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Falastin: A Cookbook Hardcover – Illustrated, June 16, 2020

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,469 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


“This is a beautiful book and I want to cook every single recipe in it.”—Nigella Lawson

“Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley’s beautiful 
Falastin is a love letter to Palestine—its warm and hospitable people and its bright and mouthwatering cuisine. A cookbook should make you dream, it should invite you to an expanding table, and, more important, it should make you drop everything and head straight to the kitchen. This book does all that. One day I hope to visit Sami’s homeland; but until then, with Sami as my host and Tara as my guide, I’ll let the scents and flavors of the Palestinian kitchen take me there as I pull up extra seats at my table to share this colorful and soulful food with family and friends.”—Naz Deravian, author of Bottom of the Pot  

“A stunning collection of recipes and stories that showcase the best of Palestinian culture. I want to eat everything in this book”
—Yasmin Khan, author of Zaitoun and The Saffron Tales

Falastin is not a political book; it’s a people book. But most of all, it’s a cookbook that translates the rich culinary history of traditional Palestine into healthy, vibrant food for the twenty-first-century table.”—177 Milk Street

“[A] celebration of Palestinian cooking . . . Adding to the overall connection between words and stomach are elegant photographs and additional instructions. . . . The temptation to try [all the recipes] is almost overwhelming. Expect enthusiastic demand from home cooks and foodie readers.”Booklist (starred review)
“[An] expert dive into the food of Palestine. The dishes overflow with bold flavors. . . . Like the best cookbooks, this one opens a window to expand both palates and minds.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

About the Author

Sami Tamimi was born and raised in Jerusalem and immersed in food since childhood. He started his career as commis-chef in a Jerusalem hotel and worked his way up, through many restaurants and ethnic traditions, to become head chef of Lilith, one of the top restaurants in Tel Aviv in the 1990s. In 2002 he partnered with Noam Bar and Yotam Ottolenghi to set up Ottolenghi in Notting Hill. The company now has four stores and two restaurants, NOPI and ROVI, all in central London. As the executive head chef, Sami is involved in developing and nurturing young kitchen talents and creating new dishes and innovative menus. Alongside Yotam Ottolenghi, Sami Tamimi is the co-author of two bestselling cookbooks, Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Jerusalem: A Cookbook.

Tara Wigley spent a decade working in publishing before going to cooking school in Ireland. She has developed, tested, and written recipes for Ottolenghi's weekly column in the Guardian magazine and monthly New York Times columns, as well as for his cookbooks. For Falastin, Tara travelled with Tamimi in Palestine and ate her body weight in chickpeas and tahini.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ten Speed Press; Illustrated edition (June 16, 2020)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0399581731
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0399581731
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 3.18 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8 x 1.15 x 11 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 1,469 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
1,469 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 17, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wow... What a Treasure. So far, every recipe has been great.. also some great writing as well!
By Trent Vernon on June 17, 2020
The wait is over! I have been waiting for this to arrive since I first ordered it in January. I was able to already complete some cooks from it prior to arrival. The cover recipe (little gem salad, smashed cucumbers, shatta (a recipe in itself), and smoked eggplant. Shatta takes three days to ferment (I kept forgetting to blend it so mine was still fine after 5 or six days), and the smokey eggplant puree is heavenly. All in all, I think I nailed the cover photo recipe very good!

Other recipes I have tried.. Chicken Musakhan, Shatta, and Chicken Shawerma pie were amazing.

I have complete a few soft peruses of the book, and other than the dessert section, there is not a single recipe that doesn't scream out to me to make. Each recipe has a blurb at the start with backstory as well! As for the sweet section, I just am not a fan of the middle eastern sweets.. rose water, orange blossom water, etc, etc.. so that section will probably be the least cooked from.

If you are already familiar with ingredients you're going to need, (sumac, pomegranate molasses, tahini, (lots of tahini), allepo pepper, urfa biber, grape leaves).. then you can jump right in! Newcomers to this cuisine might need to search out a Middle Eastern market or do some Amazon shopping first!

Also, the food photography is just wonderful!

I cannot recommend this book enough, now back to cooking!!
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Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Many flavors of Palestine
By Ehmuhlee on June 22, 2020
As soon as Falastin arrived I immediately had no less than 20 recipes marked that I want to make. There are a lot of ingredients that will make a trip to the nearest Middle Eastern grocery, spice shop, or online order necessary, unless you already have spices like sumac and za’atar in your pantry. This is one of my favorite aspects of cooking… connecting with worlds outside of my own and food is the perfect medium for bringing people together.

