~HOW TO MAKE LIQUID SAFFRON~
liquified saffron is essential to Persian cooking. You will use it in rice dishes, Khoresht and for deserts and even in your chai. It gives Persian food its unique and subtle flavour and sets it apart. I always keep my saffron in an airtight container in a dark cupboard to ensure its rich yellow colour and to avoid it loosing any of its strength of flavour. saffron is very expensive to buy so you want to take care of it. I personally only buy Persian saffron because I know its good quality and I’ll get the results and taste I want. Spanish saffron is widely available in the UK and I buy this only if I run out ( which almost never happens ).
- Take a really good pinch or of saffron and place it in a pestle and mortar, add a tiny pinch of sugar or salt ( use which ever will suit your recipe) and grind. I use a pestle and mortar but many people use small food processor and powder up bulk batches of saffron strands at a time .
- Place the ground or powdery saffron in cup and add a little boiling water and stir and then cover and allow to infuse for at least 30 minutes. The longer you leave it, the richer the color.
Once you’ve made liquid saffron you can keep it in the fridge for about 2-3 days, but remember to cover it with cling film or keep in an air tight container!
Fact: Saffron is said to help ward off mild depressive thinking. I dont know how true this is but just the colour alone makes you think of sunshine and that makes me smile
There’s nothing more satisfying than a bowl of soup on these cold wintery days. Pumpkins are seasonal so we have to make good use of them while we can!! Today I wanted to experiment a little and thought I spice up my usual pumpkin soup recipe and persianise it! So here it is. It’s very easy to make. There are no hard and fast rules about ingredients or measurements of, it’s very relaxed and delicious. Hope you enjoy.
~ INGREDIENTS ~
- 1/2 pumpkin seeded and cubed.
- 1 Large onion diced
- 2 Sweet potatoes peeled and chopped.
- 3-4 Garlic cloves diced.
- 1 Red pepper seeded.
- 1/2 cup of liquid saffron.
- 1/2 stock ( I used chicken stock but what ever you have is good)
- salt and pepper to taste.
- 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon of advieh
- 1 dried lime.
- Place the oven on about 200 degrees. Brush the peppers with a little olive oil and bake until the skin begins to blacken. Remove from the oven and place the peppers in a plastic bag. Put aside to cool.
- Using a little oil, fry the onions and garlic until it begins to turn golden.
- Add the cubed pumpkin and sweet potatoe, salt, pepper, turmeric, the saffron, chicken stock and the dried lime. If you haven’t got dried limes, use lime juice or powdered lime.
- Pour enough hot water on to cover the vegetables and leave to simmer until the veg is soft, usually around 20 mins.
- Go back to your peppers and peel the skin off.
- If you want smooth soup, blend everything together. If you like your soup lumpy just chop the red pepper flesh as small as possible and add.
Hey presto ….. a delicious sweet and sour soup, warming and thoroughly nutritious. Garnish with chopped corriander. Just what you need on a damp winters day. Eat now, serve for supper or take it for lunch the next day. BTW it freezes well too.
~Nooshi joonet ~
Koofteh or persian meatballs will vary depending where you are in Iran. I haven’t made koofteh for years and had almost forgotten how to make them and how they tasted.
It was such a wet and miserable summer afternoon here in the UK yesterday and in a creative mood, I thought I would cook something to warm us up. So this is my version on a theme. This recipe is my own as it doesn’t strictly follow any of the other recipes I have and it doesn’t have a name as such… any ideas will be gratefully received
- 350 gr’s of mince lamb or beef.
- 2 onions finely grated
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 cup of yellow split peas
- 1 and 1/2 cup of herbs fresh or dried ( equal parts of parsley, tarragon, chives and coriander) You can really use any herbs but DO use tarragon. If you’re using dried herbs, soak for 20 mins.
