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Jerusalem: A Cookbook

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With Jerusalem, Ottolenghi re-teams with his friend and co-owner of his restaurants, Sami Tamimi. Both men were born in Jerusalem in the same year: Tamimi on the Arab east side and Ottolenghi in the Jewish west. In this book they explore the vibrant cuisine of their home city together, and present an authentic collection of recipes that reflects the city's melting pot of Muslim, Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian communities.
From their unique cross-cultural perspectives, Ottolenghi and Tamimi share 120 authentic recipes: from soups (Frikkeh, Chicken with Kneidelach), to meat and fish (Chicken with Cardamom Rice; Sharmula Bream with Rose Petals), to vegetables and salads (Chargrilled Squash with Labneh and Pickled Walnut Salsa), pulses and grains (Beetroot and SaffronRice); and cakes and desserts (Fig and Arak Trifle; Clementine and Almond Cake). Their cookbook is illustrated with 130 full-colour photographs, showcasing their sumptuous dishes in the dazzling setting of Jerusalem city.
Ottolenghi and Tamimi have five bustling restaurants in London, UK. Ottolenghi is one of the most respected chefs in the world; his latest cookbook, Plenty, was a New York Times bestseller and one of the most lauded cookbooks of 2011. Jerusalem is his most personal, original and beautiful cookbook yet.

320 pages, Hardcover

First published September 6, 2012

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About the author

Yotam Ottolenghi

61 books1,022 followers
Yotam Ottolenghi's path to the world of cooking and baking has been anything but straightforward. Having completed a Masters degree in philosophy and literature whilst working on the news desk of an Israeli daily, he made a radical shift on coming to London in 1997. He started as an assistant pastry chef at the Capital and then worked at Kensington Place and Launceston Place, where he ran the pastry section. Yotam subsequently worked for Maison Blanc and then Baker and Spice, before starting his own eponymous group of restaurants/food shops, with branches in Notting Hill, Islington and Kensington.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 473 reviews
November 14, 2020
One Israeli Breaking Breads and one Palestinian, Palestine on a Plate: cookbook read, now one by an Israeli and a Palestinian. Both were born in Jerusalem in the same year and neither wanted to tell their parents they were gay. They weren't lovers they are friends and business partners in a restaurant in London, and this book is a collaboration of them going home and finding the food of their city. How they met was they were both employed in the same restaurant in London and bonded "over a shared language—Hebrew—and a joint "incomprehension of traditional English food".

The pictures are as appetising as the recipes. If you know anything about Israeli food, you would know that it relies on a large variety of really fresh veggies and that Middle Eastern food in general, is less about meat and more about everything else and it usually has cumin, oregano and sesame in it somewhere. The best dish of all is a plate of Palestinian hummus, marked in circles with a fork, drizzled with olive oil and tahina sauce, a pile of chickpeas, soft and delicious in the middle, all dusted with paprika and pita or esh tanoor, a giant flat bread baked on the side of a clay oven, to mop it up. Gee, I'm hungry now. Sadly it isn't diet food, or not in the quantities I could eat it.

There's a Syrian shop (really Palestinian, all Arabs in the Caribbean are called Syrians but all are Palestinian or Lebanese), close to me and it imports food from Palestine, it is hard to resist buying the tins, boxes and packages, especially the giant boxes of sweets and candies. But the only one I give in to (regularly) is the vine leaves. They do stuffed vine leaves better than anyone else, more of a vine perfume and taste (especially the oil/water they are packed in), although the rice filling is pretty much the same as the Greek dolma.

So the book, great pictures, great recipes, a great Palestinian/Israeli collaboration by two friends who own four restaurants together in London. The extrovert Ottolenghi is the public face, and Tamimi the executive chef. He's written a book of his own on Palestine and food, Falastin: A Cookbook. I'm looking forward to reading it.

I read this New Yorker article on them. A bit long but very interesting. Maybe like a seven course meal when three dishes would have sufficed.

I've rewritten and expanded the review Nov 2020, because I discovered that for some GR reason, there are no finish date or shelves with this book, when it was on lots of them. What is happening to GR? If you want to see some pics and get the recipes, go here.

Profile Image for Carol Smith.
111 reviews38 followers
July 16, 2014
[ongoing review - 11 recipes made to date]

I have a purely personal, purely artificial rule that it takes at least 10 recipes to say one has read a cookbook. [Corollary rule - any cookbook not worth making 10 recipes from has no place on your bookshelf.]

