Archive for August, 2009

Polo Sefeed – Persian Style White Rice

August 29, 2009

This evening we were invited to Khaleh Hengameh’s house for dinner and she made quite the feast: Khoresteh Esfenaj (Spinach Stew) and Chicken Curry (her own special variation). I followed her as she prepared the white rice and Tadeeg which doesn’t sound so exotic but it was about time I learned how to master the staple Persian white rice. Here we go… 

 

Chelo

Polo Sefeed

 

Stuff: 

Staples: Olive Oil, Salt,1 tsp Saffron, 5 cups Basmati Rice

DIY:

Feeds 15 (each cup of rice feeds 3 people) 
Approx. 20 minutes to prepare and 1.5 to cook

1. Put 5 cups of Basmati rice in a mixing bowl. Wash the rice with water until you see the water become cloudy. Add 5-6 tbsps of salt. Leave it to soak for 2 hours. This helps lengthen the rice which is what gives it’s distinct beauty. 

2. Fill up a large pot with water and bring to boil. 

3, Drain your rice. Once the water has boiled add the 5 cups of rice to the pot. Leave the stove on high and leave the lid off the pot.

 

Add rice to boiling water

Add rice to boiling water

4. After about 10-15 minutes check the rice. When it’s aldente (half cooked) drain the rice and rinse it with cold water to remove the excess salt.

Drain the rice

Drain the rice

5. Peel 4 small white potatoes (you may need more depending on the size of your pot). Slice the potatoes thinly. Add oil to the pot covering the base. Lay the potatos flat covering the base of the pot.

Peel Potatoes

Peel Potatoes

Thinly sliced potatoes

Thinly sliced potatoes

Thinly slice potatoes

Thinly slice potatoes

6. Add all the rice to the pot covering the potatoes.  

IMG_1651

7. Grind 1 tsp of Saffron. Add 1/4 of cup of warm water to the Saffron powder. Add almost all of this to top of rice for color and fragrance. Save the leftover Saffron for use later. Add a 1/4 of a cup of oil around the top of the rice. 

Add Saffron to the rice

Add Saffron to the rice

8. Wrap the lid with a paper towel or a regular towel. this helps draw the steam away from the rice. Put the lid on the pot. Turn the stove to the highest setting to let the rice steam (dam bekesheh). 

Cover the lid with a towel to steam

Cover the lid with a towel to steam

9. Leave the rice to cook for 1.5 hours. While the rice is cooking the base is forming a delicious potato rice crust (Tadeeg).

10. Once the rice is ready take 1/4 cup of the rice and mix it with the left over Saffron. Empty the rice and place on beautiful serving dish. To finish it off sprinkle the Saffron rice across the top. Don’t forget about the Tadeeg. You’ll need use a wood spatula to loosen the Tadeeg and get it out of the pot. Have a dish ready to serve the Tadeeg alongside the rice and you’re done! 

 

Potato Tadeeg

Potato Tadeeg

Noosh e Jan! 

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Chai Irooni – Persian Tea

August 28, 2009

Chai Irooni or Persian tea is staple in all Persian households. The Bergamot fragrance is enchanting. Most Persian will have tea brewing on their stoves all day long. We drink it morning, noon and night in beautiful sometimes ornate tea cups with such accompaniments like sugar cubes, dates, raisins, Persian pastries…It’s a beautiful ritual!

To make a great pot of tea the secret is to use a double decker pot! 

To make 6 cups

1. Add 2 tsps of Persian tea leaves in the smaller top pot

2. Boil water in the larger bottom pot add to the top pot with the tea leaves

3. Boil water in the bottom pot again and place the filled top pot with the tea on top of the pot with the boiled water. Leave the tea to brew for about 15 minutes. 

4. To serve the tea, add 1/4 of the tea to the cup and fill the rest with boiling water

My dad’s tip: If your water is hard try using filtered / purified water for better clarity and taste

Noosh e Jan!

Chai Irooni

Chai Irooni

 

Chai Irooni

Chai Irooni

Chai Irooni

Chai Irooni

Tea Leaves

Tea Leaves

 

Two decker tea pot

Two decker tea pot

Taleby ~ An Inventive new way to serve Melon!

August 27, 2009

Last night we were at Khaleh Parisa’s for dinner and the creative goddess that she is served us a really beautiful and inventive Melon dessert. It was spectacular to look at and we all stared at it for a while trying to figure out how she got the Jello to that! Yes that really is Jello on top of the melon! 

 

Yum!

Yum!

So here’s the secret…I feel guilty giving it away but I’m sure you would have figured it out eventually. She took the whole rounded melon and cut a small part of the top off so she could get in there and scoop out the seeds. Once she emptied out the seeds she peeled the skin and added the Jello mix and filled it to the top. To set the Jello she put the melon back in the fridge and once it was ready she cut it into 4 pieces. 

Remember it’s all in the presentation so add strawberries, blueberries around the plate for added flavor and variety and you’re done! Nice one Khaleh Parisa! : ) 

Noosh e Jan!  

