Ghormeh Sabzi - Persian Herb Stew



خورش قورمه سبزی Khoresh-e Ghormeh Sabzi is one of the most delicious and popular dishes among Iranians. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like ghormeh sabzi. The combination of flavorful and aromatic herbs, slow cooked lamb cubes, fork-tender beans and dried lemons make the khoresh very tasty and nutritious. My mother would call this dish a Sabzi Stew (vegetable stew) because she would add a whole lot of vegetables to the pot including spinach and dill. This is my simplified and the more common version.



Ghormeh Sabzi - Persian Herb Stew 

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 pounds meat (lamb or beef) washed and cubed
1 cup red kidney beans or pinto beans, soaked overnight
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
4 bunches flat-leafed parsley
1 bunch cilantro
2 large leeks or 4 scallions (green stems only)
1 small bunch fresh fenugreek, or 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek (shanbalileh), too much fenugreek will cause ghormeh sabzi to taste bitter
3-4 dried lemons (limoo amani), or 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil
Water

Method:
  1. Clean and wash the herbs, dry thoroughly and chop finely. 
  2. Heat 1/3 cup of vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the chopped fresh herbs for about 15 minutes, stir frequently. Set aside.
  3. In a large stew pot, saute chopped onions in 2 tablespoons of oil until they become golden brown. 
  4. Add the meat, turmeric, salt, pepper and fry until all sides are brown.
  5. Add the soaked dried beans, fried vegetables and dried lemons. 
  6. Pour in enough water to cover the mixture by about 2 inches, bring to a boil on high heat for just a couple of minutes, lower the heat, cover and cook on medium to low heat for 1 1/2 hours. 
  7. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary and add a little more water if needed. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and simmer for another 30 minutes. The longer ghormeh sabzi simmers the better it tastes. ( khoob ja miofteh). It would also taste better reheated the next day. Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving. 
Serve hot with basmati rice, salad shirazi and mast o khiar.

Enjoy!

Dolmeh Felfel - Stuffed Bell Peppers



دلمه فلفل  Dolmeh Felfel (stuffed bell peppers) may be served as a main course or a side dish and it's  great for lunch or dinner. Bell peppers come in various colors and I like to use a combination of different colors.


Dolmeh Felfel - Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ingredients:
Serves 8-10

10 medium-size bell peppers, rinsed
1 lb. ground meat (beef, lamb or turkey)
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup rice, rinsed
1/2 cup yellow split peas, rinsed
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch chives or scallions, chopped
1 bunch of dill, chopped
2 tablespoons dried tarragon
2 tablespoons dried basil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
A dash of cinnamon
Juice of 2 lemons
2 tablespoons tomato sauce *optional
Olive oil
Water
Salt and black pepper to taste
Sugar *optional

Method:
  1. Cut the tops of each bell pepper and set aside, clean the inside of peppers and remove seeds, lightly salt inside of each pepper.
  2. In a frying pan saute onions in  2 tablespoons of oil until soft and transparent, add turmeric, ground meat, salt and pepper to taste and brown the meat. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, place rice and the split peas, add 3 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of oil and a teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook on medium-low heat until water is fully absorbed for 15-20 minutes.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, rice and peas, chopped fresh vegetables, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Spoon the rice and meat mixture into the bell peppers. 
  6. Arrange the stuffed peppers in a large pot, put tops back on the peppers.
  7. In a small bowl, mix 1- 1/2 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the peppers. Cover and cook for about an hour on medium to low heat until the peppers are well cooked. 
  8. You can also bake this dish in a pre-heated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit  for 50 minutes. If you like a sweet dolmeh sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of sugar over the peppers before placing them in the oven.
Serve warm with pickles and bread.

Enjoy!

Ash Reshteh - Persian Bean and Noodle Thick Soup


آش رشته - Ash reshteh is a delicious thick soup made with chickpeas, beans, noodles and lots of fresh herbs. Ash reshteh is probably the most famous ash (soup) recipe from Iran. This hearty soup can be enjoyed all year round and is an especially great choice during the colder months. My mother used to make ash reshteh for us all the time and it is a favorite of mine as well.