The Recipes (ongoing)

1. Falafel (ta'amia for my Egyptian friends) (12/22/12): My husband is a falafel guru and I was anticipating comments about how they "aren't like Mahmouds in Queens", weren't crunchy enough, yadda yadda. Nope. They were perfection.

2. Zhoug (12/22/12): Love this easy-to-make condiment. Reminds me in some ways of chimichurri. I think it needed a couple more chiles. The authors anticipated this, saying, "It should also be very hot, so use more chiles if yours aren't."

3. Tahini sauce (12/22/12): Perfect!

4. Spiced chickpeas (1/20/13) & fresh vegetable salad (12/22/12): I made the two parts to this dish on separate dates. The veggie salad is easy to make and bursting with freshness. The dressing has serious lemony attitude. The spiced chickpeas are okay, kinda weird. I thought they'd come out crunchy but they didn't. A bit too much allspice if you ask me. More of a nibbler item than a side dish.

Update: the spiced chickpeas are excellent with a daub of tahini sauce.

[image error]
Falafel, zhoug, tahini, and fresh vegetable salad

Falafel, zhoug, tahini, and fresh vegetable salad

Spiced chickpeas

5. Swiss Chard and Wheat Berries with Pomegranate Molasses (12/24/12). Served as a side to a Greek lamb pastitsio on Christmas eve. Festive colors and great taste. Love the nutty chewiness of wheat berries. But - I don't think the greens needed to nearly as long as it called for. Will make again, adding greens later in the process.

[image error]

6. Clementine and Almond Syrup Cake (12/24/12): THIS IS THE BOMB!!!!!!!!!!! Wow. Wow. Wow. I added a teaspoon of almond extract because almond extract makes everything better. Used Bob's Red Mill almond flour - no need to manually grind almonds. This cake is perfection. Serve to guests.

7. Roasted chicken with clementines & arak (12/31/12): Very, very nice. Used anisette liquor as a substitute for arak. Anisette is in same family, just sweeter and with lower alcohol. Used my Spanish cazuela, roasted for a full hour once oven came to temperature vs. the recipe's recommended 35-45 minutes. I still think it needed 15-20 minutes more time.

8. Parsley & barley salad (1/19/13): I really need to use barley more. What a wonderfully nutty and nubby grain. Nice fresh flavors. I might double both the feta marinade and the veggie dressing next time. I doubled the barley and thought it just the right amount.

9. Kufta b'siniyah (1/19/13): I was expecting spicy because of the chile, but they were more spicy in a baking sort of way - the allspice and cinnamon dominate. Very nice, especially with pita bread to sop up all the tahini and paprika.

But - when did pine nuts become so expensive?!? $8 for a 2-ounce bag! I got only 1 bag and didn't have enough to dribble on top so substituted almonds for the garnish.

10. Roasted butternut squash & red onion with tahini and za'atar (1/20/13): This is SOOOOOOO Good! And easy. The squash is super tender. Who knew squash and tahini is such an amazing combo? Keeper. I used almond slivers in place of crazy expensive pine nuts.

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11. Mejadra (1/21/13): The hubby committed heresy and squirted sriracha on it. I liked but didn't love it. Allspice and coriander spices dominate. Not sure my onions were crispy enough.

12. Ka'ak (6-7/14). Made it twice for two parties. Terrific savory cookies with a thick parsley/yogurt/lemon/garlic spread. We upped the parsley and cumin. Party people loved it. Pronounce it carefully!

The Book

The book is drop dead gorgeous; it has that wonderful "pillow cover" that makes you want to take a nap on it. I want to dive into each and every photo - and there are lots of them. The authors impart the rich back story of each and every dish. There is an appropriate emphasis on veggie dishes but meat has its place.

Ingredients are not all that exotic - most can be found in a decently-sized supermarket. There are a few items that might require a trip or a mail order. We drove an hour into Kansas City and spent a wonderful hour at a Middle Eastern market gathering interesting items for future dishes. I scored kunafa pastry!

Per my above rants, pine nuts are INCREDIBLY expensive in the grocery store ($8/2 oz) and a very common ingredient in this cookbook. I ordered a 1 1/2 lb bag of Kirkland pine nuts from Amazon; am hoping they're good quality (and not the kind that give you pine nut syndrome).
Profile Image for Lynne King.
490 reviews658 followers
July 13, 2016
When this book arrived in the post this morning, I had this incredible sense of anticipation. I opened the book, was entranced by the photos, the history of the region and the recipes themselves. I'm lost for choice in deciding which one to choose!

