Monday, April 30, 2012

Khoresht_e Chaghaleh badam/ Fresh green Almonds stew

Almonds and green? yes you heard it right  fresh almonds are green and very yummy, most people think almonds come in hard wooden shells but the delicious fact is before they get to be hard  and brownish  they are green  and soft. In Iran  these fresh green almonds are known as " chaghaleh badam ".   Iranians look forward to eat chaghaleh badam to the start of the spring, chaghaleh badam  last only for a few weeks  and then they start to get hardened . we soak them in the water for about a few hours and rub any excess white fur from  their skin. Green almonds have  tartness and they are very crunchy.


(8 servings)

750 gr  lamb meet
500 gr chaghaleh badam  or green almonds
3 cups fine chopped  parsley and mint leaves
1 cup fried onions
salt and black pepper  to taste
 1/2 teaspoon turmeric ( optional)
 1/4 cup lime or lemon juice


cut the meat in  one inch  cubes,  fry meat cubes in  1 table spoon  vegtable oil in a  cooking pan until its color changes, add fried onions and 3 cups of water, cover the pan and cook  the meat,  meanwhile  remove the stem of fresh almonds  stir fry them for a few minute, add chopped  parsley and mint  to the frying  almonds, stir them for a short while  until vegetables lose water,  then remove from the heat and set it aside,

when the meat is half cooked  add the  vegetables  and raw green almonds  ( chaghaleh) to meat.. add a pinch of salt and pepper, cook for 1 hour or until the chaghaleh and meat both are done,  add lemon juice and remove from the heat,

we serve this khoresht with  rice .. nooshe jaan!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Torshi Liteh, Eggplantt Pickle

In my previous post I talked about Iranian pickle (Torshi), today I am going to post another delicious Torshi/ pickle made  from cooked eggplant so lets just  get started with no delay:


1 kg eggplant 
2 table spoons  black seeds
1 table spoon coriander seeds ( you can grind them)
4 carrots
200 gr celery
2 tea spoons turmeric
5 cups  white  or apple vinegar 2 cups water 1 table spoon salt ( you can modify the amount of vinegar salt and water according to your own taste, you can reduce salt and increase vinegar or salt)

2 table spoons honey

1/2 cup  cauliflower chopped very finely
3 garlic cloves ( chopped )
 1 table spoon dried mint and basil (powdered)

peel the eggplants put them in hot salty water for one hour, drain and rinse them , cook them for 10 minutes or steam cook them, place them in a strainer and  leave for a few hours until all water drained and left eggplants completely  after that  process egg plant  or you can use chopper to chop the eggplant  finely,
Carrots and cauliflower should be chopped very finely as well, I always steam cook them for a few minute, so i suggest you to do so as well, (only for a few minutes) , after  that, spread them  over a clean towel and allow them  to dry, 
Add celery to vinegar salt  water  and honey solution,  bring it to a boil, adding celery to this solution  gives it a very tasty  flavor,
add all the ingredients together in a large bowl, toss them well to marinate them with spices ( turmeric, dried mint and basil and chopped  garlic)

add them to the prepared jars or containers followed by  the solution, the acid solution should  cover the ingredients  completely,  put the jars in the fridge or cold place for a few weeks, I don't wait that long to taste the result so I try it right after 10 days or even  a week!!! but the best result comes out after passing 2 or 3 weeks,
 Happy Turshi making!!

PS; please remember to remove celery from the solution. if you don't like  sweet taste of honey in this  pickle try  to reduce it to one  table spoon or you can omit honey.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Salad mashhadi Pickle

Pickling is a very common form of preserving  food  in Iran for winter, although we make different pickles  for all seasons , I think  you can spice up every meal by delicious pickles with salty or sour tastes,  they are fat free and low calorie  side dishes,  but as we all know  everything delicious can be harmful to our health  as we enjoy their benefits , so my motto is to keep everything  moderately . I also try to not use salt  excessively .
Iranians preserve  vegetables mostly  by fermentation in brine ( solution of salt in water) or storing them in  an acid solution  ( vinegar)  or  brine and acid  together, according to my own foodie protocol  I only use  combination of vinegar and salt,  it gives me the best result   always, unless I want to brine  cucumber ( khair shoor)  khiar is cucumber and shoor means salty,  
I know the  winter is going to  end soon in a few days but  it will be fun to have a small bottle of pickle  at your  fridge  in the spring!  I have to warn you  I am used to measure  things  with  my eyes  specially when I am making pickles and I can’t give you exact  amounts of raw materials , I have always made pickles in large scale . Don’t limit yourself for the ingredients measurement  you can reduce or even increase the ingredients  amounts.

