This Page has been moved: My Persian Kitchen: Jujeh Kabob, Part 2
Posted in Budget Friendly, Meat, Side Dish, tagged Budget Friendly, cooking, Food, Iran, Iranian Food, Lamb, Lamb Shank, meat dish, Persian, Persian Food, Persian food blog, Recipe, recipes, roast meat, Side Dish on June 22, 2009 | 4 Comments »
I like lamb shanks, so long as they 1) don’t smell and 2) they are not dry. I was inspired to make lamb shank because a couple of months ago I had Baghali Polow from Shayan Market in Torrance and that’s what the polow came with. This was my very first try and I had no idea how to go about it. I consulted a few cookbooks and the Internet and found nothing that inspired me. I searched deep within my own bank of culinary knowledge and consulted with The Sous Chef, who didn’t have any knowledge on how to go about preparing lamb shank either.
Determined to make a go at it, I entered the kitchen and began “Lamb Shank Mission.” I say mission because I wanted to make sure that the meat would not be tough yet flavorful, yet not too flavorful to overpower the delicate polow. I was rather impressed with myself with the results. Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages, this experiment came out better than my wildest expectations.
So here is my way of making Lamb Shank, it is a bit labor intensive, but well worth all the steps.
4 lamb shanks, about 3lb
1 large onion
10 garlic cloves, crushed
3 dried Persian Limes
salt & pepper
Wash and pat dry lamb shanks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place lamb shanks in a dutch oven and brown for a few minutes on each side to seal in flavor.
I know what you are thinking right now, why did she pick a small dutch oven? I have no idea. I do have a bigger one that I love, but I guess habit took over. The one that you see in these picture is my most trusted and loved item to cook with it. If asked what I would take with me on a deserted island, my answer would be our orange dutch oven. I also realized that you might think that we love the color orange around here. All three of our dutch ovens are orange and as you can see one of our cutting boards is also orange. I swear, it is all a coincidence. I, as a matter of fact, do not like orange. This set of cutting boards came in various colors one of them being the one you see in these pictures. It was decided that because it was a color not well liked, it would be the designated board upon which meat and fish are cut in our house. Now, back to the recipe.
Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper and then flip them over to brown the opposite side.
In the mean time, crush garlic cloves. Cut onion and carrots. If you have celery on hand, you might want to add that to the mix. It is actually great for flavoring. I didn’t have any. PS. please note the white cutting board used to cut non-meat stuff. I know, we are a bit anal sanitary! Bear with me.
Remove lamb shanks from dutch oven and place aside. Add a bit of oil to the pot and add veggies. Saute for a few minutes until onion turns translucent. You are essentially doing all the necessary steps for a braise.
Give Persian Limes a little crush and add to the veggies. Place lamb shanks on top. Cover with 2 cups of water and season with some salt to give the broth some flavor. Cover the dutch oven.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook for 2 hours. Half way through move the pieces around making sure that the parts exposed don’t dry up.
This is how it should look once it come comes out of the oven two hours later. The level of the liquid should have decreased into a delicious juice flavored by the veggies and the meat should be tender.
Yum! Look at that delicious and juicy lamb shank! When serving with Baghali Polow you might want to pour some of the meat juice over the rice for extra flavor. You won’t be sorry, I promise!
Posted in Budget Friendly, Main Dish, Polow (rice), Rice, Vegan, Vegetarian, tagged basmati rice, Budget Friendly, cooking, fava beans, Fish, Food, fresh dill, Iran, Iranian Food, lima bean, Persian, Persian Food, Persian food blog, Persian rice, Pike Place Market, Recipe, recipes, Rice, saffron, Seattle, Spices, Vegan, Vegetarian, yogurt on June 20, 2009 | 6 Comments »
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.
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!
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!
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.
Clean and chop the dill in batches.
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.
Add saffron water to yogurt as you would for the white rice recipe.
Mix a couple of spatulas of rice with yogurt.
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.
Layer the bottom of the pot with rice and yogurt mixture.
Add a generous amount of dill and then cover with a small layer of rice.
Sprinkle 1 tsp of advieh over the rice. On top of it add a generous layer of fava beans.
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.
Your last layer should always be rice. I like to sprinkle a little advieh on top.
