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Hello folks!

Happy 4th of July! I hope you all are going to have lovely day filled with much laughter, good company, and good food!

Here are some cooking suggestions for you to either make for your own BBQ or take with you where ever you are going.

Chicken Kabob1 (Medium)

Jujeh Kabob, Persian Style Chicken Kabob

veggies1 (Medium)

I love throwing veggies on the BBQ.  They are super easy to make and delicious.

veggies (Medium)

Some of my favorites are maui onions, red onions,  mushrooms, zucchini, and tomatoes. Just brush them with some olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper and grill them up!

Mast-o-musir1 (Medium)

Of course there is always Most-o-musir with Pita Chips.  Try putting a dollop of mast-o-musir on your chicken, it is heavenly!

borani 7 (Medium)

Having Pita Chips? Then you must also make Borani Esfanaj! They go so well together!

Have a great holiday weekend!

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Lamb Shank1 (Medium)

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. 🙂

Ingredients

4 lamb shanks, about 3lb

1 large onion

10 garlic cloves, crushed

4 carrots

3 dried Persian Limes

olive oil

salt & pepper

Lamb Shank2 (Small)

Wash and pat dry lamb shanks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Lamb Shank4 (Small)

Place lamb shanks in a dutch oven and brown for a few minutes on each side to seal in flavor.

Lamb Shank5 (Small)

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.

Lamb Shank6 (Small)

Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper and then flip them over to brown the opposite side.

Lamb Shank3 (Small)

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.

Lamb Shank7 (Small)

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.

Lamb Shank8 (Small)

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.

Lamb Shank9 (Small)

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.

Lamb Shank10 (Small)

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.

Lamb Shank11 (Small)

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!

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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.

Seattle 2009 032 (Small)

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!

Seattle 2009 055 (Small)

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.

Baghali Polow2 (Small)

Clean and chop the dill in batches.

Baghali Polow14 (Small)

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.

Baghali Polow3 (Small)

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

Baghali Polow4 (Small)

Mix a couple of spatulas of rice with yogurt.

Baghali Polow5 (Small)

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.

Baghali Polow6 (Small)

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

Baghali Polow7 (Small)

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

Baghali Polow9 (Small)

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

Baghali Polow10 (Small)

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.

Baghali Polow8 (Small)

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

Baghali Polow15 (Small)

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.

Baghali Polow12 (Small)

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.

Baghali Polow 13 (Small)

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!

Seattle 2009 074- copy (Small)

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!

Seattle 2009 069 (Small)

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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Pita Chips Salt & Pepper1 (Medium)

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.

Ingredients

3 slices  of pita bread

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt

Fresh Ground Pepper

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper2 (Small)

Preheat your oven to 370 degrees. Place your pita slices on a cutting board.  Cut each round into quarters.

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper3 (Small)

Then cut the quarters in half.

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper4 (Small)

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!!!!

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper5 (Small)

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!

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper6 (Small)

Pour some olive oil into a small bowl.

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper7 (Small)

Brush the top of each pita with olive oil.

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper8 (Small)

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!

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper9 (Small)

Next step is to grind some pepper on the slices.

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper10 (Small)

Then put them in the oven and bake them for 15 minutes.

Pita Chips Salt & Pepper11 (Small)

Once they come out, they should look like this! YUM!

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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.

Ingredients:

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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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!

Koofteh Berenj 3 (Small)

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

Koofteh Berenj 2 (Small)

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.

Koofteh Berenj 4 (Small)

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.

Koofteh Berenj 5 (Small)

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!

Koofteh Berenj 6 (Small)

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.

Koofteh Berenj 7 (Small)

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.

Koofteh Berenj 8 (Small)

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

Koofteh Berenj 9 (Small)

Give it a nice mix so that they are incorporated.

Koofteh Berenj 10 (Small)

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.

Koofteh Berenj 11 (Small)

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

Koofteh Berenj 12 (Small)

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.

Koofteh Berenj 13 (Small)

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. 🙂

Koofteh Berenj 14 (Small)

Sauté the onion and garlic in oil until translucent.

Koofteh Berenj 15 (Small)

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.

Koofteh Berenj 16 (Small)

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.

Koofteh Berenj 17 (Small)

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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Hello Dear PK readers,

We just wanted to wish you all a Happy Memorial Day Weekend. The first long weekend of the summer is here! The Sous Chef and I have got some serious good times planed at our house as we are hosting a BBQ on Sunday.

In case you are thinking of making some type of appetizer we have three delicious choices for you here at Persian Kitchen!

There is:  Borani Esfanaj ~ Yogurt with Spinach

borani-7-medium1

or Kashkeh Bademjan ~ Persian Eggplant Dip

khashk-bademjan11-medium

or the one and only: Lima Bean and Dill Kuku

lima-bean-kuku13-medium1

Enjoy your long weekend!

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