omelet

    • mjes on October 07, 2021

      Mountain Jew omelet (khoyagusht from Azerbaijan) is poached chicken, onions, and chestnuts in an omelet. Traditionally served with rice or wrapped in a flatbread. This is not a quick omelet given the preparation of the chicken and vegetables but this is so tasty it is worth the effort.

  • Ruins of a Russian count's castle

    • tges on October 05, 2019

      Along with the Medovik and Japonaise cakes - this cake is now a firm favorite. I actually have cravings of these flavours and textures together that I make it quite often. It is straightforward and the quantities and recipe works. It hits just the right sweetness and I love the inclusion of prunes in a cake as somehow, I feel I'm getting some goodness in. I do feel, though, it is a cake best eaten within a maximum of two days or else, too smooshy.

  • Chicken, potato, and prune hotpot

    • valbe on October 20, 2020

      I will make this again but next time I will use the garnishes: fresh tarragon and pistachio nuts. I think they would add to the flavor and the presentation.

  • Glazed beets and greens

    • AlyssafromRhody on July 26, 2020

      Do not sleep on this - it’s fantastic! Works with mint, etc. as well.

  • Walnut stuffed eggplant rolls

    • Jviney on February 26, 2021

      My favorite recipe of 2021 so far. These were absolutely delicious. We used a mandolin to slice the eggplant to probably 1/4" thickness and the walnut stuffing spread easily on it. The whole process of this recipe was unusual to me - pounding walnuts to a paste, spreading it on eggplant, and rolling, but I made six dishes from this book for a group of somewhat picky eaters... these disappeared in a heartbeat.

  • Samarkan plov

    • Jviney on February 26, 2021

      This was fine, my second plov from this cookbook and I've come to believe that the spices are meant to be muted - comfort food. I added a lot of salt and should have added even more throughout the process of browning the meat and adding the carrots. It's a monster of a dish, over half of it was left and I served eight.

  • Sesame, almond, and ginger brittle

    • Jviney on February 26, 2021

      Wasn't sure about this recipe when I read through it, but I had the 15 minutes or so required and all the ingredients on hand. It was excellent and aged really well.

  • Baklava baked apples

    • Jviney on February 26, 2021

      Straightforward apple recipe. I liked it but would amp it up next time. I used Granny Smith apples, would probably go slightly less tart or figure out a way to add more of the walnut honey sweetness to it. Recipe called for one filo sheet per apple, I'd probably use two or three next time. Mine had to bake quite a bit longer in order to be tender, but they were easy to assemble and everybody liked them.

  • Koryo spicy carrots

    • jenburkholder on July 15, 2020

      These are DELICIOUS, spicy and “different,” and keep very well in the fridge. They made a gorgeous component of a packed lunch. I used walnut oil instead of sunflower oil and it was an unobtrusive sub.

  • Azeri apple and walnut

    • jenburkholder on July 15, 2020

      I had to use lemon juice, since verjuce is unavailable here, but it was still tasty. Nothing to write home about, but perfectly pleasant with some good bread as part of a lunchbox.

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Reviews about this book

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  • Eat the Love

    The recipes are from Central Asia which gives you a blend middle eastern recipes and influences like Turkey, Russia, Korean and Jewish cuisines...recipes I never thought about making at home.

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  • ISBN 10 0857833278
  • ISBN 13 9780857833273
  • Published Jun 09 2016
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 224
  • Language English
  • Countries United Kingdom
  • Publisher Kyle Books

Publishers Text

Over hundreds of years, various ethnic groups have passed through Samarkand, sharing and influencing each other's cuisine and leaving their culinary stamp. This book is a love letter to Central Asia and the Caucasus, containing personal travel essays and recipes little known in the West that have been expertly adapted for the home cook. An array of delicious dishes will introduce the region and its different ethnic groups - Uzbek, Tajik, Russian, Turkish, Korean, Caucasian and Jewish - along with a detailed introduction on the Silk Road and a useful store cupboard of essential ingredients. Chapters are divided into Shared Table, Soups, Roast Meats & Kebabs, Warming Dishes, Pilavs & Plovs, Accompaniments, Breads & Doughs, Drinks and Desserts. 100 recipes are showcased, including Apricot & Red Lentil Soup, Chapli Kebabs with Tomato Relish, Rosh Hashanah Palov with Barberries, Pomegranate and Quince, Curd Pancaks with Red Berry Compote and the all-important breads of the region.And with evocative travel features like On the Road to Samarkand, A Banquet on the Caspian Sea and Shopping for Spices under Solomon's Throne, you will be charmed and enticed by this little known region and its cuisine, which has remained relatively untouched in centuries.

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