Persian Food

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During the years that I spend in Iran I never knew there was such thing as Curry Khoresht. In fact, for the longest time I mistakenly thought that only Indian dishes used curry powder. Ironically, it wasn’t until I moved to Los Ang...
During the years that I spend in Iran I never knew there was such thing as Curry Khoresht. In fact, for the longest time I mistakenly thought that only Indian dishes used curry powder. Ironically, it wasn’t until I moved to Los Angeles that I had a “Persian Curry Stew” for the first time. I [...]
about 6 hours ago
I was going to explain to you about the classic Algerian street food, garantita, but then I found this great little YouTube video, and I think they do a pretty good job of explaining it themselves! Garantita is a simple mixtur...
I was going to explain to you about the classic Algerian street food, garantita, but then I found this great little YouTube video, and I think they do a pretty good job of explaining it themselves! Garantita is a simple mixture of chickpea flour, water or milk, and an egg, baked to create a quivering loaf. Sandwich it in a baguette and top with harissa and mayonnaise. Like a lot of Algerian food, it's carb-centric and filling! You can see how garantita is the Mediterranean cousin of other chickpea-flour street foods like socca and farinata.
4 days ago
Happy Wednesday! We are half way done with the week! Today’s video is a funny one. I love these guys’ spirit and the way they imitate older expert kabob makers. Today is a good day for a funny food video! This video is titled...
Happy Wednesday! We are half way done with the week! Today’s video is a funny one. I love these guys’ spirit and the way they imitate older expert kabob makers. Today is a good day for a funny food video! This video is titled “funny joojeh kabab koobideh.” It is upload by Nicholas Kachoian and [...]
6 days ago
A while back my mom and I were having a conversation about the Iranian version of Curry Khoresht. Then she brought up Ms. Rosa Montazami’s Curry Khoresht which she said she likes to make. I opened my own book and we soon realized t...
A while back my mom and I were having a conversation about the Iranian version of Curry Khoresht. Then she brought up Ms. Rosa Montazami’s Curry Khoresht which she said she likes to make. I opened my own book and we soon realized that the version that I have has a few extra spices compared [...]
7 days ago
Paul was out of town a few weeks ago, and as anyone with a significant other knows, that can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Usually I start off excited at the prospect of an empty house, not having to make dinner or do dishes, and jus...
Paul was out of town a few weeks ago, and as anyone with a significant other knows, that can be a bit of a double-edged sword. Usually I start off excited at the prospect of an empty house, not having to make dinner or do dishes, and just eating watermelon for dinner and having time to read and organize my closet, and finally clean out my desk. (Really, I have to most boring ideas of fun, don't I?) But inevitably what happens is I get home from work, stare at my empty home, and wonder why on earth I thought this alone time was going to be so great after all? Then I usually rustle up some vegetable to eat and try and find something to watch on Netflix and count how many days it is until Paul comes home. When I'm not eating hunks of watermelon for dinner, a couple of my favorite home-alone meals are a quick and easy red lentil dal, and some kind of just-vegetables dish. A baked sweet potato say, or a big pile of braised cabbage. In this iteration, I was playing around with the idea of using only a head of cauliflower to make dinner. I came up with sort of cauliflower two ways - a soft, creamy, lemony cauliflower puree, topped with a crunchy roasted cauliflower topping. It's quite delicious, and an entertaining way to tell someone you ate a whole head of cauliflower for dinner. What do you cook when you're home alone? Double Cauliflower You can mix this up however you'd like, I imagine the topping would take nicely to a few olives or capers, or you can add in a 1/2 cup of white beans to the puree, etc. Serves 1-2 people. 1 large head cauliflower 2 tablespoons butter zest of 1 lemon 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano salt, pepper, olive oil 1/4 cup pine nuts chopped parsley and paprika, for serving 1. Set a pot of salted water to boil. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a small baking sheet with foil. Get out a food processor and put the butter in the food processor bowl. 2. Remove any green leaves from the cauliflower. Cut away the florets and stems of your cauliflower until only the thick center core remains, discard the center core. Now, take any large florets and stem pieces and move them to one side of your cutting board, and take all the small little floret pieces and bits and move them to the other side of the cutting board. If you find you have not many small pieces, slice some little small floret pieces off the bigger pieces so you have about 1-1 1/2 cups small florets. 3. Place the small florets in the foil-lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil and salt to coat. Place in the oven to roast. Toss the florets occasionally to ensure they cook evenly. It should take about 20 minutes for the cauliflower to roast In the last five minutes before the cauliflower is done, toss in the pine nuts so that they toast. Remove from the oven when browned and tender when pierced with a knife. 4. Meanwhile, place all the large florets and stem pieces and put them in the boiling water. Boil until just tender. Remove the cauliflower with a slotted spoon, being sure to drain well, and transfer the cauliflower to the processor. Season with salt and run the food processor until the cauliflower is a smooth puree. Zest the lemon directly into the food processor bowl, add in the cheese and a bit of black pepper. Pulse food processor to combine. Taste for seasoning. 5. Scoop the cauliflower puree into a bowl. Pile the roasted cauliflower and pine nuts on top. Top with parsley and a sprinkling of paprika and serve warm.
