Archivi tag: iranian cuisine

I <3 Tehran – part 2 –

The recipe of this post is khoresht-e ghormeh sabzi.
The pics are here.

A good reason to wake up in the morning in Tehran, Breakfast.

I’m not a big lover of breakfast. Or at least the breakfast we have here. I’ve always preferred a slice of bread with olive oil and coffee than the usual biscuits and milk. The Persian breakfast completely reflects my taste.

Not so grand as the English one, not so sweetish as the French one, the Iranian breakfast tells in its delicate simplicity the perfect balance of flavour.

After waking up, we used to sit around the counter top that divided the living room from the kitchen.

Sob bekheyr azizam.
Azizami, sob bekheyr. Khubi?
Man khubam, merci. Khubi?
Kheyli khubam, merci.
Chay mikhai?
Bale, merci

Every morning I could brush up on my poor Farsi. How are you, dear? Fine, thanks my dears. And you? Really good. Do you want some tea? Yes, thanks. Hamed’s mother gave us a steamy cup of tea to drink while eating everything that was already on the table: panir, the french feta, more creamy and less salty than the greek one, honey, walnuts, marmalade and bread, usually lavash, sometimes sangak.

I love Persian bread.

Sangak and Lavash

Sangak is a plain, rectangular, or triangular Iranian whole wheat sour dough flatbread. It is considered to be Iran’s national bread. Its name consists of two parts: ‘Sang’ in Persian means stone or pebble and ‘sangak’ means little stone. There are, normally, two varieties of this bread offered at Iranian bakeries: the generic one which has no toppings and the more expensive variety which is topped with poppy seeds or sesame seeds.
Lavash is a soft, thin flatbread. Traditionally the dough is rolled out flat and slapped against the hot walls of a clay oven. While quite flexible when fresh, lavash dries out quickly and becomes brittle and hard. The soft form is easier to use when making wrap sandwiches.

The ritual was always the same: take a piece of lavash, put on a bit of cheese, nuts and some honey, wrap it. Never put sugar in the glass of tea, but always in the mouth. A sugar cube at a time, paying attention to not let it melt at first. A sugar cube should be enough for a whole cup of tea. I couldn’t do it.

Talking about food I remember that night when Pooya invited us to have dinner at his place. His mother, a tiny woman with cute eyes, cooked all the possible Persian food. It was like ending up in a paradise for lovers of food. I’m going to try to remember everything, but it’s difficult : Khoresht-e fesenjān, a poultry stew with pomegranate juice and nuts; mirza-qasemi, a mix of roasted aubergines with garlic, tomatoes, turmeric, oil, butter, salt and pepper, with an egg on the top if you like it that way; koofteh berenji, huge meat balls with green peas similar to the greek kufta; tachin, a rice pie with jogurt, saffron and chicken; ghormeh sabzi, a lamb stew with herbs, amongst them parsley, coriander, leek, spinach and fenugreek. Obliviously not wine or beer to drink, but coke and a flavoured non alcoholic beer. My favourites were lemon and peach flavour.

Beside the incredible food, that night I could also get a life story from this family. Pooya’s father told me about his life. First an engineer in Iran and than a taxi-driver after the Revolution. Pooya is not a muslim. Neither is his father. His mother is Muslim. I was not used to seeing women with scarfs inside the house. They are not Muslim in Hamed’s house. Pooya’s mother always covered his head when another man was there.

I told them about a movie I watched, Persepolis. I noticed a bit of bitterness in the air. Pooya told me the story of his uncle, he fought for the war, he was not Muslim. He had his own ideas. After the revolution, when the Islamic Republic began he was sentenced to death. It was a story similar to the one you could see in Persepolis.

Khoresht-E Ghormeh Sabzi

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15 ounce) can red kidney beans
  • 1 handful fresh fenugreek leaves or 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 3 small bunch coriander
  • 2 bunches spring onions
  • 1 handful dill
  • 2 bunches chives or 2 bunches of shallot greens
  • 360 g diced lamb
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large dried lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lemons, juice of
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Wash fresh herbs. Chop finely and remove stalks/roots. Fry the herbs (sprinkling in the dried fenugreek if using) in the olive oil, turning constantly, adding more oil when necessary until the herbs begin to darken (about 30 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. Fry chopped onion in pan until soft. Add meat until they get brown. Stir in the herbs. Add the beans and enough water to cover. Put lid on pan and simmer gently for forty five minutes. Slice the dried lemon into quarters and add to stew. Simmer gently for forty five minutes. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

The recipe of this post is khoresht-e ghormeh sabzi.
The pics are here.

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Khoresht-E Ghormeh Sabzi

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 ounce) red kidney beans
  • 1 handful fresh fenugreek leaves or 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 3 small bunch coriander
  • 2 bunches spring onions
  • 1 handful dill
  • 2 bunches chives or 2 bunches of shallot greens
  • 360 g diced lamb
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large dried lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 lemons, juice of
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Wash fresh herbs. Chop finely and remove stalks/roots. Fry the herbs (sprinkling in the dried fenugreek if using) in the olive oil, turning constantly, adding more oil when necessary until the herbs begin to darken (about 30 minutes). Remove from heat and set aside. Fry chopped onion in pan until soft. Add meat until they get brown. Stir in the herbs. Add the beans and enough water to cover. Put lid on pan and simmer gently for forty five minutes. Slice the dried lemon into quarters and add to stew. Simmer gently for forty five minutes. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

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Lavashak

Ingredients:

  • 20 plums
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water

Wash plums and remove pit. Place plums, water, and lemon juice in a non-stick pot. Cook on low for 30 to 45 minutes until plums have cooked all the way through and very little juice is left. Make sure to stir every so often so that the bottom does not stick. Puree plums with a food processor. Spray some cooking oil on a cookie sheet lined with foil. Spread the pureed plum on top in a very thin layer. You can initially bake the plum puree for one hour in a 250° oven to speed up the process. Then cover the cookie sheet with cheese cloth and place it in the sun for a couple of days. You can skip the baking part and just leave the lavashak in the sun for 4 days instead of 2. Once the lavashak has dried, carefully peel it off of the foil.

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Koobideh Kabab

Ingredients:

  • 500 gr minced lamb or beef
  • 2 onions
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tomatoes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sumac 

To prepare koobideh, one uses minced lamb or beef, mince the meat twice for a better consistency (the kabab will feel like a hamburger if you mince it just once). Add salt, garlic powder, black pepper, celery powder, sumac, very finely grated onion (the extra juice can be squeezed out and saved for later application) and one egg yolk per pound of meat. Mix all ingredients, cover, and let it marinate in the fridge for at least four hours or overnight…

Grill on skewers over hot coal. Serve on Polo (Persian Rice Pilaf with oil, salt and saffron) or Adas Polo (same rice pilaf with lentils), accompanied by grilled tomatoes and onions cooked on the grill next to the kabab. Sumac is usually served as a tableside garnishing spice.

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