- 1 heaped tsp of advieh
- 1 tsp of turmeric
- salt to taste
- a generous grind of the pepper mill
- 1 small egg beaten
* Variations~ Add cooked rice to the meat balls or dates and add zereshk to the sauce.
For the sauce~
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon of saffron and add 1 cup water
- 1 cup of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp of lime juice.
- 1/2 cup of remaining herbs
- Cook the split yellow peas for about 20 mins, removing the scum that forms on the top. Drain but retain the water and put to one side.
- If you’re using dried herbs, soak in warm water for about 20-30 mins. Then squeeze out the water and place the herbs to one side.
- Finely chop the onions and garlic. For adding to the meat I usually whizz them up.
- Add the onions and garlic to your minced meat, with turmeric, advieh, salt and pepper
- Now thoroughly mix these together. I use a potato masher as it easier than trying to stir the ingredients together.
- Add the 2/3 of the split yellow peas and 1 cup of the herbs and gently turn over with a wooden spoon.
- Finally add enough of the beaten egg to bind the whole mixture together.
- Put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan and heat.
- Taking a handful, roll into balls and coat in seasoned flour ( I use a wheat free flour but you can use wheat flour). You can make the meat balls any size you prefer I like mine about the size of a ping pong ball.
- Place the meat balls into the pan and cook until golden.
- Once golden, remove from the pan and leave on kitchen towel to soak off excess oil.
For the sauce ~
- Cook the onions and garlic in a little vegetable oil until golden.
- Add 1/2 tsp of turmeric, salt and pepper and 1 tsp of advieh.
- Taste the sauce and make any adjustments you want to make.
- Add the split pea water retained earlier
- Add the liquid saffron, the rest of the herbs and split yellow peas and then finally add the meat balls in gently.
- Cover and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 30-40 mins.
Serve with rice or bread, natural yoghurt and a dish of herbs.
Nooshi joonet ~ enjoy
Protein packed and full of healthy fresh green herbs and nothing could be easier than making kookoo. Kookoo makes a great lunch or light supper or even something to take out with you on a picnic as it can be eaten hot or cold and both are equally delicious. Kookoo can be made in less than 30 mins and cooked either in the oven or in a pan on the cooker, which ever you prefer.
- 6 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of advieh
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 cup of coriander ( if you prefer you can use dried herbs, simply use 1/2 the amount and soak in water first. Remember to squeeze the water from the herbs before you use them)
- 1 cup of parsley
- 1 cup of dill
- a tablespoon of fenugrek
- 1 onion thinly sliced or grated
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 tablespoon of flour.
- Take the six eggs and place them in a mixing bowl
- Add the salt, pepper, advieh and baking powder and beat well
- Sift the flour and beat into the mix
- Add the chopped herbs, chopped onion and crushed garlic and mix well.
- If your going to cook in the oven, put it on at about 200.c.
- Add a few tablespoons of oil into a baking dish and put into the oven to warm
- When ready add, add the kookoo mix into the bowl and leave to cook for about 10 mins.
- After 10 mins, add a little more oil if needed and leave to cook for a further 10- 15 mins until set and nicely cooked.
Serve with mast ( natural yoghurt) and a fresh salad.
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.
- 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
- Roughly chop the onion. Your going to discard it later so don’t worry about it too much.
- Make the liquid saffron
- Cut the chicken into bbq size chunks and flatten.
- Combine all the ingredients and leave to marinade over night for maximum flavour.
- 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
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!
- 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
- Thoroughly wash and re soak the rice in salted water for at least 2 hours beforehand.
- Rinse and leave to drain.
- Put a little oil in a fry pan and begin to brown the onion.
- When becoming a little golden, add the mince and garlic, salt and pepper and continue to fry until brown.
- Add the green beans, tomatoes, cinnamon, 3/4 spoon of advieh, lime powder and a cup of water. Mix well.
- 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.
- Meanwhile boil up a large pan of water and add 1-2 teaspoons of salt according to your taste.