I love cooking and I had never heard of this individual before until I read an article by Theresa May, our new PM, on how she much preferred him to Delia Smith.
Profile Image for Kim.
426 reviews508 followers
May 12, 2013

This is another amazing cookbook from the founders of the Ottolenghi chain of restaurants in London. Yotam Ottolenghi is an Israeli Jew of Italian and German heritage, Sami Tamimi is an Israeli Arab. They were both born and raised in Jerusalem - Ottolenghi in Jewish West Jerusalem and Tamimi in Muslim East Jerusalem - and became friends and business partners in London. In this book, they return to the food of their Jerusalem childhoods and explore the food of the city today, both traditional and modern. I love their recipes, just as I love the recipes in their previous jointly authored cookbook Ottolenghi: The Cookbook and Ottolenghi's solo effort, Plenty. Their food is colourful and bold, the flavours strong and the ingredients used imaginatively. It's the kind of food that I could eat every day and that I cook, well, not every day, but very regularly.

I recently watched a documentary called Jerusalem on a Plate, which was made prior to the publication of this cookbook. In it, Yotam Ottolenghi shows the food traditions of Jerusalem, talking to and eating with Jews and Arabs, in family homes, restaurants and on the street. It's so much more than just a cooking program and makes for inspirational and moving viewing. I've also read this article from Haaretz, which depressingly illustrates the fact that Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Hamimi's dream of bringing together Jews and Arabs through their shared culinary traditions and the food they love is unlikely to be achieved any time soon.
Profile Image for Helen.
Author 12 books223 followers
September 10, 2013
I just received this magnificent book as a birthday present, and I'm loving every single page of it. These are the foods I lived on during my year in Israel. As I read along, I'm tasting every dish on the tip of my tongue. So far, I've made the Israeli salad, the shakshuka, and the chicken with caramelized onions and cardamom rice, and they're all so good that I want to compose a psalm about them.

There are lots of Middle-Eastern recipe books. What is different here, what is unique and special and to be treasured, is that this one comes from two Jerusalemites, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, one of them Jewish, and one of them Palestinian.

The photography is magnificent, to be sure. Jumbo glossy shots of fresh-picked, just-cooked, locally-grown ingredients, looking colorful and steamy and delicious, with handfuls of parsley scattered across the plates. And I'm not just talking about the pictures of food. The ancient walled city of Jerusalem stars here too, with pictures of the glorious covered shuk, cheerfully gnarled old men standing in their market booths, or sitting in cafes playing endless games of sheshbesh.

The text is more than just recipes. Generous and forgiving, willing to squabble good-humoredly over the origins of a particular dish, the writing is suffused with a spirit of cooperation, a love of the land, family, comfort and cuisine. There is something going on here besides talking about food. You might say it's a recipe for peace.

422 reviews169 followers
July 29, 2016
This book is magnificent.

Jerusalem collects the recipes of Jewish, Israeli Jerusalem and those of Muslim/Christian Arab-Israeli/Palestinian Jerusalem. One chef is Jewish, the other Palestinian.

The lines blur, a fact the writers acknowledge. Few of these dishes have a permanent home. Many have origins far away. Some, the most famous (falafel, hummus), belong originally to neither side. By now, they belong to both. Much more important is that the diverse ethnic backgrounds of both Jewish and Arab Israelis make the food real interesting. Some of the Palestinian dishes are pure Mediterrranea. Others clearly would've come to Palestine with migrant Arab peasants, and are more reminiscent of food found in Iraq, for example, than Mediterranean food in general. On the Jewish side, some dishes here come from Ashkenazi origin, combining European and Jewish traditions with kashrut requirements. Some dishes come from Central Asian Jewish origin, like the simple rice and chicken dish that is one of the highlights of the book. Some others come from Mizrahi Jewish origin, reflecting a pre-Israel combination of Arab and Jewish traditions. Still others, perhaps some of the best, are of Sephardic Jewish origin and taste of Southern Europe and North Africa.

If this were Chopped, the Palestinians would win the dessert round easily. And they shouldn't. Fucking fenugreek semolina cake (helbeh) has no goddamn right being any good. But it is. So, so good.

I know this food. I've eaten a lot of this sorta stuff and it's rarely been as delicious as it is with these recipes as a foundation. In a world where it's difficult finding serious food from this(these) cuisine(s) [not that there's anything wrong with shawarma; that's gotta be one of the most perfect creations known to humanity], this book is a godsend.

