Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Fava Bean Kuku کوکو باقلا

It feels as if it was yesterday that in my last blog post I talked about our family picnics when we were kids. Today along with my fellow Persian food bloggers we are sharing our favorite recipes for summer picnics. And that is so appropriate, given how Iranians in general love to picnic. Every Friday, which is the weekend in Iran you can see people in national parks having family picnics and get togethers. We even have a national holiday dedicated to picnicking on the thirteenth day of the New Year.
While the staple dishes on an Iranian table usually consist of rice and hot stews, for picnic most would normally pack something lighter and easier to transport, like this fava bean kuku.
Coincidentally few weeks ago, determined to try out a new recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's cookbook Jerusalem I came across this kuku recipe, which the authors also credit to Iranian Jewish community in the book's namesake city. So I figured I'd kill two birds with a stone and try out this recipe for our collaborative post.
Kuku has many variations of herbs, fruits and vegetables mixed with egg and baked in a frying pan. It's more like a frittata or Spanish tortilla. The most popular version is the mixed herb kuku which is one of the dishes on the Persian New Year's table. There are also some made with different kinds of meat, like this chicken kuku I made a while ago.

Happy picnicking :)

Adapted with minor changes from Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Jerusalem

1 lb/ 500 g fava beans, fresh or frozen
5 tbsp / 75 ml boiling water
2 tbsp superfine sugar
5 tbsp / 45 g dried barberries
3 tbsp heavy cream
1/4 tsp saffron threads
2 tbsp cold water
5 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
7 large free-range eggs
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup / 30 g dill, chopped
1 cup/ 15 g mint, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350F / 180C. Put the fava beans in a pan with plenty of boiling water. Simmer for 1 minute, drain, refresh under cold water, and set aside.
Pour the 5 tbsp / 75 ml boiling water into a medium bowl, add the sugar, and stir to dissolve. Once this syrup is tepid, add the barberries and leave them for about 10 minutes, then drain.
Bring the cream, saffron, and cold water to a boil in a small saucepan. Immediately remove from the heat and set aside for 30 minutes to infuse.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat in a 10-inch / 25cm nonstick, ovenproof frying pan for which you have a lid. Add the onion and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occacionally, then add the garlic and cook and stir for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the fava beans and set aside.
Beat the eggs well in a large mixture bowl until frothy. Add the flour, baking powder, saffron cream, herbs, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and whisk well. Finally, stir in the barberries and the fava beans and onion mix.
Wipe the frying pan clean, add the remaining olive oil, and place in the oven for 10 minutes to heat well. Pour the egg mix into the hot pan, cover with the lid, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 20 to 25 minutes, until the eggs are just set. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes, before inverting onto a serving platter. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Mazandarani Style Nettle Soup آش گزنه مازندرانی

When we were kids, living in Iran, Fridays were always for picnics with our cousins in the outskirts of the city we lived in, Sari. My dad, amoo Nouri, and amoo Ahmad would put our bikes in the trunk of their car and drive the three families outside of the city to a lush green area perfect for running around, playing dodgeball, and riding our bikes.

So focused on having fun that we wouldn't notice the stinging plant our parents warned us about, until our ankles would brush against a nettle leaf and the sting would have us running to our mothers for help. 

So I always wondered, who thought this stinging plant could be edible!
The nettle found it's way to my parents garden through a family friend who found it outside of Oakland. My mom planted it in her backyard, and every year around this time we make nettle soup for Chaharshanbe Soori (the Tuesday evening fiesta) which celebrates the last Tuesday night of the year before the Persian New Year, as it is accustomed in Mazandaran province of Iran.

Speaking of Nowruz, the new year begins this Saturday night PST. And for some delicious Nowruz recipe ideas please check the links below to some delicious recipes by my fellow Persian food bloggers. 

Happy Nowruz!