Half of  small size  cauliflower ( finely chopped)
500 gr carrot (chopped in very small cubes)
3 kg tomato
1 yellow bell pepper  1 green  bell pepper
One cup pickled cucumber ( chopped finely in small cubes)
5 cloves of garlic 9 finely chopped
4 cups  apple vinegar one cup water  and 1 table spoon salt  ( you can add salt if you wish to have salty solution)
One table spoon  coriander seeds
1 tea spoon turmeric
       First wash  all the vegetables   and dry them  completely , Put tomatoes in hot boiling water , drain them  after a minute  and rinse with cold water  so that you can easily peel the tomatoes.   process  tomatoes in your food processor  or you can chop them  finely ,  cook them without  adding any salt, or water  and until a thick consistency  but not like a thick  tomato paste!  Remove from the heat and  Leave it to cool
      Chop the cauliflower, carrots and pickled cucumbers  in fine small cubes , I processed  cauliflower and carrot  in electric chopper ,
    In large bowl  combine all the ingredients together ,
    Prepare a few containers some jars or you can use  air tight food containers,  wash them thoroughly and put them in the microwave  for a few minutes to dry and  clean them, or you can  clean the jars in hot water bath over the  heat I am sure you know the technique
 Jar Preparation
Wash the jars , lids, and bands in hot, soapy water; rinse and drain. Fill the canner with water and place the jars in the rack. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat and keep jars hot until you're ready to fill them.
Put the flat lids in a saucepan and cover with water; bring just to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Reduce heat and keep them hot until you're ready to use them

      In a sauce pan add vinegar,  water and salt  bring it into  a boil and remove the pan form the heat.
       Fill the containers or jars with jars with a ladle the ingredients,  leaving the appropriate amount of headspace,  pour the vinegar salt solution to the  jars, seal them.  Put the pickle bottles or containers in the fridge  for a few days,  It s important to  keep it in the fridge always  because this pickle  has got a cooked  tomato ,
   You can  have this pickle after a few days,
I hope you like it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Baghali Polow/Lima or broad beans rice and dill with lamb

Baghali or Lima/ broad/Fava beans  are popular in Iran. Fava beans are used in many forms but the most popular ones is  boiling or steam cooking them and serving them with  pepper, salt and lemon juice, but the king of them all is Baghali Polow which is one of the festive food on the menu, especially in wedding ceremonies!
It can be served with Mahiche (lamb shanks) which is my favorite, chicken and turkey  or any kind of meat.

serving for 4- 6 

2 cups long grain rice
2 cups Fava (Lima) beans , I usually use fresh ones  but sometimes we use dried  or frozen ones. 
2 cups  finely chopped fresh dill can use dried dill too ...if you use dried dill you may need 1 cup only  and sprinkle it  over the drained  rice ........
2 onions
3 or 4 lamb shanks or 400 gr beef  or any kind of meat 
pepper and salt
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon mixed adviyeh ( cinnamon,nutmeg, powered garlic, powdered cardamom, powdered corriander seeds)
butter/ shortening or liquid oil of your own choice
 1/2 teaspoon saffron
1- bring the water to the boil  2- Add halved fava beans to the boiling  water  3- remove the foam of the water surface
 Add rice to the boiling water with beans, then after 2 mins  add finely chopped  dill , after 2 mins drain rice  