And it's kinda necessary. Before this came out, this sort of food was woefully underexposed. It still is. But why? Politics? Racism and anti-semitism combined? Alright, that is admittedly a bit of a tinfoil-hat thing to say. But it's seriously hard to figure out. This is not just good food. It's accessible! It's easy to make and it's fucking delicious! It's not especially demanding, like Japanese food or certain sorts of French cooking or whatever this molecular gastronomy thing people are doing are. I love Japanese food. Everyone does. But the average person will never do what the chefs in Japan do and can never do it. In North America, just finding the ingredients is a huge impediment. And it's not challenging to the North American palate, like a lot of actual European, East Asian and Southeast Asian food is (I am not referring to steak frites and green curry here).

So really: ????

I'm not a cookbook guy, so I don't really know how to judge this relative to other cookbooks. I don't have a pile of them. I don't consult them very often except to check that I'm not fucking shit up when trying to make something new to me. But I know that these recipes are authentic and inventive and purely fucking excellent.

This is probably the first cookbook I've read all the way through, and made many of the recipes found within. It won't be the last, because I'm beginning to understand the economic stupidity of eating out as often as I do.
Profile Image for Pam.
574 reviews13 followers
May 9, 2013
I would have purchased this book based on the cover alone (I am completely smitten with baked eggs), but after seeing so many recipes form Jerusalem a Cookbook pop up all over the blogosphere lately, I knew I wanted to try it.

First of all, the book is gorgeous. From it's softly padded cover, to the color laden images inside. Images of rich, mysterious food and bright every day images of markets and life around Jerusalem. It's an incredible cookbook with a coffee table feel. You want to leave this book out to pick up and browse through.

The book begins with an introduction about Jerusalem food and history. It's then divided into the following chapters: Vegetables, Beans & Grains, Soups, Stuffed, Meat, Fish, Savory Pastries, Sweets & Desserts, and Condiments.

The combination of flavors are so exotic and intriguing, that I found many things I marked to try.

Vegetables: Roasted Sweet potatoes & Fresh Figs, Baby Spinach Salad with Dates and Almonds, Mixed Bean Salad, Kohlrabi Salad (could have used this when my CSA gave me weeks worth of kohlrabi.

Beans & Grains: Falafel (must try this version), Wheat berries and swiss chard with pomegranate molasses, barley risotto with marinated feta.

Soups: Cannellini bean & lamb soup, Tomato & Sourdough Soup.

Stuffed: Stuffed onions, stuffed eggplant with Lamb & Pine Nuts

Meat: Roasted chicken with clementines & Arak, Chicken with caramelized onion & cardamom rice, Turkey & Zucchini burgers with Green Onions & Cumin,

Fish: Panfried Mackerel with Golden Beet & Orange Salsa.

Savory Pastries: Red Pepper & Baked Egg Galettes

Sweets & Desserts: Sweet Filo Cigars, Mutabbaq

Condiments: Quick Pickled Lemons, Pickled Mixed Vegetables with Curry

Sometimes people are concerned about having to go out and buy a slew of exotic spices whenever you try to cook from a specific ethnic cookbook. I have a fairly extensive spice cabinet and have most of the spices on hand. Many of the recipes call for cinnamon, allspice, ground coriander - spices that if you cook frequently, you probably have them in your pantry. I plan on purchasing pomegranate molasses and za'atar to allow me to try even more of the recipes.

If you approach cooking as an adventure, I can think of no better cookbook.
August 6, 2015
Overall our What's Cooking group really enjoyed this book. Our quibbles include...inconsistencies with measurements (combination of weight, measurement and description - we prefer weight and measurement), the font makes discerning between "3" and "5" very difficult, and assuming that readers are more experienced cooks.

We shared the following recipes...

- Maqluba
- Prawns, Scallops and Clams with Tomato and Feta
- Tahini Cookies
- Basmati Rice and Orzo
- Beef and Fava Beans Meatballs
- Latkes
- Cod Cakes and Tomato Sauce
- Pistachio Soup
- Sweet Potatoes and Figs
- Baby Spinach with Almonds and Dates
- Mejadra

No one disliked any of these dishes and only a few of us found any of them just mediocre.

We noticed that the authors encourage you to mix ingredients with your hands. This technique is not usually included in cookbooks other than those that include pie crusts. We didn't think it was a good/bad thing - just unusual.

