This is one of those delicious, go-to cookbooks that you’ll want to try for yourself! Whether it’s brunch, lunch, snack time, dinner, or dessert . . . these are recipes you will be excited to share at your table. Plenty of mouth-watering photos to show you how it’s done and best of all, Hamed’s life, his food, his Persia.
A heartwarming story of resilience, homesickness, and good Persian cooking in 70 accessible recipes
Hamed Allahyari cooks to connect—for that joyful moment you can say “salamati” (Farsi for “health” and “cheers”) around the table. The food of his native Tehran is a resonant and delicious gift, and a way of staying bonded to a country he hasn’t returned to for a decade.
Hamed’s food is anchored in tradition but accessible to all. The recipes are simple, celebratory, appealing, flexible, and full of flavor. As well as working as a chef and caterer, Hamed has road-tested his dishes at hundreds of cooking classes: he melds Persian culinary culture and an understanding of Western palates to create recipes that are truly his—and now ours to share.
Beyond the recipes, Salamati is a gateway to Persia. “It’s sharing my culture,” says Hamed. “It’s my dream that everyone tries Persian food. And with my food, they come into my family. They are sitting with me, with my grandparents, parents, and cousins, talking, sharing, and enjoying the feeling of being together.”
This book is a ‘must’ to own if you want to fully enjoy the unique flavours, sights and smells of food anchored in the Persian tradition. Who doesn’t want to taste these scrumptious recipes? The photos are to die for and the overall presentation—a view through the window of Hamed’s Persian kitchen—takes me all the way around the world to where those beautiful spices flow.
The foreword by Dani Valent tells us about Hamed’s fortitude, resilience and spirit. How, as the son of an army general, living a disciplined life, he eventually fled Iran with nothing except the recipes from his home locked in his head and heart. He traveled to Indonesia with his girlfriend and then by fishing boat to Christmas Island. Finally, after several months, they were released into the Melbourne community and Hamed’s dream of opening a restaurant was about to come true. After working at Hyperstar, a large supermarket with a restaurant and deli, to starting a coffee shop (tea and shisha), Hamed was well on his way to running the inspiring Salama Tea.
I love this book because it brings the mystical essence of Persian home cooking to your dining table. The method and ingredients make is easy to create classic dishes like Tompom Omelettes for breakfast and dips such as Mast Laboo (beetroot) and Dolmeh (stuffed vine leaves). Then there’s lamb and eggplant casserole, flatbreads and Persian burgers. Soups and salads and stew, and a list of Hamed’s favourites. I particularly like the sound of broad bean pilaf and lamb shanks, and the salmon pilaf (fish being a favourite of mine) and always those beautiful pomegranate jewels!
Don’t forget the sweets: Baghlava is probably everyone’s favourite—I know it’s mine—and the colours on that Persian Love Cake are divine. There are too many delicious things to name, but I want to try all of it. Because of Hamed’s spirit, we are the lucky ones to partake in his feast and we too are kept warm and inspired by his incredible gift. For that, I’m so grateful.
Thank you to the author Hamed Allahyari, Dani Valent, Random Things Tours and publisher Murdoch Books for the privilege of reading this remarkable cookbook.
About the Author:
Hamed Allahyari was born in Iran and arrived in Australia as a refugee in 2012. His modest Melbourne restaurant SalamaTea is a hard-won sanctuary, a business that fuels his immigrant dream as well as a place for sharing pride in Persian cooking.
Hamed continues to work closely with organisations that help Asylum Seekers. He is much loved in Melbourne food circles for his advocacy for other refugees as well as support for food service operators during the pandemic.