With the back of your spatula create some hole making sure that you don’t go past the yogurt and rice mix.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
Posted in Budget Friendly, Polow (rice), Rice, Vegetarian, tagged basmati rice, Budget Friendly, cooking, Food, Iran, Iranian Food, iranian rice, Persian, Persian Food, Persian food blog, Persian rice, saffron, tahdig, yogurt on June 16, 2009 | 12 Comments »
Posted in Appetizers, Bread, Budget Friendly, Vegan, Vegetarian, tagged appetizer, bread, Budget Friendly, chips, cooking, Food, Iran, Iranian Food, Persian, Persian Food, Persian food blog, pita bread, pita chips, Recipe, recipes on June 6, 2009 | 8 Comments »
My last post featured Mast-o-musir, and if you look at the picture you will notice that I serve mine with pita chips. Because I was ever so ambitious that day, believe it or not by the end of the day I had four different recipes for posting, I decided to experiment with pita chips making, which is something that I had never done before.
I love pita bread. When you step into any Persian Market you will notice that there are a variety of brands and sizes of pita breads. I especially love pita bread when it is fresh and very soft. I have to tell you all a little secret, I was introduced to pita bread when I moved to the US. You wonder why? Because Pita is originally Arabic and I had never seen it in Iran back in the days.
I can’t begin to tell you how fascinated and blown away I was the first time I had a pita chip. I was immediately a fan! You should know that I am chipsaholic. I love chips, they make me happy, period.
Now that I told you one of my deepest secrets, let’s get back to the scope of this post. I have been thinking about experimenting on my own with the homemade type. I found that for me it is the best thing to do with left over bread that is no longer soft. It is super easy to make as you will see below.
This recipe make 24 wedges of pita chips.
3 slices of pita bread
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh Ground Pepper
Preheat your oven to 370 degrees. Place your pita slices on a cutting board. Cut each round into quarters.
Then cut the quarters in half.
You may be very detail oriented, and perhaps thrive to make sure that all of your slices are the same exact size. Me? Nop, as you can see above, mine vary in size, some are skinnier than others!!!!
Place the slices on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. That’s how clever/lazy people do things, so that they don’t have to wash the baking sheet afterwards! That’s how I roll, folks!
Pour some olive oil into a small bowl.
Brush the top of each pita with olive oil.
Grind some sea salt on top of each slice. You can use Kosher salt, but please, please, please, don’t use regular salt. It makes such a huge difference to use fancy salt!
Next step is to grind some pepper on the slices.
Then put them in the oven and bake them for 15 minutes.
Once they come out, they should look like this! YUM!
Posted in Appetizers, Budget Friendly, Celebrations, Childhood Memories, tagged appetizer, Budget Friendly, cooking, dip, Food, Iran, Iranian Food, Persian, Persian Food, Persian food blog, Recipe, recipes, shallots, yogurt on June 4, 2009 | 7 Comments »
Today’s newest recipe post is one of The Sous Chef’s favorites: Mast-o-musir, which is a delicious combination of Lebni and shallots. Must-o-musir literally means yogurt and shallots in Farsi.
As you may have noticed there is a lot of memory associated with a lot of food that I love eat and cook. I love sharing, so here is another one for you all!
Every time I make or eat this dip it takes me back to the first time I was introduced to it as well as the first time The Sous Chef was introduced to it.
In the early eighties I was in elementary school and a kid who was used to the free life in Italy but lived where whatever happened at home remained at home. So if there were parties, gatherings, and alcohol was served, the information was not to be shared with anyone out of fear that the news would get passed on the the Komiteh, ya know the ones that made sure that no one had a good time and obeyed the rules of the clergy.
One day my father and his girlfriend at the time we putting together a pool party. I was only there during the set up time. As they were putting the food items out I got to taste this new dip which I had never had before. It was white and looked like yogurt but it had a strong smell to it. I was told that you ate it by dipping a potato chip in it. So I complied. There was something so delicious about the combination of flavors. I loved how the delicate flavor of the firm yogurt with a touch of shallots came together with the saltiness of the potato chips. My life has never been the same after thats day. In some funny way, today this dip is one of my favorite comfort foods. I just love, love, LOVE it! The world can come crashing down, but all will be well as long as I get to curl up on the couch with my mast-o-musir and chips.
The first time The Sous Chef tried this dip he would have licked the inside of the container it came in if he could, that’s how much he liked it! So here is the story: for our first monthversary, yes you read it right, month-versary, I know it is a bit cheesy, but bear with me, I took the Sous Chef on a beach picnic. I packed a nice spread of Iranian food, amongst which was a store bought container of mast-o-musir. It was a love affair from the very first taste, I tell ya.! Next thing I know, the ambitious man that he is, he started making his own masto-o-musir. Nowadays, the store bought kind is not good enough for him! He literally will eat spoon fulls of mast-o-musir!
