Friday, March 23, 2012

Ash Reshteh - Persian Bean and Wheat Noodle Soup



Ash Reshteh is something my family makes every year for 13 bedar, the huge picnic ending the festivities of Persian New Year. Actually my beautiful grandparents are the ones that make it. They make it in 2 ways (with and without Kashk or Whey) and take a HUGE pot to the park and enjoy it all day. 


FUNDABBLER FACT


serves 12 -14
Takes about 1 hour to make

INGREDIETNS 

Nokhod Bonshan (Bean Mix)
Pinto beans (loobia chit) - 2 cans cooked at 19 oz each OR 2 cups dried
Lentils - 1 cup dried OR 2 cans
Chick Peas - 2 cans cooked 19oz each  OR 2 cups dried

GREENS
Spinach - 3 bunches (about 1.5 lbs uncooked)
Green onions (just the green part) - 3 bunches
Parsley - 2 bunches
Cilnatro - 1/2 bunch

Reshteh (Wheat Persian Noodles) - 1 small packet but to taste (I like a lot so I used about 1 inch diameter)
Turmeric - 1 tablespoon
Salt and pepper to taste

Kask/Whey (optional)
OR
Vinegar (red wine, apple cider, or white)

Water


TOPPING
Onion - 7 medium onions quartered and sliced finely
Garlic- 3 full heads chopped finely
Dried mint - about 1 cup

Canola oil for frying


INSTRUCTIONS

Soak all of your beans if you are making them from scratch (not from a can) over night. Then boil separately (so it goes faster) or start with your pinto beans and garbanzo beans and when they are half cooked add your lentils. 

Fry your turmeric and add to your mixture.

Cut and wash your spinach, cilantro, parsley, green onions. It should not be too finely cut, but not too coarsely either. If you are hesitant, cut it closer to being fine than coarse.
 





Add your greens to your bean mixture and let it simmer for at least 15 min. Add water as needed. The consistency should be that of a thick soup. Adjust to your taste.



Cut and fry your onions. Add the equivalent to one onion into your pot the rest set aside for toppings. Your onions should be caramelised and crispy.



Cut and fry your garlic. They brown quickly, be sure not to burn or they will turn bitter. Once slightly brown, set aside for toppings.



Rub and fry your mint. Basically you heat your oil (be very generous with your oil) once your oil is hot add your mint and after one stir of covering your mint with the oil evenly turn off your burner. If mint burns it, too, gets bitter. Set aside for your topping.



If you want to use kashk/whey, boil it for 20 min then add it to your ash. 



Cut your noodles in 3 or 4 and mix into your Ash mixture. Be sure to sprinkle them atop your soup so they do not clump and mix often. If you see you need to add water, add cold water so that your noodles don't clump together.


Without Kash and with Vinegar







With Kashk and no Vinegar.






Serve and top with your toppings and Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cake Baghlavai - Persian Baklava Cake with Rose Water and Cardamom




This is my mom's recipe. It is a very dense cake. I like the fact that it's not too sweet, the cake itself that is (without the syrup). My mom's original recipe has half of the cake batter plus all of the syrup. I don't like it that way so I double the cake and keep the syrup the same. It's super sweet otherwise. Honestly I like the cake even without the syrup! You can top it with vanilla ice-cream, or whipped cream and sprinkle it with some ground cardamom.  YUMMY!


Takes about 1 hour to make
Serves 8-10 

FUNDABBLER FACT




INGREDIENTS

CAKE
Ground almonds - 4 cup 
All purpose flour - 2 cup 
Eggs - 6
Sugar - 2 cup 
Baking powder - 1 teaspoon 
Ground Cardamom - 1 teaspoon
Rose water- 1 estekan  golab = 1/2 cup 
Water - 6 table spoons 
Unsalted melted butter- 2 sticks 

SYRUP
Sugar -1 cup 
Water - 1 cup 
Rose water - 1/2 cup 
syrup needs to be hot/warm to put on cake


INSTRUCTIONS

Ground blanched almonds (or buy ground blanched almonds)



Mix eggs in machine for about 2 min


Add Rose water



Add sugar in eggs and stir.



Add ground almonds and stir



Add butter and stir



Add the flour and baking soda



Add Cardamom



And 3 table spoons water and let stir




Mix 2 more min



Butter/Oil pan and put in preheated oven to 250F cook for 45 min



(check at 35 min)
Cut cake into diamond shape (Do it in diagonals and let the lines lead to diamonds)


and pour on syrup


Let it sit a bit to absorb.


Serve and Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reshte Polo - Sweet Persian Noodle Rice




















I love this recipe even though I usually only eat it once a year. Traditionally this is served for dinner at Persian New Year (the first day of spring). It is said that reshteh (the wheat noodles) will bring good luck for the year if you have it as your first meal. Many make Ashe Reshteh or this dish to make sure the reshte part of the Persian tradition is fulfilled. Hope you love it as much as my family does.

FUNDABBLER FACT

Persian New year is a month long celebration. Once March hits, my family begins cleaning (spring/new year cleaning). We start with chaharshambe soori (Wednesday Feast). It is a celebration of the last Wednesday of the year where we jump over tiny fires (an OLD Zoroastrian tradition that symbolises purification). The history is deep and beautiful, the modern reality for family is a huge picnic in the evening where you see people you haven't in over a year. We dance, we eat and we play.