Our discussion coincided with Ramadan, so a couple of our members shared the traditions of this holiday with us which enhanced our understanding of Middle East food customs.
Profile Image for Terri.
529 reviews256 followers
February 4, 2013
This is the kind of cookbook I could reach for again and again. There is plenty to read in relation to the food, environment and culture as well as ample recipes that I can use on a weekly basis. In fact some of the recipes were already familiar to me and show up on the dinner table frequently, such as Butternut Pumpkin, Haloumi, Pine Nut 'hot salad' type recipes.
Living in a hot climate myself I found the fresh food of Jerusalem appealing and have already copied a few recipes down as this is a library book and has to go back.
I like the authors use of yoghurt in sauces instead of cream and have long subscribed to the belief that yoghurt, if treated right and not overcooked which causes it to curdle, is a delicious ingredient to use for a lower fat alternative to cream or sour cream in things like sauces, dressings and toppings. It was nice to see some more recipes with yoghurt to add to my repertoire.

Jerusalem is an excellent book which I highly recommend to all.

Profile Image for Honorata.
19 reviews
February 7, 2016
I cook a lot, and this book is a perfect example of why I still buy cookbooks while everything is within googling range. Beautiful pictures, engaging short stories, amazing recipes combining Jewish and Arabic traditions - so you can see and almost feel the East European, Tunisian, German, Morroccan tastes mix. Also most recipes adaptable for elimination diets (milk/sugar/gluten free).
Profile Image for Alison.
Author 2 books4 followers
October 19, 2012
Another fantastic Ottolenghi book made even better by the poignant stories he and Sami Tamimi share about growing up in different communities in the same city. The recipes I've tried so far have all been great.

This is more than just a cookbook. It's social anthropology at its best.
Profile Image for Paul.
207 reviews9 followers
May 6, 2013
In lieu of a proper review, I just wanted to point out that I have never previously considered myself a cook at all. This book makes me want to cook. Why? Well that's obviously because the dishes are so amazingly delicious.

I lived in Israel for some seven years during the 1990s and have never really come to terms with the fact that where I live now I can't easily get hold of burekas, or a plate of winter warming phool (fava beans), or a satisfying bowl of fresh hummus scooped up with a hunk of tasty challah. So I realised that I'd have to make it myself, and after seeing Ottolenghi's recent TV series in the UK on Mediterranean food I realised that this book might be a good place to start.

So far I've made felafel, tehini sauce, harissa paste, tehini (halva) cookies, and a supremely satisfying pearl barley risotto with a caraway marinated feta topping. ALL of them have been delicious - even if I say so myself - with the possible exception of the cookies being too sweet for my taste (easily remedied next time!).

The instructions are clear, the photography is stunningly colourful and beautiful, and the more in-depth explorative passages on the cultural histories or significances of various foods are both fascinating and really well written. All in all an excellent cookbook I will return to again and again.
Profile Image for Renee.
256 reviews107 followers
December 21, 2021
Ottolenghi is easily my favourite chef and cookbook author.
His food palate is a exotic, textured and bursting with flavour.
If you make just one recipe from this book; make sure it’s the Shakshuka. It’s the breakfast that’s ruined me for every other breakfast.

You’ll thank me later 😉
Profile Image for Eh?Eh!.
367 reviews4 followers
September 29, 2016
my favorites, things that made my eyes widen when I tasted them

Chicken with carmelized onion & cardamom rice*
lamb meatballs with barberries, yogurt, and herbs**
Roast chicken with clementines***
Pureed Beets with yogurt & zataar
Roasted Butternut squash & red onion
Chocolate Krantz cake****
Spicy beet, leek, and walnut salad*****
Fried cauliflower with tahini
Sweet Filo Cigars
Kohlrabi Salad
poached pears with cardamom

*"1) By the time the onions are dark golden brown, there will be a hardened blackened crust on the pan. I left it on there through the browning of the chicken and the rice cooking, but I would recommend clearing/scraping the pan after each step. It didn't chip off into the food, whew. It was just very difficult to scour off afterwards.
2) I think the basmati rice was supposed to be fluffy, but I used a pan that was larger than my burner. The rice in the middle was done while the edge rice was still crunchy. I added more water and cooking time which resulted in the sticky and mushy rice instead of delightful fluff. Matching burner to pan would've helped. Cooking the rice separatly would also help, although possibly end up being less delicious?
3) I trimmed off the thickest of the fatty skin, which resulted in the remaining skin being pathetic shrunken patches. Leave the fat and all the skin on! It will render out and the step to wipe out the pan will also allow for pouring off the excess fat."

**This was delicious but it was fucking expensive -- called for about $15 of lamb, and herbs $2/bunch. I used dried thyme instead of fresh. By the time 3 batches of meat were seared, the fond was closer to burned than I would have liked, so while the directions say to just wipe out the pan after searing the meat and before cooking the shallots, I took it to the sink and gave it a full wash.

