Khoresh Chaghaleh Badoom - Green Almond Stew


Iranian cuisine is known for its slow-simmered, flavorful and savory stews that are served with a platter of long grain aromatic saffron rice. One of the most famous stews from Iran is the herb-filled ghormeh sabzi. Another favorite is the sweet and sour walnut and pomegranate khoresh fesenjoon. However, this خورش چغاله بادام - chaghaleh badoom khoresh is one of the lesser known khoresh recipes. It is unique and should also be cherished at friends and family gatherings like all other brilliant Persian khoresh recipes.


Green almond is an unripe almond with a green fuzzy outer skin picked in early spring before the inner nut fully ripens and the outer shell becomes hard. Chaghaleh badoom is one of the favorite snacks in Iran which is traditionally eaten whole and dipped in a bit of salt. By early spring you will have to be on the lookout for them otherwise they will come and go in the blink of an eye since they have such a short season. I remember my mother reminiscing about picking soft-shelled almonds right off the tree branches on the skirts of  kuh-e Alvand in Hamadan where she grew up.



It is really hard to find spring almonds where I live and I have yet to see them in any regular supermarkets or vegetable stores. I was so excited when I spotted green almonds at my local Persian grocery store. I could almost taste them just by looking at them. In addition to going through a bowl of tart and crunchy chaghale badoom you can slice them into salads or make an Iranian-style tangy herb and green almond stew with a bit of a crunch!


Khoresh Chaghaleh Badoom
Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

1 pound stew meat (lamb or beef), cubed
1 pound green almonds, soaked in cool water for 6-8 hours or overnight, drain, use a paper towel to remove the fuzz (you may also slice the green almonds if you like)
3 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1-2 tablespoons dried mint (for added aroma and flavor)
1 large onion finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed (you may use verjuice instead)
Vegetable oil

Method:

  1. In a large pan, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat and saute the chopped onions until soft and golden. Add the turmeric powder, stir well.
  2. Add the meat to the pan, stirring occasionally, cook until brown on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add 3 cups of water or enough to cover the beef. Bring back to boil, cover, reduce heat, simmer gently for 45 minutes.
  4. Add the green almonds, parsley, fresh mint, dried mint. Add a little water if needed. Cover and cook for another 45 minutes over low heat. Add in the lime juice and continue cooking on low heat for another 10-15 minutes.    
Serve the khoresh warm with polow, mast o khiar and salad shirazi.



Enjoy!

Haft Seen Photos Nowruz 2016


It's Nowruz and it's nature's time for renewal and rejuvenation. I wish you and your family a very happy, healthy, and prosperous new year filled with joy and love. To continue my annual tradition of sharing photos of our haft seen table, here are pictures of the sofreh (the spread of seven S's) representing a symbolic meaning such as rebirth, patience, beauty, health, prosperity and love.

Sabzeh o Sonbol: Representing rebirth and spring

Senjed: Representing love

Somagh: Representing the spice of life

Seer: Representing health

Samanoo: Representing Patience 
Seeb: Representing beauty

Serkeh: Representing age 


Mahi Germez: Representing life

Noghl: Sweets

Poems from the Divan of Hafez

Cooper loves flowers

Beautiful haft seen table by my friend Farzaneh joon

My friend Roya joon's Sofreh haft seen 

An old picture of Khanoum joon, my maternal grandmother, at her haft seen spread circa 1960 in Tehran


Eidetoon Mobarak! Happy Nowruz! Happy Spring!

Quick & Easy Shirini Zaban - Zaban Puff Pastry (Nowruz 1395)


The air is thick with excitement in anticipation of نوروز - Nowruz. Preparation for Persian New Year starts weeks before the spring equinox with khaneh tekany (spring cleaning) and growing sabzeh (seeds) for the haft seen table. It has been many years since I have lived in my home country. Yet all it takes is a smell or a taste to bring even those long forgotten memories back into my mind's eyes. The Persian New Year celebration gives me a chance to relive those many memories of family, togetherness, the haftseen spread, and celebrations.


It's time to start thinking about the Nowruz dinner menu. The Nowruz dinner is marked by a number of traditional dishes that are known for this occasion such as: kookoo sabzi, sabzi polow, mahi, ash reshteh, reshteh polow, etc. I have put together a typical Nowruz menu of my favorite recipes.


There are many different Nowruz sweets available in bakeries all over Iran. However, if you happen to live where you do not have access to any of those good Iranian bakeries then, like me, you would have to make your own homemade Nowruz desserts. The sugar sprinkled, golden, light and flaky shirini zaban (زبان - zaban means tongue in Persian) is a connection to my childhood -- when I remember having them for special occasions. For this recipe you'll need one sheet of puff pastry. If you have the time and patience you can make your own homemade puff pastry from scratch. However, if you find that to be too time-consuming then head to the freezer section of your local grocery store and buy a Package of frozen puff pastry. While there's nothing like a homemade pastry, I took the easy route this time and used a store-bought frozen puff pastry.


Shirini Zaban with Frozen Puff Pastry 
Ingredients:
Yield: 20 pieces

1 (14-ounce) box of frozen puff pastry, thawed  (I used Dufour puff pastry)
1-2 tablespoons sugar

For the syrup

1/3 cup honey ( I used clover honey)
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon rosewater

Flour for dusting the surface
Crushed pistachios and  powdered sugar for garnish

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the honey with water and rosewater, mix well. Set aside.
  4. Unfold the puff pastry on your lightly floured counter and dust the top of the pastry with a little flour. 
  5. Using a soft pastry brush, lightly brush the pastry with honey syrup.
  6. Using a cookie cutter cut out the pastry into zaban shape or using a sharp blade cut the pastry into rectangular pieces.
  7. Place the cut out puff pastries on the baking sheet leaving a little space between them.
  8. Using a knife make a lengthwise light cut through the center of each zaban.
  9. Sprinkle each zaban generously with sugar.
  10. Place the sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden, cooked through and puffed.
  11. Remove from the oven and let it cool.
  12. Apply another light film of honey syrup over the pastries. Sprinkle with crushed pistachios. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Serve with freshly brewed hot tea.


Enjoy! Happy Nowruz!