- When boiling, add the rice and leave to bubble away for a few minutes until the rice has expanded and is soft to bite.
- Remove from the heat, drain and rinse in tepid water. Put the side to continue draining.
- Now prepare to make the taadig and bring it all together ~ Your meat should be almost cooked. Your rice is standing by!
- Take 4 tablespoons of yoghurt and add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid saffron and 3 tablespoons of rice. Mix well.
- In a large pan, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat.
- Add the rice and yoghurt mix. It should sizzle a little.
- Add a layer of rice, then a layer of meat and finally another layer of rice.
- Sprinkle the last of the advieh, a touch of cinnamon and either a little butter or ghee.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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~
In Iran we fully believe in the power of hot and cold foods, much like the chinese do. In fact legend has it that our ancient ancestors shared this food knowledge with the chinese , but we won’t get into that here! Iranians believe that food is fuel and either weakens or strengthens the body and these beliefs go way back to ancient times and originate from the Zoroastrian religion.
THE THINKING BEHIND THE THEORY
The description ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ doesn’t relate to the temperature of the food but rather to the effect the food has on your body. Everything we eat is broken down by enzymes in our stomachs and that has an effect on our cells and ultimately on how we function. Enzymes react to ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ food. For example, ‘cold’ food like cucumber or Salad Olivieh slows down the digestive process, which in turn slows us down, requiring us to expend additional energy to continue digestion and will lead to feeling sluggish or tired. On the other hand, ‘hot’ food speeds up the digestive process, increases our metabolic rate and we are more alert and ready to take up our busy lives.
Our bodies need a balance of both ‘hot and ‘cold’ food to function at their best. So for example when I make salad Olivieh, I decorate it with a ‘hot’ food, like walnuts or add carrots . Another example is Khoresht e Feseenjun where the two main ingredients are pomegranate ( cold) and walnuts (hot). Salad is made more balanced by adding herbs, which are hot. Rice is ‘cold’ which is why we eat our khoreshts or stews spiced with saffron and turmeric, cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon, salt and pepper. And you thought it was just to make it taste delicious! Rose-water is ‘hot’ and sugar is cold, which is why our sweet dishes like Nan e Berenji use rose-water. Yoghurt is cold which is why we add mint! Lamb and chicken kebab with rice …. Get the idea! It’s about creating a balance, or making what we eat neutral.
There are times when we need to eat ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ food like when we have colds and illness. I’ll save that for another post.
- All herbs except coriander
- All spices except sumac
- Chicken and lamb
- Dairy is generally cold, except goats cheese which is neutral, Kashk which is hot and ghee.
- Most nuts
- Wheat flour
- chick peas, yellow split peas.
- Most vegetables except: carrots, radish, okra, onions, garlic, red and green peppers,
- Most fruit except apples, dates, quince.
- kidney beans, lentils
- Goats cheese
Love life, eat well and cook Persian!
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
- 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
- Place 6 glasses of water in a pan and bring to the boil.
- Add salt, ground walnuts, pomegranate paste and sugar
- 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.
- Meanwhile chop the onions and fry in a little oil until golden
- Add the chicken pieces ( or meat balls ) and brown off
- Add the turmeric and stir in
- Add these to the khoresht and leave to simmer on a low heat for about another 40 minutes
- 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:
- Take about 6 cups of pomegranate juice and bring to the boil
- 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.
- When thick remove from heat and pour into a jar with an airtight lid.
- Allow to cool and store in the fridge.
Nooshi joonet. Enjoy.
Another of our favorite rice dishes Sabzi polou is easy to make and served with chicken, fresh herbs and salad it makes a great nutritious and gluten-free meal. We eat the traditional persian way with a sofreh, it’s like a table-cloth on the floor, unless we have guests when we sit at the table. The children love it! It’s a bit like having a picnic indoors!
Taadig is the crusty rice bottom. I have used potatoes in this recipe but you could use flat or unleavened bread. We rarely do because I have Coeliacs Disease, an allergy to gluten found in wheat.
