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Posts tagged ‘Persian food’

Khoresht e Bademjan


This is one of my favorite Persian foods, it’s a pretty broad statement really, because I can say the same thing about so many different Persian recipes but this is one I probably make more than any other, it’s so simple and tasty and although I made it with lamb it can easily be meatless using just the eggplant and it is just as delicious. I will be honest, posting a recipe for Persian Food makes me a bit nervous, mainly because there are some incredibly awesome Persian cooks who follow this blog, Fae and Azita as an example,  I often misspell the names of the dishes and am always insecure about my method or recipe. I did learn to cook Persian food from a friend of mine from Iran,  I also have found that like so many other countries, the recipes and ingredients and methods can vary depending on what city or region you are from.

That said this is my way of making this delicious stew or Khoresht. What really gives it the distinct flavor IMHO is the dried Persian limes. You can add lemon but using the dried limes give the stews a distinct flavor that you cannot replicate using any other ingredient.  I like to serve this with rice made the Persian way see recipe here and yogurt with cucumber, mint and lemon juice.


Khoresht e Bademjan

Serves 6 depending on serving size

2 lbs lamb stew meat

1 onion chopped

1/4 tsp turmeric

1 onion diced

1 6 oz can tomato paste

2 dried Persian Limes or juice of one lemon

approximately 3 cups water(enough water to cover the meat, eyeball it)

4 small Italian eggplant or 1 regular eggplant peeled (if you like) and cut into rounds.

salt and pepper to taste
Chop the onion, If you can find the dried limes poke holes with the tip of a knife (2-3 slits or holes)
Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan or dutch oven, add chopped onion cook until translucent, add the turmeric. Cook lamb meat until browned. Remove from pan and add the can of tomato paste and cook until paste starts to caramelize approximately 2 minutes. Add lamb back into saucepan, season with  salt and pepper, add the water and the dried limes or lemon juice.
Cook on medium heat for approximately 60-90 minutes or until the meat is fork tender and the.Sauce has thickened While the stew is cooking prepare the eggplant, Slice your eggplant into approximately 1/4 inch thick slices, salt and let sit on paper towels for approximately 30 minutes you will see the eggplant start to sweat.Rinse, pat dry and fry in oil until browned, set on paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil. Alternately you can bypass the frying and roast in the oven, lay eggplant slices on parchment, brush each side with olive oil and bake in 375 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. After 15 minutes turn each over they should be nicely browned and roast for another 15 minutes.
When stew is done add the eggplant and cook on low for another 15 minutes. Remove from heat.

Khoresht e bademjan,saffron rice,yogurt.cucumber,mint salad

Khoresht e bademjan,saffron rice,yogurt.cucumber,mint salad


Loobiya Pollo

Loobiya Polo

Loobiya Polo

I love Persian/Iranian food, I used to make it all the time but have sadly fallen out of practice on many dishes that were staples in my kitchen repertoire. Loobiya (green bean) Pollo (rice) was one of them that I made frequently years ago, I actually forgot how to make it and didn’t have my original recipe, it was somehow lost. Thanks to great blogs like Fig and Quince and Fae’s Twist and Tango I have been able to piece together and actually remember many dishes and how I made them. It’s kind of like riding a bike, you never really forget, it is in the recesses of your mind. Azita from Fig and Quince gave me her recipe for Loobiya Pollo and after reading it, the memories started flooding back.

Loobiya Pollo is very simple, you make a stew using meat (beef or lamb or even chicken)  that is braised in a tomato based sauce spiced with turmeric, cinnamon and saffron, you add caramelized onions and green beans and let it cook together slowly. The stew is layered with basmati rice and steamed. It’s absolutely delicious. One of the best parts of the dish is the Tahdig, crunchy rice that forms at the bottom of the pot. The rice mixed with the rich tomato sauce is so wonderful.

I have to confess I don’t really follow a recipe exactly and don’t really measure when I make these dishes. I season to taste, eyeball consistency so results may vary. I will try my best to approximate the amounts for you though.  I like to serve this dish with crisp cucumber strips and plain yogurt mixed with dried mint, diced cucumber and a little lemon.

I always  make this with meat but it translates beautifully into a vegetarian or even vegan dish, simply omit the meat, you can add different vegetables and layer and steam with the rice.

