Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus

Combining engaging travel and food essays written by journalist Eden and recipes compiled by tv food editor Ford, this strikingly illustrated cookbook can be savored in the kitchen or the armchair. Described as a “celebration of the richness and diversity” of Central Asia and the “culinary heritage of its distinct populations,” it focuses on the cuisines of seven groups, among others, that “left their mark on Samarkand”: Tajiks, Russians, Turks, Jews, Koreans and Uzbeks. The results range from the truly exotic (tarragon soda) to the tried-and-true (spinach khachapuri, a Georgian version of the familiar Turkish pide, a pizza-like filled flatbread). There are numerous versions of another standby, plov (rice pilaf)—“a quintessential dish ... with as many variants as there are people who cook it”—such as chicken and almond, sesame and nuts, and fish and saffron. There are traditional breads and doughs, such as swirled onion flatbread from Kyrgyzstan and Khiva egg dumplings from Uzbekistan, along with hearty winter comfort food like Russian buckwheat kasha with caramelized mushrooms, or winter kuksu, a meat-and-veggie noodle bowl inspired by post-Soviet Korean Koryo-saram cuisine.

Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & the Caucasus
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