Bottom of the Pot by Naz Deravian
I fell in love with Persian food in Canada, thanks to my wonderful Iranian landlady who is now a dear friend. I’d attempted to recreate her dishes at home with varied success and was excited when asked to review Naz Deravian’s cookbook, aptly titled Bottom of the Pot, in a nod to the Persian rice I one day hoped to master.
Anybody taking three pages to intricately and passionately explain the drama of cooking and eating a pot of rice gets my vote; I was hooked from page one. My expectation of this book bringing endless joy and fantastic food in equal measure was high, and I was not disappointed.
Persian cooking is not for the faint-hearted; ingredient lists can be extensive and will likely include items you’ve never heard of (don’t worry, Naz advises on that). Preparation and cooking methods can be time-consuming, however, they are expertly explained and easy to follow with many recipes accompanied by pre-prep, thus breaking the processes down into more manageable chunks. If, like me, you choose to cook larger batches, then you’ll appreciate the advice on storage and reheating; essential for leftovers and when wanting to avoid waste.
I don’t eat meat and found it easy to adapt those recipes, substituting with tofu, tempeh, pulses, or vegetables that didn’t deviate from the authenticity of the dish.
I began cooking some familiar dishes, such as Khoresh Bademjan (eggplant stew) and Khoresh Ghormeh Sabzi (herb stew), and the results were fantastic, replicating the flavours that I recall. With some trepidation, I attempted Chelo ba Tahdig, steamed rice with tahdig, that beautiful golden crust– something I had tried and failed to cook well on many occasions. Although spanning two whole pages, the recipe was easy to follow and the results impressive. I turned out the best Persian rice I have ever made, and nobody was more surprised than me.
The Bottom Line: 5/5 Brookie Stars
Buy the book if you’re an adventurous cook who likes to experiment with flavours. I’ll definitely be gifting a few copies to friends and family who would appreciate an introduction and exploration of authentic Persian cuisine.
If your friends and family aren’t avid cooks, we have plenty of other books available on our Brookstore that might make the perfect gift. See what’s on sale now by visiting it here.
After 30 years in the global insurance market and living in 3 countries, Jacqui Hodges headed to Barbados where she now pursues writing and her passion for food, travel and books.
A huge animal advocate, her home isn’t complete without a foster kitten or three. In addition to volunteer work she writes media content for animal charities.
Favourite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.
Favourite brunch dish: avocado toast with tomato and chilli