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This Page has been moved: My Persian Kitchen: Jujeh Kabob, Part 2

Chicken Kabob1 (Medium)

 

 

 

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Marinating1 (Medium)

 

This page has been moved to: My Persian Kitchen: Jujeh Kabob Part 1

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Baghali Polow1 (Medium)

Let me start this post by saying that I have always had trouble with making rice that is mixed with anything.  I have always found that making khoresht with white rice is the easiest thing for me to do.  I have made mixed rice a number of times but what I have always found difficult is finding the right balance between the rice and the other ingredients.  Here comes the truth, I have had some serious disasters with mixed rice. The very first time that I made Estamboli Polow, rice with green beans, it was a pathetic, pathetic sight. Here is the thing though, I am stubborn and I have not been known to back down a challenge.  So I keep trying until practice makes perfect, at the expense of my wonderful and supporting husband! :)

A couple of weeks ago I craved Baghali Polow and decided that it was time to roll up my sleeves and give it my best try. Additionally, I had also realized that in my repertoire of posted recipes, I had not yet graced my readers with a Polow. I am such a giver ain’t I??

You asked what Polow is? Persians refer to rice that is mixed with other ingredients as Polow. White rice is simply refered to as Chelow.

So I consulted three cookbooks for ratios for this recipe. I also decided to go all out and make lamb shank to go with it. All was good until the end. I ended up under cooking the tahdig, and and and wait for this, the rice was not flavorful enough, in my opinion.  But the lamb shank was fabulous! I will post that recipe next. I felt somewhat defeated about the polow and figured that I would have to practice some more.

Then we flew out to Seattle and the night that we got there we wanted to cook dinner for our friend Winford and his roommate/landlord Dirk as they were hosting us at their house.  We were walking through Pike Place Market trying to figure out what to make after we took a fun guided tour of the market.

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Winford suggested making something different that would “wow” Dirk.  He soon declared that we should make Persian food. Who am I to turn down “wowing” someone with Persian food??? After all I am the one who has a blog solely dedicated to Perisan food.  We did some brain storming and I was persuaded  into making Baghali Polow.  My resistance to the idea went to deaf ears.  I started sweating at the idea that this was going to be too much pressure. It had been a long day already. I was surviving completely on coffee as we had left our house at 5:30am to catch our plane to Seattle.  I was forced to go to Starbucks to get coffee in the morning because there was nothing else in the terminal close to gate and when I came to pour the half and half the whole lid of the flask just fell into my coffee splashing all over my pretty green linen shirt and the counter. As that was not enough once we landed in Seattle I came to use my phone and it didn’t work.  Fortunately, The Sous Chef’s phone worked so we called our friend to tell him we had landed. But I ended spending 45 minutes on the phone with Verizon until they got my phone working out of state. It is a good thing that we have a national plan…yeah. So did I really want to end the day by making a fool out of myself and my cooking skills? Hell NO!

We went shopping and bought all the necessary ingredients including the spices necessary to make Advieh along with some delicious sounding tea mixes for me!

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I went to work once we got home. AND ladies and gentleman, I DID IT! I decided to do a couple of things differently and the results were awesome.  I lost count of how many times Winford went back for more. And the best part of it all, he asked for the recipe. Score!

So here it is, this one is for you Winford!

Ingredients

3 cups of basmati rice

1 (14 oz) package of Fava beans (lima beans can be substituted), must be peeled

3 large bunches of fresh dill (equivalent to about 5-6 cups)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 tbsp of yogurt

1 pinch of saffron

3-4 tsp of advieh

canola or vegetable oil

salt & pepper

The first thing to do for this recipe is prepare the rice the same way you would for white rice or chelow.  Once you have placed the rice in a strainer stop and pick up from here.

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Clean and chop the dill in batches.

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Here is my added step that made a huge difference. The first time around I didn’t saute the fava beans, I just added them to the rice.  SO, saute fava beans and garlic in some oil for about 5-6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Add saffron water to yogurt as you would for the white rice recipe.

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Mix a couple of spatulas of rice with yogurt.