1 cup vegetable oil, divided 
1 large garlic bulb, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 large yellow onion, thinly slided
1/3 cup dried chickpea
1/2 cup pinto beans
1 cup short grain rice
1 cup green lentils
1 bunch each cilantro, and Persian leek (tareh), cleaned, washed and finely chopped
1 large bunch nettles, cleaned and chopped (you can substitute with spinach if you can't find nettles)*
1 cup pomegranate paste or molases 

* Make sure you use gloves when working with nettles to avoid the sting

In a small shallow pot heat 3/4 cup of vegetable oil over medium heat. Fry the minced garlics until golden and crispy. Set aside.
In a medium pan, heat the remaining oil over medium heat and brown the sliced onions. Add turmeric, sauté for one more minute and set aside.
Soak chickpea, pinto beans, and lentils in separate bowls for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
In a large pot bring bring two quarts of water with rice and chickpeas to a boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes over medium low heat until chickpeas are partially cooked. Add pinto beans and let them cook until just done, about 20 more minutes. Add lentils and cook for 20 minutes longer. 
Add chopped cilantro and leeks and let the soup simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Cover the pot and let the soup simmer for 10 more minutes. Add fried onions and 1 tablespoon of fried garlic and pomegranate paste. Stir the soup and simmer over low heat until the ingredients come together. If the soup is too thick add some water. 
Add the chopped nettles 10 minutes prior to serving. Garnish with fried garlic and enjoy

Note: There are many variations to this soup, some add beats, butternut squash, or fava beans it, and the soup is normally made with local northern Iranian herbs (zolang, anarijeh) not known to many even in Iran. This is a very versatile soup and feel free to add or change the recipe as you like, just make sure you include the nettles, since it won't be nettle soup without it 😉

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Mazandarani Style Yogurt Soup with Fava Beans

When I first started this blog, I wanted to create a platform where I could store my favorite recipes, and share them with friends and family. Little did I know that I would be introduced to a large community of Iranian foodbloggers and writers who continuously inspire me with their enormous talent and knowledge of the Persian cuisine.
This blog post is another collaboration with my foodie friends. I decided to post a recipe for a soup that a reader had requested, my late grandmother's Mazandarani style yogurt soup perfumed with fresh herbs and hearty for a chilly autumn weather. Funny that today as I'm writing this blog post we got our first autumn rain in California. Hopefully the rain season is off to a good start.

Onion, 1 large, thinly sliced
Chickpeas, 1/2 cup, rinsed and soaked for 2-3 hours
White beans, 1/2 cup, rinsed and soaked for 2-3 hours
Rice, 1 cup
Dill, 1 bunch, washed and coarsely chopped
Cilantro, 1 bunch, washed and coarsely chopped
Spinach, 1 bunch, washed and coarsely chopped
Garlics, 6 cloves, minced, or 1 bunch fresh garlic leaves washed and chopped
Fava beans, 2 cups fresh or frozen thawed
Yogurt, 2 cups

In a large skillet heat 1/3 cup of vegetable oil and fry onions until brown. Set aside.
In a large pot bring 2 quarts (2 liters) of water to boil and cook the chickpeas and white beans on a low simmer covered. If you want your soup thicker, add rice the same time as legumes. If you want your soup on the thin side add the rice after the legumes have cooked. 
Once the legumes and rice have cooked through, add chopped herbs and garlics and let the soup simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes.
About 10-15 before serving, add the fava beans.
In a large bowl beat the yogurt until smooth.
Once the fava bean is cooked remove the soup from the stove, add the soup one ladle at a time to the yogurt and mix in (tempering the yogurt this way prevents the yogurt from curdling).
Reserve some of the fried onion and mix in the rest. 
Serve the soup with the remaining fried onions on top. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ghottab: Persian Crescent Pastries with Walnut filling قطاب

The smell of orange blossoms infuses the backyard and brings memories of our home in Northern Iran. Inside the home, there's a rush to finish up the khune tekooni (Pre-Persian New Year spring cleaning). There are wheat and lentil sprouts by the window growing few millimeters each day until they are ready for the haft seen. If we were in Iran, the streets would've been crowded by people doing their last minute Nowruz shopping, like how crowded it gets prior to Christmas here in the US. But for us, we create the buzz in our little home by making sure that we still keep certain traditions, like painting the eggs, or slaving in the kitchen to make our own samanoo and Persian pastries such as ghottab.
Like many other Persian sweets, ghottab is a sweet infused with rose water and cardamon. Its walnut filling showcases the delicious Iranian walnuts and makes for a perfect accompaniment to the afternoon tea.
As Nowruz is approaching, I wish you a sweet year ahead filled with love, happiness, and prosperity.

This recipe was given to me by my sweet aunt Gohar.

