"you never had persian food?" GUY asked to me in a sympathetic voice, as if i've missed out on some greatness. "...no, i haven't." i whispered with some sort of shame... somehow he made me believe i've been missing out big time. "well, you have to ask farah to cook for us." then he continue with how delicious and amazing farah's persian cooking is. of course, i have to ask after what GUY had put me through. farah invited us over for some real persian home cooking over the weekend. and needless to say dinner was fantastic. and YES, i was definitely missing out...
who farah ebrahimi
worke15, wife of philipp and mother of anton
ghormeh sabzi* with Chelo** (rice)
*Ghormeh Sabzi is a kind of "Khoresht" which is a kind of stew and is served with rice, this dish is made with 7 different herbs, onion, tumeric, kidney beans, meat and dried limes (Limu-omani, Persian limes) for flavour. There are hundreds of kind of Khoreshts in Persian cuisine and are always served with rice.
**in general the word rice in Persian is "POLO", however when it is prepared in a fine way... to be served with Khoresht it is then called "CHELO". The delicious crusty part of the rice is called: "TADIG", which literally means: "Bottom of the pot". The traditional way of serving: the rice is placed in a large oval shape plate, with the "TADIG" either on the side or served on a smaller side plate. The beautiful rice serving spoon is "Kafgir" which means something that holds the bottom.
***yogurt with dates (i never would thought yogurt and dates! these iranian dates are amazing... not all dates are created equal)
Chelo (persian rice)
1-1/2 cups basmati rice
a pinch of ground saffron
3 TB yogurt
special equipment: teflon pot with a lid
1-1/2 cups of Basmati rice left in warm water and plenty of salt for some hours, or even left from night before! (for the real Persian way, otherwise can skip this step)
Pour rice with 3 full cups of water (rule: 2 cups of water to every cup of rice) and plenty of salt into pot, boil until the water is almost evaporated, then pour the rice into a strainer and run water over it, to wash off the starch and the extra salt, taste too make sure it is not too salty, but be careful to also not wash all the salt away.
Throw a pinch of ground saffron into a 1/4 full glass with hot water, mix then add yogurt, mix add some cooking oil and mix again.
Pour the yogurt mix into a teflon pot, empty the rice into the pot, pour plenty of oil all over the rice close lid and let the rice cook with lowest possible heat for about 40 minutes.
when ready, put the serving plate over the open pot and flip the rice like a cake...and voila!
GAL: big powerful wine, need to pair with food carefully. i didn't have a great time with it, something about it that is a little rough and tough. maybe i was not in the mood for a challenging wine or maybe the wine is not ready.
2 medium yellow onions peeled and roughly cut into 4 cm chunks
2 TB grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic grated
3 medium apples, peeled and cored cut roughly into 4 cm chunks (roughly 2 cups)
3 small carrots, cut roughly into 4 cm chunks (roughly 2 cups)
1 bowl of pumpkins, peeled large chunks (much larger then others, because their tendency to fall apart easily)
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
oil for cooking
salt and pepper for seasoning
4 - 6 pieces of curry base (curry block)
2 - 3 cups of chicken stock or water
in a bowl mix the chicken chunks with curry powder and a dash of soy sauce to marinade.
in a heavy bottomed pot, heat about 4 TB of oil over medium heat. cook the onion with a pinch of salt over medium low heat until the onion turns translucent.
continue to add the ginger, garlic, carrots, apples, stock or water, cinnamon and bay leaf. have the liquid cover over the vegetables by about 5 cm. bring up boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the carrots are tender, about 20 minutes or so.
in the meantime, in a frying pan, heat 2 TB of oil over medium high heat. pan fry the chicken until golden brown.
then add the browned chicken to the vegetables pot.
add the pumpkin to the pot. add more liquid to the pot if necessary. bring up to boil, then turn the heat low to simmer until the pumpkin is cooked through (about 10 - 12 minutes or so). make sure not to over cook the pumpkin, because it can become mushy and fall apart easily.
in a bowl, mix the curry cubes with some hot water. stir melt the block until it becomes a thick paste. add to the curry paste to the pot and mix carefully until it has melted and fully incorporated. taste and decide if an extra block is needed. over low heat let the pot simmer for 5 minutes or so.
serve with white rice and japanese pickle vegetables. enjoy!
use a teflon frying pan, heat the pan over medium heat. cut the tofu into 1 cm slices and panfry it over low heat without any oil. when the tofu turn golden flip and continue. the objective is to dry out the tofu. once golden on two sides, cut the tofu into thin strips. throw it back in the pan and toss it over low heat with a drizzle of a pinch of 5 spices (optional), soy sauce and sesame oil. coat the tofu strips and turn off the heat immediately.
while the tofu is cooking, cut the cabbage leaves into thin strips.
to make the dressing, mix together sugar, rice vinegar, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil, and chili flakes. taste and adjust seasoning.
toss the salad together with fried shallots, tofu strips and the dressing. enjoy!
GAL: we haven't had red wine in a while. i think it's time to start again. i love the meaty structure and intensity. similar greatness to our FAVORITE wine Montonegro. another great thing, this wine is easy to find unlike the Montonegro.
i came across this recipe from one of my favorite cookbook, Harumi's Japanese Cooking. it's amazing how perfect the two vinegars go together with a just hint of soy sauce to enhance the sweetness of the tomatoes and the parsley with the pulpo. the book called for fresh tomatoes but i used canned instead since i didn't have any at the moment... the result was surprisingly good. this salad is simple, delicious and impressive, i hope you give this a try!
pulpo tomato parsley salad
2 cups of cooked pulpo (octopus) legs, cut into thin slices (substitution squid)
1 cup of fresh tomato or canned tomato without it's juice, roughly chopped about same size as the octopus
1/2 cup of parsley, discard the stems and chopped
3 TB of extra virgin olive oil
1 TB balsamic vinegar
2 TB white vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
sea salt and pepper to taste
prepare the dressing by mixing the olive oil, vinegars, soy sauce and salt and pepper.
toss the pulpo (octopus), tomato and 1/2 of the parsley together.
serve with the rest of the parsley sprinkle on top.
here's how to prepare a whole octopus/ pulpo****
get the fish monger to clean the beaten the pulpo for you. beating the pulpo ensures tenderness.
remember not to over cook it because of it's tendency to get tough.
bring a pot of water to boil. wash the pulpo. add the pulpo and bring the water back up to boil then lower it to the lowest setting and let for simmer for 15 - 20 minutes depending on the size. after cooking, rinse the pulpo in cold water to let cool. use what you need and store the rest or freeze them in portions.
we (guy & gal) are all about cooking / trying something for the first time and next time different. reporting all the good and the bad... trying new things... shopping, traveling, seeing, eating and drinking around. come share our kitchen triumphs and failures.