The picnic was a success and as time went by I sure realized that whomever said that “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was not smoking crack! It is true, I am sure The Sous Chef can attest to that!
Back to business here! Enough about the stories, let’s move on to this very difficult and complicated recipe, NOT! It is actually a very simple recipe and it only takes a few minutes to prepare, BUT it is best to let it rest a few hours in order for the flavors to blend in.
One more thing before we start. I would like to point out that there are a couple of options as far as the shallots go. Some people like to use dried shallots others like to use fresh shallots. We always make our Mast-o-musir with fresh shallots.
We love eating this dip with either pita chips or regular potato chips. You can also serve it with bread, if you wish.
1 small shallot
1 container of Lebni (16 oz)
I had a couple of shallots and for this recipe I picked the one of the left.
Fine dice the shallot. Beware, your eyes and nose are going to be affected during this process. I love shallots, but I hate the fact that they make me cry every time I chop them! Anyway, sometimes shallots can be bitter. Some people let them soak in water for a few hours to release the bitterness. We don’t but the important thing is to not go overboard with shallots, if you have too much, it is going to completely overpower the whole dip. Unless you are like The Sous Chef who likes to eat his shallots with yogurt!!!!!
Place the lebni and shallots in a bowl.
Mix them thoroughly. Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours. Serve with regular potato chips or pita chips.
Posted in Budget Friendly, Khoresht (stew), tagged Budget Friendly, cooking, Food, Iran, Iranian Food, Lamb, Persian, Persian Food, Persian food blog, Recipe, recipes, Stew, unripe plums on May 22, 2009 | 4 Comments »
As I mention in my post about Ghojeh Sabz and Chaghaleh Badoom, my mom told me that there is such thing as a Ghojeh Sabz Khoresht. This little piece of news had me all curious about the possibilities and the outcome of such different and new type of stew. I thought my mom had a recipe for this and when I asked I literally got the following directions:
“Just sauté an onion, added cubed meat, and water and let it cook. Then add equal amounts of parsley and mint, add the plums, and cook for 45 minutes.”
Mind you this came from the person who follows recipes verbatim. So here I was trying to make this new dish with the minimal direction and plenty of skepticism about the lack of garlic and any type of quintessential Persian spices. So I scratched my head a little, thought it over, then walked into the kitchen and began an afternoon of cooking marathon. I say cooking marathon because I made two different dishes that day. And the irony is that by the time I was done with this dish I was sooooo hungry that I ate and completely forgot to take a nice picture of the finished product! So the picture above is from the leftovers!
So here we go!
1 medium onion
1 lb of cubed meat (I used lamb in this recipe because that’s what I had in the freezer)
1/8 tsp of turmeric
1 bunch of parsley ~ 2 cups
1 bunch of mint ~ 2 cups
3 cups of unripe plums
salt & pepper
Sauté onion in some oil until translucent
Add turmeric and give it a stir allowing for the spice to release its flavor. While my mom said no turmeric, I decided that this is one of the most important steps in building your base for each khoresht. Turmeric adds a good flavor to the meat and broth.
Add the meat and let it brown in order to seal in the flavor.
Add 3 cups of water, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
In the mean time wash and dry the parsley and mint. Give it all a rough chop.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the unripe plums.
Finally, add the herbs. Give it all a stir and let cook for 1 hour on medium heat.
The result was very good. It was definitely worth a try! There is this nice blend of mint, parsley, and a hint of the delicate taste of the plums in every bite. Depending on how sour your plums are this dish can come out a bit sour. Mine was not sour, the balance of flavors was just perfect. There is always the option of adding some sugar if it is too tangy.
So this post is for Mely who left a comment wanting to know how to make advieh. Sorry it took me a while but this turned out to be quite the research. I have always purchase Advieh from the Persian Stores. I will be honest, in the past I contemplated the idea of making my own, but that never happened. Interestingly, while Advieh is used a lot in Persian food no one seems to know the ratios, or the exact ingredients used for that matter. I finally found a recipe for it in The New Food for Life, but to be honest it lacks a couple of key ingredients.
So after some research and experimenting which included using the Sous Chef to sniff and taste my advieh verses the purchased one, I have the recipe. The rise petals may be left out if you don’t have them.
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground rose petals
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Mix together and keep in an airtight container.
Now, let me warn you about something. You may be tempted to taste this blend of spices because it is going to smell really good. Do your self a favor, DON”T! It is not going to taste good, as a matte of fact it is bitter. Let me tell ya, it was not fun tasting it over and over. I had to keep on drinking water in between.