SABZI POLOU BA MORGH
This recipe serves 4.
Ingredients for the rice:
- 4 cups of basmati rice
- 4 handfuls of dried dill
- 1-2 teaspoons of salt ( according to taste)
- vegetable oil
- 1 thinly sliced potato for the taadig
- 1/3 small cup or egg cup of liquid saffron
- Pre soak the rice in salted water for at least 2 hours
- Drain the rice and rinse well under running cold water and put to one side.
- Take a large pan, add plenty of water and bring to the boil.
- Add salt. If you like your rice a little salty add 1.5 – 2 teaspoons. Otherwise add 1 teaspoon.
- I always add a few drops of liquid saffron to the boiling water also but this is optional.
- When the water is boiling, add the rice and allow to boil.
- Add 3- 4 handfuls of dill. I have a medium size hand!
- The rice will swell and you should see them grow in length. Be careful not to let the rice become too soggy. You want the rice to be ‘al dente’ or soft to bite.
- When ‘al dente’ remove from the heat and drain.
- Lightly rinse the rice again and put to the side.
- Meanwhile place a non stick pan on the heat, add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and a few drops of saffron and mix.
- Take the thinly sliced potato’s and add them to the bottom of the pan. They should sizzle a little. Be careful not to burn yourself.
- Add the rice now
- Take a spoon with holes in and lightly pour on about a tablespoon of oil
- Cover with a lid wrapped in a clean tea towel and leave to cook for about 1.5 hours on the lowest heat setting you can. Please be careful and make sure the tea towel is secure to avoid risk of it catching alight.
- When the cooking time is finished pour the rest of the liquid saffron over the rice. Then take your serving dish (usually a large flat dish or tray) and place over the top of the pan and quickly turn upside down and your rice will come out as in the picture above. Alternatively spoon it onto your serving dish and arrange your crispy potatoes around or over the rice or simply serve the taadig on a separate dish.
I have only made enough for two but just increase the amount of chicken you use if you are cooking for more
- 3-4 Chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoons of liquid saffron
- salt and pepper to taste
- A knob of butter
- Heat your oven to 200 c
- Heat a little oil in a pan and add the chicken pieces.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper
- Fry until golden
- Place some tin foil in an oven dish and add the chicken
- Pour a few teaspoons of liquid saffron over the chicken and add a knob of butter to each chicken piece.
- Wrap the foil around the chicken and cook in the oven for about 25 mins. This will vary according to the size of the chicken pieces you use.
- Half way through cooking time, remove from the oven and pour the liquid over the chicken again to keep it moist.
- Remove from the oven and pour the remaining liquid over the chicken before serving.
Nooshi joonet. Enjoy
I’d forgotten how delicious Sholleh Zard is but was reminded at a Norooz gathering last weekend and I thought I’d make it and share the recipe with you.
Sholleh Zard is a bright yellow sweet rice pudding and everywhere in the world seems to have their own versions. In Iran it is made with zaafaran and rose-water and best eaten cold although some regions in Iran like to serve it warm. The ingredients are a wonderful blend of flavors that is typically Persian and will lift your spirits.
Here is a very simple recipe which serves 6-8 people.
- 1 cup of basmati rice ( you can use any rice)
- 6 cups of water
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup of rose-water
- 1.5 or 2 cups of sugar
- 250 gr’s of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of saffron
- 3/4 cup of sliced almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom ( optional)
- Pistachios to garnish
- Grind the saffron with a little sugar and dissolve in about 50 ml’s of hot water. Cover and leave to stand, stir occasionally.
- Rinse the rice under cold water under the water runs clear.
- Bring the 6 cups of water to the boil, add a pinch of salt and then add the rice.
- Cook the rice on a low to medium heat until the water has evaporated and the rice becomes mushy. You will need to stir occasionally to avoid any burning. This might take between 45 mins to an hour.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the saffron, rose-water, sugar almonds and cardamom.
