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Flavours of Babylon by Linda Dangoor

Posted by Nigella on the 22nd January 2015
Image of Linda Dangoor's Overnight Chicken
Photo by Linda Dangoor

This book was first published in 2011 and, since then, has become something of a collector's find for those who love food. This reissue (expanded and with new recipes) should be greeted with a grateful fanfare. I have always loved this book: the recipes come from the displaced Iraqi Jewish community; and "food" writes Linda Dangoor "is more than just nourishment and recipes. It is also a language and an identity". And we do not have to share that identity in order for the book, its recipes, to speak to us. Believe me: you'll want to listen.

There are so many recipes I wanted to choose for you, but in the end I plumped for T'beet, which is perhaps best described as a whole chicken hidden in rice, rice that develops that essential "h'kaka" or crust. The picture shows the chicken peeking out cheerfully, and not actually 'hidden', but I have only ever eaten it with the rice on top, and you crack through the surface, and spoon through the rice to the succulent chicken within. There is something earthy, simple and yet gloriously celebratory about this dish. Linda Dangoor should have rose petals thrown in her path where'ere she walks for writing this book and sharing her recipes with us. I wouldn't want to be without this book in my kitchen.

Book cover of Flavours Of Babylon by Linda Dangoor
Photo by Linda Dangoor

Try this recipe from the book

Image of Linda Dangoor's Overnight Chicken Buried in Aromatic Rice
Photo by X
Overnight Chicken Buried In Aromatic Rice
By Linda Dangoor
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Lemony Creamy Chicken