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‘Halal‘ and ‘Islamic‘ are typically used as catch-all terms of reference for a particular style of cooking, any meal can be made suitable for consumption by a Muslim by simply switching the meat to Halal meat instead. Islam does, however, trace back to Saudia Arabia, and the traditions, values, and spiritual values have spread far and wide ever since. Several iconic regions like Israel, Egypt, And Iran arise as culinary stars, but Malaysia, Pakistan, and Morocco hold equally rich Islamic heritage. We’ve compiled a list of the very best Islamic cookbooks spanning all cultures, offering something for everyone to expand their tastes and know-how.
- For a balance of classic meals and modern Islamic cooking approachable to cooks of all skill levels, Feast: Food Of The Islamic World by Anissa Helou, My Halal Kitchen by Yvonne Maffei, and the Egyptian cookbook Eat, Habibi, Eat! Shahir Massoud are among the best guides to Halal food available.
- While not strictly Muslim cuisine alone, Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Falastin: A Cookbook by Sami Tamimi are two of the best food memoirs ever published that divulge all the best cuisine from the birthplace of Islam.
- If there is one book that’s considered essential to historians, chefs, and serious foodies and a fine example of Islamic heritage at best, it’s the modern English six-hundred-page translation of Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens (Islamic History and Civilization) by Nawal Nasrallah.
- Key Takeaways
- Top 10 Best Halal Cookbooks
- Feast: Food Of The Islamic World By Anissa Helou
- The Sultan’s Kitchen: A Turkish Cookbook By Ozcan Ozan
- 50 Muslim Recipes: A Halal Cookbook For Making Meals Islam Friendly And Tasty With Pictures By Daleel Al-Hamed
- Eat, Habibi, Eat!: Fresh Recipes For Modern Egyptian Cooking By Shahir Massoud
- Halal Home Cooking: Recipes From Malaysia’s Kampungs By Ismail Ahmad
- Halal Slow Cooking Made Easy! By Rachel Lomas
- The Middle Eastern Kitchen Cookbook: 100 Authentic Dishes from the Middle East By Rukmini Iyer & Pene Parker
- Jerusalem: A Cookbook By Yotam Ottolenghi
- Falastin: A Cookbook By Sami Tamimi, Tara Wigley & Yotam Ottolenghi
- Ramadan Recipes: From Our Holiday Table to Yours By Samantha Sanchez
- Best Print-Only Halal Cookbooks
- The Arabian Cookbook: Traditional Arab Cuisine with a Modern Twist By Ramzi Choueiry
- Early Islamic Culinary Art: Based on Prophetic Traditions By Omur Akkor
- My Halal Kitchen: Global Recipes, Cooking Tips and Lifestyle Inspiration by Yvonne Maffei
- Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens (Islamic History and Civilization) By Nawal Nasrallah
- Halal Cookbooks – Frequently Asked Questions
- Where Is Halal Food From?
- What Is The Difference Between Halal Meat And Regular Meat?
Top 10 Best Halal Cookbooks
Whether you’re craving hummus, Egyptian food like vegan mudammas, or something spicy like rotis or biryani, you’ll need a good Islamic cookbook to guide you. Each of these ten best-sellers stands proudly among the best Halal books available in print and digital formats.
Few cookbooks cover the entire span of predominantly and indigenous Muslim regions and their cuisine, as well as Feast: Food of the Islamic World. Arab, Persian, Mughal, and North African cuisine are all wonderfully covered, with breathtaking photography backing the recipes to help readers grasp what they’re making ahead of time. While a balance of food is covered, most of the meals are Lebanese and Syrian.
Feast is chaptered into bread, the whole beast covering meat, rice, grains, pasta & legumes, the sea, spices, spice mixtures, spice pastes, fresh produce, and a sweet tooth detailing sweets and desserts. Thanks to the author’s thoughtful commentary, one gets to know the culture and basic methodology of the recipes. Whether in print or digital, every eager cook would be treating themselves to procure a copy of this massive, quintessential guide to and celebration of cooking.
About The Author: UK-based chef and specialist in cuisine from the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa, Anissa Helou has firmly established herself as a forerunning authority on Islamic food. The celebrated, award-winning author instills her wisdom through her publications and the London-based culinary instruction center, ‘Anissa’s School.’
