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.

grilled trout of shomal • g h e z e l a l a

travel, Uncategorized

as part of my travels with family to iran last summer, we spent a good portion of our time in the northern, mountainous region of the country, situated by the caspian sea. typically referred to as shomal, this region of the country boasts beautiful views of both mountains and the sea, and is known for its amazing foods.

a lot of my favorite dishes from this region include mirza ghasemi (made with smoked or grilled eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, turmeric and egg), baghali ghatogh (made with broad beans, dill, egg, turmeric, and garlic), and mahi kababi (grilled fish, typically rainbow trout).

we spent a lot of our days in shomal taking quick trips visiting towns along the caspian sea coast, or the mountainous towns that are situated 1500m above sea level. each town had its own charm and my grandfather had his go-to restaurant along each route. one restaurant we visited was particularly interesting. a father-son operation in a rural distric of shomal known as do hezar, the restaurant (whose name i never learned) sits at the top of the mountain (roughly 1500 – 2000m above sea level) alongside the winding main road. let’s put it this way, you will never, ever get tired of the view you have from your table.

view

not only is this place in a beautiful area, but it’s a quiet restaurant (we were the only people there at that hour of the afternoon) that is known for it’s grilled rainbow trout (ghezel ala). i’ve never been a huge fish fanatic, so the fact that i nearly inhaled an entire one of these grilled trouts on my own just goes to show how amazing it tasted.

The owner, an acquaintance of my grandfather, does all the grilling of the fish himself, dubbing the dish his “specialty.” the trick to the amazing taste is the two-part grilling process: the first step is to put the entire fish (on a skewer, skin intact) over high flames until the fat under the skin melts and the skin comes off. the next step is to remove the rest of the skin, put salt, pepper, and olive oil on the fish, and return to the grill. the result is the most flaky, well-seasoned trout you will ever have. seriously. after the grilling, the grilling master debones the fish for you, right at the table (see video).

the trout is served with kateh (a traditional style of cooking basmati rice in shomal), mirza ghassemi, and rob-e aloocheh which is a chutney made of {very} sour plums that goes on the fish–and it’s so amazing, i wish i could have brought some back with me!

Untitled

i could really use a spread like this right now!

xx.