A soulful tour of Palestinian cooking today from the Ottolenghi restaurants’ executive chef and partner—120 recipes shaped by his personal story as well as the history of Palestine.
“Truly, one of the best cookbooks of the year so far.”—Bon Appétit
The story of Palestine’s food is really the story of its people. When the events of 1948 forced residents from all regions of Palestine together into one compressed land, recipes that were once closely guarded family secrets were shared and passed between different groups in an effort to ensure that they were not lost forever.
In Falastin (pronounced “fa-la-steen”), Sami Tamimi retraces the lineage and evolution of his country’s cuisine, born of its agriculturally optimal geography, its distinct culinary traditions, and Palestinian cooks’ ingenuity and resourcefulness. Tamimi covers the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River—East Jerusalem and the West Bank, up north to the Galilee and the coastal cities of Haifa and Akka, inland to Nazareth, and then south to Hebron and the coastal Gaza Strip—recounting his upbringing with eleven siblings and his decision to leave home at seventeen to cook in West Jerusalem, where he met and first worked with Yotam Ottolenghi.
From refugee-camp cooks to the home kitchens of Gaza and the mill of a master tahini maker, Tamimi teases out the vestiges of an ancient culinary tradition as he records the derivations of a dynamic cuisine and people in more than 130 transporting photographs and 120 recipes, including:
• Hassan’s Easy Eggs with Za’atar and Lemon • Fish Kofta with Yogurt, Sumac, and Chile • Pulled-Lamb Schwarma Sandwich • Labneh Cheesecake with Roasted Apricots, Honey, and Cardamom
Named after the Palestinian newspaper that brought together a diverse people, Falastin is a vision of a cuisine, a culture, and a way of life as experienced by one influential chef.
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.
“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)