Ash Reshteh - Bean and Noodle Thick Soup

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

1 cup red kidney beans, soaked overnight, drain
1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, drain
1 cup lentils
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch spinach, fresh or frozen, chopped
1 bunch scallion or chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
6 ounces dried noodles, you may find reshteh (noodles) in Persian/Iranian grocery stores.
Water

For Garnish:

1 large onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons dried mint
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Vegetable oil or olive oil
1 cup kashk (liquid whey)

Method:
  1. Place the chickpeas, beans and lentils in a large pot, add 8 cups of water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for an hour and a half or until beans are tender. 
  2. Add the chopped vegetables, noodles, salt and pepper. Stir well, cover and cook for another 30-40 minutes on medium-low heat.
  3. Add more water if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  4. In medium pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cook until golden.
  5.  Add the garlic and saute for another 3-5 minutes.
  6.  Add the turmeric powder, stir well.
  7. Add the dried mint and saute for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the soup in a large serving bowl, top with fried onion, garlic and mint mixture and drizzle with a generous amount of liquid kashk, Serve hot with warm bread and extra kashk on the side.

Enjoy!

Borani Bademjan - Persian Eggplant and Yogurt Dip


ماست و بادمجان/ بورانی بادمجان Mast-o-Bademjan/ Borani Bademjan (eggplant and yogurt dip) is a very delicious appetizer especially for eggplant lovers. Also, if you enjoy the taste of garlic, this is a kind of dish that you may use as many garlic cloves as you like!

Borani Bademjan - Eggplant and Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 large eggplants
2 cups plain yogurt
2 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried mint
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
Vegetable oil or olive oil

Method:
  1. Make 2-3 cuts in each eggplant to let the steam out and prevent it from bursting in the oven. Place the eggplants in a baking dish and cook in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit pre-heated oven for about 30-40 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Remove the skin and chop eggplants into small pieces and place in a colander to drain.
  3. Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat, add the onions, saute until golden, add the garlic, stir for 2-3 minutes, add the turmeric and saute for another 1-2 minutes.  
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Transfer into a serving dish, garnish with fried onions. 
  5. Serve cold or at room temperature with warm bread.


Enjoy!

Zereshk Polow - Rice with Barberries



زرشک پلو Zereshk Polow with chicken make a great meal for any occasion and is a favorite among Iranians. Barberry (zereshk), grows in clusters like grapes. They are tiny and deep red in color. After purchase keep them in an air tight container in the freezer to maintain its freshness and color.


Zereshk Polow - Rice with Barberries

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 cups basmati rice
1/2 cup dried barberries (zereshk), you can find it in Persian or Middle Eastern stores
1 teaspoon crushed saffron, dissolved in 3-4 tablespoons of hot water
1- 2 tablespoons sugar
Butter or vegetable oil
Salt
Water

Method:
  1. Rinse the  rice with cool water a few times. Soak the rice in 4 cups of cool water, add 2 tablespoons of salt, set aside for at least a couple of hours.
  2. Pick over dried barberries (zereshk), wash and rinse a few times, soak in cool water for half an hour. Drain. 
  3. Place 2 tablespoon of butter in a small saucepan, add zereshk to the pan, heat it up on a medium-low heat for five minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of liquid saffron and 1-2 tablespoons of sugar to balance the sour taste of zereshk (if you prefer a more sweet taste, add more sugar to the mixture). Mix thoroughly. Set aside. I usually sprinkle very little sugar to this dish. I like the sour taste of zereshk polow.
  4. In a large non-stick pot that has a tight fitting lid, bring 5 cups of water to a rapid boil on medium-high heat. Drain the washed and soaked rice and pour into boiling water. Bring water back to a boil for about 10 minutes. Test to see if the rice is ready. Rice grains should be hard in the center and soft on the outside. Drain the rice in a mesh colander and rinse with cool water a few times.
  5. Wash the pot and return to heat, add 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter and a tablespoon of liquid saffron. With a large spatula place the rice into the non-stick pot, building it into a pyramid shape. 
  6. In order to release the steam make 2-3 holes in the rice with the bottom of the spatula. Cook for 10 minutes on medium-high heat until rice is steaming, when the steam starts to come out, pour 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 cup of water over the rice, cover, lower heat and steam the rice for another 50 minutes.
  7. With a large scoop take some rice and mix in with the remaining saffron and set aside.
  8. Serve rice on a platter, layer with barberries and the mixture of rice and saffron. 
  9. Gently remove the crusty bottom (tah-dig) and serve in a separate plate.

