mirza g h a s e m i • میرزا قاسمی

recipes, Uncategorized

okay first, hi again! it’s been a while since i’ve updated albaloo with recipes, but i have a ton of recipes to make up for that!

this post is about one of my favorite dishes from northern iran. essentially a dip, mirza ghasemi is this incredibly aromatic and savory combination of eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, and egg. an amazing vegetarian dish, mirza ghasemi can be served with rice, persian breads (lavaash, barbari, sangak–you name it!), or as i accidentally experimented with, pizza crusts! honestly, it tastes so good that eating it by itself is so satisfying too.

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the hardest part about making this dish is probably preparing the eggplant, which is typically roasted or grilled. i sometimes take the easy way out and use a jar of the Sera brand roasted eggplant, which equates to about 3 large eggplants! other than that, it’s all about patience and a lot of stirring–the consistency of mirza ghasemi is pretty thick and it’s because all the moisture from the tomatoes and eggplants evaporates as it slowly cooks.

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note: if you choose to use pre-roasted eggplants like the Sera jars, you can start following this recipe at step 3!

recipe (serves 6)

ingredients:

  • 4 large eggplants
  • 6 large tomatoes, peeled and diced (you can substitute canned tomatoes or tomato paste if you’re pressed on time!)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ⅛ tsp saffron, dissolved in 1 tbsp hot water
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable/canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • salt, to taste

instructions:

  1. poke each side of the eggplants with a fork and grill until the skin is completely charred, and the eggplant is cooked (soft)
  2. once the eggplants have cooled, scoop flesh away from peel and chop the eggplants into rough pieces
  3. heat oil in a large pan and add chopped eggplant; cook over medium, stirring frequently, until the eggplant becomes creamy in texture and much of the moisture has evaporated
  4. add turmeric to the eggplant, stirring for about a minute, then remove the pan from the heat
  5. in a separate large pan, cook the peeled/diced tomatoes until the moisture has evaporated
  6. add minced garlic and sauté, careful not to burn the garlic
  7. add the eggplant to the tomatoes and garlic, stirring frequently until combined
  8. add the dissolved saffron, then cook the mixture for another 5 to 10 minutes until thick (similar to mashed potatoes)
  9. in another pan, scramble two eggs, making sure to break up the pieces well
  10. add eggs to eggplant/tomato mixture, combine, and enjoy!

xx.

easy persian rice • k a t e h • کته

recipes, Uncategorized

there are a couple methods for making persian-style rice, and the easier/simpler method is called kateh. the resulting rice is typically more sticky than that of other cooking methods, and the tahdig (highly-coveted, thick rice crust at the bottom of the pot) doesn’t always come out as thick and crunchy. regardless, it still has the amazing aroma that comes with basmati rice, and it’s a simple addition to any persian dish!

when i was younger, i’d always ask my mom to let me make the kateh when she would make it for dinner or sunday afternoon meal. with her guidance and attention to timing, it always, always turned out great–tahdig included. i used to think i was the master of making kateh, but now that i have to make it on my own, i realize that this was not the case! after a couple nearly-failed attempts (read: too mushy, too salty, no tahdig, etc.), i’ve finally mastered the texture and taste associated with a good kateh, and the only left for me to do is get a good non-stick pot so my tahdig will actually come out (this is key!!)

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having had to explain to my roommate recently why we wrap the pot lid with a towel (it’s to collect the steam towards the end of the cooking), and what tahdig is (the best part of persian food, hands down), i figured it’s a good idea to do a little post on this!

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recipe (serves 3):

ingredients:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable/canola oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon saffron dissolved in 1-2 tablespoon of hot water (optional)

instructions:

  1. add rice to a non-stick pot and rinse 3-4 times, or until water runs clear
  2. add measured water to pot (alternatively, add enough water to cover rice by ½ inch), and salt, to taste–test the water, it should taste salty, but not too salty! allow rice to soak for at least 45 minutes before turning on heat
  3. turn stove on medium/high heat, and let rice absorb water (without lid)
  4. when the rice has absorbed most of the water (NOT ALL!) add the oil and gently stir the pot, allowing oil to seep to the bottom
  5. cover the pot lid tightly with a clean, thick cloth or dish towel, and place on pot
  6. allow rice to cook for 40-50 minutes on low-medium heat
  7. (optional) when rice has cooked, take a couple spoonfuls and place in a bowl, pour saffron mixture over rice and fluff with a fork until the rice has turned a bright yellow/orange color. this is used for garnishing the rice
  8. either place a dish over the pot and flip for a cake-looking rice, or spoon out the rice gently and remove the tahdig (if present) separately. spoon saffron rice over, serve with kabobs or stews and enjoy!

xx.

kabob d i g i • کباب دیگی

recipes, Uncategorized

while persian cuisine is so diverse, and full of many, many amazing dishes, chelo kabob remains the favorite of many. with so many different kinds of kabob–koobideh (ground beef), barg (filet or tenderloin), and joojeh (chicken) to name a couple–it’s hard to choose a favorite! however, when you don’t have access to a grill, like me, your choice of kabob becomes simple: kabob digi (pan kabob).

while i don’t discriminate when it comes to kabob, kabob digi has always been a favorite of mine. because cooking persian food can be so time consuming, we didn’t always eat it for weekday dinners when i was growing up. so, whenever my mom would come home from work and say we were having kabob digi, it felt like a treat!