8 days ago
I have always been a bring-your-lunch to work kind of person. It's cheaper, sure, but I find that overall I like it because it's healthier and the portions are more my size, and everything's usually fresher. Not that there are so many (o...
I have always been a bring-your-lunch to work kind of person. It's cheaper, sure, but I find that overall I like it because it's healthier and the portions are more my size, and everything's usually fresher. Not that there are so many (okay any) lunch options in Algiers, unless meat between bread counts. This quick phyllo pie is the sort of thing I make often for lunches. Sometimes it's a tart, or a frittata, something that keeps well and slices easily and is a bit more substantial to my other rotating lunch item, salad. Honestly, I usually make these things slapdash with whatever I have on hand, but this time I've bothered to take some measurements. As I've discussed many times before (see: baklava), phyllo is not nearly as hard to work with as you think. I don't bother to brush every single layer with butter, but the crust here is really just a lovely vehicle for the salty sweet filling with peppers and olives. You can make this with or without cheese - since I'm lactose intolerant I skip the cheese most time and find that it's just as good. Happy lunching! Spinach and Roasted Pepper Phyllo Pie 1 package phyllo 4 tablespoons butter, melted 3 eggs 4 ounces plain yogurt 1 large bunch spinach, stems trimmed and chopped 4 roasted red peppers, diced 1/2 cup black/purple olives, pitted and chopped 1 sprig of mint, leaves removed and sliced 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese, optional salt, red pepper flakes 1. Preheat oven to 350F. Heat a splash of olive oil in a pan. Add the spinach and let cook over medium-low heat until very dark and cooked through. Scrape the spinach into a large bowl. 2. Place the diced roasted red peppers, olives, and mint into the bowl. Break in the 3 eggs and add in the yogurt and stir well with a fork to combine. Sprinkle in the feta, if using, and season very well with salt and red pepper flakes. 3. Brush the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with butter. Keep your phyllo dough covered with some plastic wrap and a damp towel while you're working. Cut your phyllo into 10-12 inch squares (ie, slightly larger than your baking pan). Place about 3-5 sheets of phyllo into the pan, fitting them up the sides. Brush the phyllo well with butter. Repeat this two more times for the bottom phyllo layer. Scoop in the filling. Trim the phyllo to 8-inch square, and repeat with three layers of 3-4 sheets each, brushing each well with butter. 4. Bake the pie in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until nicely browned.
11 days ago
Today’s video is a feast for the eyes. I am sure you will salivate as you are watching it just like I did. This video also brought back many memories of street food and bazaars in Iran. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. To...
Today’s video is a feast for the eyes. I am sure you will salivate as you are watching it just like I did. This video also brought back many memories of street food and bazaars in Iran. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did. Today’s video is called “Iranian food heaven” [...]
13 days ago
I've been traveling in the Middle East, and in Lebanon/Syria/Turkey for almost 10 years now, and where did I discover this simple Turkish breakfast dish? In London, my friends. Last Christmas, in London, we stopped into one of the few op...
I've been traveling in the Middle East, and in Lebanon/Syria/Turkey for almost 10 years now, and where did I discover this simple Turkish breakfast dish? In London, my friends. Last Christmas, in London, we stopped into one of the few open places in Seven Dials, Kopapa, the sort of bustling warm inviting restaurant that I dream about when in Algiers. I will admit what really sold me on this dish was the menu description, especially the whipped yogurt and spice butter. Whipped yogurt? That's more of a siren song to me than any poached egg ever will be. Since then, I've learned that poached eggs in yogurt with spiced butter is actually a classic Turkish breakfast dish called Çilbir. And there are naturally tons of ways to make these dish, but really it's fairly simple. Poach some eggs, place in a bowl, top with good quality yogurt and some paprika-tinged butter, and there you have it. Even people in Montana are making it. I've come up my own variation on this classic dish, which is simply to serve the whole thing over toast and eat it with a knife and fork. I know, it's terribly British, isn't it? But the toast lends a much needed crunch and oomph to the dish. I bet you could even arrange them on a platter at a brunch. (Of course, in the pictures here you don't see the toast version because if I wanted toastable bread I would have had to make it.) If you want a more classic version of the dish, a few sauteed pine nuts are also nice for some crunch. Çilbir - Turkish Poached Eggs with Yogurt You want a thick not runny yogurt here, but I don't think you have to go full on Greek yogurt or labane here unless you want to. Really, whatever you like that's rich and tangy. Serves 2. For the eggs: 2 eggs water, vinegar Assembly: 2 slices good toast 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt, the best quality you can find and preferably not fat free 4 tablespoons butter one pinch of smoked paprika a bit of dill or chives, optional, for serving 1. Beat the yogurt with a pinch of salt until smooth. Place the toast in the bottom of two shallow serving bowls. 2. Bring water in a medium-large pot to a low boil. Add in a splash of vinegar. Crack your eggs into ramekins or a bowl. With the handle of a wooden spoon, swirl the water to make a whirlpool. Drop one egg into the whirlpool to poach. When the egg white is solid but the yolk is still runny, scoop out the egg with a slotted spoon, let drain, and place on top of a piece of toast. Repeat with the second egg. 3. Spoon the yogurt over each egg. Heat the butter and paprika in a small pan and pour some spiced butter over each serving. If, desired, top with some dill/chives.
