Persian Macaroni


Persian-style macaroni is one of our favorite dishes. This is a simple and delicious recipe for pasta with a meat sauce. I usually make macaroni with the thin spaghetti noodles. However, you can use any kind of pasta for this dish.

Persian Macaroni

Ingredients:
Serves 4

1 pound lean ground beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bunches of fresh parsley, chopped
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (14-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

1 lb thin spaghetti
Water
Salt

Method:
  1. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat, add onions and saute until translucent. Add the garlic, saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric powder, stir well. 
  2. Add the meat to the skillet, break into very small pieces and brown. Then add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, a cup of water, salt and pepper to taste. 
  3. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes. Add chopped parsley near the end of cooking time.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain and set aside. 
  5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottom nonstick pot, add some of the pasta, add a large scoop of the sauce, then add another layer of the pasta. Building it into a shape of pyramid. Cover and cook for about 40 minutes over low heat.
Serve with salad shirazi.

Enjoy!

Mast-o-Kadoo - Yogurt and Zucchini Salad


This delicious recipe may be served as a refreshing light summer lunch or as a side dish. The first time I had mast o kadoo was at my good friend Maryam's house for lunch and it only took her a few minutes to put this great appetizer together! It's simple quick and healthy.


Mast-o-Kadoo - Yogurt and Zucchini

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

5 medium-sized zucchini, washed and sliced
1 cup plain yogurt
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish: 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried mint

Method:
  1. In a large frying pan, heat oil, add zucchini slices and lightly fry them on until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and place the slices on paper towel to remove the excess oil.
  2. In a bowl, combine yogurt, minced garlic, salt and pepper, mix thoroughly. 
  3. Spread 1/2 of the yogurt onto the the serving platter. 
  4. Place the zucchini slices on top of the yogurt and spoon the remaining yogurt mixture over the slices.
  5. Garnish with fresh parsley or dried mint.
  6. Served at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Fesenjoon - Pomegranate Walnut Stew with Tiny Meatballs

  Fesenjoon with Meatballs

This sweet and sour stew is usually made with boneless chicken. This time I made it with mini meatballs. In my opinion, فسنجون با کوفته قلقلی fesenjoon/fesenjan with mini meatballs is as equally delicious as the chicken fesenjoon. It is the flavorful, slow-simmered sweet and sour pomegranate walnut sauce that makes this stew so amazingly delicious.


Fesenjoon/Fesenjan - Pomegranate Walnut Stew with Tiny Meatballs

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

1 pound ground meat (beef or lamb)
1 1/2 cups walnuts, finely ground
1 large onion, minced
1 cup pomegranate molasses, plus more if needed
1/3 cup sugar, plus more if needed
1 large apple finely chopped, or 1/2 cup of butternut squash, peeled and cubed *optional
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon saffron dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons hot water
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil
Water

Method:
  1. In a heavy skillet, heat walnuts over medium heat for about a minute or two. Stirring frequently. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, turmeric, salt and pepper. Shape into small meatballs and set aside.
  3. In a large pot, saute onions until golden brown in 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and fry until brown on all sides. 
  4. Add the ground walnuts, cubed butternut squash and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat dd pomegranate molasses, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stirring occasionally. 
  5. Add sugar, saffron and a little more water if needed. Cover with the lid slightly ajar and cook for another 30 minutes on low heat. Taste and adjust the seasoning. If you prefer a sweet fesenjoon add more sugar to make it sweeter, if you like it more sour add more of the pomegranate sauce to the stew. However, the taste should be a wonderfully well balanced mix between sweet and sour. 
Serve warm with rice.

Here's the link for my other Fesenjoon recipe.

Enjoy!

Halva



My mother used to make large trays of delicious halva. حلوا - Halva is made with wheat flour, butter, sugar and rosewater. In Iran, halva is usually made during religious holidays and funerals. I, on the other hand, think that making halva doesn't require any special occasion. Halva is a very rich and fulfilling dessert. You can make it in large quantities and freeze it for later use. It keeps well in the freezer.

Persian Halva

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter or vegetable oil
2  cups sugar
1  cup water
1/4 cup rosewater
1/4  teaspoon powdered saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot water *optional

Garnish:

Slivered almonds
Chopped pistachios
Shredded coconuts

Method:
  1. Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until it becomes syrupy. Add the saffron and the rosewater. Set aside to cool.
  2. Place a heavy-bottom pan over medium-low heat and lightly toast the wheat flour for 8-10 minutes, until you smell the aroma. Stirring frequently.
  3. Add the butter and stir continuously for about 15 minutes over low heat.
  4. While stirring slowly pour the sugar syrup into the saucepan, until the syrup is fully absorbed. 
  5. Cover and cook over low heat for another 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  6. Transfer halva onto a serving platter. With the back of a spoon flatten halva and garnish with the desired toppings.

Enjoy!

Sholeh Zard - Persian Saffron Rice Pudding


Sholeh zard - Saffron and rosewater rice pudding is an aromatic and flavorful traditional dessert that can be made all year round and it's one of my favorite Iranian desserts. This recipe takes a little bit of time and patience to prepare but it is well worth the effort.


Sholeh Zard - Saffron Rice & Rosewater Pudding
Ingredients:
Serves 8

2 cups white rice
2 cups sugar (may be adjusted to your liking)
1 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 3 tablespoons of hot water
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup rosewater
2 tablespoons butter
Water

Garnish:

2 tablespoons slivered almonds
2 tablespoons ground pistachios
1-2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

Method:
  1. Rinse the rice with cool water until the water becomes clear. Drain and place the rice in a large bowl, add 6 cups of water and soak the rice for 6-8 hours. 
  2. Drain the washed and soaked rice, place in a large heavy-bottomed pot, add 12 cups of water, bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, reduce the heat, cover, leaving the lid a little ajar, cook over low heat for 40 minutes or until the rice is soft and the water is fully absorbed, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. 
  3. Add the sugar and stir until it is fully dissolved.
  4. Add the slivered almonds, stir well and add the butter.
  5. Add the saffron and mix thoroughly, simmer for another 20 minutes over low heat. 
  6. Add the rosewater, cover and cook for another 10-15 minutes over low heat. 
Pour the rice pudding into a large serving bowl or several small bowls. Garnish with cinnamon, almonds and pistachios and let cool for at least an hour before serving.

Enjoy!