Faloodeh is an experience you will never regret. It has its roots back in ancient Persia and is particularly associated with Shiraz. With a consistency of something between a slush puppy and sorbet, it’s memorable because of the rice noodles and refreshingly delicious due to the sweetness of the rose-water and sourness of the limes . The combination of these three ingredients makes it distinctive and fairly unique to Iran. I’ve never come across any one who doesn’t love it at first bite. …..
This is my recipe for Faloodeh, you will no doubt find other versions but this is easy. Add lime or lemon juice, it works well with the sweetness of the rose-water and add sour cherry syrup, pistachios and mint to garnish. Perfect desert for any time of the year and delightfully refreshing in the summer months!
Faloodeh – Rice Noodle Sorbet
~Recipe for use with an ice cream maker or by hand ~
- 2 cups of caster sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of rose-water
- 1 Vietnamese rice noodles (vermicelli) broken into 2 inch pieces.
garnish: pistachios, sour cherry syrup, any berries, fresh lime juice and lime wedges.
- Boil the rice noodles in boiling water for 20 seconds (or according to instructions) and no more or they will be too mushy.
- Remove the noodles from the pan, rinse under cold water and put to one side.
- Place the sugar and water into a pan and bring to the point just before it boils.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the rose-water and set aside.
- Allow it to cool off completely.
- Pour this mixture into an ice cream maker and turn it on. Allow it begin to set then add half of the noodles and then follow the same process again.
- Set the Ice cream maker to ‘sorbet’ setting, turn on and relax !
- OR combine the mix as above, place in a bowl and allow to begun to set in the freezer. After about an hour, remove from the freezer and gently using a fork, disturb the setting process and then place back in the freezer and repeat a few times until you’re happy with the consistency.
For garnish: Traditional: Lime juice , mint, and pistachios. As an alternative try sour cherry syrup juice, Mango syrup or any seasonal berries raspberries are delicious or mango and strawberries, blueberries or any fruit you fancy.
Nooshi joonet ~ you’re going to enjoy this !
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!
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
- 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:
- Either use ghee or clarify your own butter by heating it slowly over a low heat until it boils.
- Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes and remove the bubbly froth
- Remove from heat and put to one side.
- 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:
- Add the sugar and water to a pan and bring to the boil.
- Allow to simmer for a few minutes and remove from the heat.
- Add the rose-water and lime juice and leave to cool.
Method for the cookies:
- Pre heat the oven to 180 c and prepare a biscuit baking tray by lining with grease proof paper. Place to one side.
- Make the syrup and leave to cool.
- Take a bowl, preferably a plastic one and beat the egg yolks until thick and creamy
- Add in the cool syrup and place to one side.
- In a another bowl add the rice flour, butter and cardamom and beat well.
- 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.
- Knead the dough briefly. It should not be sticky at this point.
- 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.
- Decorate the biscuits if you wish and sprinkle with poppy seeds.
- Cook in the middle of the oven for about 12 minutes.
- Remove carefully as they are quite delicate and allow to cool.
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.
Typically flavored with zaafaran ( saffron) and rose-water this Ice cream is to die for! You can use the same recipe whether or not you use an ice cream maker. Add pistachio nuts for a little texture and hey presto creamy exquisite ice cream.
SAFFRON ICE CREAM
- 1/2 pint of milk
- 1/2 pint of cream
- 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- a good pinch of saffron
- 3 tablespoons of rose-water
- crushed pistachio nuts
- Place the milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Put to one side.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together and add the milk and be sure to continue to whisk.
- Return to a medium heat and stir continuously until the milk begins to thicken. DO NOT LET IT BOIL! or the eggs will separate.
- Take a good pinch of saffron and a pinch of sugar and grind to a powder in a pestle and mortar.
- Add the saffron to the milk and stir in.
- Add the rose-water and stir in.
- Leave the whole mixture to cool down. To speed up the cooling process, stand the milk (still in the pan) in some cold water. It should only take a maximum of 15 minutes.
- When cold, add the cream and stir in.
- If you’re going to use an Ice Cream maker follow the instructions and don’t forget to add in the pistachios
- If you’re not using an Ice Cream maker, add the pistachios and pour into a clean container and place it in the quick freeze area of your freezer.
Really sweet little honey dipped pastries to have with your chai. I have adapted this recipe to suit my gluten free diet but you can substitute the rice flour for wheat flour. Ingredients for the syrup~
- 1 cup of water
- 4 cups of sugar
- 3 tablespoons of rosewater
Ingredients for the paste~
- 240 mls of water
- 120 mls of natural yoghurt
- 600 mls of rice flour
- a pinch of baking soda
- 450 mls of corn starch
Preparation for the syrup ~
- Combine the sugar and water and bring to the boil. The mixture will thicken and become a syrup. Add the rose water and put this to one side.
- Lay out some greaseproof paper to place your zulbia on once it’s cooked.
- Prepare a piping bag with a small – medium nozzle
- Combine the flour and sugar and the yoghurt and mix well making sure there’s no lumps put it the fridge to cool and leave for at least 30 mins.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan
- Pipe your flour mix into the oil in swirly circular shapes.
- Decrease the heat and fry gently on both sides.
- Remove from the pan when cooked and dip in the syrup for about 4-5 minutes
- Place on the greaseproof paper to drain off
When using rice flour for this recipe please be aware that you may need to add a little more flour to make the paste thicker. Its really trial and error, depending on the flour you use.
