Lentil Salad with Bell Pepper & Cumin

As promised in my previous blog post, here is the recipe for a hearty salad, to add more color and flavor to any autumn table.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup large lentil
  • 4 halves of bell peppers in green, red, orange and yellow, (1 half, each)
  • ¼ tbsp. cumin
  • Fresh lemon juice, salt and olive oil as desired Read the rest of this entry »

Mirza Ghasemi, (Persian Smoked eggplants casserole)

Mirza Ghasemi is a vegetarian dish from Gilan in Northern Iran, yet quite popular through the country and beyond, especially as a tasty side dish.  Made traditional way, the recipe contains only four ingredients (eggplants, tomatoes, eggs, and garlic).  The real trick however in making a remarkably authentic Mirza ghasemi is to making this casserole-like dish taste and smell, partially or totally smoky! And that has to do with how you cook your vegetables.  So, let’s get started!

Ingredients (serves 4)

Eggplants, 4-5, small. Tomatoes, 4 large. Garlic cloves, 5 (use more if you like garlic or less if you don’t). Eggs, 4. Oil, 3 tbs. Salt and pepper to taste.


Method:
Grill pierced eggplants and whole tomatoes on a barbecue grill – ideally on charcoal, till skin is burned and inside is well cooked. Obviously eggplants require more cooking time. Cut off the two ends of garlic cloves and place them on the barbecue grill with the skin on and grill them for a few minutes as well. Remove your vegetables, as they are sufficiently cooked and set aside to cool.  Note that it is customary to grill and “smoke” the eggplants, but I have figured smoking tomatoes add to the delicious taste of Mirza ghasemi. My friend has discovered and kindly tipped me preparing garlic the way I just mentioned is magical! It truly is, you just have to be careful not to burn it. And while you are at it, make lots of smoked garlic and use them in your jar of olive oil along with fresh herbs and red chili pepper.

Using a cutting board, remove the eggplants’ skin and cut the eggplants in tiny pieces, sprinkling salt all over. Set aside. Do the same with the tomatoes. Skin the smoked garlic, and smash it. In a skillet sauté the smashed garlic in hot oil for a couple of minute over medium heat.

Add eggplants and sauté for ten minutes or until light brown. Add chopped tomatoes, and stir another 3-4 minutes. Taste for adjustment. Then cover the lid, reduce the heat and let it cook for 15-20 minutes.

At the last stage, remove the lid, break the eggs, immediately maximize the heat, stir thoroughly. You could add black powder pepper if you like.

Mirza ghasemi is traditionally eaten with plain rice, kateh style.


Green Pasta: Cooking with unripe tomato

My garden is frozen already, but not my green tomatoes. Last year around the same time I picked my green tomatoes and benefiting from my blog reader’s comment, I successfully forced them in to ripening ! Here is how

This year though I learned green unripe tomato could be used in a long list of delicious foods – from vegetarian stews, to chutney to green spaghetti. Here is a list of 20 recipes.

I did try some of them and LOVED this one: Spaghetti Con Pomodori Verdi   I replaced Arugula with spinach and omitted basil. And it looked and tasted wonderful – rich, refreshing, and a lot of fun! The dish in the pic is my own creation 😉

What is your favorite green tomatoes recipe?

 


Kale Chips

I was so excited when I first discovered the “massaged kale salad” and shred it here.

More excited still with my recent discovery of Kale chips. I followed Kate Eats Real Food’s recipe here and came up with an excellent – crispy and de-li-cious chips kale chips!!

Here are the pictures I took in the process and the sounds I was able to produce in the process too!

Read the rest of this entry »


Vegetarian dish, one type, three rules

Vegetarian, and this case vegan, stew-like dishes are healthy, easy and quick. Most important of all, when it comes to following a vegi recipe or inventing your own, sky is the limit!   Having said that, there are certain “rules” I always follow to in order to come up with a delicious AND pretty looking vegetable-based dish.

  1. Use at least one type of grains to supplement meat/protean.
  2. Use potatoes or one type of pasta to make the dish thick and filling
  3. Consider the cooking time of the vegetables being used and add each one to the main pot in appropriate intervals. Mixing everything together at the same time will certainly destroy the look of the dish

Read the rest of this entry »


Lentil-rice mix

This is another popular and hearty “mixed polow” usually served with fried or roasted chicken (or ground beef) and considered a casual and convenient dish. Well, I make it in a quite presentable (read fancy) way, without any kind of. Even before I realized how protein rich and nutritious lentil was, I always thought the dish is a perfect vegetarian meal and found it quite hearty on its own. So, my version of “adas polow” is meatless yet simply fancy!

Ingredients (serving 4): Rice, 3 cups. Green lentil” 1 ½ . Onion, 1 big, thinly sliced. Dried seedless raisin ½ cup, washed and dried. Oil: 4-5 tbsp. Turmeric, ¼ tbsp. Ground saffron, 2 teaspoon (1 soaked in 1 tbsp. of hot water for half an hour) salt, pepper and water as needed. Read the rest of this entry »


Red-lentil stew, vegetarian with tamarind

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!