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Add enough water to cover the bottom of the pot. This should be a thin layer. Add 3 tbsp of  Canola Oil. Give it a shaking so that water and oil mix a little.

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Layer the bottom of the pot with rice and yogurt mixture.

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Add a generous amount of dill and then cover with a small layer of rice.

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Sprinkle 1 tsp of advieh over the rice. On top of it add a generous layer of fava beans.

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Then add a very generous layer of dill. Every recipe that you will read, will tell you to just layer. My grandma always used to mix the rice and ingredients a little bit. Very gently with a spoon mix the rice, fava beans, and dill. Continue layering until you are out of both rice and the rest of the ingredients.

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Your last layer should always be rice. I like to sprinkle a little advieh on top.

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With the back of your spatula create some hole making sure that you don’t go past the yogurt and rice mix.

Baghali Polow11 (Small) Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes. Then place a towel over the lid, as shown above, and cook on medium-low for 1 hour.

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For this type of rice I suggest adding some butter or oil half way through the cooking process. Just melt 2-3 table spoons of butter and pour over the rice. You can also add some saffron to the butter. This will not only add a layer of flavor, but it will also give some of the rice a deep yellow color.

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As a bonus here are two pictures of our first dinner in Seattle. Instead of using yogurt the boys requested potatoes as part of the tahdig. This is rather easy to make. Instead of using yogurt and saffron you can layer the bottom of the pot with potatoes. All you have to do is go ahead and place water and oil to the bottom of the pan, I added 2 extra tbsp of oil because of the potatoes. Layer the top with rice making sure that you fill up the gaps between the potatoes with rice. Continue layering as shown above. The cooking process remains the same. If your tagdig doesn’t come out easily, just fill up your sink with a couple of inches of water and place the pot in there for a couple of minutes. Then try again. It should come out tout suite!

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We had ourselves a fabulous evening eating al fresco. Here are the boys setting up our dinner table. The Sous Chef was busy de-boning the fish in this picture.

Which reminds me, we bought some fish from Pike Place Market to have with our Baghali Polow. Now look at them studs below: the fine men who work at the fish market at Pike Place Market.  Have you seen this month’s (June 2009) Sunset Magazine? There is a picture of the hottie on the left in there. And I,  little nobody that I am, got to go behind the counter and take a picture with all three of them!!! Good Times!

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More on the fish that we made and ate will be shared in another post along with more pictures of the hot fishermen.  As a last note, I would like to add that generally the rice dish that accompanies fish in Persian food is Sabzi Polow, Herbed Rice. But I personally, think that Baghali Polow is also a nice complement to fish.  Enjoy!!!!

This dish can qualify as a vegan dish by omitting yogurt and butter and subsituting with canola or vegetable oil.

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Koofteh Berenj 1 (Medium)

Some call them Koftah, others call them Keftah, but we, Persians, call them Koofteh! Today’s  recipe indeed is for Koofteh Berenji, which is meatballs with rice and split peas. These are seriously yummy and were enjoyed in our house for quite a few days!

It was fun experimenting with recipes where I could use the abundance of  Gojeh Sabz that I had sitting in my fridge. To be exact this is the second recipe that I made during my cooking marathon along  Khoresht Gojeh Sabz.

These take a little bit of time as far as preparation goes, but they are well worth it!

Ingredients

1lb of ground meat ~ I used extra lean 15%

2 large onions, one graded and the other sliced length wise

1/2 cup of split peas

3/4 cup of rice

1 bunch of parsley

1/2 bunch of dill

1 bunch of green onions

2 branches of tarragon

2 eggs

3 cloves of garlic, diced

1 tsp turmeric

3 tsp advieh

2 tbsp tomato paste

3 cups of broth or 3 bouillon

1 cup of gojeh sabz

salt & pepper

Let’s get started!

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First things first: wash split peas and rice, add 2 cups of water, a dash of salt and cook for 30 minutes.

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Clean and wash the herbs. Notice that fresh tarragon is missing here. My local Persian store was all out. I was rather disappointed because tarragon happens to be one of my favorite herbs.  But have no fears, I have a substitute coming right up! Also chop the green onions and place them aside.

