March 17, 2009

Torshi Makhloot - Persian Mixed Vegetable Pickle

Torshi Makhloot- Persian Pickled Vegetables

ترشی مخلوط  Torshi (pickled vegetables) are the perfect tangy, crunchy and flavorful pickle for your abgousht (lamb soup), kababs, kotlets, polow & khoresh (rice and stew) dishes. There are many different kinds of torshi. This pickled vegetable is a combination of fresh vegetables, dried herbs, spices and vinegar.

Torshi Makhloot - Mixed Vegetable Pickle


3 large carrots, washed, peeled, lightly steamed, finely chopped or shredded
3 medium red or white onions, peeled and finely diced
2 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
2 large cucumbers, peeled and finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, washed, cleaned and diced
1 small cauliflower, washed, finely chopped
1 small head of celery, washed and finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded white cabbage

1 cup of each of the following herbs: (parsley, coriander, dill), washed, dried and finely chopped
2 tablespoons of the following fresh herbs chopped or dried (tarragon, mint, basil)

2 tablespoons dried lime powder (limoo amani)
2 tablespoons crushed angelica (golpar)
2 tablespoons nigella seeds (siah daneh)
2 tablespoon fennel seeds (razianeh)
2 tablespoons coriander seeds (tokhm-e geshneez)
6-7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4-5 tablespoons salt
2 red hot peppers, dried or fresh, chopped
2 teaspoons turmeric powder

5-7 cups white vinegar

  1. Salt the eggplants and either bake them in a preheated 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 25- 30 minutes or cook them with 1/2 cup of vinegar over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. All the herbs and vegetables must be completely dried before mixing them together. Spread out the washed herbs on a table cloth for several hours to dry.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.
  4. Using a wooden spoon pack pickles in clean glass jars up to the rim. Press down on them to make more room as you are filling up the jars. Add more vinegar if needed.
  5. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt into each jar before closing the lid tightly.
  6. Store in a cool dry place for at least 2 weeks before serving.  

March 15, 2009

Khoresh Bademjan - Eggplant Stew

Iranian Eggplant Stew

خورش بادمجان Traditional Iranian lamb and eggplant stew with yellow split peas and tomatoes is a rich and flavorful dish and one of the favorites among many Iranians. I love the classic combination of velvety eggplant and tomatoes with tender lamb cubes in a tangy delicious tomato sauce with yellow split peas.

Persian Eggplant Stew

Khoresh Bademjan - Eggplant Stew

Serves 6

1 pound lamb or beef, washed and cubed
2 large eggplant, peeled, sliced and salted--with 2 tablespoons of salt
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup yellow split peas, cleaned, washed
3 limoo amani (dried lime)
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime, or to taste—or 2 tablespoons verjuice or 1 teaspoon gard-e ghooreh (unripe grapes) (ground sour grape)
Vegetable oil

  1. Place the salted eggplant in a large container filled with water,  place a heavy bowl or a heavy lid on top of the eggplant to hold them down for ten minutes, this will get rid of the bitterness. Remove eggplant, pat them dry make sure eggplants are dry before frying. 
  2. Heat 1/2 cup of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, fry eggplant slices in until brown on both sides. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  3. In a small saucepan, add the peas, 1 1/2 cup water, salt, bring to a boil over medium heat, cook until tender but still firm. Drain, set aside
  4. Gently place tomatoes in a pot of boiling water for about a minute or two, remove tomatoes from boiling water, place into a bowl of ice water and let them cool off. Peel the skin and chop the tomatoes. 
  5. In a large saucepan, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat, add chopped onions, saute until translucent, add minced garlic, stir and cook for about two minutes. Add turmeric powder, lamb cubes, salt, pepper. Mix thoroughly. Cook until meat is brown on all sides.  
  6. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato sauce and water to cover all the ingredients by an inch. Bring back to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for 40 minutes on medium heat. 
  7. Add yellow split peas, fried eggplant and dried lime. Add a little more water if needed. 
  8. Cover and cook for another 20 minutes or until meat is tender. 
  9. Add the lime juice or verjuice and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, gently stir, cover and simmer for another 15 minutes on low heat, allowing all the flavors to come together.  
Serve hot with rice, fresh herbs, salad shirazi, torshi, or mast o khiar.

* I've tweaked this recipe a little bit and added the cinnamon toward the end of the cooking process.