Yields 60 cookies

1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon wheat starch
2/3 cup rosewater
5 - 5 1/12 cups flour (700 gr, 25 oz)
2 egg yolks
1 1/4 cup melted and cooled shortening (270 gr, 9 oz)
4 tablespoons yogurt
3 cups walnut (280 gr, 10 oz)
2 cups powdered sugar (200 gr, 7 oz)
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
Vegetable oil for frying the cookies

In a small bowl mix in the dry yeast with 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and set it aside.
In a separate small bowl mix in the wheat starch in with the rosewater and set it aside.
In a large bowl mix in the flour with egg yolks and melted shortening and break the flour with your fingertips. Mix in the yeast and starch, yogurt and rosewater mixture and knead the dough until a ball forms. If the dough is sticky add some flour if it's dry add in some rosewater.
Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a towel for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a food processor ground up the walnuts and turn it into a bowl. Mix in 1 cup of the powdered sugar and cardamom.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and using a 3 inch circle cutter, cut out the dough. Place about 1 tablespoon of the walnut mixture in the center of the dough and fold the dough over so you get a half circle. Pinch the edges and twist the edges to ensure the filling is sealed in.
Repeat with the remaining dough and walnut mixture.
In a large pot over medium high heat, heat the oil and fry the pastries in the oil for about 5 to 10 minutes until they are golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a paper towel lined sheet and let them cool.
Right before serving, roll the pastries in the remaining powdered sugar and enjoy with some hot tea.

دستور فارسی این قطاب به زودی در همین آدرس منتشر خواهد شد

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cooked Fava Beans باقالی پخته

Yalda, the longest night of the year has been celebrated in Persia and modern day Iran for centuries. It signifies the victory of good (light) over evil (darkness).

To celebrate, Iranians all over the world will get together with friends and family after dark on the last day of autumn to read poetry, snack on pomegranate seeds, watermelon, nuts and dried fruits.
Traditionally, some people would lit candles and stay up until sunrise to witness the victory of light over darkness, have a hearty breakfast and leave the party. However in the modern days since Yalda doesn't always fall on a weekend and most people are busy with the day to day activity the celebration usually lasts until later in the night.

As a child, I remember Yalda being one of my favorite times of the year. We would get together with cousins, aunts and uncles. We would laugh at jokes, be mesmerized by old tales told by our elders, and read our fortunes from Hafez (14th century Iranian poet who wrote about joys of love and wine).
In our family there has been an additional food next to the cut watermelon, nuts, and bowls of pomegranate seeds that my dad had been seeding that day. We love to snack on cooked fava beans.

Cooked fava beans are a favorite winter snack in Iran, whether they are cooked at home or sold by street vendors in corners of the streets, drizzled with juice of seville orange or vinegar and sprinkled with some angelica powder they are both comforting and fun to eat.

To cook them, bring to a boil 1 pound fresh fava beans in a pot with 8 cups of water and 4 tablespoons salt, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 15 minutes. Alternatively, if you are using frozen fava beans you can cook them for about 5 minutes. And If you are using dried ones, you need to cook them for about 3 hours.
After the beans are fully cooked, drain them and drizzle them with the juice of seville oranges or vinegar and sprinkle them with angelica powder, salt and pepper to taste.

Noosh-e-jaan and have a happy Yalda!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Northern Iranian Pomegranate Garlic and Chicken Stew خورش سیر انار مازندرانی

There's just something romantic about fall, the cool breezes, the changing colors of leaves on the trees, the shorter days, all make for a peaceful and romantic setting after the hustle and bustle of summer.

Beginning of autumn coincides with beginning of the Iranian month of "Mehr" (meaning kindness, love and affection), and in Iran this change of season has been celebrated for centuries with the fall festival of Mehregan.

I've always been in love with this season, and this year, I'm exceptionally happy about fall, because along with almost 30 other amazing Persian food bloggers across the world we will be sharing a recipe round up for Mehregan.

If you are a regular to Cafe Leilee, you know that we had a recipe round up for Nowruz, and this time our group is bigger and even more fabulous.

For a list of participating bloggers and their Mehregan recipes refer to the bottom of this post, you can also follow hashtag #Mehregan2014 on social media for more behind the scene photos and recipes.

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 lbs. chicken thighs, drumsticks, or breasts
Half a yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 cup thick pomegranate paste, or 1 cup of thin bottled pomegranate paste
2 cups pomegranate seeds
Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and brown the chicken pieces on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
Put the pan over heat again and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add sliced onions and cook until brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute.
Add the chicken pieces back to the pan. Add pomegranate paste (if using thick pomegranate paste, dilute the paste in 1/2 cup of water before adding), pomegranate seeds, salt and pepper. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to a low simmer for about 45 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked.
Garnish with some pomegranate seeds before serving and enjoy with some Persian rice.