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I am partially clever and partially lazy so I thought I could use our food processor to grade the onion. Frankly speaking  I was not in a mood to shed some tears.  Somehow grading onions is our food processor is not a good option.  After seeing the results I might have used two explicit words to unload some of the frustration I felt after the failed attempt. Anyway, I don’t care how you do it, just grade your onion please.

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Then throw in the herbs and pulse a couple of times for a nice chop chop.  The smell of the chopped herbs should make its way up to your nose any minute now! By the way, this is a nice and quick way to chop a large amount of herbs together.  I love the food processor for precisely this reason. It might fail its purpose for grading onions, but he is my bestest friend when it comes to chopping herbs, and grading cheese, to think of it!

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Once the rice and split peas are done, place them in a colander to drain the juices. Save the juice as it will be used as part of the broth.  You should be left with about 1 cup of water.

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Now gather all of the following ingredients as seen in the picture: rice, split peas, graded onion, chopped herbs, ground beef, advieh, and eggs.  You will be mixing all these ingredients together in a bowl. If you are going to use a mixer like I did, once again, clever/lazy way, I have found that it is best to beat the eggs and advieh in a small separate bowl first.  Regardless of whether you are making this in a bowl or mixer, I have found that it is much easier to first combine the herbs, spices, seasoning, with the egg, and then once these are nicely incorporated add the meat.

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So moving right along, place the eggs and chopped herbs in the mixer.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.

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Give it a nice mix so that they are incorporated.

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Add the green onions. Remember how I said that I didn’t have fresh tarragon? Add 1 tbsp of dry tarragon. It is not the same as fresh, but it will do. Give it a mix.

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Then add the ground beef, split peas, and rice.

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Mix for about 5 minutes, starting on a slow speed and gradually going higher. If you are overzealous, like I can sometimes be, and go to a fast speed right away, then you will find your counter to mirror mine, where things just flew everywhere.

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While you are mixing, stop half way through to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Also you might want to scrape the bottom of the bowl as sometimes things just stick to the bottom.  Once your mixture is nicely incorporated, make the meatballs, about the  size of a small orange.  I don’t have a picture of this process as I was home alone and it is a bit hard to make meatballs and photograph yourself at the same time. :)

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Sauté the onion and garlic in oil until translucent.

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This is an extra step that I did because I didn’t have broth and used 3 bouillon.  Place 3 cups of water and 3 bouillons in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add the 2 tbsp of tomato paste and mix until both the paste and bouillons are dissolved.  One thing that is very important to do is dissolve the tomato paste in either warm water or warm broth.  This is something that I learned from my grandma and it is seem to be universal in Persian cooking.

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Place the broth with tomato paste along with the rice and peas broth over the onions.  Check the seasoning of your broth now and make sure that it is just right.  Add gojeh sabz and slowly place each  meatball in the pot.

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I should have used a bigger pot, I know! but anyway, partially cover and cook for one hour on medium heat.  In the mean time make sure that you baste the meatballs that are exposed on top or gently turned them over half way through.  Uncover the pot and cook for another half hour.

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I would totally lie to you if I told you that I have always loved Khoresht Karafs.  As a child I didn’t,  it didn’t do much for me.  Then one day during a two year stint as a pesco-vegetarian I decided that it was the easiest thing to convert to a vegetarian meal. I won’t get into the details of it all because you might be horrified if I told you what I substituted the meat for; suffice to say that the results were good and I would do it again need there be. Anyway, I remember calling one of my cousins to ask her for the recipe.  She told me how to make it and she advised me to put plenty of onion and mint in it because, well celery doesn’t taste like much and I was not going to use any type of meat in it, so my stew would basically be tasteless.   A good ten years later I have figured out a way to make this recipe and it tastes delicious.

