Mountain Berry & Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani {book review}


Pakistan is one of those countries that intrigues me. I have never visited myself, but it sounds like a place of mystery and enchantment and I would love to go one day. Sumayya Usmani is based in the UK, but grew up in Pakistan, and has written an award-winning book Summers Under The Tamarind Tree. Following the success of that book she has written a second one titled Mountain Berry & Desert Spice: Sweet inspirations from the Hunza Valley to the Arabian Sea, which is the book we are here to discuss and it's out now!


There was a point when I first started this blog that I did a lot of research on sweets and treats from countries around the world and it's still something that intrigues me. Sumayya gives us a collection of great recipes inspired by family recipes and from travels across Pakistan. I read this book cover to cover and with so much choice I'm not sure what I will try first!


The "Key ingredients and techniques" chapter is very useful in knowing where to source or how to make  key things used in the following recipes. The majority of the ingredients I have heard of and/or used before, but a few of them are completely new to me and that gets me excited as I love trying new things! The following chapters are full of amazing sweet recipes full of flavor and the recipes listed below are the ones I would definitely get started with!

Sweet Vermicelli Pudding - with black cardamom and vanilla
Sweet Parathas - filled with date, walnut, and milk fudge
Bramble Gulgulay aka blackberry doughnuts
Gajrela - carrot rice pudding
Rabri kulfi sticks - with honey, cardamom, and bay leaf
Dar ni puri - sweet bread filled with channa daal and candied peel.
Sohan saffron honey caramels - with rose water, pistachio and almonds
Pakistani jalebi - spiralled fermented doughnuts in turmeric-infused syrup
Semolina halva ladoos - with buckwheat groats, pine nuts, aniseed and coconut.
Spiced apple samosas
Chitrali rishiki - pancakes with mulberry syrup
Mulberry and cherry fruit leather with crushed walnuts and pistachios
Fresh curd burutz cheese with walnuts, apricots, figs, and honey
Pakwan - wheat flour and jaggery rolls with aniseed.
Afghani gosh-e-fil - elephant ear-shaped fried pastry with ground pistachio and cardamom
Badami kulcha - almond and cardamom meringues
Khanfaroush - spiced saffron crumpets with honey
Meva naan - sweet bread with dried fruit
Saffron-infused zaria - sweet rice with nuts, coconut, candied fruit and khoya
Dadi's rasyawal pudding - cane sugar molasses rice pudding
Karachi halva - with pumpkin seeds and cashews



This is only a short list of what this book has to offer! If you have ever been curious about sweet treats in other parts of the world this book is for you! It's also for you if you just have a sweet tooth and need a change from your chocolate bar or bag of pick n' mix! And last but not least it's for those of you who have tasted and experience sweets from Pakistan, now you can create your favorite treats in the comfort of your own home!



*I was given a copy of Mountain Berry & Desert Spice by Sumayya Usmani to review by the publisher, Frances Lincoln. Retails at £20 and available now from your local book retailers or online! All opinions are my own, I was not given any other compensation nor was I asked to give a positive review, please see my contact/policy page for more information.

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