- Total Recipes: 150+
- Total Pages: 160
- Recipes Preview: Spicy Char-Grilled Kofta Shish Kebab, Imam Bayildi (Swooning Imam – Stuffed Eggplant), Acili Dominates Ezmesi (Spicy Pureed Tomatoes)
- The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Lamb With White Beans In A Clay Pot And White Rice Pilaf
- Affordability: Moderate
If you’re a fan of true old-world cooking, then The Sultan’s Kitchen is a must-have. Considered by critics to be one of the best books on Turkish cuisine the world has ever seen, it truly is a gem among books. From the detailed instructions to the concise but colorful commentary that helps the reader understand the culture, it’s a gripping discourse with bold, inviting presentation. It’s the type of book you turn to for guidance and inspiration, thanks to the sheer brilliance of its inspired design.
Through an introduction with sample menus, a look at Turkish ingredients, and a basic guide to all sauces and condiments, cooks learn everything they need to know to master each dish. The chapters Meze, breads and boreks, soups, lamb, beef and chicken, seafood, pilafs, salads, desserts, fruit compotes, and drinks cover the whole of Turkey’s traditional fare. The best part is just how far complex recipes have been simplified while granting exemplary results every time.
About The Author: Attendee of the Harvard School of Public Health for The Diets of Mediterranean in Cambridge, Ozcan Ozan is an author celebrated for his modern insights on classic Turkish cooking. There are few that manage to convey old-world insights as clearly as this gifted chef and student of the cuisine and culture itself.
50 Muslim Recipes: A Halal Cookbook For Making Meals Islam Friendly And Tasty With Pictures By Daleel Al-Hamed
50 Muslim Recipes: A Halal Cookbook For Making Meals Islam Friendly And Tasty is a handy cookbook for any Islamic families who often cook in a hurry. Anyone who doesn’t have time to fuss in a kitchen will fall in love with the author’s fifty Muslim-orientated recipes that are diverse enough to satisfy the tastes of all. There are even vegetarian recipes of the finest caliber listed. Just don’t be scared away by the inclusion of some rather strange varieties of meat in the dishes for non-vegetarians.
Readers are sure to be impressed by the sheer amount of handy information packed into this rather short cookbook. This also makes 50 Muslim Recipes a wonderful reference book to have on hand when seeking inspiration to model your meals on. The basics given here are good enough to formulate the basis for many other Islamic dishes of the cook’s own creation.
About The Author: With what one can only imagine being the first of many more to come, author Daleel al-Hamed divulges brilliantly simplistic recipes suited to Muslim families that are inspiring and fresh in their approach.
‘Habibi’ is a phrase that translates to ‘My Darling,’ which is an Egyptian term of endearment for those closest to you and a clear reflection of the warmth and cultural heritage which waits in the pages of this outstanding cookbook. Eat, Habibi, Eat! is one of the most modern takes on authentic traditional Egyptian cooking in circulation. The author explains exactly how to fill a Halal pantry while also detailing tools of the trade before divulging tips that become indispensable once known – true gold.
Recipes are chaptered into breakfast, appetizers and snacks, soups and sandwiches, salads and sides, main plates, sweets, and essentials like sauces and spice blends. Eat Habibi, Eat!: Fresh Recipes for Modern Egyptian Cooking is a must for anyone fascinated by food from the region. After all, all Egyptian cuisine is Halal by definition.
About The Author: Canadian-Egyptian chef and television host Shahir Massoud famous for CBC’s The Goods, Man of the Kitchen, and Around the World is 8 Meals, has proved himself an inspired author proficient in expressing his wisdom in a clear-to-grasp manner. It’s hard to ignore a single one of his Egyptian meals with memorable modern twists.
Whereas most of the cookbooks reviewed focus on Islamic cuisine from the Middle East and Upper Africa, Halal Home Cooking: Recipes from Malaysia’s Kampungs has a totally different approach to Muslim food. With easy-to-follow recipes for just about all the popular Halal street food you’d find in a village or bustling Kuala Lumpur market, this is the quintessential guide to Southeast Asian Islamic food.