There are three simple steps in making this recipe a masterpiece. 1) I have learned that  cooking the meat first with water allows it to turn into the broth that the veggies are going to be cooked in later. Basically you are building your first layer of flavor. 2) I don’t like it when celery is overcooked and mushy like.  3) The celery itself should be the star, meaning that you are better off buying your celery at the farmer’s market instead of a grocery store.  Simply put they just taste much better,  consequently,  your dish is going to be much better tasting! While my cousin’s advice to put plenty of onion and mint was good, I think what truly makes this dish is the celery itself.

Ingredients

1 lb of meat

1 head of celery cut in about 2 inches long

1 onion diced

4 cloves  garlic minced

1 bunch  green onions, chopped

2 bunches  of mint

1 bunch  of parsley

3 dried Persian lemons

2 tsp advieh

1/2 tsp turmeric

5 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

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Loot at the beauty above, they all came from our local Farmer’s Market in Torrance.  Look at the celery, it still has its leaves and this is truly a blessing to anyone who wants to make Khoresht Karafs because the leaves add a whole other layer of delicious flavor.

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In a Dutch oven sauté onion, green onions, and garlic in 4 tbsp of oil until translucent.  Add meat, in this case I am using lamb, but you can use any type of meat you want, brown a bit and then add turmeric. Give it a few stirs in order for the spice to release its flavors.

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Season with salt and pepper, punctuate the dried Persian lemons or give them a light crush, throw them in, add 3 cups of water.  Cover and cook for 1 hour.

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In the mean time rough chop your herbs

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In a separate pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, add celery, and give it a quick sauté

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Once your meat is ready add celery to it

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Add chopped herbs, advieh, 2 cups of water, and adjust seasoning.  Cover and cook on medium for 1 1/2 hours.

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Once done your khoresht should look like this and your kitchen should smell heavenly! Place in a dish and serve over rice.

On a last note, this dish falls under gluten-free when served over gluten-free rice.  :)

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The first dish that I would like to talk about is by far one of my most favorites: Khoresht Ghaimeh. This is a delicious blend of meat, split peas, tomatoes, and spices topped with French Fries.  Not only this dish is really good, it is also a very easy one to make.  What I also love about this dish is the simplicity of the ingredients and how well they go together.  I have made this recipe a few times a it has been a hit with our guests.

Without any further ado here is the recipe:

1 lb of meat – this can be any kind you may like, during this cooking demo I used lamb

2 medium onions diced

4 cloves of garlic minced

3 Persian Lemons

2 cans (14.5oz) of stewed tomatoes diced

1/2 cup of split peas

1 tbls of tomato paste

4 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp advieh

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 cup of French Fries

Let’s start cooking now!

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Warm a Dutch-oven on medium flame and once hot add oil. Make sure that the oil is well distributed and then add onion and garlic

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Cook onion and garlic until translucent. In my opinion this is a very important step because you are allowing the the onion and garlic to release their inner goodness. Persians call this step “taft”

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Throw in the meat and let it brown for a few moments. This is an important step because you are sealing in the meat flavor

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Once the meat has been browned add the turmeric. Look at the color, so vibrant! Give it all a few stirs allowing for the turmeric to release its flavor once it hits the oil and heat.

Now also add the Persian Lemons, add 5 cups of water, throw in some salt and pepper for seasoning, cover and cook for 1 hour. During this step you are essentially making your own meat broth for this stew.

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Add tomato cans, split peas, tomato paste, and advieh. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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While your stew cooks give it a stir every so often to make sure that the bottom does not stick. Also adjust for seasoning as you cook. One thing is sure though, by now your kitchen smells heavenly!

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About 15 minutes before you are planning to serve your food cook the French Fries. Now, you can totally be ambitious and make your own French Fries from scratch. More power to you if you do. Your other option is to buy a bag of frozen French Fries and go to town with it. I like to bake mine which always come out very good.

Take a cookie sheet and spray it with some olive oil and place French Fries on top –you might want to add a few extra than necessary because you will be tempted to take a few and eat them! Bake at 400 ° for about 7 minutes on each side.  Take out of the oven and sprinkle with salt.

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Once the Khoresht is done place it in a serving bowl and top with French Fries. Serve over rice.

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