Enjoy!

Mast-o-Khiar - Persian Yogurt and Cucumber Dip



ماست و خیار Mast-o-khiar is a traditional and very popular Iranian side dish that is served with most meals. This is a simple, healthy and delicious yogurt recipe. You may add a handful of chopped walnuts and raisins for a little crunch and a bit of sweetness.


Mast-o-Khiar - Yogurt and Cucumber Dip

Ingredients:
Serves 4

2 cups plain yogurt
2 large seedless cucumber, finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried mint
1 teaspoon dried rose petals *optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.  Taste and adjust the seasoning. 
  2. Place the yogurt mixture in a serving bowl, garnish with dried or fresh mint and dried rose petals. 
  3. Refrigerate until serving time.
Mast-o-khiar makes an easy and tasty snack any time of the day.

Enjoy!

Salad Olivieh




Salad Olivieh is a popular picnic or party dish in Iran. The origin of this food is believed to be Russian. There are many different recipes for this dish. Some like the potatoes more chunky others prefer a smoother and creamy salad. I like to add lemon juice in addition to the pickles for a more tangy taste. Olivieh salad is a combination of chicken, potato and egg salad all in one!


Salad Olivieh

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

6 large potatoes boiled, peeled and finely chopped or shredded
2 chicken breasts cooked, chopped into small cubes or shredded
3 eggs boiled, peeled, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream *optional
3 dill pickles finely chopped
1 package frozen baby peas (16 oz), thawed and drained
1 cup olives - green or black, (seedless)
1 small carrot, shredded
1-2 tablespoons lemon/lime juice, freshly squeezed
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
  1. In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  2. In another large bowl, combine chicken, potatoes, eggs, chopped pickles and peas. Add the mayo dressing and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  3. Place salad olivieh in a serving dish, even out the surface with a spatula. Garnish with olives, pickles, peas or carrots. 
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

Polow - Persian Rice



پلو Polow is a staple of Persian cuisine. There are different kinds of rice and many different ways of preparing a rice dish. The best kind of rice is the black-tail rice (dom-siah) which is very similar to the Indian aromatic basmati rice. The best method for cooking rice is first parboiling and then steaming the rice until it is tender and fluffy.



Polow - Persian Rice

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 1/2 cups long grain white basmati rice
1/2 teaspoon powdered/crushed saffron dissolved in 3 tablespoons of hot water
Butter or vegetable oil
Salt
Water

Method:
  1. In a large bowl wash the rice with cool water a few times to get rid of the extra starch and pour the water out. Soak the rice in 8 cups of  cool water, add 2-3 tablespoons of salt and set aside for at least a couple of hours.
  2. In a large non-stick pot, bring 8 cups of water to a rapid boil on medium-high heat. 
  3. Drain the washed and soaked rice and pour into the boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes or until the grain are long, soft on the outside and hard in the center. Drain the rice in a sieve and rinse it well under cool running water.
  4. Wash the rice pot with water and return to heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil or butter to the bottom of the pot and 1 tablespoon of saffron-water mixture. With a large spatula return the parboiled rice into the pot, building it into a pyramid shape away from the sides of the pot. In order to release the steam make 4-5 holes in the rice with the bottom of the spatula. 
  5. Cook the rice for 7-10 minutes or until rice is steaming. When the steam starts to come out, pour 2 tablespoons of oil and 1/4 cup of water over the rice, cover, lower the heat and steam the rice on low heat for another 50 minutes.
  6. To serve when the rice is fully cooked use a large scoop and take some rice from the top and mix it with the remaining saffron in a bowl. Set aside. 
Serve rice on a platter; sprinkle the saffron rice on top.  Gently remove the tah-dig (bottom crust) and serve on a separate plate.