- Return to the lowest heat setting you can, cover and leave to simmer for about another 45 mins or until the pudding is thick and creamy and coats the back of a spoon.
- Stir it occasionally and you may need to add more water as you go.
- You can continue to cook until the rice becomes completely smooth but we like ours with a little form.
Pour into your serving dish, usually a shallow bowl or into individual bowls if preferred and allow to cool. Garnish with cinnamon and pistachios before serving.
Sholleh Zard should be stored in the fridge and can be kept for between 4 -6 days.
A Persian meal is always served with some fresh vegetables be it in a salad or a dish of sabzi khordan or both. Fresh vegetables are essential for vitamins and minerals which help prevent illness and have many other benefits such as an aid to our digestive system, skin, hair and bones but salad’s can become a little boring unless you spice them up. A perfect way to add flavour is through the use of herbs.
One of my favorite herbs is mint and it makes for a perfect salad dressing. Mint is easy to grow and you can grow it all year around and it’s easily sourced in a dry form from any supermarket. This recipe below is one I use regularly and completely transforms even the most basic of salads into some something delicious.
- 4 desert spoons of olive oil
- 1 desert spoon of grape vinegar or apple vinegar ( these are gluten-free. Malt vinegar contains gluten)
- A teaspoon of fresh or dried mint finely chopped
- A teaspoon of fresh flat leaved parsley finely chopped
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
5.Take the olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper and whisk with a fork and then pour over the salad.
Nothing could be easier and you have yourself a tasty, zingy salad.
Nooshi joonet . Enjoy
If you ask anyone who has never eaten Persian food before they always imagine that it’s heavily spiced, a lot like Indian food! And then they’re always surprised to learn it isn’t!
Persian cooking is made with a delicate balance of sweet and sour, hot and cold and the flavours are subtle and memorable. Quite unlike most other middle eastern food, Persian cuisine has a flavour all of its own. Often we take a recipe and ‘Persianise’ it, like Spaghetti ! We add what we think it lacks to create a better balance, or a taste that we prefer.
The ingredients of Persian food are largely the same ingredients that food all over the world is made from and yet when we add spice to a recipe, it literally transforms it. In Persian cooking we use fruits, herbs, flowers and ground roots to create a delicate aroma and a rich flavour. Each spice has a purpose and is helpful in maintaining a healthy mind, body and soul.
Here I’ve put together a list of the spices used in Persian cooking. Food is always created with the intention of making a hot or cold meal and we use spices to help create healthy and delicious food.
- Persian advieh is a blend of 5 or more different spices. Although similar to Gharam Masala, the emphasise is less on a hot flavour. Advieh can be bought from Iranian (and Indian) grocery stores already made up but it’s great to make it yourself to your own individual taste. There are different blends of Advieh depending on what you’re cooking, where you come from in Iran and personal taste . There’s one for rice dishes, which tends to be more fragrant and is sprinkled on the rice just before serving, another for khoreshts, which would usually include limu amani and zaafaran and another for pickles which would consist of spicy and sour flavours. The first five on the list are the usual spices used but if you want a spicier flavour add black pepper and cloves. Anything goes really ! For an Advieh basic recipe use equal parts of the following, try using one teaspoon to start with.
- Cardamom seeds
- Coriander seeds
- Dried rose petals
- Star of Anise
- Limu amani
- Black pepper
- sesame seeds
Simply take your spices of choice, grind with a pestle and mortar and store in an airtight container in a cool dark cupboard.
Turmeric is such an under valued spice. We use it everyday in Persian cooking but forget all the magical healing qualities of this wonderful spice. It has a rich and vibrant colour and smells great but beyond that there are numerous health benefits.
Turmeric comes from the ginger family of plants. It’s often known as ‘poor man’s saffron’ because it’s less expensive than zafaran. It has a slightly earthy, bitter mustardy taste. The root is cultivated, dried and then powdered and that is what we end with in our supermarkets.