Pick over the rice , removing any stones or other  particles and  wash thoroughly under lukewarm water until the water runs clear . Soak the rice in a large container filled with water with 1 tablespoon of salt for 2 hours or more,
While the rice is soaking, wash dill thoroughly and chop finely, cook Mahiche(lamb shanks) with garlic,  meat broth , chopped onions and a pinch of black pepper....finally add a few saffron threads to give it a good flavor and color, 

Later in a large pan bring a water into a boil, first add halved Lima beans, wait for a min, remove foams rising to the surface of the water, adding lima beans  before adding rice to the water helps  beans to cook better, after a mins or so drain rice and add then into the pan, wait for a few minutes like 2 or 3 minutes and then  add dill , Try one grain to see if it’s ready , it must be barely done,not cooked fully  and not soft . Drain the rice, beans and dill in a large fine-mesh strainer or colander.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. distribute melted butter  evenly in the pan, and arrange some potatoes to make a crispy potato  tahdig!

Arrange rice one layer at the bottom of the pan over the  sliced potatoes . Sprinkle with pinch of Adviyeh, to taste. Follow with another layer of rice, pile the rest of the rice one layer after another . Pour 1 tablespoon melted butter  over rice, brew saffron threads in boiled water and out in inside the pan over the rice  like the way I show on the picture, 

Place a clean towel over the pot and cover firmly with a lid to absorb the steam. 
Reduce the heat to low and cook for 40 minutes or more.the approximate time is one hour not more that that. Rice grains should be separate  not sticky.
When ready to serve, gently  place it on the large serving platter and put lamb shanks over the rice or serve it beside the pilaf. This Pilaff is delicious served with yogurt and salad.

 Nooshe jaan!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ash-e Dugh or Ayran Ashi, Yogurt Soup

A popular Ash/soup from Azari provinces of Iran, cooked with yogurt and a lot of fresh vegtables, it is very nutritious and refreshing, If you ever got a chance to travel  to north west of Iran to uromiyah or Ardabil, you would see locals selling  " Ayran Ashi/ yogurt soup"  served in  small bowls  in the streets, parks, beach and mountain hills, there are different recipes to cook this soup but all versiosn from different cities have common  ingredients, yogurt, water  and  herbs. some people add garlic , liver  and even chicken  broth , some people don't like chick peas so they omit chick peas but somehow  I  have had my own version, which is very simple but  with hot chillies which can open your sinus, as a matter of fact nothing  like a handful of hot green chilies can  clear your sinus!
Although if you can't tolerate hot ones you can only add some bell peppers, or not too hot peppers,

   I N G R E D I E N TS:
½ cup dried chickpeas, soaked in water overnight or you can have canned  ones..drained
2 cups chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)
1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
1 cup chopped fresh spinach or beetroot leaves
1/3 cup chopped fresh green garlic (if in season; leaves only) (this is optional for this recipe)
1 cup chinese celery ( only leaves)
1 cup parsley
4 cups plian yogurt  ( yogurt should not be sweet nor  sour that much)

1 tablespoon  flour
1 egg
1/3 cup medium-grain rice, soaked in water an hour before cooking
Salt, to taste
 4 cups water, you can adjust  water amount depending on your own  taste if you like think soup or thick and creamy type)
1 or 2 green chili peppers

D I R E C T I O N:

put pre soaked chick peas in a small saucepan filled with water and boil until the chickpeas are soft, about 1 hour. Drain and set aside!

steam cook washed and fresh herbs for about 5 minutes,

 In a proper and large sauce pan whisk  egg, yogurt, water all together, beat them thoroughly to get a desirable consistency,

dissolve flour in 2 table spoons water and add to the yogurt  mixture, whisk for a few minutes,
Add rinsed   rice, chop the heads of  green chilies add them to the pan, place over the heat, stir it constantly with a wooden spoon,don't give up at all,

bring it to a boil as you are stirring , reduce the heat and as you let it simmer, add herbs and cooked chick peas,
if you feel it s too thick you can add some  hot or boiled water,

you can have it cold or hot, but I need to remind you this soup  gets thickened as it stands, but I only love  hot one or at least warm,

Nushe jaan, Nush olsun! enjoy