Enjoy!

Soup-e Adas - Persian Lentil Soup


This is a very easy, quick, nutritious and delicious soup. سوپ عدس Lentil soup is a flavorful soup for all seasons. However, I love making soups in the winter.

Soup-e Adas - Persian Lentil Soup

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 cups lentils, rinsed
1 large carrot, peeled, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Juice of a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Water

Method:
  1. In a skillet heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat, saute onions until light golden brown, add garlic, saute lightly for 2-3 minutes, add turmeric powder, stir well.
  2. Add celery, carrots, lentils and 6-7 cups of water.
  3. Cover and cook for 50 minutes on medium-low heat. Add a little more water if needed.
  4. Add the parsley, salt, pepper to and lemon juice. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve warm with bread.


Enjoy!

Kotlet - Persian Meat Patties


These Iranian meat patties کتلت - kotlet are very tasty warm or cold. They make great picnic or party food. Serve with pickles, salad and warm flat bread for lunch or dinner.


Kotlet - Persian Meat Patties

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

1 pound ground meat (lamb or beef)
2 large potatoes, cooked, peeled and grated
1 large onion, finely grated
1 large garlic clove, minced
2-3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
Oil for frying

Method:
  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground beef, onion, potato, garlic, eggs, turmeric, salt and pepper and mix well by hand.
  2. Take a handful of the mixture, flatten into an oval or a round shape.
  3. Cover both sides of each kotlet in dried breadcrumbs.
  4. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Fry the patties in hot oil, until brown on both sides.                      
 Serve warm or cold with sliced tomatoes, onions, sabzi khordan , pickles, olives and warm bread.

Enjoy!

Kookoo Sib Zamini - Persian Potato Patties



I serve these delicious potato patties (kookoo sib zamini) either as a side dish or as a main dish for a light lunch or dinner. Fried vegetable and egg dishes are called kookoo/kuku in Iran. There are different variations of this recipe. I make this recipe frequently. کوکو سیب زمینی (Kookoo SibZamini) is a great dish for summer picnics, try it on your next outing.


Kookoo Sib Zamini - Persian Potato Patties

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 pounds potatoes
5 eggs
1 medium yellow onion, grated, discard the juice
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Vegetable oil
Water

Method:
  1. Place potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover by couple of inches, boil on medium-high heat until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Remove skin, mash or put through grinder.
  3. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl, add grated onions, mashed potatoes, turmeric, salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients really well. Set aside for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Make small patties, flatten them in an oval shape or round. You can also spoon the potato mixture into the oil.
  5. Heat 4-5 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry potato patties on both sides until golden brown. 
Serve warm or cold with fresh herbs, pickles, olives, yogurt and warm bread.


Enjoy!

Loobia Polow - Rice with Green Beans


لوبیا پلو (Loobia polow) is a delicious one-dish meal for the whole family. A tasty combination of rice, diced lamb/beef and cut green beans. I make loobia Polow quite often for my family.


Loobia Polow - Rice with Green Beans

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 cups long grain basmati rice
1 1/2 pounds  lamb or beef, cut into small pieces
1 lb fresh string beans, washed, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 (16-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Juice of a lime/lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Vegetable oil
Water

Method:

