Once again Norooz, “new day”, spring, the Persian New Year is upon us; so is the earth’s rejuvenation and the hope! Hope for more sun, more warmth, more kindness, more peace – hope for better days. It is that time of the year we prepare for our new year by doing a lot of things including baking delicacies for our new year sofreh.
This year I decided to try my hands on a rather complicated homemade sweet, called baghlava, باقلوا in Persian – an extremely delicious walnut-almond rich layers brought together by fragrant honey-rosewater syrup.
Living in the minus double digits for a few months by this time of the year, I miss so many things including my charcoal burning barbecue and all the goodies that get roasted and cooked on it during the summer evenings in company of good friends and lots of cool drinks! I specially miss our kebab making rituals around it although to tell the truth my family eats red meat now, only once in two weeks or so.
If, like me, you crave kebab koobideh, and are ready to settle for a pot version of it, this post is for you. The basic idea is the same as in original koobideh, only we spread the big meatball instead of dividing it into small balls and then skewering them. This means you will not need to worry about kebab holding on to the skewers while being roasted which means, in turn, we can play around with the ingredients. You will note that in my new recipe for Pan kebab koobideh below, I have added lots of spices in addition to the grated tomatoes and garlic to the ground beef. I believe with this kebab what lacks in ambiance, it definitely makes up in the taste! Read the rest of this entry »
Once again Yalda, one of Iranian’s much loved and cherished celestial moments and rituals is round the corner. We celebrate Yalda on winter solstice on Dec. 20th as the longest and darkest night of the year by getting together, reciting poetry and feasting over a colorful spread of dried fruits and nuts, aajil, specific fruits namely pomegranate, persimmon and watermelon, cozy heartwarming dishes and lots of light, hope and energy to get through the long but increasingly brighter winter ahead. See my precious posts for Yalda night here and here.
The Persian “Pomegranate Soup” or ash-e anar آش انار, will forever resonate with me the excellent culinary fiction by the same name written by Marsha Mehran, an eloquent Iranian-Irish author who passed too soon but whose novels depicted Persian cuisine enchanting as a fairy-tale full of texture, fragrance and mystery always ready to haut, charm and welcome those unfamiliar with it. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
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 »
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 »