Here are just some of the healing benefits to gained from Turmeric:
1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
3. Thought to be helpful in preventing lung cancer
4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to die
5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.
7. Thought to be helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease .
8. Thought tobe helpful in the prevention of many different forms of cancer.
9. It is a natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
10. Has been helpful in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis
11. Is a natural painkiller.
12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
19. Speeds up wound healing
And here are a few quirky facts about turmeric that I came across! Bet you didn’t know these:
- A spoonful of turmeric added to the water in water-cooled radiators will stop leaks.
- Use turmeric to get rid of ants in your garden…. It might leave the garden a nice colour too!
- Turmeric paste is a home remedy for sunburn and it is also an ingredient in many commercial sunscreens.
Okra is one of the richest sources of calcium in any food which is perfect for coeliacs whose diets generally lack calcium. Okra is a little used vegetable and there are very few recipes that call for Okra. However this a great one and I like to eat it regularly. Okra is a seasonal vegetable but these days it’s generally available all year around. If you can’t find it in your local supermarket, try an Indian grocery store.
- 500 gr’s of lamb or beef
- 2-3 onions
- 600 gr’s of baamieh or okra
- 2 medium – large potatoes ( optional)
- 2 cloves of garlic ( optional)
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 4 tablespoons of lime juice
- 2-3 tablespoons of tomato puree
- salt and pepper to taste
- Trim and cut the meat into cubes
- peel and chop the onions
- Wash and remove the stalks from the baamieh and cut into approx 1 inch pieces.
- If you want to add potato, peel and cut into small cubes
- Gently fry the onion in a little oil until it begins to turn golden.
- Add the cubed meat, salt and pepper and brown off.
- Add the turmeric and stir in.
- Add some hot water, enough to cover the meat and cook for about 45 minutes until the meat is tender.
- Add the cubed potato now.
- In another pan gently fry the baamieh in a little oil until darker in colour. If you gently shake the pan rather than stir the Okra, the sticky syrup from the okra wont ouze out.
- Add the okra, tomato puree and more seasoning if needed. Cook for about another 10 minutes.
- Add the lime juice and leave for around 10 minutes. The baamieh should not become too soft or too slimey.
Serve with plain white rice, mast or natural yoghurt and a fresh green salad.
Nooshi joonet. Enjoy.
This is one of the first dishes I learn to cook when I was a 17 yrs old and years later I still love making it and eating it! This dish is very easy to make, a kind of throw it all in and wait for it to cook. The key to Khoresht e Gheimeh is in the taste. It’s supposed to be quite sour and so I use a lot of dried limes but you can vary it to suit your own taste. Completely gluten free, nutritious and tastes divine. Limu Ormani are available from all Iranian grocery stores but you can use lime juice if you dont have them.
- 500 gr’s of lamb
- 1 large onion
- a bowl of split yellow pea’s or two good handfuls
- A can of tinned tomatoes
- tomato paste
- A 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon ( optional)
- 4-5 small to medium limu ormani or whole dried limes or 2-3 tablespoons of lime juice.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop the onion
- trim and cube the lamb
- wash the split yellow pea’s
- Fry the onion in a pan until golden
- Add the lamb, salt and pepper and cook until colour changes
- Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric and mix in well
- Add the tinned tomato’s and about 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste. The khoresht should be quite red in colour
- Cover with hot water
- Add the split yellow pea’s. If you want to cook the split peas separately you can, although I have never found it necessary. They need about 30-40 minutes to become soft.
- Leave to stew for about 90 minutes or until lamb is tender. You will need to keep an eye on it and add more water as you need to.
- About 15 mins before you are ready to serve, take 2 large potatoes, peel and cut into fine chips.
- Fry these until golden and place on the top of your greimeh before you serve.
Nooshi joonet . Enjoy