The Silk Road Gourmet, Volume One: Western and Southern Asia: A Journey Through the Cuisines of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka
Reviewed by Mick Vann, Fri., Dec. 4, 2009
The Silk Road Gourmet, Volume One: Western and Southern Asia: A Journey Through the Cuisines of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lankaby Laura Kelley
iUniverse, 372 pp., $24.95
Laura Kelley's experiences from extensive travels throughout Asia and her fascinating food and travel blog produced the basis for The Silk Road Gourmet, Volume One, the first of a three-volume set covering 30 different cuisines of Asia. In each locale, she researched and collected recipes from home and market cooks, to be tested in her home kitchen upon her return. Volume One covers Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka, some of which are grossly underrepresented in Western cookbooks.
Kelley provides a culinary collision of flavors that at first glance might seem disparate, but closer examination under her microscope reveals how spices and influences flow effortlessly between borders, developed over centuries of trade between the Black Sea and the Pacific. Each section opens with a brief overview of cooking methods, spices and flavors, and culinary history. The well-written recipes are logical and easy to follow, with few taking more than 30 minutes to prepare – ideal for cooks of any skill level. To Kelley's credit, the dishes offer authentically bold flavors, and the only concession has been to adopt modern utensils of the Western kitchen.
We tried chicken with apricots in lemon pepper sauce: simple to make and assertively delicious, aromatic, and satisfying. If every dish is as good as this Afghani gem, Kelley's book will prove priceless.
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