Naz Khatoon - Persian Eggplant & Herb Salad with Walnuts & Verjuice - Mazandarani-Style


Naz khatoon is a simple fire-roasted eggplant salad with freshly chopped aromatic and flavorful herbs, minced garlic, infused with verjuice dressing and topped with ground walnuts. I had heard of this dish in the past and all I knew was that it was a northern Iranian eggplant side dish and I was always intrigued by its name, naz khatoon. Naz (subtly coquettish) and khatoon (lady), literally meaning coquettish lady. However, it wasn't until recently that I began inquiring about it. As the saying goes in Iran, "jooyandeh yabandeh bovad" (one who searches always finds) and I finally found the recipe that I was looking for.


 A few weeks ago, a very kindhearted person that I know, who has been teaching Persian language classes on Saturdays with myself and a few other dedicated teachers, lent me a booklet on Iranian regional cooking. Luckily, in this thin old booklet I found the recipe for Naz khatoon with some information about the origin of the dish. Naz khatoon recipe is from the town of Behshahr which is also the capital of Behshahr county in Mazandaran province in the northern region of Iran along the Caspian Sea.






I tried to stay true to the original recipe but I made a few changes. The original recipe called for the use of local Behshahr basil and since that's not available here, I simply substituted the regular basil. The recipe suggests the option of using mint instead of basil. Since both herbs add a burst of flavor and aroma to any dish I decided on using both, with basil as the main herb and half a bunch of mint and flat-leaf parsley. I love the taste of verjuice and in my teens I remember coming home from school and drinking a glass of verjuice. The recipe called for half a bottle (about 2 cups) of verjuice. This amount may be adjusted to your liking. I used about 1 1/2 cups of verjuice for all the ingredients to be fully infused with it, but it may not be evident in the picture. I only used half the amount of liquid before taking photos for the blog so that the texture of the eggplant, herbs and walnuts would show. The only ingredient that was not included in the recipe but that I chose to add was a touch of olive oil before serving to make it easier on the palate.


Naz Khatoon - Persian Eggplant & Herb Salad with Walnuts & Verjuice - Mazandarani-Style

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

3 medium-large eggplants, preferably fire-roasted, (I roasted it in the oven)
1 bunch basil, finely chopped, may use a combination of both purple and green basil, (I only used green basil)
1/2 bunch flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/2 bunch mint, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground golpar (angelica powder)
1 cup walnuts, ground
1 1/2 cup abghooreh (verjuice), add more if you prefer a more sour flavor
1-2 tablespoons olive oil *optional
Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Pierce the eggplant in several places with a fork, place over medium-high fire on a stove or a grill until eggplant is soft. If you are roasting the eggplant in the oven place the pierced eggplants on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree Fahrenheit pre-heated oven for about 50 minutes or until fully cooked. Remove from the oven or the grill and allow to cool in a colander.
  2. Remove the skin and chop eggplant finely. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine chopped eggplant, basil, mint, parsley, garlic and angelica powder. Add salt to taste. 
  4. Pour the verjuice over the eggplant and herb mixture. Mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  5. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil over the salad.
  6. Sprinkle ground walnuts over the salad.
Serve in a bowl with rice (kateh-style), bread and yogurt.

Enjoy!

25 comments:

  1. How awesome to have that cookbook! Love this gorgeous recipe - those eggplants are beautiful!

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  2. Gorgeous photos, Azita! I can't wait to try this recipe. :-D

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  3. love to come here, always have many Persian Recipe that I cant find in the Persian Cook Book I have :) - the illustration of Persian Cook book is awesome, Azita. Lets try all the recipes there and share with us. :DD

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  4. salam,

    ketab ra az koja kharidi ?

    kheyli motashakiram

    artemisanahita@gmail.com

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    1. Salam, man ketab ra nakharidam. Hamantor keh dar post-e baala neveshtam, yeki az hamkaranam anra baraye modati beh man gharz dad keh azesh estefadeh konam. In ketab kheili ghadimi ast. Intor keh doostam migooyad mal-e chehel o chand sale pish ast va fekr nakonam keh anra beshavad dar ketb-forooshiha peyda kard.

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  5. this blog looks so beautiful. i'm new to these traditional persian recipes but i had parsi friends while growing up, and some of my best memories are of lunches and dinners at their house.

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  6. Wow! I'd never heard of this dish. It looks great, and I can imagine it tastes great too. Thanks for sharing. Your blog is really amazing!

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  7. My husband is from Behshahr! I will try to make this for him. :)

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    1. Catherine, Please let me know how it goes.

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  8. Hello Azita,
    I have tried a few times previously to write in your blog and no success! :/
    Just wanted to say that I love your blog, in fact I have you in my Blogroll (recently created a blog myself). Any post that I read in here is just amazing, so detailed and so fresh, the photos are great too. I wish my mum was fluent in English to enjoy your page too! Oh ...well :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for your kind words!

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  9. سلام آزیتا.باورم نمیشه که این وبلاگو دیدم فوق العاده هنرمندی
    از عکس هایی که تو وبلاگت گذاشتی خوشم میاد
    یه سوال در مورد اون قاشق زعفرون و زردچوبه دارم،میخوام برا دوستم که تو کار زعفرونه تو ایران یک بیزنس کارت طراحی کنم.اگه ازین عکس بالای وبلاگت بازم داری برام میفرستی؟
    منظورم نماهای دیگه ست
    سپاس

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  10. Salam, az lotf e shoma mamnoonam. aks e do-ghashogh e zardchoobeh o zafaran ra kheily vaght pish gereftam va copy digari ba namaay e digehi e gheir az in nadaram. Hamantor keh dar weblogam mibinid aks e zafaran ra ham beh tanhai nadaram. Moteasefaneh. Omidvaram keh beh zoodi darbareh e zafaran benevisam va aksesh ra begozaram. Anvaght agar khastid email beferestid ta barayetan yek copy beferstam. Tashakor.

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  11. Azita,

    I love eggplant and I love it roasted and then in salads, so I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. Do you have a suggestion for a substitute for verjuice in case I can't find it?

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  12. Sharon, lemon juice is a good substitute for verjuice.

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  13. I love this recipe but more than anything else I love that you share the history and the meaning behind the dish. Thank you for a beautifully written and inspirational blog post.

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  14. Beautifull post!
    Persian cuisine is one of my favourite, and should be more known around the world!
    Please continue sharing your recipes.

    Solama

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  15. Azita Jan,

    Your recipes are wonderful and I am grateful that you are sharing them with us, I can not wait to try Naz Khatoun. There is also another cook book from "shomal" that I have used and it is very good, and it might be still on the market since it got an award couple of years ago in Iran, it is about Ashbpazr Gylan and it's by Mrs.Zari Maraashi.
    Thanks again,
    Lily

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  16. At my local Persian market they did not have verjuice, only "sour grape water" (golchin brand). Ae they the same thing?

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  17. Thank you. I can't wait to try this.

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  18. Cannot wait to try this! I have never heard of it before but the flavors are all so familiar.

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  19. I was researching different recipes using Golpar (I got a Persian cookbook as a Christmas gift and purchased some "specific" ingredients), and stumbled upon this gorgeousness. Will definitely bookmark it and make it when Eggplant is back in season!!! Beautiful and obviously delicious

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    Replies
    1. Darya jaan, so glad you stumbled upon my blog! Thank you!

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