***This is possibly the easiest chicken I've ever made.

****The dough on this loaf is impeccable and swoon-worthy, and I have seen my fair share of breads... that being said, it is time intensive and requires being made ahead EVEN MORE THAN IT MIGHT SEEM. The rolling is trickier because of how dense the dough is, the spreading was also time intensive, and the braiding is the kind of thing that you progressively get better at, speed wise. Factor in cooling time! More specifically: 1) The braiding is significantly easier when it's colder so while you shape the first loaf, keep the other half of the dough in the fridge. 2) On the first loaf (which is the one I brought because the second one was a little under-done due to said recipe taking longer than anticipated) I accidentally sprinkled a couple handfuls of pecans before I realized the chocolate should be spread first--and with good cause. The chocolate mixture is very thick and requires some effort to spread evenly, and pecans in the mix did not make that effort easier. Probably took twice as long! 3) The loaf-closing suggestion of water was not inspired. I would try with egg next time. Cold dough does not stick to itself very well. 3) The bake time was slightly understated and my oven runs hot. My guess is that the difference is using a metal vs. a glass loaf pan. 4) When I made the glaze I was already an hour late, I did not stop to fully allow the sugar crystals in the glaze to melt entirely so the glaze was a bit gritty in parts-- I actually liked this texture variation. It is worth noting that I followed instructions and have pretty extensive experience with sugar caramelizing, and still thought I might have done it wrong... I made the glaze after the loafs had been cooling because I had forgotten about it, and so if you pre-make the glaze and put it on the loaves hot (as suggested) there's a decent chance the loaf heat will prevent the crystalization-- if that is the case, it's kind of genius.

*****The picture in the book is NOT representative of the way one is instructed to cut the leeks, so don't get confused. Also the walnuts are supposed to get mixed in the dressing, not sprinkled on top though that would make it more pretty. I really liked the combo of red and golden beets, but I am a neon-color kind of gal. also, beware leaky beets! They are to be roasted wrapped in foil but some juice escaped. I would probably put a baking sheet in the oven on the lower rack to catch drips next time. The dressing is excellent and I can attest that just plain beets dressed in it is excellent. I don't think the walnut oil added that much since there are also walnuts in it... probably OK to just use a neutral oil.
Profile Image for melhara.
1,276 reviews57 followers
February 14, 2021
Yep, I actually read a cookbook in its entirety.

Although this was mainly a cookbook, this book also offers insights on the historical, cultural, and religious background of the city of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a very multicultural city and the cuisine is heavily influenced by all these different ethnic groups. The book also explores the culinary culture of Jerusalem and vividly describes the restaurants, markets, home cooking and religious celebrations that you'll find in the city.

This book contains 125 different recipes sorted into the following sections: vegetables, beans & grains, soups, stuffed, meat, fish, savoury pastries, sweets & desserts, and condiments. Each recipe also contains a short blurb on the origins and cultural influences that helped shape the dish. These recipes are influenced by various groups including (but not limited to ) Palestinians, Ashkenazim, Shephardim, Iraqi Jews, German Jews, North African (Morrocan) Jews, Tripolitan (Libyan) Jews, Armenians, Muslims, Christians, and Yemeni Jews.

I will say that there are quite a few recipes in this cookbook with ingredients that I'm not familiar with or are unavailable at my local grocery store (or are simply ingredients that I wouldn't normally have on hand). This isn't unexpected, as middle-eastern cuisine uses many spices and ingredients that would only be available at speciality stores or online.
These ingredients include:
- ras el hanout
- rosewater
- quince
- arak
- ouzo
- Pernod
- saffron
- magrabieh
- maffoul
- fregola
- za 'atar
- freekeh
- barberries

Because of this (and because I'm kind of a picky pescetarian), I've only marked down 21 or so (out of 125) recipes that I'm interested in trying out.

It's a bit difficult to rate a cookbook, especially a cookbook in which ~83% of the recipes are of no interest to me (or contains ingredients that I don't particular want to go out of my way to look for...).
So I'll try to base my rating solely on the recipes that I've tried and on the written portions (background info) of the book.

