I recently received a copy of سفره اطعمه Sofreh At'ameh, a delightful cookbook written in 1881 by Mirza Ali Akbar Khan Kashani, the royal head chef to the court of ناصرالدین شاه قاجار Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (1831-1896), the fourth king of the Qajar dynasty. The French Dr. Joseph Desire Tholozan was the chief physician to the king for more than 30 years. He asked the آشپزباشی ashpazbashi (chef) of the royal court to put together a guide detailing the king's diet, eating habits, and his typical daily menu, in an effort to be able to serve him better. Sofreh At'ameh is filled with bits and pieces of information that gives one a glimpse into the past. This book is a compilation of recipes, ingredients, and virtually everything that was served in the royal palace for breakfast, lunch and dinner including sharbats (sweet drinks), khoresh (stew), ash (soup), polow (rice), moraba (jam), and torshi (pickles).
Naser al-Din Shah Qajar
There are many timeless recipes in this book that I think most Iranians know by heart as well as new recipes that are definitely worth trying. There are also a few dishes that I had forgotten about and reading this book helped refresh my memory. One of those recipes was خاگینه khagineh. I remember Maman serving a delicious fluffy sweet omelette that could also be eaten as a dessert. Back then I never thought to ask her how she made it and the recipe never made it into my handwritten recipe journal. Yet, when I saw it in the book I knew I had to make it. However, like many old cookbooks most of the recipes in this book lack exact measurements. Therefore, the following is my adaptation of its khagineh recipe.
Khagineh - Sweet Omelette
Adapted from Sofreh At'ameh
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1-2 tablespoons butter
A little dash of salt *optional
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch ground cardamom
Pinch ground saffron
- In a small pot, combine water and sugar, bring water to a boil, over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Add the cardamom and saffron. Stir well and let simmer uncovered on low heat for another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a medium bowl whisk the eggs until smooth.
- Add in the flour and mix well.
- In a a nonstick skillet heat the butter over medium heat until it has melted. Pour in the egg mixture all at once. Cook over low heat for about 2 minutes or until eggs are almost set but not hard and gently flip the eggs using a thin spatula and cook for another two minutes. Slice the eggs and slowly pour the syrup over the eggs and cook for another minute or until the syrup is fully absorbed. You may use other sweeteners such as honey or grape molasses.
Transfer onto a platter and serve warm or at room temperature. I added a tiny pinch of dried, crushed rose petals and a little powdered sugar, for dusting.*Historical Cookbook recipes:
Borani Kangar-Yogurt and Cardoon Dip - A Qajar Era Recipe
Sholeh Maash - Green Mung Bean and Kohlrabi Soup - A Qajar Era Recipe
Ash-e Jo - Barley Soup with Spinach and Cilantro -A Safavid Era Recipe