That time of the year again, around spring and Persian New year, Norooz – the perfect time to find the motivation to write, to post, and to cherish and share the wonderful moments where people, plants and beautiful customs come to a renewed life one more time. Below is a selection of pictures taken by my sister, in several Iranian cities, including Shiraz, Yazd, Booshehr, Dargahan and Tehran, during the months of March to April 2016.
What is renown among Iranians everywhere as “salad-e Shirazi” is, in fact, a common and popular green salad everywhere in Iran. It is simply considered more authentic when made by a Shirazi or consumed in Shiraz.
It is refreshing, tasty and goes with almost all types of Iranian dish, especially with mixed-rice verities, such as cabbage-mixed polow.
Ingredients: It only takes three vegetables to make it: Read the rest of this entry »
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, 1 tea spoon.
- Saffron, ground, 1/2 teaspoon (soaked in 1 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.
Method: remove the entire shelf and devein the shrimp. Wash and drain, then cut them all in half or smaller. In a frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. oil and fry onions over medium heat till translucent. Add shrimp, turmeric, salt and pepper and fry for about five minutes over high heat. Once the shrimp is slightly golden, turn the heat back to medium and add walnuts, raisins and diluted saffron. Continue stirring and frying for another 1-2 minutes, but not longer. Set aside.
Prepare the rice in usual way (soaked in salted water, drained, boiled in lots of water, drained, and steamed cooked for at least one hour). Just before mounting the rice back into the pot (after you have poured some oil in the bottom of the pot, warmed it up, and put sliced potatoes, flat bread or rice at the bottom to make your “tah dig”), mix the rice with the contents of your frying pan. As is always the case with any type of Iranian style plain or mixed rice, you cover the lead and turn the heat to minimum till you get enough steam accumulated inside the pot. That’s when you wrap the lid in a clean cloth and let it steam cook for at least an hour. You could also transfer rice and the frying pan’s contents into the pot in layers: one layer of drained, plain rice and one layer of shrimp mix, and repeat till the end. If you choose to transfer them back to the pot in layers, you would need to mix the two more thoroughly once the dish is ready to be served.
Variation: You can skip dried raisins, walnuts and saffron, and use potato, and dried lime powder instead. This latter version is the one I learned from my parents who were brought up in Iran’s Southern cities of Bushehr and Shiraz. This Method is not that different from the first one, but the taste certainly is: more seafood like, if you will. Here it is:
- Shrimp, onion, turmeric, oil, salt and pepper the same as above.
- Plus: Potatoes, 1 medium, peeled, rinsed, patted dry and cut in small cubes.
- Dried lime powder, 1 tbsp.
Method: In a frying pan, heat half your oil and fry cubed potatoes until slightly golden. Transfer them into a bowl. Use the same pan and heat the rest of your oil. Add shrimp, turmeric and fry on high heat for a few minutes until shrimps change colour. Stir constantly. Add fried potatoes, dried lime powder, salt and pepper and fry for 5-6 minutes on medium heat until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. This is your shrimp mix. Follow the exact same rest of the instruction given above.
This is yet another Shiraz speciality, although in other Iranian cities we have “aash maast” (yogurt soup) which follow completely different ingredients and cooking methods.
Ingredients (serving 4) Read the rest of this entry »
This is one of the most gorgeous looking and aromatic Persian mixed polows, requiring extra time and effort, but absolutely rewarding when prepared in authentic (Shirazi) way.
Ingredients (serving 4-6):
Shiraz, the city of gardens–excerpts from my book
A wide range of flowers and herbs are distilled in Iran, mainly but not solely in the province of Fars, to produce an aromatic soft-drink commonly referred to in the plural, as “araghi-yaat.”
It was during the months of April and May that I often walked past baagh-e safa (the “pure heart” garden that housed the old distillery workshops) as it provided the city with its araghi-yaat consumption needs. Baagh-e safa remains, to date, the main supplier of floral and herbal extracts for retailers and individual customers alike and one of the main sources of printed knowledge about the process. Read the rest of this entry »