Welcome to the reporting thread for our July COTM, where we’ll cook from FLAVORS OF THE SUN: THE SAHADI’S GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING, BUYING, AND USING MIDDLE EASTERN INGREDIENTS by Christine Sahadi Whelan.

For those members of public libraries that offer use of its app, the ebook edition of Flavors of the Sun is available on demand via Hoopla.

I’d draw your attention to this tip from @MelMM: “Pay attention to the two-page spreads that give ‘Ten more ways to use _____’ (za’atar, dukkah, or some other ingredient). There are some great ideas in there. Unfortunately those sections are not in the table of contents, but they are in the index, under ‘ingredient, uses for’. The suggestions ARE also indexed in EYB, so they will show up on your search there.”

To report discuss a recipe, put the name of the recipe in ALL CAPS and include the page number, if it’s available to you. If you are the first to post about a recipe, please reply to this post. If someone has already posted about the recipe, reply to their post so all the posts about each recipe are linked for easy reference. Photos are welcome, though by no means required!

To respect the author’s copyright, please don’t post photos of or verbatim copies of recipes. Links to recipes online are welcome, and you may post ingredients and summarize instructions in your own words.

Find links to past months’ books in the COTM Archive, and feel free to keep adding to them, or to report on recipes from Chowhound-era COTMs here.


We loved this. It’s heady with orange blossom, so if orange blossom water is a flavor you love, I recommend this drink. It’s sweet but not overly so; it’s like a not-to-sweet dessert. I made half a recipe, and it’s a good thing I did or I would have felt it the next day. It goes down smooth and fast.
Four servings of this drink include 3/4 c orange juice, 1/2 c gin, 1/2 orange liqueur (which I didn’t have, so I used passion fruit juice liqueur), 2 T honey, 2 T orange blossom water, and dashes of Angostura bitters.
In the last few months I’d been making a similar drink from the book 12 Bottle Bar (the Opal, pg. 99). That one drinks more like a cocktail, and both drinks will be made in our house until I finally use up various ingredients.


I just got the book, maestra. And I have a cocktail party I’m hosting this weekend. Do you think this will be good made as a batch? Will people love this?

It would definitely batch up, but I don’t think it will be to everyone’s taste because its orange-blossom flavor will be very unexpected. It is summery, though, so I would include it if I were making a small variety of drinks.

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Okay. Thank you. Maybe I will try a drink… or two… out. :smiley:


I love orange blossom in baked goods and in cocktails.

Most people can’t identify that it’s in there, just that there’s something floral and different happening.

I also enjoy the combination of gin and orange blossom (as also gin and elderflower) - I’d choose a mellower gin that doesn’t have a cucumber-forward flavor (ie not Hendricks or similar, nor Bombay which I find sharper than something like Tanqueray).

If you are batching it in advance, I’d suggest a taste test with and without orange blossom to check how that ages. It isn’t degraded by heat (for eg it’s used in biryani, and as I mentioned baked goods), but sitting open might dull it - easy fix would be to add it to the pitcher just before serving.


I have enjoyed Sahadi’s over the years, and yet this book seemed odd - and belated - given the general obsession with all flavors middle eastern for so many years now (don’t know if this gets attributed to Ottolenghi or generally).

But it was available at my library, so I borrowed it. And I’m pleasantly surprised by her take. There are certainly some of the “same” recipes. But then there are different twists and takes on the “same” ingredients.

I’m going to keep reading, I don’t doubt there will be inspiration along the way.


I had the same reaction…is this anything different or new? And I already have so many middle eastern cookbooks. But I like it…as you same some different twists and appealing takes on familiar recipes.

I got it from the library for the second time, and need to investigate further. If I decide to purchase it, 2 other cookbooks will have to go out the door.

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Wishing I had the physical book - I may order it at the library, the ebook is so much harder to browse.

ETA: Done - well that was easy!




I had to go out of town on the first of the month, so I haven’t done any cooking this month so far. I’ll be home Tuesday night and plan to get to it. But in the meantime, I’ve made a lot of recipes from this book since I first got it, and I thought I’d go ahead and right those up. While I have a hard copy at home, I’m looking at the electronic version at the moment, so I apologize for the lack of page numbers.

This hummus was the first thing I made from the book. I’ll start by saying I’m not a fan of most flavored hummus. I make a great version of the classic, and I generally don’t find non-standard versions to be an improvement. But I’m always willing to give an author a chance to change my mind. Since I made this last October, I can’t remember the details of what I did. I usually cook my own chickpeas (there are instructions for both ways, but I would have used a pressure cooker). But this is pretty much a straightforward hummus, except that some minced preserved lemon is blended in, as is some ras el hanout. Then to garnish, you drizzle on some oil, sprinkle on some more preserved lemon and some more ras el hanout. And that’s it. The ras el hanout I used was definitely homemade and probably the blend in Mourad, since that is what I usually make. Anyway, even though it was 9 months ago, I do remember that I liked this hummus. Unlike a lot of non-standard hummus versions, the add-ins here, especially the preserved lemon, actually complimented the flavor of hummus.

