Joojeh Kebab or Persian Chicken kebab

Chicken is relatively inexpensive at the moment with many of the larger supermarkets offering bargain packs.  I usually stock up when they offer these bargain packs and freeze for later use and some how we ended up with a freezer full of chicken!

Chicken is light on the stomach, packed with protein, easy to prepare and cook and great for the bbq! Of all the different ways to use Chicken in Persian cooking , Joojeh kebab is one of my personal favorites.

There are a number of ways to make the marinade. This is my favorite but alternatively you could omit the olive oil and add mast or natural yoghurt. Another variation…some people add a teaspoon or two of turmeric.

~~JOOJEH KEBAB~~


~Preparation~

  • Make sure you marinade the chicken for at least a few hours before. I often leave mine over night.
  • It’s important when cooking chicken on the bbq to get the coals good and hot to avoid undercooked meat and food poisoning ! Be sure to leave your coals until they are red, this can take up to 30 mins or more.
  • Make sure you thoroughly cook the chicken.

~Ingredients for the marinade~

  • Liquid saffron ( use 1/2 teaspoon of saffron, grind and add half a small cup of water)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 onion roughly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of Olive oil

~Method~

  1. Roughly chop the onion. Your going to discard it later so don’t worry about it too much.
  2. Make the liquid saffron
  3. Cut the chicken into bbq size chunks and flatten.
  4. Combine all the ingredients and leave to marinade over night for maximum flavour.
  5. When your ready to bbq, place the chicken onto the skewer and grill each side until golden. Dont forget to baste with the marinade juices.

Serve with saffron rice and a nice fresh green salad.

Nooshi joonet …. Enjoy :)

How to make Tahdig with sibzamini (potatoe)

Tahdig or taadig is the crusty bit at the bottom of the rice. There isn’t really a name for it in english AND it’s pretty unique to Persian cooking. It’s completely delicious and I guarantee everyone will want it. When my children were little they used to almost fight for the last piece of tahdig…. it’s that delicious.You can make Tahdig with a few different things but in this recipe Im going to explain how to make it using potatoes.Once made, you can either serve the Tahdig separately or use the crispy potatoes to add some decorative touch to your rice dish.

~~TAHDIG SIBZAMINI~~

~WHAT YOU WILL NEED~

  • A heavy bottomed non stick saucepan with a lid.
  • A padded lid … I wrap and secure a teatowel around the lid.

~INGREDIENTS~

  • Rice
  • A medium-sized potato thinly sliced
  • Oil
  • Butter
  • Hot water
  • Liquid saffron

~METHOD~

  • Having boiled the rice in water until its soft to bite ( see how to make ‘perfect Persian Rice’) drain it and place to one side.
  • Use a good non stick saucepan and add a little oil, a desert spoon of butter and melt.
  • Add a few drops of liquid saffron and stir in or swirl it in the pan until its infused.
  • Then add a little water, empty into a cup and put to one side.
  • Returning to the saucepan, add about 2 tablespoons of good vegetable oil, sunflower oil is good and heat.
  • Add a drop or two of liquid saffron.
  • Turn up the heat to full and add the sliced potatoes and allow to sizzle a little for a few minutes.
  • Then spoon the rice on top.
  • Using a wooden spoon, just go around the edge, pushing the rice away from the side of the pan to avoid too much crisp rice… you only really want the bottom to become crispy.
  • Pour on most of the oil, butter and water you put to one side earlier … you should see some steam rising now.
  • Once you see some steam, cover with a padded lid ( I use a teatowel wrapped securely around the lid) this helps absorb any condensation and prevents it from dripping back onto the rice.
  • Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and leave for about 3/4 of an hour to an hour. You might have to experiment a little as it depends on your heat settings.
  • When your rice is ready, spoon the rice onto a dish until you reach the bottom of the pan. Then carefully remove the potatoes.

~Now you have ‘TAHDIG SIBZAMINI’ … WELL DONE!~

Nooshi joonet . Enjoy

Reshteh Polou or Persian Noodle Rice

This rice dish is traditionally eaten at norooz, the Persian new year but why not eat other times too because it’s too delicious not to! In this recipe I use gluten free noodles because I have coeliacs disease, an allergy to Gluten but if you can substitute them with wheat noodles.

~~RESHTEH POLOU OR PERSIAN NOODLE RICE~~


~Ingredients~

  • Basmati rice 1 cup per serving
  • 1 handful of reshteh per three servings For coeliacs use rice noodles or gluten-free spaghetti.
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 small onion

~Method~

Follow the recipe for making Persian rice to step 3 and then place to one side.

