Persian Cucumber Yogurt (Maast-o Khiar)
This cool and healthy dip can be served along side rice and meat, or simply with bread. No Persian meal is complete without Maast-o khiar! This dish is best if refrigerated for a few hours, but if you are strapped for time feel free to serve after mixing. Don't be afraid to get creative! Try adding spinach, raisins, or walnuts. Other herbs could be used as well (i.e. mint, tarragon, oregano). More cucumbers, less shallots...it's your call! Enjoy!
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Strawberry, Ginger and Mint Sekanjabin
This syrup is based on an ancient Persian recipe, and it keeps virtually indefinitely without any special care. Excellent for camping, and truly refreshing on a hot, hot day! And there's no waste, you use every part of every ingredient in this stuff. After straining, remove the lemon peels and ginger and toss in a bag of sugar for a candied treat!
A savory stew featuring duck, pomegranate, and walnuts, which is every bit as exotic as it sounds. This is my interpretation of the ancient classic. I'm assuming like most similar recipes, every household has their own version, and this kind of thing can easily be tailored to your tastes.
I believe I've posted a few fool-proof methods for cooking perfect rice, but this Persian version takes the grand prize, and it's not even close for second. The beauty of this method is that it doesn't rely on any specific measurements, or even exact times. This will make some of you very nervous, but just go with it.
Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew)
Ghormeh sabzi is deliciously savory and loaded with the flavors of several different green herbs. It's traditionally served atop white rice (polow). You can also serve it with lavash bread.
Turkey Kofta Kabobs
My Persian neighbor introduced me to kofta about 20 years ago. His were made of beef and I never actually got his recipe but I'm pretty good at replicating flavors and these came pretty close...and of course using turkey instead of beef makes these a lot lighter.
Fereni Starch Pudding
A delightful pudding that can be eaten hot or cold, during Ramadan, particularly on sohur or iftar. Adjust both the sugar and the rosewater to taste.
Ash-e-jow (Iranian/Persian Barley Soup)
I've seen a lot of recipes for this soup; however, my mother-in-law adds tomato paste for a bit of a different flavour and she doesn't add any lentils or beans. It's thick, filling, and delicious, and you could make it vegetarian by using vegetable stock.
Lubia Polo (Green Bean Rice)
Lubia Polo is a one-pot Persian dish with rice, ground beef, green beans, tomato sauce, and curry spices. You will need a nonstick pan so you can invert the dish onto a serving platter and preserve its crisp rice crust--the tah digh.
Kuku sabzi is a traditional Persian dish that is a herb-heavy frittata. The egg is really just a binder to hold all of the herbs together, it is not the main component of this dish. Serve with flatbread, yogurt, pickled onions, feta, and pomegranate seeds. It is wonderful hot, or at room temp. Great light lunch or an appetizer for a casual cocktail.
Pomegranate Stew with Chicken (Khoresh Fesenjan)
Chicken, onions, finely processed walnuts, and pomegranate juice are simmered to perfection. The sauce should be as thick as a good chili. Serve with saffron steamed basmati rice. Enjoy! If you prefer, substitute angelica powder for cardamom; instead of pomegranate juice, you can substitute 1/2 cup pomegranate paste diluted in 2 cups water.