Loobiya Pollo

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

For the stew:

1.5 lb stew meat (lamb or beef)

1 yellow onion chopped (divided, reserve a small amount to saute with green beans)

approximately 4 oz tomato paste

1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

2 whole fresh ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped

3/4 lb green beans, stem end removed, blanched and cut into bite size pieces

turmeric (approximately 1/2 tsp)

cinnamon (approximately 1/4 heaping tsp)

saffron (a pinch)

salt and pepper to taste


Approximately 2 cups basmati rice

oil for pot

pinch of saffron (in 2 tbs water)

1 tbs of butter (I like to use salted butter)

Heat a saute pan coated with oil (I used olive oil)  on med/high and add the onions, saute until soft and caramelized (takes 15-20 minutes) remove from pan and set aside. Add a little more oil and add the meat, sprinkle with salt, pepper and turmeric, sear the meat until browned, remove from pan and set aside. Add the tomato paste to the same pan, stir frequently and caramelize, add the onion and meat to the pan with the tomato paste, now add the tomato sauce and chopped fresh tomato, add the cinnamon and season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer on medium heat. It will take at least an hour and a half for the stew to cook and the meat to become tender. Check frequently you may need to add a little water if it looks like the stew has cooked down too much, stir occasionally. Taste as it cooks and adjust seasoning, I found that I needed to add a dash more cinnamon to get the flavor just right.

While this is cooking start preparing your rice. Rinse rice with cold water until the water comes out clear. Add the rice to a bowl, cover in cold water and add salt (approx 2 tsp) let rice sit in the salted water until you are ready to boil.

Heat saute pan with a little oil, add the reserved raw onions and saute until soft, add the green beans and a pinch of turmeric and a little salt and pepper and cook for approximately 2 minutes just until the green beans are lightly sauteed. Set aside.

When meat is tender but needs another 30 minutes or so add the green beans and finish cooking add a pinch of saffron, stir to combine.

Put large pot of water on to boil, add about a tbs of salt. When water is a full rolling boil, drain the rice that has been sitting in the water and add to the pot. Stir to separate each grain and let par cook, this takes about 10-12 minutes, the rice will be hard in the center of the grain. Drain into sieve and rinse with cool water. While rice is draining, put your pot back on the stove, dry it and add a little oil to the bottom of the pot, let it heat on med/high heat until good and hot. Add enough of the rice to cover the bottom of the pot about 1 inch thick, now add a thin layer of the stew spread evenly on the rice, now you will layer, add some rice topped with stew, you will end with plain rice, add 1 tbs butter and drizzle with the saffron water. Cover the pot with tea towel  or paper towel and place cover on pot so that it is a tight fit. Turn heat up to high for 5 minutes so steam will build up in the pot then lower to medium and let it steam undisturbed for 45-60 minutes depending on how much rice you have made. Don’t open it while it’s steaming but keep your nose at attention, if you smell it burning remove from heat immediately.

To remove from pot and serve:

I like to use a non stick pot to make my rice, the tahdig can stick to the bottom of the pot and having a non stick surface makes it easy to get out in one piece. When the rice is finished cooking put a couple of inches of cold water in your sink and place the pot in the water, let sit for about 30 seconds.

Place serving dish over the pot and invert. The rice should come out in one piece (looking like a cake). The tahdig (bottom of the pot) should be nicely browned and crisp) it’s so delicious and underneath is tender totally separate rice. Serve hot.

An example of how rice will look when it comes out of the pot, this is not the loobiya dish but a plain basmati rice with tahdig, I didn’t get a picture of the loobiya pollo.

Persian Rice with tahdig

Persian Rice with tahdig

Act Of Kindness And A Stuffed Apple A Day…

Persian stuffed apples

Persian stuffed apples

I have been sick with a very bad cold, I still have to work and care for my pugs, but other than that I haven’t been cooking (or cleaning) and I am trying to take it easy in between it all. I had a very busy day yesterday and frankly was feeling pretty bad last night when I got an email from my friend Azita. She is the author of the lovely blog Fig and Quince, she also happens to be my neighbor, living only a few doors down from me, how cool is that? She is awesome and so kind, in the email she asked if I was home because she wanted to bring something to me. It was a terrible weather day, sleet, snow and very cold  but Azita braved the elements and brought me some food. I love Persian food, she brought stuffed apples, it’s a savory dish and I think it is probably the same or similar to her recipe for stuffed quince on her blog.

I haven’t tasted them yet because I still don’t have a full sense of taste, I am getting it back a little at a time and hope to be able to eat this delicious dish tomorrow. I wanted to give a shout out to Azita whose thoughtful gift of food really cheered me up.

On top of not feeling well I also had an emergency with my dog, Nando. I have two senior pugs, both are diabetic, I have to adhere to a very strict schedule for feeding and medications, giving both of them insulin injections every day twice a day at the same times every day. I don’t know what happened yesterday, I gave both dogs their insulin and shortly afterward, Nando’s blood sugar plummeted, he collapsed and I had to administer some sugar syrup to raise his blood sugar quickly, he could have gone into a diabetic coma. I was very lucky that he came around and after that he started perking up and rested comfortably for the rest of the night.



