Arabian Delights

Recipes & Princely Entertaining Ideas from the Arabian Peninsula

Amy Riolo

Date Published :
October 2007
Publisher :
Capital Books
Format Available    QuantityPrice
ISBN : 9781933102559

In stock


After spending decades researching Egyptian cuisine, working in Egypt, and traveling extensively in the region, culinary expert Amy Riolo has been discovering the cuisine of Arabia at lavish parties and palaces, in simpler homes, stylish restaurants, and marketplaces. Now she brings this rich and exotic cuisine to American cooks of all levels, giving time-honored techniques, step-by-step recipes, and lively menus for many occasions and the everyday. Sample breakfast delights like Wild Thyme Glazed Croissants. Savor Gulf-Style Calamari Soup and Chicken Kabsah, a delicious rice and chicken casserole that exudes the aroma of dried limes and the traditional Saudi spice mix. Dip into delicious dessert recipes like Melon K'nafeh, and Chocolate Covered-Almond Filled Dates. Sip mouthwatering drinks like Rose Water Cooler, and a variety of Arabian "cocktails” like Golden Dream, made with mandarin juice, peach, honey, saffron and milk. Though Amy Riolo entertains like an Arabian princess has created lavish menus for world leaders, she is a practical American, as she reveals how to create an Arabian tea party worthy of royalty, and a Laylat ul Henna, the ultimate girls' night in, when brides-to-be gather with female friends and family members for a night full of beauty, pampering, henna-tattooing, music, dancing, and of course, an array of tempting culinary treats. Most ingredients are available at your local supermarket, though the "Where to Buy Guide” gives mail-order sources for any that may be hard to find.


Rest assured that someone who owns dozens of cookbooks will not have anything like this paperback on their shelves. Food historian Riolo, who maintains homes in Germantown and north of Cairo, divulges recipes she acquired in the guest palaces of Mecca, Medina and Jeddah. The food is presented in cultural-culinary menus, with tips and a preparatory timeline for putting on a whole celebratory meal for Eid or Ramadan, or an Arabian dessert party or tea party. That's not to say the recipes can't be appreciated on their own. People who do not drink alcohol are always looking for worthy substitutions, so Riolo's Sunset, Red Sky and Kiwi fruit juice cocktails might work well.

- The Washington Post Gift Cookbooks List, December 2007

Amy is a nationally recognized culinary expert, food writer, and cooking instructor based in the Washington, D.C. area. Amy's talk was titled ‘Incense and Spice: Entertaining in the Arabian Peninsula.' She talked about the history of the cuisine of the Arabian Peninsula and how the incense and spice trades impacted…An incense censor and perfumes were passed around the room for all to experience a touch of Arabian hospitality. Amy then spent the next 35 minutes answering many questions from the audience.

- CHoW Line, November 2007

What we know in America of Arabian food and life is colored by politics, by the local falafel truck, and maybe by ignorance. But with her book on the meals and traditions of Arabian entertaining, Amy Riolo seeks to illuminate a culture and move cooks beyond pita chips and hummus. Riolo has not only gathered recipes, but put them in the context of Arabian life…Riolo has immersed herself in Arab culture, and her recipes, gathered from home cooks and local restaurants, have a taste of authenticity. ..With her similar attention to detail, Riolo opens a window onto a culture that is much with us, but very little understood. And what better place for understanding than over a shared meal.

- Appetite for Books,, January 2008

This is a wonderful version of a classic Middle Eastern soup and seems like the perfect dish for a winter night. The original version contained incense, a common practice with slow cooking soups in the region. Pure resins like frankincense are actually safe to eat, and were once used like chewing gum. During cooking, the fragrant scent of the incense rose into the air and mingled with the spice in the food for a delightful effect. This version uses dried lemon and saffron instead of incense. From Arabian Delights; Menus, Recipes and Princely Entertaining Ideas from the Arabian Peninsula (Capital Books 2007) by Amy Riolo, a nationally recognized culinary expert, food writer, and cooking instructor based in the Washington, D.C., area.

- Sheilah Kaufman, Jewish Women International, March 2008

We had the chicken kebabs from Arabian Delights this weekend. I loved the flavor from the pinch of saffron in the marinade. The aromatic dish was so tasty with such authentic flavor. I also prepared the Sesame Chapati recipe to have with it: delicious.

- Kathy Kitchens Downie at Cooking Light

Amy Riolo's book, Arabian Delights, is rich with distinctive, yet easy recipes using readily available ingredients, for both family dinners and elegant events. What is most important to me, is that the book conveys a clear historical perspective of the peoples living on the Arabian Peninsula and the development of their cuisines. Arabian Delights gave me an understanding of Muslims and Islam through its culinary traditions and concepts that I've never had before.

- Dolores Kostelni, The Happy Cook, radio host and author

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