Some recipes that I've tried so far (more to come later on):

From the Vegetable section of the book:

Lemony Leek Meatballs - 5/5
You might think it strange that meatballs fall under the vegetable category, but these 'meatballs' have more leeks than they do meat. Also, as a non-meat eater, I found that the meat can easily be substituted with a vegetarian ground 'beef' (either from Yves or BeyondMeat).
My boyfriend and I really liked these (we loooove leeks). I accidentally missed a step and forgot to drain/pat dry the steamed leeks before processing them and mixing them in with the remaining ingredients so my patties were quite wet and it was hard to shape them into balls. They also didn't absorb too much of the stock (probably because I didn't drain the leeks... oops). Now I know for next time, and trust me, I definitely will be making these again.
Update: I made this again, this time I made sure to drain/pat dry the steamed leeks before mixing them with the remaining ingredients and shaping them into meatballs. And because I was feeling lazy, I decided not to blend all the ingredients. It still turned out great, and the meatballs had a more rustic look.

From the Beans & Grains section:

Mejadra - 4.5/5
This spiced lentil and basmati rice with fried onions really hit the spot!
I've only ever used a rice cooker to prepare rice so this method introduced by the cookbook (cooking rice in a pan) was completely new to me. The step with the tea towel seemed rather unnecessary to me, and the rice was much dryer than what I'm accustomed to but the flavours were great and paired with the mushy leek meatballs, we ended up enjoying a fantastic meal.

From the Fish section:

Prawns, Scallops & Clams with Tomato & Feta - 5/5
I opted out of adding the clams for this one (the recipe did mention that the clams were optional) so my dish only had prawns and scallops. I also wasn't sure what to serve this with, so boiled some pasta on the side - turns out, this made for a great pasta sauce!

From the Savory Pastries section:

Red Pepper & Baked Eggs Galette - 5/5
This made for a fantastic brunch!
I tried halving this recipe (which is supposed to serve 4) but halving the number of bell peppers to two (as opposed to four, because math) and using 2 (really) small onions instead of 3 regular sized onions.
Maybe the bell peppers I used were too big but this yielded a lot of filling (enough to serve 4!)
This was really good! But as I usually only make meals for 2, I'll probably only use 1 pepper and onion for 2 servings from here on out.

From the Sweets & Desserts section:

Chocolate Krantz Cake - 6/5
I initially wanted to halve this recipe because it makes two loaves (which seemed like a lot). But the recipe called for 3 eggs... soooo, I went ahead an made two full loaves (and used the excess from the end pieces to make a third mini loaf).

This took quite a bit of time and effort to make (2 days! - to chill the dough overnight, roll it out, let it poof, and bake) but sooo worth it. It's chocolatey, bready and citrusy (from the zest)... Honestly, my fave combinations 😍.

I think I may have overbaked this one a bit but I thought this was a very successful first try!
Brb, going to bake a few more loaves and improve my bread braiding technique. But I am bumping up my rating for this book up to 5 stars solely because of this recipe.

*** #13 of my 2020 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge - Read a food book about a cuisine you’ve never tried before ***
Profile Image for Yolanda Morros.
158 reviews11 followers
December 23, 2022
Este libro gastronómico ha ganado varios premios y, verdaderamente, son muy merecidos. Además, se ha traducido a varios idiomas y es récord de ventas.
Jerusalén… 2 autores, uno nacido en la zona judía de la ciudad y el otro nacido en la zona árabe de la ciudad.
Jerusalén, enclave de tres grandes religiones -judía, musulmana y cristiana- que hacen de esta ciudad un enclave gastronómico muy rico y único. Un recetario lleno de colores, sabores y acompañado de las historias que nos cuentan sus autores. No es solo un libro gastronómico, es un canto a la amistad y, por qué no, a la paz, también.
¡Me ha encantado!
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
401 reviews5 followers
May 31, 2014
PROS: The cover of the book is representative of how the pictures look throughout the book. I love a cookbook with photos. The dishes were hearty and felt wholesome. The flavors were great. The recipes were easy to follow.

CONS: Make sure you look and see how long the recipes take to make. These are not all quick recipes. They do take time. This isn't truly a con, but a warning.

Overall: Since I first heard about this cookbook and saw its cover, I wanted to add it to my collection. It hasn't made it to my collection yet, but I’m very glad I got to play with it. The meals aren't easy by any means. But they also aren't hard – you don’t need to be a seasoned chef to make them. Do expect to spend time with your meals though. This is not a 30 minute cookbook. What you will get though is very delicious, hearty food.

For my longer review and to see what I made from the cookbook go here.
Profile Image for Judy.
923 reviews
October 18, 2012
This book is absolutely gorgeous. I got it today, started reading through it, and couldn't stop. There are many entrancing photographs of the dishes, as well as scenes from the incredible diversity that underlies Jerusalem. The pictures are not are not Martha-Stewart perfect, but earthy - dishes sit on messy stovetops, with dribbles of food spilling over the edges of the pots. The authors - Yotam Ottolenghi, who is Jewish, and Sami Tamimi, who is Muslim - both grew up in Jerusalem. Each recipe includes a description and history.

