Yotam Ottolenghi and Sammi Tamini, two chefs born in Jerusalem, own restaurants in London and have authored several cookbooks. Curious about their cuisine style, I took Jerusalem: A Cookbook out of the library. As I looked through the recipes, I realized that there was no place in our area of New Jersey to get some of the Middle Eastern spices and other ingredients used in their recipes. What to do? The answer: Kalustyan’s! It’s a shop located a few blocks from our apartment on the stretch of Lexington Avenue in the 20’s known as “Curry Hill” (because of the abundant Indian and Pakistani restaurants). At Kalustyan’s, you can find every spice you’ve ever – or never — heard of. Thus, I had no problem getting sumac and za’atar, two important elements of Middle Eastern cooking. I also needed barberries, something I wasn’t familiar with. No problem! They were there among the thousands of items crammed into every nook and cranny of this amazing cook’s paradise.
I prepared two dishes from the book for last Saturday’s supper. Sumac was one of the ingredients in the first course salad while barberries were included in the main course chicken dish.
Baby Spinach Salad with Dates & Almonds (p. 30)
Chicken with Caramelized Onion & Cardamom Rice (p. 184)