  1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and then pre soak for at least 2 hours in salted water.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a teaspoon or 2 of salt according to your taste and then add the rice.
  3. Allow to bubble away until the rice becomes soft to bit. You should see the rice grains grow in length but dont allow them to become fluffy.
  4. Now drain and rinse and place to one side to finish draining.
  5. Meanwhile break the noodles into pieces. It doesn’t matter what size
  6. Chop and gently fry the onion in the butter and oil and add the noodles until golden
  7. Combine the rice and noodles in one pan as from step 4 and continue  through the rest of the instructions to step 14.
  8. Some people like to add cinnamon and raisins which is delicious and you can sprinkle these on just before serving.

Khoresht e Gheimeh Bademjan or Aubergine Stew

Everyone loves this dish. It’s something you’ll enjoy eating for lunch, dinner or any time in fact!  Very like  Khoresht e bademjan except in this recipe you use lamb rather than chicken.

This is one of those recipes you can make in stages which was perfect for me yesterday as I had my 2 yrs old grand-daughter visiting for the day. Having tucked away a good helping of Lubia polou for lunch her  nose was twitching at the smells coming from the kitchen! I had already cooked the meat earlier and only needed to add the split yellow peas and budemjan which was useful as 2 yr olds haven’t got much patience! She then proceeded to tuck into 2 good helpings of Khoresht e Gheimeh Budemjan and I think if her mother hadn’t arrived, she would have demolished the lot!

~~KHORESHT E GHEIMEH BADEMJAN~~


~Ingredients~

  • 400 gr’s of lamb cut in small cubes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium-sized budemjan or aubergine ( eggplant)
  • 1 cup of split yellow peas
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of advieh
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground saffron to make 1 small cup of liquid saffron.
  • dried limes ( limu amani)
  • 1 cup of tomato paste
  • A little oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

~Preparation~

  • Pierce the limu amani with the tip of a knife before you add to them to the khoresht as it helps the the flavor of the limu to infuse into the khoresht
  • Wash, peel, quarter and then slice the bademjan ( aubergine). Spread onto a large flat plate and sprinkle with salt. Turn and sprinkle with salt again. Leave for 30 mins and then rinse. Pat them dry before frying. This helps to remove the bitter taste.

~Method~

  1. Chop the onion and gently fry in a little oil until it begins to turn golden
  2. Add the meat, garlic, salt and pepper and the turmeric, stir well and continue to cook until the meat is brown
  3. Cover with water, add the lime juice, tomato paste, saffron  and advieh and simmer gently over a low heat  for about an hour and a half or  until the meat is tender. You may need to add a little more water.
  4. Meanwhile boil a pan of water, add the split yellow peas and cook for 20 mins. Add the split yellow peas and stir in.
  5. Take a fry ing pan, heat some oil and when hot place the sliced aubergines in the oil and cook until golden. Dont forget to turn them.
  6. About 15  mins before you are ready to serve add the aubergine but avoid stirring incase you break up them up. just allow them to sit on the surface of the khoresht and absorb the flavours.
  • This dish is always better served the next day!

~Serve with saffron rice, salad, herbs and natural yoghurt and you have a feast~

~Nooshi joonet. Enjoy ~

Shirin Polou or Jewelled Rice

I thought I’d  have a go and make something new for our family Easter meal and settled on ‘Shirin Polou’ as it looks so delicious in all the pictures I see . The other thinking behind this choice was that it’s full of fruit and nuts and somehow captures the taste of summer, which is a great thought and something to look forward to!

I once  had Shirin Polou back in Iran…. a long time ago but I’ve never made it myself. So it was a little bit of trial and error and learning as I went along. My only error was not to make enough liquid saffron but the recipe below should be fine. In the end it turned out well…. according to my resident expert!

~~SHIRIN POLOU OR JEWELLED RICE~~

~Ingredients~

  • 1 cup of basmati rice per person + 1 extra
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup of orange peel
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds and pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup of barberries
  • 3/4  teaspoon of ground saffron
  • salt to taste
  • 1 thinly sliced potato for the taadig
  • 1 teaspoon of advieh
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or ghee

~Preparation~

  • Cut the peel from the orange and slice into small slithers
  • Slice the carrots into thin small slithers
  • Soak the barberries, rinse and drain
  • Roughly chop the pistachio nuts into medium-sized pieces.
  • Grind the saffron with a pinch of sugar in a pestle and mortar, add to 1 medium cup of boiling water, cover and leave to stand.

