February 22, 2009

Persian Shaami

My grandmother used to make شامی shaami kabab all the time and they looked beautiful and tasted amazing. Shaamis are meat patties that look like donuts. Grandma's kitchen consisted of a small portable gas cooktop next to her bed and a small table filled with different spice jars and cooking gadgets. At a very young age I was fascinated by her cooking especially the way she prepared shaami kabab. I cannot remember the exact measurements but this recipe is very close.

Shaami Kabab


1 pound ground meat (lamb or beef)
1 cup cooked chickpeas or yellow split peas (drain, grind in a food processor) or use 2 tablespoons dried chickpea flour
1 medium onion (grated)
1 large garlic clove (minced)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Dash of cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying

  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly until well blended. 
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. 
  3. Take a handful of the meat mixture, shape into a small ball, flatten it as the size of the palm of your hand, make a hole in the middle with your finger. 
  4. Fry both sides until brown. 
Serve with fresh herbs, yogurt, pickles and warm bread.


February 11, 2009

Mirza Ghasemi

میرزا قاسمی Mirza Ghasemi is a tasty and delicious dish from the northern region of Iran. Once you taste this dish you are going to fall in love with it, especially if you like eggplants and garlic. It's one of my favorites but of course I love any dish that has eggplants in it. This is a vegetarian no meat casserole, a combination of tomatoes, lots of garlic, mashed grilled eggplants with salt and pepper and turmeric as the only spice. Some people fry chopped onion along with the garlic. But as I understand it the authentic mirza ghasemi is cooked without any onion. It is usually served as a side dish, an appetizer or a light lunch.

Serves 4

2 large eggplants
3 large tomatoes, remove the skin and chop into small pieces
7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Pierce the eggplants and bake for 40 minutes in the oven until soft in the inside and the skin is crispy on the outside. Or grill them on a barbecue grill until eggplants are well cooked. Set aside to cool. 
  3. Remove the skin and mash the eggplant with a fork.
  4. In a skillet saute chopped garlic in hot oil until light brown on medium heat. Add in the turmeric and stir. 
  5. Add the mashed eggplant and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring thoroughly. 
  6. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper to the mix, stir well and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes over medium heat. 
  7. Pour the beaten eggs over the eggplant mixture, stir until well blended. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
Serve on a platter with warm bread and fresh herbs.


February 05, 2009

Abgousht - Traditional Iranian Lamb Stew

Traditional Iranian Lamb Soup

آبگوشت Abgousht/abgoosht is a hearty and filling traditional Iranian lamb soup. Abgousht will help you stay warm during the winter but you can make it all year round. Abgousht consists of two delicious meals in one. The main dish is the soup itself and the side dish, گوشت کوبیده goosht koobideh (mashed meat), is all the ingredients in the soup that get mashed together. This is the dish that my mother would tell me I should make on weekends to share with family and friends. This recipe was passed down from my mother to me. You can also make abgousht in a pressure cooker or a crock-pot. A different version of abgousht is made with herbs and black-eyed peas and it's called Bozbash.


Serves 4-6

2 large lamb shanks, rinsed
1 cup white beans, soaked overnight
1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
3 medium onions, peeled and quartered
3 medium tomatoes, cut into two equal pieces
4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 teaspoon tomato paste *optional
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 dried limes (limoo-amani), available in Persian specialty stores
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a large pot bring 8 cups of water to a gentle boil over medium heat. Add the turmeric powder, Gently place the lamb shanks in the water. 
  2. In a small skillet, heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the tomato paste, fry for 2-3 minutes until it changes color, stirring frequently. 
  3. Add the tomato paste to the pot along with the onions, chickpeas, beans, tomatoes, dried lime, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for an hour over medium-low heat. 
  4. Add the potatoes and cinnamon. Add more water if needed. Cook for another 45 minutes or until meat is fully cooked and tender. 
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  6. Remove any bones before serving and pass the soup through a colander. 
  7. Pour the soup into a large serving bowl. Add a couple of tablespoons of the beans, meat and potatoes back to the soup and return the rest of the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Use a wooden masher or potato masher and mash the ingredients until smooth.
Serve hot with warm bead, fresh herbs,  torshi and seer torshi.


February 02, 2009

Saffron Ice Cream

This is an aromatic saffron and rosewater flavored traditional Iranian ice cream with bits of frozen heavy cream for added taste and texture. This delicious ice cream is served either in individual bowls or placed in between two round crispy thin wafers. This بستنی - bastani recipe is the easiest and quickest way to make a homemade اکبرمشتی - Akbar Mashti Ice cream.

Bastani - Persian Saffron Rosewater Ice Cream


1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron, dissolved in 2-3 tablespoons of hot water
2 tablespoons rosewater


Crushed pistachios

  1. Pour the heavy cream into a flat plastic container with a lid and place in the freezer for 3-4 hours or until frozen.
  2. Take the heavy cream out of the freezer and cut into small pieces. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the softened vanilla ice cream, frozen cream pieces, liquid saffron and rosewater. Mix thoroughly. Transfer mixture into a freezer-safe container and place in the freezer for 4-5 hours to harden. 
To serve, scoop ice cream into bowls, sprinkle with crushed pistachios and serve immediately.