The recipes I started with are :
• Sweet and spicy seeds and nuts
• Na`ama’s buttermilk fattoush
• Spicy roasted new potatoes with lemon and herbs (Batata bil filfil)
• Chicken musakhan
• Knafeh Nabulseyeh

I love the mix of spices and variety within this book. They have a delicate layering of flavor that makes MIddle Eastern flavors shine. There are so many somewhat familiar or reasonably easy recipes - like the spiced nuts or fattoush, and then there are more specialized like the Knafeh Nabulseyeh. It’s far less work than it appears. Working with filo dough or kataifi pastry seems exotic to the American in me, but it’s very simple and makes a bit impact. It’s a fun texture and the flavor of the Knafeh (sometimes also called kunefe) is a wonderful mix of savory cheeses baked in crunchy shredded filo, and drizzled with sweet orange blossom syrup. I also scattered some dried flower blossoms along with the pistachios on the top because I love any excuse to use them both. If you’ve never tried Knafeh, you’re in for a treat. 

The syrup makes more than necessary so you can use it in tea or in another creation.

While I wish I was back in Brooklyn and able to visit the iconic Sahadi’s, I don’t have that luxury right now and they aren’t currently shipping outside NYC, but I was able to procure everything that the average neighborhood grocery didn’t have at a 2 aisle wide Middle Eastern grocery. They had everything except the sumac, which has a slightly lemony flavor but adds a beautiful dark purple color. It is worth seeking out and very versatile.

Many people are familiar with Ottolenghi, however Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley who are more behind the scenes of the Ottolenghi brand are having their time to shine, too, and rightfully so. 

Falastin (Palestine) is the product of being keenly aware of the political complexities in the relationship between Palestine and Israel while simultaneously being able to maintain a friendship and business partnership. 

Additionally, having Tara Wigley as a big part of this project is important, because it upholds the Palestinian generational culture of women being the home cooks - and helps Falastin reach Arabic markets. I also endorse her love of preserved lemon... another one to make at home (with plenty of time) or pick up at your local Middle Eastern Grocery.

More updates and photos to come… I’m excited to make the Beet and feta galette with za’atar and honey, Labneh cheesecake with roasted apricots, honey and cardamom, Chicken shawarma pie and many more. I'll be working through this book with my cookbook club through the Summer and after.

I’ve received a free copy from Ten Speed Press in exchange for a free and unbiased review. 
The only thing I would change is I wish the UK cover was available in the US, but regardless the contents are the same. This is a perfect way to virtually travel and enjoy the food and stories of Palestine for food lovers of any persuasion.

Update : I have also made the Beet + feta galette with za'atar and honey. It takes a bit of work, but is well worth it and very flavorful, not to mention beautiful! The Chicken shawarma pie has been one of my favorites thus far. It's has several parts and takes a couple hours (though some pieces can be done simultaneously) but wow is it a show stopper!

The labneh recipe worked well and the cheesecake with roasted apricots, honey, and cardamom is a fun twist on an old classic. I love the flavors. Another labor of love recipe, but I think they are worth it. Most of the time is chilling and waiting.
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Reviewed in the United States on June 30, 2020
42 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in the United States on January 8, 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars Travel Deliciously at Home
By Christine W. on January 7, 2021
This magical cookbook has given me a chance to adventure without taking a flight. I let my teen daughter choose a few recipes (knowing she would be more invested in trying new foods that way). Then I made a journey to a great middle eastern grocer. I’m lucky to live in Southeast Michigan where this is not so rare, but Yelp helped me find a great one and I had the nicest chat about za’atar with the owner. It’s so hard with masks to meet new people, but I knew we were both smiling, and he threw some hummus in my bag as a thank you. The dinner, lemon chicken and spicy roasted potatoes, was absolutely spectacular. A middle eastern playlist from Spotify made it even better.
I’ve also been so moved by the stories I’m this book. A man who stands guard over a 4,000 year old olive tree is surely my soul mate. And A woman tracking down nearly extinct giant watermelons and purple carrots. I immediately donated money to her organization rescuing heirloom seeds. I can’t thank the authors enough for this incredible journey during a time when I barely leave home. Best cookbook ever!
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Falastin: um livro que é muito mais do que receitas
Reviewed in Brazil on September 10, 2020
Poncho Gj
5.0 out of 5 stars Es más que un libro de cocina
Reviewed in Mexico on June 22, 2021
2 people found this helpful
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Philip F E Dutton
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast for the eyes and the taste buds
Reviewed in Germany on April 18, 2021
One person found this helpful
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Debora Gikovate
5.0 out of 5 stars Falsatin, indispensable
Reviewed in Brazil on June 19, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars Bel libro
Reviewed in Italy on December 3, 2021