~Method~

  1. Thoroughly rinse and then pre soak the rice for at least 2 hours
  2. Boil up a large pan of water add a teaspoon or two of salt according to your own taste.
  3. Add the rice and allow to simmer until the rice has grown and is soft to bite.
  4. Drain and rinse and then put to one side.
  5. Meanwhile, place the orange peel in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about a minute then drain. This is to remove the
  6. Combine the orange peel, carrots, raisins, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 mins. Drain and put to one side.
  7. In a large pan add 4 tablespoons of  vegetable oil and heat.
  8. Add a few drops of saffron and if you want to make a good taadig, add some thin slices of potatoes.
  9. Add a layer of rice, then a layer of the carrots, orange peel and raisins.
  10. Continue to alternate the layers as above, ending with a rice layer.
  11. Add a teaspoon of advieh, a tablespoon of ghee or butter, cover with a padded lid and cook on a low heat for about 50 mins.
  12. 5 minutes before your ready to serve take the sliced almonds, pistachio nuts and barberries and cook in a pan over a low heat for a minute or two. Add the saffron liquid and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  13. Place half of the nuts, barberries and saffron onto the rice and gently begin to spoon onto your serving dish. When you reach the bottom of the pan, remove the taadig and place around the rice or serve separately.
  14. Finally take the remaining nuts, barberries and saffron and place on top of the rice.

Serve with any poultry, chicken, turkey or duck and salad.

Shirin Polou is usually served at a celebration of some kind.

Nooshi joonet. Enjoy ….. we did!

Lubia Polou or Persian Rice with Green Beans

Lubia Polou is a complete meal in itself with the tangy taste of limes and the sweetness of cinnamon. Completely gluten-free and a great meal for kids. You can make it with lamb or minced lamb or beef, which ever you prefer but this recipe uses minced beef. Simply replace with the meat of your choice.

Lubia Polou is ideal for lunch or dinner and is a balanced ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ dish.  I wish I could capture the smell in my kitchen right now, package it up and sell it!

~~LUBIA POLOU~~


~Ingredients~

  • 400 gr’s minced beef ( or small cubes of lamb or minced lamb)
  • 4 Cups of basmati rice
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 packet of fresh green beans ( you can used tinned or frozen ) cut into inch length
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of advieh
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground lime powder or 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 small cup of liquid saffron
  • A little vegetable oil

~To make the taadig~

  • 4 good tablespoons of natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron liquid
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

~Method~

  1. Thoroughly wash and re soak the rice in salted water for at least 2 hours beforehand.
  2. Rinse and leave to drain.
  3. Put a little oil in a fry pan and begin to brown the onion.
  4. When becoming a little golden, add the mince and garlic, salt and pepper and continue to fry until brown.
  5. Add the green beans, tomatoes, cinnamon, 3/4 spoon of advieh, lime powder and a cup of water. Mix well.
  6. Bring to the boil, cover and turn down the heat. Allow to simmer for about 30 mins or until the green beans are soft. You may need to add a little more water depending upon your heat setting.
  7. Meanwhile boil up a large pan of water and add 1-2 teaspoons of salt according to your taste.
  8. When boiling, add the rice and leave to bubble away for a few minutes until the rice has expanded and is soft to bite.
  9. Remove from the heat, drain and rinse in tepid water. Put the side to continue draining.
  10. Now prepare to make the taadig and bring it all together ~  Your meat should be almost cooked. Your rice is standing by!
  11. Take 4 tablespoons of yoghurt and add  1/2 teaspoon of liquid saffron and 3 tablespoons of rice. Mix well.
  12. In a large pan, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat.
  13. Add the rice and yoghurt mix. It should sizzle a little.
  14. Add a layer of rice,  then a layer of meat and finally another layer of rice.
  15. Sprinkle the last of the advieh, a touch of cinnamon and either a little butter or ghee.
  16. Cover with a padded lid ( a lid securely wrapped in a tea towel) this finishes the cooking process and prevents condensation from dripping back onto the rice.
  17. About 1/2 hour before serving pour on remaining the liquid saffron, cover and leave to cook on a low heat for about 40 mins.
  18. Spoon  the rice onto your serving dish, and serve the taadig on a separate dish.

Serve with a fresh salad, a dish of sabzi khordan and naan or flat bread like pitta.

~Nooshi Joonet~ Love life, eat well and cook Persian~

Halim e Budemjan

Following in the theme for the week here’s a quick and easily produced meal for when your hungry and in a  bit of a hurry.  It takes no more than an hour  from start to finish, it’s filling, and very, very delicious. The recipe below is for two just multiply the ingredients as needed.

HALIM E BUDEMJAN


Ingredients:

  • 400 gr’s minced meat ( either lamb or beef)
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 medium aubergines
  • 1 cup of kashk
  • 1 teaspoon of advieh
  • 1 cup of lentils ( cooked)
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • Oil

For the garnish:

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic sliced
  • 3 tablespoons of dried mint
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts ( optional)

Method:

  1. Bake the aubergine in the oven until soft. This usually takes 45 mins on 20
  2. Peel the aubergine, mash and put to one side.
  3. Fry the meat until brown, and salt, pepper, saffron, lentils, 3 cups of water and allow to reduce.
  4. Add the aubergine and cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. Then add  1/2 cup of kashk ( you can use kashk straight from the freezer and I freeze it in 1 cup quantities).
  6. Finally add the advieh, stir in well.
  7. Allow to simmer for a few minutes and then put to one side.

