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    

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Squash and Tomato Tart تارت کدو و گوجه فرنگی

It takes this California grizzly bear some summer squashes and tomatoes to wake up from her winter hibernation! Between Nowruz, having guests over from Iran and the Great Britain, and traveling to Turkey, we sure did a lot of great cooking, baking and ice cream making, but to find time to sit and write about them all has been the challenging part. But the sight of the first tomatoes in my parents' garden, which thanks to the early summer heat in the Bay Area started to ripen two months ahead of their normal schedule got me so excited to talk food that I had to come here and check on you lovelies.
The recipe for this tart is from Food & Wine's July 2007 issue. I've gotten into the habit of pulling the old issues of my cooking magazines each month to make sure I actually use them. As soon as I saw the ingredients list I knew I wanted to make it. Summer squash and tomatoes over pesto and goat cheese, who wouldn't want to eat that!? Sous chef has been getting into the habit of making pesto and storing it in the fridge, so that made it even easier to make the tart. And I'm sure it'll turn out as great if you make it with store bought pesto. And in case you're not a big goat cheese fan, the pesto flavor will overpower it, but feel free to replace it ricotta or farmers' cheese if you absolutely can't stand a hint of it.

Adapted from Food & Wine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound small yellow squash, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons prepared pesto
5 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened
All-purpose flour, for dusting
14 ounces puff pastry, chilled
1 plum tomato, very thinly sliced
1 large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water
10 small pitted green olives, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the squash and onion and season with salt and white pepper. Cover and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the squash and onion are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a strainer and press lightly.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, blend the pesto with the goat cheese. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 13-inch square; trim the square to 12 inches. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and invert it onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Spread the goat cheese all over the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Top with the squash mixture. Arrange the tomato slices on the tart and sprinkle with salt and white pepper. Fold up the sides, pressing the corners together. Trim any excess pastry at the corners. Brush the pastry with the egg wash and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 45 minutes, until the edges are golden and the bottom is completely cooked through. Sprinkle with the olives, cut into squares and serve right away.

مواد لازم 
روغن زیتون ٢ قاشق سوپ خوری 
کدو زرد کوچک, ٥٠٠ گرم, به ضخامت ١ سانتیمتر ورقه شده 
پیاز بزرگ, ١ عدد, خلال شده 
نمک و فلفل سفید 
سس پستو, ٢ قاشق سوپخوری, برای طرز تهیه اینجا کلیک کنید
پنیر بز, ١٤٠ گرم
خمیر هزار لایه, ٤٠٠ گرم
گوجه فرنگی, یک عدد, خیلی نازک ورقه شده 
یک تخم مرغ زده شده با ٢ قاشق آب 
زیتون سبز خرد شده, ١٠ عدد 
آرد برای باز کردن خمیر 

طرز تهیه 
فر را روی درجه ٤٥٠ فارنهایت یا ٢٣٠ سانتیگراد روشن کنید تا گرم شود, روی سینی فر کاغذ روغنی بیاندازید. در یک تابه بزرگ, روغن زیتون را داغ کنید. کدو و پیاز را به همراه نمک و فلفل اضافه کنید. در تابه را بگذارید و روی حرارت ملایم-زیاد بپزید, هر از چند گاهی کدو ها را هم بزنید, تا پیاز و کدو کمی قهوه ای شوند, حدود ٥ دقیقه. تابه را از روی حرارت بر دارید, و بگذارید برای ٥ دقیقه دیگر توی تابه بماند. کدو و پیاز را آبکش کنید و با پشت قاشق کمی فشار دهید تا آب آنها گرفته شود.
در یک کاسه کوچک, سس پستو را با پنیر بز مخلوط کنید. خمیر هزار لایه را روی سطح تمیزی که آرد پاشیدید به مربع با ضلع ٣٠ سانتیمتر باز کنید. با چنگال روی خمیر را سوراخ سوراخ کنید, و خمیر را روی کاغذ روغنی منتقل کنید.
مخلوط پستو و پنیر بز را روی خمیر پهن کنید, حدود ٢ سانتیمتر اطراف خمیر را خالی بگذارید. روی مخلوط پستو را با کدو و پیاز بپوشانید بعد ورقه های گوجه فرنگی را روی تارت بچینید و کمی نمک و فلفل بپاشد. کناره های تارت را روی تارت تا کنید و با تخم مرغ زده شده آغشته کنید. روی پنجره بین وسط و پایین فر به مدت ٤٥ دقیقه بپزید تا گوشه های تارت طلایی شود تارت کاملا پخته شود. تارت را از فر خارج کنید و زیتون خرد شده را روی آن بپاشید. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Northern-Iranian Style Herb Stuffed Fish ماهی شکم پر به روش شمالی

Nowruz, Persian New Year, literally meaning "new day", begins on the first day of spring, the season of rebirth. It is the time for new beginnings, and so, what better time to build a new friendship with other fellow food-bloggers in our Iranian community across the world.

Along with 13 other very talented food-bloggers, cookbook authors, and chefs we are publishing our Nowruz recipes in a recipe round-up today on our blogs. I just can't wait to try the amazing recipes all these ladies have published today.

For a list of participating bloggers and their Nowruz recipes refer to the bottom of this post.