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now that i live in my own apartment, sans grill, i look to kabob digi as a good recipe for the weekend when i’m craving some chelo kabob. it’s pretty easy to make, and only takes about 30 minutes! the good thing is, if you’re cooking for one person, there is allllllways leftovers!

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recipe (serves 4):

ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef (you can use lamb, or a combo if you want!)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large tomato (i use beefsteak tomatoes)
  • 2-4 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

instructions:

  1. grate or process onion, and drain any liquid. you can use a cheesecloth, squeezing out all the extra liquid from the onion. place onion in a mixing bowl
  2. add ground meat to the bowl with the onion
  3. add salt, pepper, and turmeric
  4. mix onion, meat, and spices by hand until completely combined. consistency should almost be like a paste
  5. roll into balls and flatten to make an oval shape. the size is completely up to you–i usually make smaller ones–but the patties should not be too thick!
  6. cut the tomato into thick slices, then cut each slice in half
  7. place tomato slices over olive oil in a pan and sauté carefully over a medium heat. these do not need to cook long (5-7 minutes), and remove from heat well before the tomatoes become mushy
  8. heat vegetable/canola oil in a large frying pan on a medium-high heat
  9. add the patties to the oil and allow the first side to be seared
  10. flip the patties and continue to cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes, or until they are cooked through
  11. turn off heat, and allow kabobs to sit for a couple minutes before plating
  12. serve tomatoes and kabobs with basmati rice, and enjoy!

 

xx.

kookoo s a b z i • کوکو سبزی

recipes

one of my favorite parts of norooz is the outdoor celebration on the last day, seezdah bedar. not only do you get to enjoy the beautiful spring weather with friends and family, but the smell of kabobs cooking over charcoal, lima/fava bean rice (baghali polo), and kookoo sabzi are so intoxicating that they become the stars of the festivities.

like an herb frittata or soufflé, kookoo sabzi is a typical dish at this time of year. aside from the cleaning and chopping of all the herbs required for the dish, it is a simple (and fully vegetarian) recipe to follow. cut into squares and eat alone, or spread some strained yogurt on a piece of lavaash bread and top it with a piece of kookoo, radishes, and enjoy!

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a couple of tips i learned from my mom while i was making the kookoo sabzi for seezdah bedar today, the key to a good kookoo is “hot oil, and enough oil!” making the kookoo in a pan requires patience; the first side has to cook for at least 20-30 minutes on low heat (you will turn the heat down after you pour the kookoo mixture into the hot oil), and then you let it sit and cool before flipping the whole thing over to cook the other side for another 10 minutes. {recipe below}

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my mother’s kookoo sabzi recipe:

ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups chopped persian leeks (tareh, or scallions–just the green part!)
  • 1 cup chopped dill
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup barberries, rinsed
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder, dissolved in 1 tablespoon of cold water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • enough vegetable oil to coat a frying pan up to ½ cm thick

instructions:

  1. add chopped herbs (best to use a food processor!) to a large mixing bowl
  2. add barberries, walnuts, baking powder mixture, turmeric, salt, pepper, and flour to herbs, fold together
  3. beats eggs in a separate bowl, then pour into herb mixture
  4. heat vegetable oil in a frying pan with tall sides–make sure your pan isn’t too large or too small, the mixture should fill about 1-1.5 inches
  5. test hotness of oil by dropping a dot of the mixture–you’re looking for it to immediately puff-up and sizzle
  6. mix the herb mixture really well one last time, in the bowl, to make sure the eggs are completely combined, then pour–carefully–into the hot oil
  7. shake the pan slightly to even out the mixture, put a lid on the pan, and turn down the heat to low/medium
  8. after about 25 minutes, or when the liquid on the top of the kookoo has dissipated, turn off the heat and remove the pan
  9. after 10 minutes, carefully flip the kookoo over–best to flip it into a plate, or another pan, and return to the original pan
  10. turn the heat back on medium/high and cook second side for 10 minutes, or until browned. NOTE: if you think that there’s no oil in the pan, heat up a couple tablespoons of oil separately, and pour the hot oil along the sides of the pan
  11. turn off the heat, and remove pan from stove–allow the kookoo to cool completely
  12. transfer the kookoo from the pan to a cuttling board lined with paper towels to absorb extra oil, allow to cool further
  13. cut into squares, or slices, serve, and enjoy!

 

xx.