Tahchin, Persian upside down yogurt-saffron rice with chicken

Tahchin ته‌چین is a traditional Persian dish which is very unique in its taste and texture – a dense dish flavored with yogurt, saffron and thick yogurt and typically layered with chicken chunks.  The delicious thick golden rice crust (tahdig) formed at the bottom and around the cooked tahchin is its shining feature.

An original tahchin is stem-cooked in a pot (a non-stick one in this case) over gas or electric stove just like any other Persian mix rice; however since the amount of liquid in the rice makes its cooking behaviour a bit different and complicated, a lot of recipes advise you to “bake” the dish instead using Pyrex dishes in the oven. Well, I never went with baking style and after many years of trying and failing the traditional pot style, last summer I finally succeeded in getting it right – thanks to my beloved auntie visiting form my old hometown Shiraz. Read the rest of this entry »


One-Bowl Vegan, GF Fruits-Nut Muffins

I ran into this gluten free, vegan recipe for carrot-banana-apple-walnuts muffins on Minimalist Baker and absolutely loved it.  The list of ingredients may look long, but the preparation is much easier than your average cake or muffin and the result is tender, fruity sweet muffins with the added chewiness of walnuts and oats.

I tried both non-vegan (with 1 egg) and vegan (with flax eggs) versions and both turned equally nice. Actually, I was very excited to have found a substitute for egg and quite impressed by how well flax eggs worked to stick everything together in these muffins. Read the rest of this entry »


Aash Sabzi Shirazi (herb aash)

My non Iranian friends may already be familiar with Persian aash, especially from my post on Aash-e reshteh.  Nevertheless, I am going to take you through some fun introductory notes on aash in general and aash sabzi Shirazi آش سبزی شیرازی in particular, using experts from e-book, A sip, A bite, A mouthful: A memoir of food & rowing up in Shiraz.  

As reluctant as I am to use the term “soup” to describe aash, for fear of undermining its significant position within Iranian cuisine and culture, I nevertheless find a comparison between the two the most efficient way to describe the dish to new appetites.  To this end, aash could be said to be an “honorable soup”–rich, thick and laborious to prepare. Depending on the type of aash, it is made of specific varieties of herbs, vegetables, fruits, grains and dairy products; with or without beef or lamb. Read the rest of this entry »


Thanksgiving Salad

For this upcoming Canadian thanksgiving I looked up a Canadian recipe for salad (you guessed it, made with maple syrup) which goes well with other items on your table. It is called Roasted Sweet Potato Kale Salad with Mustard Dill Vinaigrette. The title pretty much gives away the ingredients, I know, but you would not know how to make it before visiting the link on Food Network!I followed the original recipe (linked above) only modified it slightly by increasing the amount of kale to 5 cups and skipping agave nectar in the sauce. I was super happy with the result – very autumnish colors, filling yet light and refreshing with a sweet-sour taste.

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!


Chia-Berries drink

Give me a cool glass of Chia-berries mix any day of the year and I will gladly take 40 plus centigrade – like we have had in the past few days in Montreal! This is truly the ultimate summer drink – refreshing, nutritious, savory, pretty even and easy to make.

Ingredients (4-5 serving) Read the rest of this entry »


Sour orange juice, a unique seasoning taste

Sour orange نارنج also referred to as bitter orange is a variety of citrus tree native of Southeast Asia but widely used in the Middle East, parts of Europe and US.  In my hometown Shiraz, almost every house with a backyard used to have a couple of sour orange trees which wore perfumed, white robe of blossoms in the spring and orange robe of fruit in early summer.  The blossoms of sour orange, bahaar-e naaranj, were used to make sherbet and jams, or sundried to be mixed with loose, black tea.  The fruit itself, too, has many culinary usages including for seasoning.

Here in Montreal, Iranian supermarkets carry sour orange right on time before the official spring season starts.  Right on time I said because sour orange has a special spot both on our Norooz table as well as with the herbed-rice and fish that we serve on the first day of the Persian New Year, Norooz. Read the rest of this entry »


Torshi in the making: From Shiraz to Montreal

At any full and happy Persian sofreh or table, several side dishes should be present to complement the main dish, especially at supper time and most certainly with specific types of meals such as kotlet and any kind of mixed rice dishes. The most crucial and common sides to go with these dishes are small bowls of torshi, assortment of seasonal fresh herbs, radishes and scallions, and Shirazi salad.

Now, Torshi, ترشی, or torsu as it is called in Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisine, is basically diced fruits, vegetables and herbs marinated in vinegar and spices to be eaten with food in small portions as an appetizer and counterbalance to the greasy components of a meal. Read the rest of this entry »