Sabzi Khordan ~ Traditional Herb Side Dish

August 27, 2009
Traditional Persian Herb Dish

Traditional Persian Herb Dish

My parents and my brother and his family are in town for the week and whenever they are in town the entire clan gets together every night for dinner and general hanging out. Our family unit is about 30 people which is pretty amazing. So last night we were at Khaleh Parisa’s house and she made and amazing dinner …Bagali Polo (Fava bean Rice)…Zereshk Polo (Barberry Rice)…Chicken Stroganoff….Salad…(I’ll get to these recipes at some point I promise!)

Tonight though, I’m choosing to highlight a side dish that she had that most Persians have on the table to accompany their meal. It’s called Sabzi Khordan which is variety of herbs I’m presuming is abundant in Iran. Our food is pretty heavy duty so having this on the side I thinks makes us feel less guilty about all the Polo (rice) we eat! 

 

Traditional Persian Herb Dish Top View

Traditional Persian Herb Dish Top View

 

These are the herbs, veg, nuts and cheese typically included: 

Geeshneez ~ Cilantro

Torobcheh ~ Radish

Jafarey ~ Parsley

Rayhan ~ Basil

Tarkhun ~ Tarragon

Piazcheh ~ Scallions

You can also add the following which is not pictured above: 

Paneer Irooni ~ Feta

Gerdu ~ Soaked Walnuts

Badam ~ Soaked Almonds

Gather all these elements and make sure you rinse and dry them. If you’re having a dinner party and you’re prepping a bit early you can lay it out but take a paper towel and make it a bit damp with water and put that over the dish to help keep all the herbs stay nice and fresh and moist. 

Noosh e Jan! 

Salad Shirazi

August 25, 2009

This is a fast, fresh and delicious salad!

Salad Shirazi

Salad Shirazi

Kat’s Tip…
Use the smaller sized cucumbers and cherry tomatoes for extra flavor.

Stuff: 

Staples: Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper, 1/2 Red Onion, 1/2 Lime, 2 tsps Malt Vinegar
Veggies: 5 small Cucumbers, box of Cherry Tomatoes, 1/2 Red Onion
Herbs: 1 tbs Mint 
Other: Basil for Garnish

DIY:

Feeds 4
Takes about 15 minutes to prepare

1. Dice all the cucumbers, tomatoes and red onions into small squares and put them into a nice serving dish. 

2. To make the “special sauce” squeeze half a lime with 1 tbs of mint, 4 tbs of olive oil, 2 tsp of malt vinegar and  salt & pepper. 

3. Add a few Basil leafs to garnish and then your done! 

Noosh e Jan! 

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August 23, 2009

Sour Grapes ~ Ghureh

August 23, 2009

  

Sour Grapes ~ Ghureh

Sour Grapes ~ Ghureh

Sour Grapes…

Ghureh are unripe or sour grapes
 
They are sold in jars in brine 

Sour /Tart / Vinegar like flavor but more mild than lemon

Used in a variety of Persian dishes

 

Recipe ~ Khoreshteh Bademjoon

August 23, 2009

Eggplant Heaven…

On Friday we had a dinner party and it was the first time I cooked Persian food for guests. The good news is that they survived and the reviews were really good! So there is hope for me yet and for you too if you try this recipe. It’s really worth the effort and the taste is truly like eggplant heaven! : ) This recipe was given to me by my aunt Khaleh Parisa who is an amazing cook and has fed me a hundred times over. A Khoresht is akin to a stew and is typically served with white rice. You could also eat it with bread and salad if you wanted to. 

Kat’s Tip…
I think the secret with this one is to really give it the time it needs to cook and allow the flavors to really get in there
(but that’s really the case with all Persian food)

Stuff: 

Staples: Oil, Salt & Pepper, 1 Onion, 2 cloves of Garlic
Spices: Turmeric, Saffron
Meat: 6 pieces of chicken thigh on the bone
Veggies: 6 Asian Eggplants 
Other: 1 Jar of Ghureh / Sour Grapes 

DIY:

Feeds 4-6
Takes about 2.5 hours of prep and cooking time

 

Asia Egglant

Asian Eggplant

1. Peel your eggplants. Rince with water and dry with a paper towel. Place a paper towel down and add salt on both sides and set aside for 20 minutes. This reduces any bitterness. 

 

Peeled Eggplant

Peeled Eggplant

2. While your eggplants are doing it’s thing…chop your onions and garlic and and start frying them. Add a dash or two of  Turmeric. 

 

Fry your onions with Turmeric

Fry your onions with Turmeric

3. Rinse you chicken thighs and add them to the onions. Add salt & pepper and a dash more of Turmeric to both sides. Make to flip the chicken to cook both sides.

 

Add the chicken thighs

Add the chicken thighs

4. Add half a jar of Ghureh which are sour unripened grapes. To me this is what makes it taste like an authentic Khoreshteh Bademjoon. The Ghureh gives it a bit of a sour edge which is just awesome. 

 

Ghureh - Unripe Grapes

Ghureh - Unripe/Sour Grapes

5. Add a whole bottle of V8 juice and 2 tbs of tomato paste. Then add 1/2 tsp of Saffron powder and some more salt & pepper. 