March 05, 2009

Kookoo Sabzi

Fresh Herb Kookoo

کوکوسبزی Kookoo sabzi is a fresh herb dish served for lunch/dinner during Nowruz (Persian New Year). This dish is a great one-pan vegetarian meal made of several fresh herbs and just enough eggs to hold it all together. If you bake it in the oven rather than frying it on the stove it absorbs less oil, which is always a good thing for the health conscious cook! Once you have all the vegetables cleaned and chopped, the rest is very easy.

Fresh Herb Kookoo

Kookoo Sabzi
Serves 6-8

2 cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 cups chopped scallions or chives (Iranian tareh)
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons barberries (zereshk), rinsed, (it can be found in Iranian/Persian markets)
2 tablespoons walnuts, chopped
6 large eggs
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
A pinch of red pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Vegetable oil or olive oil

  1. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs with a fork or a whisk until well blended
  2. Add all the chopped herbs, barberries, walnuts, turmeric, flour, baking powder, red pepper, salt and pepper, mix until combined. 
  3. Add two tablespoons of oil to the mixture, stir well.
  4. Gently pour the herb mixture into a well-oiled baking dish, smooth the surface and place in a 350 degree Fahrenheit preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the center feels firm. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting into serving-size pieces. 
Place on a serving platter. Kookoo could be served hot or room temperature with warm bread and mast o khiar and torshi (pickles).


March 01, 2009

Sabzi Polow Mahi - Herb Rice with Fish

Iranian Sabzi Polo (Herbed Rice) with Mahi (Fish)

سبزی پلو با ماهی Sabzi polow (herbed rice) and crispy pan fried mahi (fish) is one of the main traditional meals for Nowruz - Persian New Year. There's only few weeks left before Nowruz and I'm all ready for the cold winter to be over. The weather is still very cold, the grass is brown and there are no blossoms on the trees. However, yesterday I made Sabzi polow - herbe rice with fried fish. These are traditionally served on New Year's day.

Persian Herbed Rice with Fish
Iranian Mahi (Fish) Crispy Pan Fried
Mahi- Fried Fish-Iranian-Style
Iranian Herbed Rice with Fish

Sabzi Polow Mahi - Herb Rice with Fish

Serves 6

2 cups long grain (basmati) rice
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh coriander
1 cup chopped fresh scallions (green parts only), use tareh instead if you can find them in markets where you live
3-4 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon saffron dissolved in 4 tablespoons hot water
Vegetable oil or butter

  1. Clean, wash, dry and finely chop the herbs and mix them together in a large bowl. It’s better to use fresh herbs for this dish; however there is always the dried sabzi polow herb mix that you can find in Iranian grocery stores.
  2. Wash the rice with cool water a few times. Soak in 8 cups of water, add 4 tablespoons of salt and set aside for a couple of hours. In a large non-stick pan, bring 3 quarts of water to a rapid boil. Drain the rice and add to the pot. Bring water to back to a boil for about 5-7 minutes. Test to see if the rice is ready. Rice should be firm in the center and soft on the outside. Strain the rice using a colander and rinse with cool water.
  3. Wash and dry the pot and return to heat, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and a few drops of liquid saffron. With a large spatula place the rice into the pot, place a layer of rice and a layer of vegetables building it into a pyramid shape. Place the peeled garlic cloves in between rice. Make 4 holes in the rice with the bottom of the spatula to release the steam. 
  4. Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes on medium-high heat until rice is steaming. Pour 2 tablespoons of oil and 2-3 tablespoons of water over the rice, lower the heat, cover and steam the rice for 50 minutes on medium-low heat.With a large scoop take some rice from the top, mix in with the dissolved saffron and set aside. Serve rice on a platter; sprinkle the mixture of rice and saffron on top.

Mahi - Fish

Serves 6

6-8 pieces of white fish fillet or a fish of your choice
1 cup flour (to coat fish)
Garlic powder
A pinch of red pepper
A pinch of turmeric powder
Salt and black pepper
Vegetable oil
1 large Lime

  1. Season fish on both sides, lightly coat the fillet with flour and  shake off any excess flour.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat, place fish in the pan and fry until golden brown and crispy on both sides.
  3. Place the fried fish on a serving platter, squeeze lime juice over the fillets. 
Serve sabzi polow and mahi with fresh herbs, salad and pickles (torshi).