4. Add 1/2 cup of hot water to the remaining kashk, bring to the boil and then place to one side.

Now make the garnish

  1. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the garlic. Be careful not to over fry it as you want it brown and crispy but not burnt.
  2. Add the turmeric and dried mint, stir well, remove from the heat and put to one side.

Bringing it all together

  • Place the meat mixture into a serving dish.
  • Pour on a little of the liquid kashk ( you need to keep some in reserve to serve with the meal)
  • Then decorate with the garlic and mint garnish by spooning it on

  • Use the remaining oil from the pan you fried the garnish in to spoon over the top and add walnuts if you wish.

Serve with a small bowl of the liquid kashk, a fresh green salad, naan or pitta bread.

Nooshi joonet ~ Enjoy

Khoresht e feseenjan or Persian walnut and pomegranate stew.

Khoresht e Feseenjun is an exquisite  Persian dish made with ground walnuts and pomegranate paste.  Although it actually doesn’t look so great, it’s to die for. It’s more a dish that you would make for a special occasion rather than everyday. Typically it’s made with poultry, chicken turkey or duck  or you can substitute the poultry with meat balls. The dish is intended to be both sweet and very slightly sour.

KHORESHT E FESEENAN or PERSIAN WALNUT AND POMEGRANATE STEW


Ingredients:

  • 1 kilo gr chicken or turkey
  • 2 large onion
  • 500 gr’s of ground walnuts
  • a generous pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teasp of turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teasp of salt
  • 5  tablespoons of pomegranate paste or 2 cups of pomegranate juice.
  • 6 glasses of water

Method:

  1. Place 6 glasses of water in a pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Add salt, ground walnuts, pomegranate paste and sugar
  3. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for about 3/4 hour. The oil from the walnuts will come out and help to thicken the khoresht.
  4. Meanwhile chop the onions and fry in a little oil until golden
  5. Add the chicken pieces ( or meat balls ) and brown off
  6. Add the turmeric and stir in
  7. Add these to the khoresht and leave to simmer on a low heat for about another 40 minutes
  8. Just before serving sprinkle with a few chopped walnuts.

Serve with plain white rice and a fresh salad.

HOW TO MAKE POMEGRANATE PASTE

It’s not always easy to find Pomegranate paste unless you live near an Iranian grocery store.  But don’t worry it’s really very easy to make yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Take about 6 cups of pomegranate juice and bring to the boil
  2. Add a little salt and a little lime juice ( or lemon juice) to taste and simmer for about 3/4 hour or until the sauce thickens.
  3. When thick remove from heat and pour into a jar with an airtight lid.
  4. Allow to cool and store in the fridge.

Nooshi joonet. Enjoy.

Nan e Berenji or Rice flour cookies

Nan e Berenji originates from the Kermanshah region of Iran. Pure delight for me because they are made from rice flour.  These delicious little cookies melt in your mouth and are just perfect  to nibble  on with your afternoon tea. They are just the right size for little mouths too… the children in our family adore them.

I know this recipe looks long and complicated but it’s not. There are three parts to it, unless you already have ghee, in which case there are only two.

NAN E BERENI


Ingredients:

  • 240 mls  or 1 cup of ghee or clarified butter
  • 720 mls or 3 cups rice flour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1.5 teaspoons of cardamom powder
  • poppy seeds to garnish
  • the syrup (below)

Method for clarified butter:

  1. Either use ghee or clarify your own butter by heating it slowly over a low heat until it boils.
  2. Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes and remove the bubbly froth
  3. Remove from heat and put to one side.
  4. Once it settles and hardens you will have ghee.

Ingredients for the syrup:

  • 1.5 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 8 tablespoons of rose-water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice

Method for syrup:

  1. Add the sugar and water to a pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Allow to simmer for a few minutes and remove from the heat.
  3. Add the rose-water and lime juice and leave to cool.

Method for the cookies:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 c and prepare a biscuit baking tray by lining with grease proof paper.  Place to one side.
  2. Make the syrup and leave to cool.
  3. Take a bowl, preferably a plastic one and beat the egg  yolks until thick and creamy
  4. Add in the cool syrup and place to one side.
  5. In a another bowl add the rice flour, butter and cardamom and beat well.
  6. Add the egg yolks and mix for 15-20 minutes to create a dough and to ensure there’s lots of air in the mix.
  7. Knead the dough briefly. It should not be sticky at this point.
  8. Take a teaspoon of dough and roll into a small round shape and then flatten slightly and arrange on the baking tray leaving a distance of about 2.5 cm’s between each cookie.
  9. Decorate the biscuits if you wish and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
  10. Cook in the middle of the oven for about 12 minutes.
  11. Remove carefully as they are quite delicate and allow to cool.

Dahan-et shirin basheh — May your mouth be sweet.