گزلمه (gozlemeh/gozleme) is a regional dish of استان آذربایجان غربی (West Azerbaijan province) served throughout the capital city of ارومیه (Orumieyeh/Urmia). Gozlemeh is just a perfect recipe for a spring brunch or a light summer lunch. I came across this simple and healthy recipe long ago while going through an old Iranian cooking manual. However, I was a bit hesitant about making a dish I had never had before and had never even heard of. In Iran, each region has its own unique food that the people from other provinces may not be familiar with. Finally, a few days ago I decided to give this recipe a try for the first time. I ended up making it again the next day and it tasted even better. As I prepared this warm and creamy yogurt dish topped with exquisite fried eggs and a touch of turmeric (my fave spice) and served it over toasted flatbread, it made me feel as though I had traveled to Western Azerbaijan and was eating a delicious gozlemeh in someone's home in Orumieyeh!
When making a new recipe I am most comfortable if I at least had a chance to taste it once before to know exactly what the meal should taste like and what flavors to expect. However, that doesn't stop me from trying out new recipes. Occasionally, my daughters bring different recipes home that they would like to try and we make it together. Now that they know how to cook for themselves, I get to be the taste tester and I watch them hone their cooking skills. That's how I learned to cook at a young age by watching my mother cook and also by helping out in the kitchen too. One time, when I was eleven years old my mother told me to take the raw chicken out of the fridge and cook it for lunch as she was heading out the door in a hurry and did not leave any instructions. It is challenging moments such as this that propels one to figure things out on one's own and learn things faster. Cooking, like most things in life, takes practice before you feel confident that you can create a delicious healthy meal with whatever you have in your pantry/refrigerator with or without a recipe.
My advice to novice cooks is to familiarize yourselves with the ingredients that you are going to use, learn about different methods of cooking, always go for fresh and good quality ingredients if available, read the recipe a few times before starting to cook and have all the necessary kitchen tools and gadgets ready to go. And if you are like me, cleaning and washing as you cook, place a mat between the sink and the counter or wear a pair of non-skid shoes! Put your apron on, take charge and make the recipe your own by substituting what you don't have and adjusting the amount of sugar, fat and the level of spiciness to your liking and your dietary restrictions while staying true to the recipe.
I have made some changes to the original recipe. I also added a pinch of turmeric to the oil in the skillet before frying two of the eggs (a personal preference). This recipe doesn't take long to make. You may want to set the table and have the drinks, bread, and condiments ready before you start cooking.
4 large eggs (preferably organic)
1 1/2 cups strained yogurt
1 large garlic clove
Pepper, freshly ground
A pinch of turmeric *optional
Butter or vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
2 lavash bread, lightly toasted
- Place the garlic clove with a pinch of salt in the mortar and pestle and finely crush.
- Add a tablespoon of water to the strained yogurt, stir well to loosen it up a little.
- Add the crushed garlic to the yogurt. Mix thoroughly.
- Heat a tablespoon of butter in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic yogurt mixture, heat thoroughly for a few minutes, remove from heat before it starts to boil.
- Spread the yogurt mixture generously on each of the toasted flatbread separately.
- Heat a couple of tablespoons of oil or butter in a frying pan, add a pinch of turmeric, swirl around the pan a couple of times. Add the eggs to the hot frying pan, cook until the white is set, season with salt and pepper to taste. Use a spatula to remove the eggs from the pan.
- Place them on the bread with the yogurt mixture and serve warm.