19 days ago
This week we go back to humorous Persian cooking videos. These two gentlemen are hilarious. Their speech, posture, clothing, and content make for one entertaining cooking session. I cracked up every time the “chef” says to en...
This week we go back to humorous Persian cooking videos. These two gentlemen are hilarious. Their speech, posture, clothing, and content make for one entertaining cooking session. I cracked up every time the “chef” says to enlist the help of “the man of the house” to do certain cooking tasks! I hope you will enjoy [...]
20 days ago
Oh yes. It's time to talk hummus. Again. It's September -- time for back to school, new jobs, more traffic, and half your office is no longer on vacation. And it's time to get serious, with hummus. For long time readers, you know I was p...
Oh yes. It's time to talk hummus. Again. It's September -- time for back to school, new jobs, more traffic, and half your office is no longer on vacation. And it's time to get serious, with hummus. For long time readers, you know I was pretty serious about hummus when I first posted about it here over five years ago. But I think it's time we talked about it again. Some of the things I talked about many years ago have not changed - I still think you have to peel the chickpeas, I will still have a coniption if you call something with white beans "hummus." But a lot of things about my method have changed, and I'll explain why. First of all, I have made hummus over a dozen times in the last two months. Luckily, you already knew I was a crazy person. When Paul sees another bowl of chickpeas soaking on the counter he now groans with dread. But all that cooking, testing this method vs that, soaking chickpeas, peeling them, not peeling them, all led me to a new and improved recipe. So what's changed? Well, you still have to cook your chickpeas from scratch to make good hummus, that has not changed. And yes, you still have to peel the chickpeas. But what has changed is baking soda. Yes, baking soda. You see, a while back, I was eating at a Lebanese restaurant and noticed how soft, tender, and deeply yellow their chickpeas were. And I started thinking how a better technique for cooking chickpeas could lead to better hummus. Baking soda is a well-documented way to make chickpeas soft, tender, and yellow in color. So why didn't I use baking soda before? Well, before my recipe called for using some of the chickpea cooking water to thin the hummus, but chickpea cooking water with baking soda has an off taste. So, I've swapped that out with some cold water. I've also updated my recipe a bit to incorporate my own laziness, doing the whole thing in the food processor, instead of making the tahini sauce separately. So go forth my friends, make some hummus! P.S. Notice how the hummus in the top photo looks smoother than the hummus in the bottom photo? Well, the bottom photo is form one of my experiments with unpeeled chickpeas. The difference in visible folks! Hummus bi-Tahini The quality of your tahini makes a difference here, so try to find the best quality and freshest tahini (sesame seed paste) available. Baking soda does not interact well with pots with non-stick linings, so avoid using them here. This recipe makes more chickpeas than you may need. 2 cups dried chickpeas 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 very small clove of garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt (preferably sea salt or other good quality salt) juice of 1 small lemon scant 1/2 cup tahini paste (6-7 tablespoons) for serving: olive oil, cayenne and/or cumin 1. Soak the chickpeas in plenty of water overnight, or for as long as 24 hours. 2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Add the chickpeas to a large pot, preferably a heavy-bottomed clay or ceramic pot, add the baking soda, and plenty of water to cover. Bring the pot to a boil, watching it closely because the baking soda may cause it to foam and overflow. When the water boils, lower the heat so that your chickpeas are just at a simmer. Skim off the baking soda foam. 3. Simmer the chickpeas until they are golden, the skins are loosened, and they are tender when squished with your finger, but don't totally turn to mush. For me this usually takes 40 minutes, but it could take up to 50-70 minutes. 4. Drain the chickpeas and give them a quick rinse with cool water. Now peel your chickpeas by simply pinching the skins off them. Transfer the peeled chickpeas to a bowl and discard the skins. You can choose to refrigerate of freeze your chickpeas here, or proceed immediately. 6. Measure out two lightly-packed cups of chickpeas into your food processor, reserving the rest for later. Add in the garlic and salt and run the food processor to create a coarse paste. 7. Add in the tahini and lemon juice. Turn on the foo
26 days ago