Traditional Persian jams are made with whole or cut fruits rather than crushed fruits; they usually have no additive to make them jelly like and as a result any kind of fruit jam preserves that fruit’s look to a large extent. It is hard to find this type of fruit jam in the market in Montreal, giving me one more incentive to make them at home from scratch.
For this particular jam, I used the four berries currently in season in Montreal: Strawberries, black berries, blue berries and raspberries. You could certainly go with your own choices. Also for this particular jam, I have deviated from traditional Persian jams by making it less sugary/sweet. I have used brown sugar instead of white sugar and only to a much less degree, and used maple syrup to get to the desirable thickness and sweetness. I am pretty happy with the result: Not as thick as a traditional Persian jam but much tastier! Give it a try to see for yourself!
Ingredients (for three standard jam bottles, 250 ml each)
- 10 cups of Strawberries, black berries, blue berries and raspberries (in equal proportions) washed and drained. Only strawberries need cutting; keep the rest whole.
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup maple syrup
Place the cut strawberries and blue berries in a not-too-deep copper or enamel pot. Sprinkle ¾ of sugar on top, close the lid, shake well and leave it in the fridge overnight. Place black berries and raspberries in a normal bowl with lid, sprinkle the remaining ¼ of sugar, shake well and leave it in the fridge. The reason we separate the berries is that the former berries are tenderer and require less cooking time.
Come morning, you will notice the sugar has been melted and mixed with extracted fruit juice. This is all juice you would need to cook the fruits in; no water is added.
Place the pot over medium heat with closed lid for 45 minutes. Remove the lid, add content of your bowl (raspberries, black berries plus their juice) to the pot and simmer for about an hour, or until most juice is evaporated.
Add maple syrup and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes, until all berries are mixed and you get a fairly thick jam.
To bottle, use standard (250 ml) jam bottles. Pour in the jam while it is still very hot. Secure the lid and turn upside down till it gets cold. This is to sterilize the lid’s inner part and the upper part of the bottle, thus helping jam to remain bacteria free and long lasting.
Place the bottles in the fridge once cooled. Enjoy mixed berries jam with your breakfast or even with an afternoon tea.
This is one of the easiest yet among the most colorful and appetizing Persian foods which usually finds its way in to big formal parties and gatherings. The two main ingredients – barberries and saffron are relatively expensive, therefore the food is considered prestigious, if simple in making.
Ingredients (serving 4-5): Rice (ideally, any type of Basmati), 3 cups. Barberries, 1 ½ cups. Sugar, 2 tbsp. Saffron powder, 2 teaspoons. Salt, 2 tbsp. (this is for soaking the rice). Cooking oil and water.
Start with picking over barberries. Sometime you need to be extra careful with solid particles of grit. Place the barberries in a small colander and soak it in a bowl of cold water for an hour. Change the water and repeat the process if necessary. Rinse thoroughly and drain.
Make your rice, as you would with plain rice – by soaking it in advance in salted water for at least a few hours in advance, semi-cook it in boiled water and steam-cook it for an hour. See here for the full instruction. Read the rest of this entry »
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 Iran the most common type of pasta dish is made by steam-cooking macaroni, mixed with a thick meaty sauce. The method is basically the same as cooking mixed rice, or polow. Back in Shiraz, my mom, my sisters, and later myself used to make “macaroni” at least once a week for dinner, and I used to love it. For some reason, thought, I quite cooking it once I learned to cook pasta varieties served with sauce on the side. Just a couple of nights ago, I made a nostalgic “trip” and cooked Iranian style macaroni after what seems like ages! It turned so good that I thought it is worth sharing.
Ingredients (serves 3-4): Ground beef or veal, 300 grams. Macaroni pasta, or any type of medium to thick hollow noodles, 300 gr. Onion, 1 medium , thinly sliced. Tomato paste, ½ small can (4-5 tbsp.), dissolved in twice as much lukewarm water. Turmeric, 2 tea spoons. Olive oil, 4 tbsp. Salt and pepper to taste. Water. Optional: chopped parsley, 1 tbsp. Chopped bell pepper, 1 tbsp. Potato, 1 large, peeled, washed, and sliced in round shape for tahdig (bottom-of-the-pot).
What can I say? I have already posted three different dishes with shrimp (ghalyeh, shrimp-onion dish, and shrimp fettuccine). This is indicative of something, isn’t it!? And count this mixed rice as two because I have included two different methods of preparing it thanks to my friend Koroush.
Ingredients (for 2-3): Defrosted or fresh half-cooked shrimp, 450 gr. ( I recommend “Marbel”). Onion, 2 small to medium, thinly sliced. Dried seedless raisin, rinsed, ½ cup. Dried walnuts, rinsed and chopped, ½ cup. (If you have time, it is a good idea to soak walnuts, change the water a few times before using them for this or any other recipe) Olive oil: 4 tbsp. Turmeric, 2 tea spoon. Saffron, ground, 1/2 teaspoon (soaked in1 tbsp of warm water for an hour). Salt and pepper as needed. And of course rice: 2 or 3 cups, depending how rich you want the mix to be. What you see in this picture is made with 2 cups of rice. Read the rest of this entry »
This past winter (hopefully passed!) I had my sister in law over for a week or so. One day she volunteered to make celery stew for lunch while my husband and I had a long rough day out. I happily approved and we came home to a dizzying fragrance of steamed rice and perfectly settled hot stew with remotely detectable sent of fresh herbs and saffron. At first I thought the thrill I felt upon sensing this welcoming food had to do with not having to cook when you are hungry, but rather coming to a homey and ready to be served meal. But when we started the meal I discovered that her method for making this particular stew was completely different than mine, and I must admit far too superior to it – to my taste anyway. The proof to this last claim is that I followed her recipe and came up with the exact same delight.