The dishes look fairly approachable, for the most part, and the authors give fair warning if the dishes are more complex. The first section is Vegetables, followed by Beans and Grains, Soups, Stuffed, Meat, Fish, Savory Pastries, Sweets and Desserts, and Condiments. I'm looking forward to trying some!
Profile Image for Jade.
79 reviews
March 1, 2015
Full disclosure, I have yet to make one of these recipes. I have perused the entire book, however, and have read much of non-recipe instruction text. The photos are beautiful, the descriptions are nicely detailed, and a lot of cultural background is given, which I especially enjoyed. Some of the recipes call for fairly obscure ingredients, but most are source-able. Downside: not every recipe has a photo - something I personally find helpful in any cookbook, especially one that deals with foods that are not familiar to me. Looking forward to trying several of the recipes I've found in here. Especially ones that are going to give me a chance to use familiar ingredients (eggplant, lentils, rice, eggs, various veggies) in new ways.
119 reviews2 followers
January 31, 2013

I made about 7 or 8 different recipes but so many looked mouthwatering. The hummus is divine, as is the recipe for chickpeas (similar to arbis, but seasoned differently). The mejadra was excellent, even though I did not follow the recipe exactly; the seasoning was perfect. Of course, any recipe with eggplant is fantastic! I have found that anything Yotam Ottolenghi puts together, no matter how outlandish the combination may seem, comes out delicious. (Who would think eggplant and sweet potatoes in a tart with goat cheese? It was fantastic! Though that was from another cookbook...)
Profile Image for Poiema.
455 reviews68 followers
August 22, 2014
Gorgeous pictures, not all of which relate to food. You can almost smell and feel the atmosphere of the city of Jerusalem. Some of the recipes have ingredients that are not readily available, but overall they are do-able and the ones I've tried are satisfying. The recipes reflect a diversity of Jewish culture and incorporate influences that are unique to various locales. The two authors add commentary regarding their personal experience with the food and also the history of the dish. A fine exposure to the ancient city, even if you only read and look at pictures rather than actually make the dishes.
Profile Image for Abby.
199 reviews4 followers
July 26, 2015
Fantastic! The recipes are great and the history of the city and area of Palestine and Israel is fascinating and informative. I've made a few of the dishes already with great success - the pureed beets with yogurt & za'atar, roasted cauliflower & hazelnut salad, parsley and barley salad, and maqluba are already family favorites.
Profile Image for Sophie.
458 reviews187 followers
Shelved as 'cookbooks'
March 17, 2019
Recipes I've tried
1. Mejadra (3/15/19)- nice simple meal to make with things I often have on hand! Might use less coriander seed next time but would definitely make this again.

2. Tomato and barley risotto with marinated feta (3/16/19)-loved this! Wonderful flavor. I cut down on the feta and next time might add eggplant or something to it.

Profile Image for Trace.
949 reviews39 followers
August 20, 2022
I was surprised when I realized that I'd never reviewed this cookbook until now. I've taken this book out of the library so many times over the years....I really need to just purchase my own copy.

Gorgeous cookbook. The recipes that I've tried are just wonderful. My favorite is probably the Roasted Chicken with Clementines and Arak (I used Pernod). I've also tried Kofta b'siniyah, the Roasted Cauliflower & Hazelnut Salad, and several other recipes and have not been disappointed.

Definitely a cookbook to add to your personal collection. It's a classic.
Profile Image for Eva.
26 reviews
January 23, 2021
Delicious recipes, beautiful photos, wonderful tidbits. We've made numerous recipes from this book already and plan to continue!
Profile Image for Daphne.
5 reviews
January 4, 2021
I’m not sure why this cookbook has so many 5-star ratings. As a collection of recipes, it’s very uneven. A few of the recipes I made were fantastic and I’ll make again. A few were okay, but not worth another try, and some were truly bad, actually flavor sinks. The best ones were the Roast Chicken with Clementines and Arak, Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgar & Yogurt and the Turkey and Zucchini Burgers with Green Onion and Cumin. The worst were the Open Kibbeh (why not a traditional one?) and the Puréed Beets with Yogurt and Za’atar. Both of these dishes actually managed to erase the rich flavors of the ingredients, rather than the flavors blending harmoniously together. This cookbook is interesting and engaging where it talks about the cultural influences in the cuisines of Jerusalem. I would have added more of this content, and cut some of the more boring recipes.
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