Archive for the ‘Childhood Memories’ Category

Mast-o-musir1 (Medium)

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)

Mast-o-musir2 (Medium)

I had a couple of shallots and for this recipe I picked the one of the left.

Mast-o-musir3 (Medium)

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!!!!!

Mast-o-musir4 (Medium)

Place the lebni and shallots in a bowl.

Mast-o-musir5 (Medium)

Mix them thoroughly.  Cover and place in the fridge for a few hours.  Serve with regular potato chips or pita chips.


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Chaghaleh Badoom 1 (Medium)

During one of my posts I wrote about my love for Gojeh Sabz and how exciting it was for us kids when spring came around back in the days in Iran. That post was solely dedicated to Gojeh Sabz because that’s what I personally like.  To tell the truth there was and still is something else that kids and adults look forward to with the arrival of spring. One is my beloved Gojeh Sabz and the other is Chaghaleh badoom, unripe almonds.  The almonds during this stage of their growth are enveloped in a green soft and almost fuzzy like skin.  Just like the unripe plums, these are eaten with a dash of salt.

The other day while talking to my mom about our abundance of gojeh sabz and how to make Gojeh Sabz Khoresht (recipe coming up next is posted!), she mentioned that one can also make a khoresht with unripe almonds. I seldom think about unripe almonds because I was probably the only kid who didn’t like them. Inevitably, for reasons that I can’t even explain, every time I see or think about unripe almonds there is always this traumatic, and in retrospect amusing, memory attached to it. Of course, the memory is traumatic because I witnessed and experienced it through the eyes of a child.

This event happened a good two and half decades ago when I was in elementary school in Iran. This was during the early eighties and just a few short years into the Iranian revolution when everyone’s lives turned upside down. By this time I was back in Iran after having lived in Italy for a few years. Going back to Iran was a tough adjustment given that not only I was accustomed to the westernize world, but also because until then my education had taken place in a French Catholic school. Those who have gone to French Catholic schools should be given an award for having survived the experience. Good God they were strict. You see, not only we had to study and get good grades, but they also took an active role in our manners. So much that when you sat at the lunch table you could never have your elbows on the table, your left wrist sat on the table next to your plate, and of course careful attention was paid to the way your held your utensils and how you ate. If for some reason your wrist was not in the correct position or your elbows landed on the table, the lovely nuns would stick a book under both of your armpits to make sure that you kept a correct posture. Now if the book fell…Or you got up from the table and didn’t clean the table…yeah…not a good thing.

Anyway, so this was what I lived with every day and I am sure I received a fine education. With this said, the nuns would be horrified to see that now I have accustomed to the American way and the table has not seen my left wrist, oh for a long time! My experience in Iran was a complete opposite of what went on with the lovely nuns. Heck no one cared how you ate. But what they cared about was that you prayed everyday and they took special care in brain washing you into believing their religious propaganda. Oh, and let’s not forget that they made sure that our uniform was not a centimeter shorter than it should have been, and that our scarves stayed on our heads without any hair picking out. ‘Cause you know, it is important to obey God’s will that women should cover themselves.

One fine spring day I had a very bad stomachache. So bad that I could not stand being in school and wanted to go home. In order to do so I had to go to the main office which was a long rectangular room where at the end sat our school’s principal. Once you entered the room, there were a few rows of desks on each side where the school administrators sat. Our principal was a nasty and huge woman who always wore a black chador.

So that day I made my way down the room toward her desk passing all the other crow looking women sitting at their desks and diligently working on their stuff. They all looked the same, with their black chadors. I remember trembling inside as I had to come face to face with the head crow. I finally approached her and explained that I had a bad stomachache and that I need to call home.  So she, the evil huge crow, looked at me dubiously, perhaps wondering if I was lying. And then she said sarcastically:

“Did you eat too much choghaleh badoom?”

“No,” I said trembling. Paused for a moment and added, “I don’t like them.”

“YOU DON’T like chaghaleh badoom??? How is that possible, what child doesn’t like chaghaleh badoom?”

I trembled inside and had to exercise a good amount of self control in order to remain calm and not burst into tears in order to avoid  making a fool out of myself. Now everyone was looking at me and I felt smaller and smaller, while the evil crow looked bigger and bigger. She then let me use the phone on her desk. Her fat fingers inserted a coin in the coil slot and I dialed my home number while my finger trembled as I dialed each number.

I may have been very young during that time period but I often wondered what I was doing there and God, the French nuns may have been strict, but this? This was ridiculous. My whole life, and that of others, was ridiculous.  I just hated it all. I would have gladly gone back to the French nuns and their strict rules.

All these years later I have never had the desire to try chaghaleh badoom. But the other day after my conversation with my mom I was at our local Persian store. There they were, waiting to be bought and enjoyed. I thought to myself that maybe it was time to try them and see if my taste buds had changed all this time later. I bought a few and came home, washed them, took a deep breath, as this was an important moment of truth, I took a bit and……


Never again. The End.

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