A ‘kampung’ is a Malay and Indonesian term for a small village in the country, and this book delivers the best recipes from these largely untouched regions steeped in culture and heritage. If the enticing ingredients don’t real the reader in, the tasteful full-color food photography will. By the time you try but one dish, you’ll soon see why this to-the-point, concise cookbook is one of the best.
About The Author: Author and Dato chef Ismail Ahmed is a veteran of the catering and food education industry. As a Malaysian and Singaporean cooking show superstar, Ahmad’s books stand as fine examples of Malaysian Islamic cookery at its best.
Don’t let the slim size of this functional cookbook deter you from Halal Slow Cooking Made Easy! offers to-the-point instructions for so many classic Islamic dishes that it’s one of the most valuable books beginners can have. It is ideal for anyone who doesn’t have the time or expertise to cook up a feast but still wants to broaden their culinary palette. Classic Islamic meals from various regions are detailed in a truly foolproof manner.
Even though simplistic in its layout and instruction, the quality of food is good enough to impress and inspire even the most advanced chefs. From Moroccan stews and traditional shepherd’s pie to Turkish soup and Pakistani curry, this book has it all. While delivering instructions for a slow cooker, the recipes are simple to adapt to Instant Pot/pressure cooker cooking.
About The Author: Author and celebrated chef Rachel Lomas’ journey toward global acclaim began with a humble Facebook group. Today, her insight concerning Halal cooking practices and ingredients has rewarded the world with a crystal-clear guidebook to Muslim meals in a slow cooker trusted by countless cooks.
The Middle Eastern Kitchen Cookbook: 100 Authentic Dishes from the Middle East By Rukmini Iyer & Pene Parker
The Middle Eastern Cookbook is a great book for those who like to explore various regional cuisines. Readers can look forward to one hundred of the most inspired recipes from Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Yemen, North Africa, and several other regions where Islam is prevalent. Each recipe delivers some of the simplest instructions seen with mouthwatering food photography that’ll keep you coming back to try more of its winning recipes.
Between Meze, soups, stews & tagines, grills & roasts, rice & vegetables, salads, grains & couscous, dips, preserves & sauces, bread & pastries and desserts, sweets & drinks you’ll find every well-known traditional dish to foreigners from the Middle East. Cook’s tips along the way familiarize the reader with essential Middle Eastern techniques while ensuring that everything comes out perfectly without fail. The recipes are straightforward enough for cooks of all skill levels to try.
About The Author: Co-authors Rukmini Iyer loved by her fans, as can be seen by her over 1 million copies sold to date, food writer Pene Parker and traveler & author Rebecca have collaborated to create a book that could be considered essential to any Islamic kitchen. With coverage of all types of cuisine, it’s sure to expand the reader’s culinary horizons.
Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi is a gem of a cookbook that contains some of the most authentic, detailed coverage of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian cuisine from the region ever seen. Don’t buy Jerusalem if you’re looking for recipes alone, but anyone who values the insight of one of the world’s best cooks will relish every word of this emotional culinary memoir. There is no other cookbook that details life and eating in the city of Jerusalem as intricately as well.
Just paging through Jerusalem will inspire all new vigor for cooking. The food photography is nothing short of breathtaking. While the instructions offer enough to educate advanced chefs, Some ingredients will be tricky to source. However, the trouble is well worth it, for each recipe is a prime example of its culture at its best.
About The Authors: Sami Tamimi is born on the Arab east side of Jerusalem, while Yotam Ottolenghi is native to the Jewish west. The two ultra-successful chefs and restauranteur have come together to deliver one of the most rewardingly detailed ethnic cookbooks in print and a must-have for anyone fascinated with Muslim, Jewish, or old-world Christian cuisine.