INGREDIENTS

Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Reshte - one inch diameter of flat whole wheat pasta (broken into about 1 inch pieces totalling to 1.5 cups once broken)
Almond slithers - 1 heaping cup
Sultan Raisins - 3/4 cup
Dates - 1 cup chopped (about 13 seeded and quartered)
Onions - 2 medium 1 jumbo chopped 
Orange zest- about 1/2 cup freshly zested (Ideally organic)
Saffron - about .5 teaspoon finely ground
Canola oil - about .5 cup in all
salt to taste
Non - Stick pot (so the rice does not stick and you can make nice tahdig)
Orange zest - 1 orange, boil to get rid of bitterness

Takes about 1.5 - 2 hours to make
Serves 4-6 people


INSTRUCTIONS

OK this is a bit complicated but stick with me. The general idea is cut everything, fry everything,  boil and drain your rice then layer and let it gently cook. So here we go-

Wash your rice and let it soak in enough water to cover it mixed with LOTS of salt (like 1/4 a cup) Let it sit at least a couple hours. It can be over night if you want or all day. whatever works with your schedule. 




Zest your oranges coarsely (either with a julienne tool or by hand avoiding the white part of the rind)  and boil to get rid of the bitterness. Just about 1 min.



Break your noodles and brown them. Stay nearby because they burn real quickly.



Chop and brown your onions.


Seed and cut your dates into quarters. Then brown them. Set aside. Fry your raisins until they puff up. Set aside.


Mix your zest, onions, dates, raisins with your turmeric some salt and pepper, cinnamon, and half of your saffron.


Add the slivered almonds to a pan with some butter and the rest of your saffron and a 1/8 cup of water to dissolve the saffron and coat on the almonds. Set aside.


Bring half a pot of water to a boil. Add in your noodles and rice. once it comes to a boil again drain water.


Rinse your pot and add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pot and start layering with rice and noodles and your mix of sweets. 


Use a butter knife or the end of your fork/spoon and make holes in your rice. You will cut up some pieces of butter in the holes. (NOTE: this is the traditional way of doing it. Being a bit more conscious of our health, I don't always do this. Especially for this recipe there is already enough oil in it to make it yummy and not greasy) Pour about 1/4 a cup of water over your rice and close the lid.



Put your stove at medium low and let it cook for a good 30-40 min. At the end increase the heat to make some crispy tahdig. 



NOTE:
Checking that your rice is cooked: 1. you can open it and take a quick taste. but in Persian cuisine it is a big no no to open the lid before it is ready because you lose your steam if it is not done. so- the way my mother and grandparents do it is wet your finger and quickly dab it on the side of your pot. If it quickly sizzles and the water evaporates, it is ready, if not, let it sit still. I have no idea how it actually works, but have learned not to ask, just to do because it works!

 When your rice is ready, shake your rice lose of the pan and flip on a large plate OR serve then place your tahdig on top. 


Serve the almonds on top and place on your table to ENJOY!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Koo Koo Sabzi - Persian Herb "Fritata"





This is traditionally something on the New Year's eave table in Iran. However is made all year round. Normally this is served with Sabzi polo, or just regular Persian Basmati Rice. I LOVE zereshk (Berberis Vulgaris) So you can make a side of it if you would like to add on top or just leave it the way I have it here . If you don't feel like eating it with rice, you can enjoy it more like a sandwich. You can also eat it cold, room temperature, or hot. Really versatile and one of my favourites. It takes a while to prepare, 


FUNDABBLER FACT

The Persian calendar is called the Solar Hejri calendar. The first day of the year varies each year (according to the US calendar/Gregorian Calendar) but is the first day of Spring each year. 


INGREDIENTS
Flat Leaf Parsley - 1 bunch
Cilantro - .5 bunch
Dill - 1 table spoon dried
Green Onions - 2 bunches just the greens (in the place of Tareh)
Lettuce - 6 large romaine lettuce leaves
Zereshk - 1/2 cup
Walnuts - 1/2 cup (chopped halved however you like, I like it larger)
Fenugreek - about a palm full (1 tablespoon) crushed
Salt and pepper to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
Cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
Eggs - 5
Canola oil - at least 1/4 cup

Serves 4-6
Takes about 1- 1.5 hours to make 


Wash your greens and chop finely or throw in a food processor.

 

 
 


Wash and drain your Zereshk and add to your greens.



Add your walnuts very roughly chopped



Add in your spices and Salt and Pepper to taste



Add your 5 eggs and beat vigorously. You want your Kookoo Sabzi to puff, so the more you whisk it (I use a fork. With the walnuts and zereshk it gets extra churning so the whisk just takes longer to clean, and the chunks get stuck in it etc.)



Heat the oil in your pan and add your mixture. Lower your heat to medium.



Once you see the edges underneath browning and the top hardening (I actually cover with a lid of another larger pot to make it harden quicker) Cut into 6 pieces.



you can add another 1/4 cup between the cut koo koo. My grandfather would add even more oil so that the cut parts of the koo koo are super crispy. To avoid the extra calories and oil, I don't.




Flip with the help of 2 spatulas so the other side gets cripsy. this time do not cover so that it does crisp up. 



If you are still stuck on your sides (like I was) you can lift the sides and fry it a bit. Not needed at all. Your choice. 



Then serve with some rice or bread and ENJOY!