Participating Bloggers in the Mehregan 2014 Recipe Round-Up:

Ahu Eats: Badoom Sookhte Torsh | Sour Caramelized Almonds
All Kinds of Yum: Jeweled Carrot Salad
Bottom of the Pot: Broccoli Koo Koo (Frittata)
Cafe Leilee: Northern Iranian Pomegranate Garlic and Chicken Stew
Coco in the Kitchen: Zeytoon Parvardeh |Marinated Olives with Pomegranate & Walnuts
Della Cucina Povera: Ghormeh Sabzi | Persian Lamb & Herb Stew
Fae's Twist & Tango: Rice Meatballs | Kufteh Berenji
Family Spice: Khoreshteh Kadoo | Butternut Squash Stew
Fig & Quince: Festive Persian Noodle Rice & Roasted Chicken Stuffed with Yummies for Mehregan
Honest and Tasty: Loobia Polo | Beef and Green Bean Rice
Lab Noon: Adas Polo Risotto | Persian Lentils Risotto
Lucid Food: Sambuseh
Marjan Kamali: Persian Ice Cream with Rosewater and Saffron
My Caldron: Anaar-Daneh Mosamma | Pomegranate Stew
My Persian Kitchen: Keshmesh Polow | Persian Raisin Rice
Noghlemey: Parsi Dal
Parisa's Kitchen: Morasa Polow | Jeweled Rice
Sabzi: Yogurt Soup with Meatballs
Persian Spice: Rice Meatballs
The Saffron Tales: Khorosht-e Gheimeh | Yellow Lentils Stew
Simi's Kitchen: Lita Turshisi | Torshi-e Liteh | Tangy aubergine pickle
Spice Spoon: Khoresht-e-bademjaan | Aubergine Stew
Turmeric & Saffron: Ash-a Haft Daneh | Seven Bean Soup
The Unmanly Chef: Baghali Polow ba Mahicheh | Rice with Fave Beans and Lamb
ZoZoBaking: Masghati | Persian Scented Starch Fudge

پاییز, مخصوصا ماه مهر همیشه محبوبترین فصل من بود. اولا که تولدم توی ماه مهر هست, بعدش هم با اینکه زیاد از درس خوندن خوشم نمیومد ولی حال و هوای مدرسه رفتن یک جورایی میچسبید, مخصوصا وقتی که تلویزیون آهنگ همشاگردی سلام رو پخش میکرد. 
توی شمال زندگی کردن, پاییز یک حال و هوای خاصی داشت, شروع پاییز معنیش رهایی از هوای گرم و رطوبتی بود و آغاز روزهای بارونی و صدای خش خش برگهای نارنجی زیر پا موقع رفتن به مدرسه. خلاصه یک چیز خاص و رومانتیکی در باره پاییز هست که به آدم آرامش خاصی میده.
امسال من این تغیر فصل رو به خصوص یک جور دیگه دوست دارم, چون همراه حدود ٣٠ بلاگر هنرمند دیگه در سراسر دنیا به مناسبت مهرگان دستورهای پائیزی خودمون رو همزمان منتشر میکنیم. 
برای دیدن لیست این بلاگ ها به لیست بالا رجوع کنید.
ماه مهر, ماه مهربان بر شما مبارک.

مواد لازم 
روغن مایع ٤ قاشق غذاخوری 
مرغ ١ کیلو 
نصف پیاز خلال شده 
سیر ٥ حبه له شده 
رب انار, ١/٢ پیمانه اگر از رب انار محلی استفاده میکنید, ١ پیمانه اگر رب انار فروشگاه 
دونه انار ٢ پیمانه 
نمک و فلفل

 طرز تهیه 
مرغ را با دوقاشق روغن مایع توی تابه روی حرارت متوسط تا زیاد سرخ کنید, حدود ٦ تا ٨ دقیقه. مرغ را از تابه خارج کنید و کنار بگذارید.
باقی روغن را توی تابه بریزید و پیاز را در تابه سرخ کنید, حدود ١٠ دقیقه. سیر را اضافه کنید و حدود یک دقیقه دیگر تفت دهید. 
مرغ را به تابه برگردانید. رب انار (اگر از رب انار محلی استفاده میکنید, رب را در نیم پیمانه آب حل کنید), دونه انار و نمک و فلفل را اضافه کنید. حرارت را کم کنید, در تابه را بگذارید و بگذارید خورش برای ٤٥ دقیقه جا بیفتد.
 نوش جان    


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