- Total Recipes: 120
- Total Pages: 320
- Recipes Preview: Scrambled Red Shakshuka, Ful Medames, Labneh Cheesecake With Roasted Apricots, Honey, And Cardamom, Eggplant, Chickpea, And Tomato Bake
- The Best Recipe We Want To Try: Labneh Cheesecake With Roasted Apricots, Honey, And Cardamom
- Affordability: Moderate
The author’s experience growing up in a Muslim family in the Old City of East Jerusalem has fortified Falastin: A Cookbook with authenticity and insight like few other books (on any subject) can muster. In the same style as the author’s other brilliant book with Yotam Ottolenghi, Falastin is best described as a culinary memoir. As a result, it sweeps the reader through the journey that spans everything from cooking in local refugee camps to personal insights from masterful regional chefs reigning atop their trade. You’ll feel the warmth and hospitality of Palestine as if you’re there, which builds a sincere fondness for the cuisine as one learns to cook it.
A photo accompanies each recipe, and there’s enough diversity in the collection to keep anyone of just about any dietary habits happy. Between the history of Palestine and the restaurant quality meals produced when following the recipes, Falastin is a book that’ll be turned to time and time again for any and all foodies regardless of whether their focus is on Islamic cuisine exclusively.
About The Author: Jerusalem-born author and lifelong foodie Sami Tamimi collaborates with writer and publishing professional Tara Wigley as well as the ever-famous restauranteur Yotam Ottolenghi to create a cookbook that’s become the forerunning authority on Palestinian food.
Unlike many Islamic cookbooks which only celebrate a particular region’s culture and food heritage, Ramadan Recipes: From Our Holiday Table to Yours spans the traditions of almost all Muslim households. Celebratory food is a high point among cultures. With this cookbook, you get the best of all of Islam. Ramadan Recipes are chaptered into ‘Suhur Satisfiers’ (conventionally consumed in the morning before fasting), ‘Iftar Starters’ (consumed in the evening ending fast), ‘The Main Event’, and ‘Divine Desserts.’
All the cooking know-how needed to produce authentic Muslim food from all around the world is made crystal clear, concisely. Color photos are scattered throughout the book to help you get a feel for the more presentation-critical meals. It doesn’t matter whether you’re new to cooking or Halal food; everything in Ramadan Recipes is accessible. In the same breath, the span of recipes and essential tips spread throughout make this an inspiring read for experienced chefs as well. By the time you try one dish, it won’t be long before turning back to its pages again.
About The Author: New Jersey-based author, poet, foodie, and zealous home cook Samantha Sanchez may be new to the world of food publishing, but after delivering one of the most well-rounded references to Ramadan festive food, we’re certain to see more from her soon.
Best Print-Only Halal Cookbooks
The following Halal cookbooks are only available in print. Yet, given the layout, insight supplied, and superb quality of Islami cooking information, it’s not hard to see why. Each is a true gift to behold on hand, in person.
The Arabian Cookbook is one of the few that comes written in both Arabic and English. Fifty-five recipes are supplied in Arabic and then English following. Readers can expect to find expert guidance on how to make all classic Arab dishes backed by beautiful photography of the food and regions it comes from. The Arabian Cookbook is segmented into ‘Origin and Understanding,’ which explains the cuisine and culture, and ‘The Smiling Chef,’ granting context to the award-winning author and his style.
The brilliantly and intricately detailed celebration of Lebanon’s culture then covers ‘Kibbeh – Ground Meat Dishes,’ main courses, desserts & pastries, and finally offers a quick reference guide to Lebanese cuisine. This is the ideal cookbook for readers who like to be swept away on a culinary journey through the author’s own stories and experiences in the Middle East rather than a strict cookbook on Islamic cuisine.
About The Author: Ramzi Choueiry holds one book to his name, but the vibrancy and clear communication make it a leader within Islamic cookbooks. Ancient traditions and techniques are transported to modern times through his stellar food coverage.
Early Islamic Culinary Art: Based On Prophetic Traditions is a collection of recipes made from details of the Prophet Muhammad’s life and dietary habits. It’s a fascinating read that discusses not only traditional recipes but Islamic culture during the time of the Prophet. All recipes are ever-lasting favorites, but equally, all are derived from the Quran and connected prophetic writings.
The diversity of food made available despite this being a spread of recipes from ancient Islamic history is remarkable. As a result, the meals are simplistic, nutritious, and authentically traditional to the fourteenth century, while, thanks to the culinary wizardry of the award-winning chef and author, they are accessible and inviting to modern cooks and their diners as well.
