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.
In Persian, we have a proverb that compares the “sacrificial lamb” to the benevolent scapegoat- both victims in happy and sad times.
Well, split-peas stew (khoresh-e gheymeh) 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.
Ingredients (serves 5-6) Read the rest of this entry »
This is one of the few khoreshes without tomatoes! At least this version of it. Two more things: My experiment with making traditional Iranian stews without meat (in fact, by replacing meat with some sort of beans) has been very successful.
However, celery stew (khoresh karafs) is one of the few, in my opinion, that won’t turn great without meat. And it absolutely must accompany plain rice!
Ingredients(serving 4-5 ) Read the rest of this entry »
Daal adas is one of the rare meatless Iranian stew and is very popular in South and South-west Iran (Bushehr, Hormozgan and khuzestan provinces), where food is generally more spicy than other parts of the country.
Like any given khoresh or dish, daal adas is prepared in different ways in various households. The way my Bushehri mom used to cook it, often when she was in hurry, is the one I came to like and learn.
Ingredients: (serving 4-5):
- Red lintel, 2 cups.
- Onion, 1 medium, thinly sliced.
- Potato, 1 medium, skinned and cut in four pieces.
- Garlic cloves (ideally green or fresh) 3-4 cloves, finely minced.
- Tomato sauce 1/2 tbsp. (or one cup of V8).
- Tamarind sauce, 3 tbsp (see note and picture below).
- Turmeric, ½ tbs.
- Powdered red pepper, 1/4 tbsp.
- Salt, to the taste.
- Cooking oil, 5 tbsp.
- Water, 4 cups, or 3 cups if you are using V8
Note: I buy fresh tamarind from Middle Eastern stores; they taste wonderful (more sour than sweet) and are very rich. For this recipe, I use one long pod, skin and soak it in 2-3 tbsp of hot water. After 15 minutes, I just squeeze the pod and use the extracted juice for my daal stew.
Method: Wash the red lentils in cold water by raking with fingers and rinsing until the water runs clear. In a pot, add lentil, potatoes, water/V8, , and salt. Bring to boil and turn to medium heat and cook for half an hour or until the potatoes are soft. With the back of a spoon smash the potatoes against the pot and turn off the heat.
While your lentil is cooking prepare your piaz daagh: That is, in a frying pan sauté onions in hot oil until slightly golden. Stir frequently. Add garlic and sauté just long enough to release the scent. Be careful not to burn them or let them turn brownish because black spots would not look nice in the stew. Add turmeric and red pepper and mix well for two more minutes while still frying. Add fried onion and garlic, as well as the tomato’s paste (if you did not use V8) and tamarind sauce to the pot. Simmer for 5 minutes until you get a homogeneous thick soup. Taste for adjustment. It is ready to be served, with plain rice, of course!
General Note: (this seems an old note, but it is not!) Whether for lunch or dinner, one of the most mainstream Iranian main dishes consists of rice – plain, white chelow, or mixed polow— and a meat stew (khoresh). Now…, chelow must always accompany khoresh, while polow, layered with cooked or fried grains, vegetables, prunes, fruits or meat forms a complete dish.
Like mixed polow, Khoresh comes in tens of various tastes, colours and aromas, although they are all started in the same way and follow the same pattern: That is, lamb, beef, veal or chicken is used as the stew base (1), using four ever present ingredients: cooking oil, fried onion or piaz daagh, turmeric and all spice or advieh ( 2). The differentiating element of khoreshes is the specific set of vegetables, fruits, grains, and prunes that are added to them – often after being friend separately (3). I will tag all khoreshes, as I post them here. Let’s start with one of the most popular one: chicken and eggplants stew (khoresh-e joojeh bademjaan)