For my blog, I decided to stay true to my Mazandarani roots and make northern-Iranian style herb stuffed fish. The abundance of herbs, pomegranate paste, and garlic makes this dish uniquely northern  Iranian. And the Fish itself is the one ingredient that must be present on the Persian New Year table.

As we're getting closer to another new year, I wish you all peace, happiness, and love.

1 whole 2 1/2 - 3 pound fish, such as sea bass, snapper, bream, or porgy
2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups chopped mixed herbs (mint, parsley, cilantro)*
1/4 cup barberries
3 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1/4 cup pomegranate paste**
1/4 cup ground walnuts
1 tablespoon butter
1 recipe liquid saffron
Seville orange or lemon wedges for garnish

*The original recipe calls for herbs (such as ouji, zolang, anarije, sorsom) indigenous to northern Iran, since these herbs are not even common in the rest of Iran, I wasn't able to find a correct translation of their English name. You can use the herbs I have listed in the recipe, the result is equally delicious.

**We are fortunate enough to have our pomegranate paste shipped to us by my lovely aunt from Iran. These pomegranate pastes are much thicker than the ones you'd find in the specialty supermarkets in the US, so you might have to use more pomegranate paste than noted here if you're using store-bought kind. But then that might make your stuffing too watery (you'd want a paste like consistency), so keep that in mind and tweak the recipe to get the right balance of flavor and consistency.

Clean and gut fish, scale and remove gills.
Preheat oven at 350 degrees, and lightly oil a baking dish.
Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat and brown the onions, about 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and saute for an extra minute. Add the chopped herbs and cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the liquids evaporate. Mix in the barberries, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, pomegranate paste, and ground walnuts. Cook for 2 more minutes, season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.
Season the the fish, and stuff with the herb mixture. Pin or sew the cavity shut.
Cut small slits on the fish and let it bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden.
Transfer fish to a serving platter. Melt butter and mix with liquid saffron and remaining lemon juice and spoon over fish. Garnish with fresh herbs and Seville orange or lemon wedges.

Participating Bloggers In The Norouz Recipe Round-Up - 2014

دیگه چیزی به نوروز نمونده و چه وقتی بهتر از نوروز برای پیدا کردن دوستهای جدید. امسال همراه با ١٣ بلاگر هنرمند دیگر در سراسر دنیا پستهای نوروز رو همزمان منتشر میکنیم. فقط نمیتونم صبر کنم تا دستورهای این خانم های هنرمند رو امتحان کنم. 

برای دیدن لیست این بلاگ ها و دستورهاشون به لیست بالا رجوع کنید.

من برای کافه لیلی تصمیم گرفتم که به اصلیت شمالیم برگردم و دستور خانوادگیمون برای ماهی شکم پر رو پست کنم.

توی این سال جدید برای همه شما دوستان وفادار آرزوی صلح, شادی, و عشق میکنم.

مواد لازم 
ماهی سفید درسته حدود ١ کیلو تا یک کیلو و نیم 
روغن مایع, ٢ قاشق غذاخوری 
پیاز زرد, یک نصفه خلال شده 
سیر, ٥ حبه له شده 
سبزی خورد شده, ٢ پیمانه (نعناع, جعفری, گشنیز)*
زرشک, ١/٤ پیمانه 
آب لیمو, ٣ قاشق غذاخوری 
رب انار ١/٤ پیمانه 
گردو چرخ شده, ١/٤ پیمانه 
کره, یک قاشق غذاخوری 
زعفران آب شده, ٢-٣ قاشق غذاخوری 
نارنج یا لیمو برای تزئین 

 برای این ماهی شکم پر معمولا از سبزیهای معطر شمالی مثل زولنگ, اناریجه, و سوسنبر همراه سبزیهای دیگر که لیست کردم استفاده میکنیم. در صورت دسترسی نداشتن به این سبزی های بومی میتونین شکم ماهی را با باقی سبزیها درست کنین. نتیجه همچنان خوشمزه خواهد بود.

طرز تهیه 
ماهی را پاک کنید, پولک هایش را بگیرید و شکمش را خالی کنید.
فر را روی درجه ٣٥٠ فارنهایت یا ١٧٥ سانتیگراد روشن کنید تا گرم شود, و ظرف فر را کمی چرب کنید.
در یک تابه متوسط روی حرارت متوسط روغن را داغ کنید و پیاز را سرخ کنید, حدود ١٠ دقیقه. سیر له شده را اضافه کنید و برای یک دقیقه دیگر تفت دهید. سبزی ها را اضافه کنید و برای ٣ تا ٥ دقیقه تفت دهید تا آب آنها گرفته شود. زرشک, ٢ قاشق آب لیمو, رب انار, و گردو چرخ شده را اضافه کنید. دو دقیقه دیگر بپزید, نمک و فلفل بزنید و از روی حرارت بردارید.
داخل و بیرون ماهی را نمک بزنید, و با مخلوط سبزی پر کنید. و شکم ماهی را بدوزید.
روی ماهی را ٣ برش کوچک بدهید و درون فر برای ٢٥ تا ٣٠ دقیقه بپزید تا روی ماهی طلایی شود.
ماهی را به ظرف مناسب منتقل کنید. کره را آب کنید و با زعفران آب کرده و آب لیمو مخلوط کنید و روی ماهی بریزید. ماهی را با سبزی و نارنج یا لیمو تزئین کنید.


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