Apple & Dried Apricot Stew (khoresh Sib o aaloo)

What comes to your mind first, when you see or think of an apple? Eve? Newton?  Steve Jobs? Or Fall and pie ?? Amazing how omnipresent apple is, isn’t it? And how diversified, beneficial and of course delicious this “forbidden” fruit of wisdom is.

Iranian culture and literature is full of apple-related references as well, and culinary wise, we cook with apple not only in the Fall but also in spring when a particular type of small sour apple is in abundance in some of Iranian southern cities such as Shiraz. Read the rest of this entry »


Spinach-plum stew (khoresh aaloo-esfenaaj)

This sweet-sour, aromatic and sophisticated-looking stew is actually among simple Iranian stews, as it requires only a few ingredients and a couple of easy cooking steps.

In this particular method, I use plums instead of more commonly used prune because I prefer sweet-sour over sweet; and I also add saffron at the very end to take away the dark and add to the richness of taste and aroma. Read the rest of this entry »


Pomegranate Stew, anaar-daneh mosamma: A Persian dish of fall & love

Fall maybe associated with pumpkin & apple pies, Halloween and Thanksgiving if you reside in the northern hemisphere; and fall is certainly associated with a rainbow of colors no matter where you live. For me, as an Iranian, fall is also strongly linked to my Persian heritage and one of its most beautiful manifestations, Mehregan, or Fall Festival.

This 4000-year old tradition, originally celebrated for the six first days of autumn, has its roots in Zoroastrian religion as well as having cosmic and seasonal connotations:  It is a festival to acknowledge the Autumn Equinox and honor the god of justice “Mehr”; it is also a celebration of the end of harvest season and a way to express gratitude for the gift of nature and gods.  Today, Mehregan has gained even more significance, especially among Iranian expatriates as a means to familiarize the world with Iranian culture, and to preserve what some feel is being diminished by the current regime of Iran.

This year, a group of over twenty active and talented Persian Cuisine Bloggers and writers from around the world got together and decided to have a Persian Food Round Up for the occasion of Mehregan. I am honored and thrilled to have been invited to join this exciting initiative. Please scroll down to see the list of links to these blogs and find out about their selection of Fall-theme Persian dishes. Read the rest of this entry »


Okra Stew and a whole lot about it

What do you know about Okra, also known as lady finger? Well, before doing some search for this post, I only knew that in Iran, especially in Khoozestan, it is used to make “khoresh-e Baamieh” or Okra stew with.  Let’s get into some of the things I learned about Okra, before sharing the recipe I already knew for it:

Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family; an annual herb that is widely cultivated for its edible green seed pods in tropical, subtropical and warm temperate climates, and a hardy plant that can grow even with less water and in hot conditions. For full Botanical description check out wiki  .

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Acanthus stew (khoresh-e kangar)

Among the wide range of vegetables, herbs and plants used in Persian stews or khoresh, in combination with chopped lamp or veal and usual suspects for spice, kangar falls in to the category of a region-specific and less known type – even among Iranians inside the country.  Kangar or acanthus, according to English and Persian Wikipedia, is a genus of about 30 species of flowering plants in native to tropical and warm temperate regions, and originated in Mediterranean, Basin and Asia. It has thick, spiny leaves, stalks not dissimilar to celery and flower spikes bearing white or purplish flowers.  Kangar grows in central and southern Iran in mountains and in dry climate for a short period in March-April.

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Split-beans stew, “khoresh-e ghaymeh”

In Persian, we have a proverb that compares the “sacrificial lamb” to the benevolent scapegoat- both victims in happy and sad times. Well, split-beans stew (khoresh-e ghaymeh) brings to mind that proverb, as it is traditionally made and served at both weddings and funerals.  No upcoming wedding or funerals planned, yet I have got to share this as one of my favorite  stews.

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Vegetarian dish, one type, three rules

Vegetarian, and this case vegan, stew-like dishes are healthy, easy and quick. Most important of all, when it comes to following a vegi recipe or inventing your own, sky is the limit!   Having said that, there are certain “rules” I always follow to in order to come up with a delicious AND pretty looking vegetable-based dish.

  1. Use at least one type of grains to supplement meat/protean.
  2. Use potatoes or one type of pasta to make the dish thick and filling.
  3. Consider the cooking time of the vegetables being used and add each one to the main pot in appropriate intervals. Mixing everything together at the same time will certainly destroy the look of the dish.  Read the rest of this entry »