Sifratna is Arabic for "our dining table," and Amjaad al Hussain, an American born into a Yemeni immigrant family, is generously eager to welcome cooks to a table set with both traditional dishes and those that she and her kin have developed in the US by applying Yemeni flavors in new ways. This is the kind of enthusiastic self-publishing that helps regional cooking flourish away from its roots. Anyone familiar with the common array of Middle Eastern dishes that seems to show up in many cookbooks will be happily surprised by the distinctiveness of the recipes here. Gishr is a coffee drink made from the bean's shells and powdered ginger. Mateet is a creamy breakfast soup incorporating barley flour, yogurt, and savory spices. Zigny chicken, using an Ethiopian spice blend and served with a crepe-like bread, is a reminder of how close the two countries are. Many recipes are supplemented by detailed step-by-step photo sequences that show the assembly of more complex dishes. Here and there, non-traditional ingredients, such as quinoa, creep in, but they're unobtrusive adaptations. Recipe names are in English as well as Arabic script. Paperback. Color photographs throughout.
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