Book reviews by Mobilism's Book Review team
Jan 29th, 2020, 9:10 am

TITLE: Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes
AUTHOR: Sabrina Ghayour
GENRE: Non-Fiction, Cookbooks, Food & Wine > Regional & International > Middle Eastern Cooking
PUBLISHED: May 7, 2019
RATING: ★★★★☆

PURCHASE LINKS: Amazon iBookStore

Review: British-Iranian chef, Sabrina Ghayour, can be described as the golden girl of Persian cookery, an award-winning writer and best-selling Persian and Middle-Eastern cookery author. A regular on BBC1's Saturday Kitchen cookery show as well as a guest judge on TV shows including Masterchef, Great British Menu, and Top Chef Canada.

Her debut cookbook, Persiana, is internationally acclaimed and has been published in 13 different countries, sold over a quarter of a million copies worldwide. Her second cookbook, Sirocco, and a third book, Feasts, also went on to become best-sellers.

With the rise in popularity of vegetarian and vegan food, her new cookbook, Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes, is definitely a well-timed release. "Bazaar is the ancient Persian word for market and is shared by many other Eastern cultures ... No matter which country I travel to, one of my greatest joys is visiting a good market," says Ghayour.

This sudden shift to vegetarian recipes might seem like a radical move from someone whose cultural cuisine is full of meat-based dishes. As she describes in her book, however, she has gone from eating meat every day to reducing her intake by 40%...
"Maybe age has something to do with it, but I can't digest as much as I used to, I don't crave it as much as I used to, it makes me feel heavy and sluggish."

There are other reasons to cut down on meat as well: it's better for the planet, animal welfare, food budgets, and often one's own health.

Bazaar is divided into nine chapters: Light Bites & Sharing Plates, Eggs & Dairy, Soups & Bowl Comfort, Pies, Breads & Pastries, Salads for All Seasons, Moreish Mains, Cupboard Sustenance, Spectacular Sides, and Sweet Treats. Chapters then list the various recipes within the group, as well as an index (in the e-book version) that lists ingredients in alphabetical order. There is no extra index for people looking to discover which recipes are vegan, a large error in my opinion, but the book is full of vegan-suitable dishes. Some of the vegan recipes might require a few simple substitutions to vegan alternatives. One huge point in Bazaar’s favour is that the dishes included are not artificial copycats of meat dishes, which try to mimic meat flavours, but rather celebrate the vegetables instead. And are yummier for that effort.

Brace yourself to some new flavour profiles. Pantry staples for most of her recipes include Persian ingredients (rose harissa, pomegranate, pistachio, pomegranate molasses) and the more generally Middle Eastern spices (sumac, pul biber chili, and Za’atar), as well as Japanese miso. These spices are key to the unique tastes and herbaceous sauces. While some ingredients are not readily found in all supermarkets unless they have a good ethnic section, they are all available online. She includes a recipe to make your own Za’atar blend at home.

Several of my new favourite meals from Bazaar include Loobia Polow, Baklava Buns, Pom-Bombe, Grilled Halloumi toastie, butternut baklava pie, chickpea and vegetable koftas, spiced buttermilk fried tomatoes, Feta, and pul biber and oregano macaroni bake. The recipe below is the imaginative Persian replacement for Avocado Toast...

Cucumber and Feta Bruschetta
Prep 10 min | Cook 5 min | Serves 6

    200g feta, finely crumbled

    100g Greek yoghurt

    Salt and pepper

    6 slices sourdough bread
5-6 baby cucumbers, cut diagonally into 5mm-thick slices

    1 tsp sumac
1 tsp dried wild oregano
1 tsp pul biber (Aleppo) chilli flakes

    ½ tsp nigella seeds

    50g pomegranate seeds
Olive oil, for drizzling (optional)

Combine the feta and yoghurt in a bowl, and mash. Season with black pepper and just a little salt. Char-grill the sourdough in a griddle pan on both sides or use a toaster.

Divide the feta mixture into six portions and spread a portion on each slice of toast. Arrange the cucumber slices on top, then sprinkle over the sumac, oregano, and pul biber.

Scatter over the nigella seeds and, lastly, the pomegranate seeds. Drizzle over a little olive oil, if desired, and serve immediately

I would place Bazaar in my top five vegetarian books of 2019 because it educates me about Persian flavours and culture. Bazaar creates a pathway for vegetarians like me, the meatless Monday crowd, vegans, or simply people who want to include more vegetable dishes in their diet.
Jan 29th, 2020, 9:10 am