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 »
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 »
Today is (almost) the shortest day of the year, which was followed by the longest night of the year, last night, Yalda. In term of daylight, today was 5 hours, 50 minutes shorter than June Solstice.
PS. To those of you who are following my blog through email notification, my apologies for the “Norooz” this week!! It was my mistake while fixing/ shoveling around broken old links and pictures.
Yalda, the Persian celebration of winter solstice, is around the corner. Hence the occasion for a special food blog entry – something representing red and orange colors of Yalda, something made with passion, and maybe pomegranate, to serve along with sweet-nuts mix, watermelon and persimmon as we get together with friends and family to bring to dawn the longest night of the year – the night before the beginning of winter, or the Yalda night.
For most Iranians, smoked white fish resonates with the Persian new year, Norooz, especially when it is prepared long with mixed herb rice. And of course, as an Iranian food blogger I have already posted the full recipe for this delicious Norooz related meal right here.
However, first off, in the mentioned blog entry I did not devote enough attention to preparing smoked fish component of the meal. Secondly, I absolutely feel the need to share with you my new discovery: Smoked fish can be found in most supermarkets in my city (and am pretty sure in many others) ALL YEAR Long!! So, why wait till the New Year? Why have it only once a year? In fact, the type of smoked fish I find here is quite moderate in terms of taste intensity (not too salty, not too smoky) and can be served on its own along with either plain white or herb mixed rice. Read the rest of this entry »
It is said that two zucchini plants produce enough zucchinis for a family of four to eat as much as they can for the entire summer. This year I grew three zucchini plants for the two of us, which meant way too much of it if we were to stick only to our traditional Persian style zucchini stew.
Almost every single morning I checked on my vegetable garden I found a new baby zucchini turned into a huge heavy one almost before my eyes. So, even with all I gave away to family and friends I still had to come up with new creative ways to consume this delicious vegetable. Read the rest of this entry »