The beginnings of a Khoresht

The beginnings of a Khoresht

6. Let the Khoresht simmer for about 25 minutes.

7. While that’s cooking you can get started on the eggplant. Rinse off the salt from the eggplant. Use a paper towel to soak up an excess water.

8. Add a generous amount of oil making sure the bottom of your pan is covered. When the oil is hot start frying the eggplant until it’s soft and brown. Have a small stack of paper towels on the side to move the fried eggplant so that you soak up the oil. 

 

Soak up the oil with a paper towl

Soak up the oil with a paper towel

9. Set your oven to 350 degrees 

10. After the Khoresht has cooked for 25 minutes and your eggplants are all ready add the stew to a Pyrex and arrange the eggplant around the edges of the dish. Make sure there is enough sauce covering the chicken so it doesn’t dry out. If there isn’t enough sauce you can add some more V8 juice and salt & pepper. Cover the Pyrex with foil and move to the oven. My Pyrex wasn’t big enough so I split them into two. 

 

Add stew to Pyrex

Add stew to Pyrex

11.  After 30 minutes remove the foil and leave to cook for another 15-20 minutes. Serve with white rice and then you’re done!  

 

Khoreshteh Bademjoon

Khoreshteh Bademjoon

Noosh e Jan! 

Cinnamon ~ Darchin

August 21, 2009
800px-Canelle_Cinnamomum_verum_Luc_Viatour

Cinnamon ~ Darchin

Cinnamon…

Warm and sweet flavor with a beautiful woody fragrance

Especially good for desserts and also with poultry and meats

Native to Sri Lanka formerly Ceylon

From the Cassia Tree

Used in savory and sweet Persian dishes

Store in a cool dark place in an air tight container

Recipe ~ Kuku Lubia

August 20, 2009

Let’s Do This! 

Tonight I felt like cooking Kuku Lubia which is akin to a green been omelet if I had to Americanize it. I called Mimi Jan and surprisingly she said that she doesn’t make that type of Kuku and told me to call my mom! So that’s exactly what I did. My mom Naghme is the most bad ass cook I know but of course she learned what she knows from Mimi Jan. My mom is very experimental and has been known to make Persian food with brown rice, started cooking Persian food without butter and with olive oil and took the plunge to bake versus fry. More yummy recipes from my mom to come in future posts…Let’s get started with Kuku Lubia which was my first attempt ever! No pressure.

Kat’s Tip *
Persian cooking takes patience which I don’t have. But stick with it because it’s worth it when your husband has a big smile on face after he eats your food!! : ) 

Stuff: 

Staples: Oil, Salt & Pepper, 4 Eggs, 1 Onion, 2 cloves of Garlic
Spices: Turmeric and Cinnamon
Veggies: 1lb of  fresh green beans (or pre-cut frozen)
Garnish: Salad and lavash bread

DIY:

Makes 6 portions
Takes about 1.5 hours of prep and cooking time

 

Boiling the fresh lubia (green beans)

Boiling the fresh lubia (green beans)

1. Start by boiling the greens beans don’t forget to add salt to the water. Boil for about 10-15 minutes to get the beans nice and soft
 

Fry the onions

Fry the onions

2. While your beans are cooking, chop your onion and start frying the onions in a large pan

 

Fry onions and garlic and add Turmeric

Fry onions and garlic and add Turmeric

3. Chop a couple of cloves of garlic and add it to the onions. Add a dash or two of Turmeric for extra flavor and color. 

 

Onions, Garlic, Green Beans

Onions, Garlic, Green Beans

4. Remove the green beans from the stove and drain the beans in a colander. Let it cool and chop them into fine pieces

5. Add the beans to the onions and add a dash or two of cinnamon. Don’t forget salt & pepper! 

6. Saute the beans and once they are super tender set aside and let them cool

 

Egg and Green Bean Mix

Egg and Green Bean Mix

7. While the beans are cooling, get a mixing bowl and crack 4 eggs into the bowl and add 1 tsp of baking powder, 1tbp of flour and a pinch of salt

8. Beat the eggs and make sure to fold all the baking powder and flour in so there are no clumps

9. Once the beans are cool add them into the mixing bowl with the eggs. Make sure the beans are not hot because you’ll have scrambled eggs on your hands! 

10. Add about 1/4 of a cup of oil to the frying pan. Once the oil is hot and bubbling add the mixture to the pan and spread it around the pan and make sure it’s evenly distributed

11. Once the edges are brown you can either flip the whole thing to cook the other side or you can cut it into 4 pieces and flip them individually. If my pan was smaller I would have flipped the whole thing.  

Kuku in the making!

Kuku in the making!

 12. Once both side are nicely browned take it off the heat. Take some paper towels and lay them on the counter. Put the kuku pieces on the towel to soak up the excess oil 

13. Prepare a salad of your choice.

14. Place the lavash bread on a plate and add the salad. Place the kuku slice nicely on top of the salad and then your done! Thanks Mom! : )

 

Finished Plate

Finished Plate

Noosh e Jan!