It’s a little off piste, but I thought I would add how I used the leftovers the next day. I got the idea of stirring the hummus into grits. It seemed that the preserved lemon and ras el hanout would go well there. I topped the grits with tofu that was dredged in a chile blend (actually the one from Amá) plus cumin, coriander, and cardamom, then pan-fried, and mixed with fried onions and peppers. That all worked just great together.



After making the hummus in October, life intervened, I spent a month in Texas, and didn’t get back to cooking from this book until January. I believe the next I made was the spinach-walnut pies. I made the filling as written, but for the dough, I substituted my gluten-free dough. These are meant to be in a bread dough, not a pastry crust. I have a vague recollection that I either got more pies or fewer than the recipe is supposed to yield, but I can’t remember which. Or maybe they came as predicted. What I can remember is that we really liked these at Casa de Mel. There is bit of sumac and lemon in the filling that balances out the savory spinach and nuts beautifully. These were served as part of a snacking plate for football, along with some things from Mozza at Home, which was COTM at the time.



Since I liked the spinach-walnut pies, I decided to go for another hand pie in the book that intrigued me. These are made with ground beef, for which I substituted Impossible ground. The seasoning is onion, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, and pomegranate molasses (from whence the sweet and sour come). These are, like the spinach pies, baked in a bread dough crust. Mine did not come out nearly as pretty as the ones in the book, but we loved them nonetheless. Served with a quinoa tabbouleh, but not the one in the book.



This was the moment I fell in love with this book. When you are vegetarian or vegan, you get served a lot of stuffed mushrooms. A lot of people, including restaurant chefs, think a stuffed portobello is a good vegetarian main. And I love a stuffed portobello. Portobellos are meaty and delicious. But most versions are really not that satisfying as a main, and the portobello itself, while it may have a meaty flavor, has little protein (broccoli has 40% more). This recipe solves the problem, and is absolutely delicious. The answer is to stuff the portobellos with a mix of white beans, onion, rosemary, and spinach or chard. I like the white bean and rosemary combo on it’s own. Stuff it in a meaty portobello? Yes. There is some panko mixed into the stuffing. In the future, I would probably omit it and use it on top to get a browned, crunchy crust. It would probably make for a better-looking dish as well (I’ll be the fist to admit that these aren’t the prettiest stuffed mushrooms I’ve ever had). But make this, if you are looking for a vegetarian main that is truly hearty and satisfying. Served with pasta with arugula/almond pesto, from the book.



This follows the basic pesto formula, but it’s different. Almond oil instead of olive oil. Toasted almonds instead of pine nuts. Arugula instead of basil. Pecorino instead of parm. A little Aleppo pepper in there for fun. Unlike hummus, where I tend to be a traditionalist, pesto is a dish I like to play around with, and many of my favorite versions are not the standard basil pesto in olive oil. This is just one more great one to add to the repertoire. Perfect for when arugula is coming in from the CSA, and as the author notes, for times when basil is not in season. A keeper. Photo upthread with the stuffed portobellos.



The first time I made this recipe, I posted to Facebook that it was “better than a millet pilaf had any right to be.” I’ve made this - I don’t know - maybe five times now, and I stand by that assessment. Or maybe it is what every millet pilaf is supposed to be. It’s light and fluffly and nutty and tangy and delicious. The first time I made it, I forgot to add the feta. The next couple times, I had either Violife feta or tofu feta at the ready, but then I would taste the pilaf and I just couldn’t bring myself to add the feta. It didn’t seem like it would make it better. So I’ve gone with a feta-less version every time. The pilaf has lemon juice, sumac, and lemon zest in it, so it has a tart element without the feta. I highly recommend this recipe. Whether you add feta or not, well, just taste it and decide for yourself.



This is worth making for the looks alone. But it happens to be delicious as well. I did tweak it just a bit. For the squash, you slice and toss with olive oil, Aleppo pepper, Urfa pepper, salt, black pepper, and the white part of scallions. It gets broiled for 5 min per side. The pepper relish is red and orange bell pepper, jalapeño, parsley, garlic, and salt. That is where I did a tweak. I microplaned the garlic, and used a bit less. I let the garlic sit in some lemon juice to mellow, and added the lemon with the garlic to the relish. I also added a little olive oil. Neither the olive oil nor lemon were in the recipe for the relish, but I think they belong there. So with that tweak, this is a great, very festive vegetable side.


@MelMM loved these write-ups and your gorgeous photos, thank you!


Salmon kebabs are on regular rotation in my house, usually the Zahav recipe with orange zest and pomegranate molasses. Nigella is one of those spices I never know what to do with–I do wish the head note had talked more about it. It’s an unusual spice, but I have liked it in anything I’ve ever made with it.
This could not be easier–marinate salmon with mint, chives, parsley, cumin, Aleppo pepper, nigella, salt and pepper, and olive oil. Skewer with red onion (this part could have been skipped–it did not add much and it was hard to get the onion as done as I preferred before the salmon was done). Grill (or broil) and serve with lemon.
Ignore my food photography, this was delicious. Served with grilled veg, halloumi, olives, yogurt sauce with zucchini.


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Yes! And also the gorgeous dishes/pottery! Always reminds me of what a beautiful collection MelMM has!

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