Azita’s kindness really made my day and I wanted to acknowledge this.  So often we take the small things for granted, but I want her to know how much I appreciate it and how her act of kindness touched me. Thank you Azita, you are wonderful and if you haven’t checked out her lovely blog please visit, you will love it as much as I do not just for the delicious recipes but her writing style and art is amazing.


Gheymeh is a Persian stew, wildly popular for large gatherings and some consider it almost mandatory to bring to “potluck” functions. I used to make this stew at least once a week, it’s made with ground meat (beef, lamb or veal) in a tomato based sauce with yellow split peas and roasted potatoes. You can sub other vegetables for potatoes, like eggplant or zucchini but I like to use potatoes for this stew. The Persian cook that taught me this dish used french fries, I prefer roasting pieces of potato. You spice with turmeric, saffron and cinnamon and eat it with rice. It’s sort of  like a Persian version of a Bolognese sauce. This is great comfort food that is easy to prepare. I think it tastes even better the next day if you have any leftovers.


1 lb ground meat (beef,lamb or veal)

1 onion chopped

1 (4.5 oz) tube of tomato paste or 3/4 of a 6 oz can

1/2 tsp turmeric

Pinch of cinnamon (approximately 1/8 tsp or less)

3 1/2-4 cups water (start with 3 1/2 add more if needed)

1/3 cup dried yellow split peas

2 medium size potatoes cut into bite size pieces

pinch of saffron

2 tbs lemon juice

2 dried limes or 1/4 cup  lemon or lime juice

pinch of sumac (for potatoes)


Pre-heat oven to 425, spread potatoes on parchment lined sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and sprinkle with some sumac. Roast in the oven for approximately 45 minutes stirring frequently so that potatoes are browned on all sides. Remove from oven and set aside.

Roasted Potatoes

In small saucepan bring some water to a boil, add the split peas and boil for 15 minutes, you are par cooking them so they will soften a little..Rinse, drain and set aside.

In large deep skillet saute the onion in some olive oil until its translucent and soft, add the ground meat and turmeric and cook just until the meat is cooked and not red. Add the tomato paste, stir until its mixed with the meat and cook for a few minutes, add the water, split peas, cinnamon, salt and pepper and the dried limes or citrus juice. NOTE: If you are using dried limes poke a few holes or slits in the limes with the edge of a sharp knife before adding to the stew. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer for about 1 1/2  hours the sauce will be thick and most of the liquid will have evaporated. Stir frequently and add more water if you see that too much of the liquid has evaporated. When the stew is done mix saffron with the lemon juice and add along with the roasted potatoes, stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes just to heat the potato through. Serve immediately with rice.

Game Day-What To Eat? Beef Kebob on Grilled Flat Bread

Beef Kebobs on Flat Bread

Every day until the big game day on Sunday I am going to post a easy to make, tasty recipe that will satisfy. This is a beef Kebob, I used organic, grass fed beef, some grated onion then formed it onto sticks and grilled on the stove top sprinkled with some sumac for a little Middle Eastern Flair and topped with a simple chopped cucumber and tomato salad dressed only with fresh lemon. Simple, portable and delicious and easily made in advance. You can make these and just keep them wrapped in foil in a warm oven. The flat bread I grill on the stove top, directly on the burner on a medium flame (You cannot do that on an electric stove) turning to heat and slightly char the bread, it takes less than a minute so you can do this to order or make a batch wrap in foil and keep warm in the oven. You can also top this with yogurt or crumbled feta along with the salad.

Serves a crowd at least a dozen kebobs

2 lbs ground beef (preferably organic grass fed)

1 onion grated on the largest grate and drained of juices

2 egg yolks

salt and pepper to taste

sumac (optional) to sprinkle on meat after cooking)

2 small cucumbers diced

2 tomatoes diced

1 cup chopped parsley (optional)

juice of 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Grate the onion and drain, I squeezed it in a double paper towel. Put the onion in a mixing bowl, add the beef, egg yolks and some salt and pepper, Mix well. Refrigerate for 1 hour

If you are using bamboo skewers submerge in water while the meat is resting in the refrigerator. Dice the cucumbers,optional parsley and tomatoes, add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Form meat onto skewers whatever size you want, heat your grill and place meat skewers onto grill. You want the meat cooked medium done. Let grill 3-4 minutes on each side turning over once. Test for doneness, just poke with your finger it should feel firm but not dry.

Remove from heat and tent with foil while you prepare your bread. Grill the bread either on the burner or in a pan, brush with olive oil and lay kebob onto bread, sprinkle with a little sumac (optional) and spoon some of the cucumber and tomato on top.