Serve with chai
Halva can be found in most countries in the Middle East although each has it’s own way of making it. Some add semolina or ground almonds. This is a very simple recipe using gluten-free ingredients. If you want to make it using wheat flour just divide the quantity of flour you use by 3 equal parts. Alternatively you just use wheat flour and rice flour. You can be as creative as you want. Follow this recipe once and you’ll soon see how you can make it to your own preference.
- 200 gr’s of flour roughly 2 equal parts of rice and chickpea flour
- a cup of good vegetable or sunflower seed oil.
- 200 gr’s of sugar
- approx a 1/3 of a litre of hot water
- a tea cup of rose-water
- a pinch of za’faran
- a 1/2 teaspoon of butter
- a handful of pistachio nuts roughly crushed
- a little desiccated coconut
- Heat the oil in a pan
- When hot add the flour and stir whilst still on the heat.
- Allow to bubble away and turn down the heat. Let this cook, you should start to smell the flour cooking. It should become a thick mixture but don’t let it burn!
- Meanwhile place the hot water in another pan and add the sugar. Bring to the boil and allow to form a syrup
- Add a pinch of za’faran to the syrup and stir.
- Add about 1 tea cup of rose water.
- When the syrup is thicker and yellowish add a little to the flour and oil mix, stirring well. It will hiss and steam but settle down.
- Continue adding and stirring and let it cook for a few minutes.
- Your halva is now ready so pour onto a dish and decorate. You can mould the Halva while it’s hot and be as creative as the mood takes you.
- Decorate with pieces pistachio and coconut powder.
- Allow to cool and when cold place in the fridge to set.
Ice Cream is easier to make than you think. If you have an Ice Cream maker it’s even easier but not necessary. This is a basic Ice Cream recipe I adapted a little to give it a slightly Persian taste.
- 400 mls of milk
- 400 mls of double cream
- 100 g’s of caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs yolks
- 2 teaspoons of rose-water
- chopped pistachio nuts
- If you are using an ice cream maker make sure your bowl is frozen
- You will need a storage container
- whisk the cream until thick
- Pour the milk into a pan and slowly heat to boiling point.
- pour the egg yolks into a bowl and add the sugar and rose-water
- Mix in well with a hand whisk
- Add the egg yolk and sugar to the milk continuing to whisk
- Return to a low heat and stir constantly until the mixture forms a glaze over the back of a wooden spoon but do not let it boil or the ingredients will separate.
- Remove from the heat and place to one side until cold
- When cold fold the cream into the milk mix and stir in
- Either pour this into your freeze bowl and follow the instructions for freeze churning
- OR pour into a storage container.
- When the Ice Cream is beginning to set add the pistachio nuts and return to the freezer or continue the freeze process.
The process of extracting oil from Damask rose petals was first practiced in Iran mainly for its perfume and then from rose petal oil came rose-water or golab. Both rose petal oil and rose-water are now used the world over for cooking, beauty preparations and for the relief of medical conditions .
Rose water or golab has a very distinctive smell and flavour is used extensively in Persian deserts, such as ‘shir berenge’ or rice pudding, in jams and ice creams such as bastani ba faloodeh ( my personal favourite) , pastries such as ‘ baamiah’ and ‘halva’ and in cookies such as ‘naan berenji ‘ the list is endless.
Rose water also has symbolic meanings within Iranian traditions and culture. It represents cleansing and as such is often placed on the ‘haft sein’ table at new year or Naw rooz ( a table containing 7 traditional items beginning with the letter S). The Rose water is for collection all sickness be it in mind, thought, deed, or in the physical body and/or it’s sprinkled into the air. Rose water is symbolistic within the Zoroastrian religion and in ancient Iran newly arrived guests are greeted with sweets made with rose-water and sprinkled with rose-water as they entered the house. Some Zoroastrians still keep a ‘golabaz’, a traditionally shaped vase with rose-water in it and greet their guests in the traditional ways. I also have memories of using rose-water to lightly cleanse and freshen up furniture and draperies before receiving guests and especially at Norooz. In Avestan, the language of the Persian prophet Zoroaster, “rose” is varəda.
Originally rose-water was used for cosmetic purposes, as a scent or dropped in bath water and as the cosmetics market expanded so did the demand for rose oil. Today it remains one of the leading base scents within the perfume industry and it’s used for many other beauty products including creams and astringents.
Spraying rose-water on the face is thought to be good for anxiety and to strengthen the immune system and bathing in it is said to relieve rheumatism and aching joints. Drinking rose petal tea is reported as helpful for those with renal problems, coughs,colds and general health complaints. Extensively used in aromatherapy where it has claimed the grand title of the ‘queen’ of the botanical world rose-water is used to alleviate general malaise, depression, eczema, frigidity, mature skin, menopause and stress
Dried Rose petals or Gol Mohamadi
Dried rose petals are used extensively across Persian cuisine for taste and decoration. You can buy this already prepared from an Iranian grocery store. Be sure to keep them in an air tight container in a cool dark cupboard or the colour will fade. Rose petals are used for sweet dishes mainly such as Ice cream, jams, sweet pastries and as a cordial. Ground they can used to decorate rice for example and it is an ingredient of advieh used in preparation of meat dishes.