About The Author: With several acclaimed books under his belt, author and Turkish chef Omur Akkor exhibits exemplary proficiency at delving into ancient, ethnic cuisine from the roots of Islam and then divulging this sought-after insight as modern-day, practical know-how.
With approachable recipes that show cooks exactly how to prepare modern Halal food, My Halal Kitchen is a fantastic book to have on hand for both Muslim and non-Muslim families. Many consider it to be the ultimate manual for Halal eating and a book that explains everything from how, why, and what to prepare as well the culture behind the cuisine.
The pictures are amazing and depict everything a cook could need while preparing the wonderful meals detailed in this book. Readers can look forward to some of the most straightforward weeknight and gourmet meals around, with substitutions for anything that could be considered remotely hard to find. From the layout to the actual recreations of traditional meals themselves, it’s a gem among cookbooks.
About The Author: With both My Halal Kitchen and Summer Ramadan Cooking celebrated by fans as among the best cookbooks read, chef, author and blogger Yvonne Maffei has shown herself to be an endless source of culinary wisdom specializing in Muslim food for all palettes.
If there is one book that every dedicated Islamic scholar, cook, or cultural enthusiast has to have on traditional cooking, it’s Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens. The high price of Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens puts this collector’s item out of reach of most, but we strongly suggest that dedicated cooks splash out. You’ll find very few cookbooks that come anywhere near to comparing to the insight and diversity of culinary treats waiting in this translation of a one-thousand-year-old cornerstone of Islam and its rich food traditions.
This exquisitely detailed discourse on Islam’s culture and cuisine, including history and poetry, divulges a perfect translation of Kitab al – Tabikh (The Book of Dishes or Book of Cookery) in no less than six hundred recipes from the 10th century in the Abbasid capital backed by thirty full-color illustrations. It’s a truly massive cookbook and a unique work detailing every classic recipe leading to modern food culture from medieval times, including the original ingredients called for with substitutions supplied in the extensive Arabic and English glossary.
About The Author: The most comprehensive great work on traditional Islamic cuisine dating back to medieval times has been translated by Iraqi native and extraordinary cookbook author Nawal Nasrallah. The historian and writer, accepted by many as the ultimate authority on Iraq’s culinary traditions, has several bestselling in-print books of interest to Muslim readers and foodies.
Halal Cookbooks – Frequently Asked Questions
Halal cuisine can be confusing to newcomers, so to help clarify things, here are the answers to all your frequently asked questions.
Islam spans the entire Middle East, which makes pinning a particular style of Muslim cooking to Halal food rather challenging. At its core, Halal defines that which is permissible by Islamic law defined by the Koran. In context to food, it is meat, vegetables, and animal products slaughtered and then processed in accordance with Islamic dietary laws.
The accepted allowed method according to Islamic law for slaughtering an animal detailed in the Quran is called ‘Dhabīḥah (ذَبِيْحَة).’ While far more precise, in its essence, the butcher calls upon the creator by his name Allah before making a quick, deep, fatal incision through the windpipe, jugular veins, and the carotid arteries on both left and right while leaving the spinal cord of the Halal animal untouched. Most commonly, the blessing ‘Bismillah’ is used.
Where Is Halal Food From?
Halal food doesn’t actually define a style of cooking but rather the Islamic prerequisites governing the ingredients and preparation. With this being said, the Quran details Islamic cuisine and that which is considered Halal and Haram, and it dates back to the towns Mecca and Medina in 610. Geographically, they are located in the Hejaz region of Saudi Arabia. Today, Halal food spans the entire globe, but with a predominantly Islamic population, food from the following countries is largely considered Halal by default:
- Bosnia And Herzegovina
- Saudi Arabia
What Is The Difference Between Halal Meat And Regular Meat?
While Halal slaughter is performed for religious and spiritual reasons, purchasing Halal meat guarantees that the animal suffered minimally while dying quickly without coagulation of its blood. Halal meat is also free from antibiotics, growth hormones, and synthetic feed agents, whereas, with regular meat, there’s no guarantee. There’s a dramatically lower risk of contracting food-born bacteria and other pathogens when consuming Halal meat.