  1. In a large bowl wash the rice thoroughly, rinse with cold water and drain. Soak the rice in 6 cups of water, add 2 tablespoons of salt and set aside for a couple of hours.
  2. In a pan, saute chopped onions in 3 tablespoons of oil over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until transparent. Add turmeric powder and stir well. 
  3. Add the meat and cook until it's browned . Add tomatoes and the green beans to the pan and cook for another 5-7 minutes. Add tomato sauce, juice of a lime/lemon, cinnamon, salt and paper to taste. Cook for another 15-20 minutes on low heat.
  4. In a large saucepan, bring 6 cups of water to a rapid boil. Drain the rice and pour into boiling water. Bring the water back to a boil, cook for about 7-10 minutes on medium-high heat or until the grains are long, soft on the outside and firm in the center. Test to see if the rice is ready. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse it well with cool water. 
  5. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to the bottom of a non-stick pot. Add a layer of rice and the mixture of meat and bean sauce, building it up to a pyramid shape away from the sides of the pot. Make 4-5 holes in the rice with the bottom of the spatula. Cook for about 7- 10 minutes on the medium-high heat until rice is steaming. You may cover the lid with a kitchen towel to prevent the moisture from building up in the pot. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 50 minutes to an hour. Don’t overcook this rice. You don’t want it to become too mushy.
Place rice on a serving platter, gently remove the crusty bottom (tah-dig) and serve in a separate plate. Serve with salad, mast o khiar or some torshi (pickles).

Enjoy!

Salad Shirazi


سالاد شیرازی Salad Shirazi is a very popular side dish to many rice and meat dishes in Iran. This is a delicious, healthy and refreshing salad for any occasion and anytime of the year.

Salad Shirazi

Ingredients:
Serves 4

3 medium sized cucumbers, preferably seedless
3 small firm tomatoes
1 small onion
4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons lemon/lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon dried mint *optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
  1. Cut tomatoes, cucumbers and onion into small pieces and place them into a salad bowl, 
  2. Add salt, pepper, dried mint, olive oil and lemon juice, mix well. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Khorak-e Loobia - Red Kidney Beans Side Dish


This is a tasty and healthy dish that my mother used to make frequently when I was growing up. خوراک لوبیا Khorak-e loobia is one of my favorite side dishes of all time and I make it fairly often. I like to add a generous amount of lemon juice after beans are cooked.

Khorak-e Loobia - Kidney Beans Dish

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

2 cups red kidney beans
2 large onions, finely chopped
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Juice of 2-3 lemons/lime (use more if you prefer)
Salt and pepper to taste
Water

Method:
  1. Pick over the beans, rinse thoroughly and soak them in water overnight. 
  2. Pour the water out, rinse and place the beans in a large pot, add 6 cups of water, bring to a rapid boil on high heat, reduce the heat and cook for 15 minutes over medium-high heat. 
  3. Drain the beans in a colander, return the them back into the pot, add enough water to cover the beans by two inches, cover and cook for an hour on medium heat. 
  4. In a skillet, saute the chopped onions in olive oil until golden brown.
  5. Add garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  6.  Then add the tomato paste, salt and pepper, stir well, saute for another couple of minutes.
  7.  Add a cup of warm water, simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. 
  8. Pour the content of the skillet – onion, garlic and sauce mixture into to the pot, stir.
  9.  Add lemon juice, taste and adjust the seasoning, cover and simmer for another 20-30 minutes.

Khorak-e loobia can be served warm or cold.

Enjoy!

Mast Esfenaj - Persian Yogurt and Spinach Dip



This delicious and healthy side dish is very easy to make. ماست اسفناج Mast esfenaj goes wonderfully well with most rice and stew dishes, grilled meat, fish and chips.


Mast Esfenaj/ Borani-e Esfenaj - Yogurt and Spinach Dip

Ingredients:
Serves 4

2 cups plain yogurt
2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and chopped or use a 1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons walnuts, crushed *optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:
  1. Wash and cut spinach into small pieces. 
  2. Place the spinach into a medium size pan, add 1/2 a cup of water, bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat, reduce heat, steam for ten minutes or until spinach is tender. Set aside to cool.
  3. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Add 2 cups of yogurt, minced garlic, walnuts, salt and pepper, mix well. 
  5. Garnish with chopped walnuts and rose petals. 
  6. Refrigerate for at least two hours. 
Serve cold or at room temperature with warm bread.

Enjoy!