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.

spring into • n o r o o z

norooz, Uncategorized

the first day of spring is a joyous day all around the world–a sign that the harsh, cold winter season is over. the days leading up to the start of spring are generally filled with the exciting blooming of flowers and beautiful weather. for iranians (and all others who celebrate), the first day of spring is also the first day of a new year.

norooz (ئوروز, literally meaning new day) is the persian new year celebration, typically falling on the 20th or 21st of March, and lasting 13 days. this has always been my favorite holiday (sorry christmas!), and though i’ve never been able to actually celebrate it in iran, having my (very large) persian family around to celebrate the new year with every year makes it very special.

 

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part of the tradition of norooz is to set up the haftsin–a display of various items, each representing things you hope for in the new year. there are seven must-have items, all beginning with the farsi letter “sin” or “s”: seeb (apples), symbolizing beauty; sabzeh (wheat sprouts), symbolizing rebirth; serkeh (vinegar), symbolizing old age and patience; samanu (wheat germ pudding), symbolizing wealth; senjed (dried oleaster), symbolizing love;  seer (garlic), symbolizing health; and somagh (sumac), symbolizing the sunrise.

additionally, items like mirrors, candles, dyed eggs, flowers (hyacinths, tulips, daffodils, etc.), book of hafez poetry, goldfish, and many other items are placed on the haftsin, making it one of the coolest things i’ve ever seen.

since today is the 13th day of the new year 1395, what we call seezdah bedar, i figured it was appropriate to introduce norooz to those who are unfamiliar with it, and to those who know and celebrate this wonderful time of the year: saleh no mobarak!

stay tuned for recipes of all the sweets i baked for norooz this year!

xx.