Brushchetta

Brushchetta is one of tastiest starters or snacks 🙂

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Ingredients
2 finely diced tomatoes
1 grated clove of garlic
Slices of baguette bread
2 Tbsp extra olive oil
1 Tsp balsamic vinegar
Few fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

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Preparation
In a bowl with diced tomatoes add grated garlic, vinegar, oil , mix all ingredient together.
Toast slices of bread in the oven at 220 C for about 6-8 minutes and then top toasted

breads with mixture of tomatoes.

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Persian sour cherry pilaf (Albaloo polow ba tahdig maast)

Sour cherry or Morello cherry is called ‘ albaloo’ in Persian language. Albaloo or moreloo cherry is smaller that sweet cherry with dark red colour.

The origins for Sour cherry is in Iranian plateau or East Europe. This fruit is very popular in Iran from ancient time to modern day Iran. Nowadays, albaloo or sour cherry produce in Iran, countries around Caspian sea, Russia, Eastern Europe countries and Turkey.

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Fresh or dried sour cherries are used in cooking including: soup, aash, rice, stew, cakes, pies, jam and marmalade.

Today’s recipe is Albaloo polo, an Iranian rice dish with sour cherries. It’s a delicious rice meal with ruby red colour, a beautiful combination of rice with typical spices for this meal such as: Persian saffron, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, dried rose petals powder and nutmeg.. You can serve albaloo polow by itself or with beef, chicken or meatballs.

 

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups Persian rice or Basmati rice
  • 5 cups sour cherries
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1tsp of each spices: cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, dried rose petal powder, nutmeg
  • 1tbsp saffron water
  • 1tbsp salt
  • 1tbsp Ghee oil or regular butter

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For tahdig ( bottom of rice)

  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2tbsp plain yogurt
  • 2tbsp saffron water

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In a pot with deseeded cherries add sugar. Simmer for 15 minute over low heat.

Place a plate under a colander and place the cherries in the colander and allow the juice drain.

 

Melt the Ghee or butter in a pan, add spices and sauté for 1 minute and remove from the heat. Add cherries and saffron water. Gently mix with spices.

Wash the rice and soak in salted water (1tbsp salt) for an hour.

Bring the water to a boil, drain the soaked rice and add the rice to boiled water. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes until slightly tender.

Using a colander and drain the rice. Rinse the rice with cold tap water and drain it.

 

In a bowl, Mix all ingredients for tahdig and whisk it. Add 2 cups of parboiled rice and 2tbsp of cherries and mix well (as you see in the photos).

Add 2tbsp vegetable oil to the pot. Pour saffron rice into the pot. Cover this layer with half of white rice and pour cherries and cherry juice . Cover the cherry layer with the remaining of white rice and pour remains of cherry juice over the rice.

Cover the pot with a napkin and a lid. Simmer for about 30 minutes over medium heat. Once rice is ready, put a plate on top of the pot and flip it over. Serve it with chicken or beef meat.

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Indian Chickpea Flat Bread

This bread with crispy on exterior and soft on the inside, is light and low in carbohydrates.

Chickpea flour also known as gram flour or besan. You might call these breads pancake or crepe as well.

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Ideal bread for dipping in yogurt, oils or vinegar. It’s pretty easy recipe includes basic batter made of chickpeas flour with water. These beautiful flat breads can be served hot or cold or frozen as well.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup chickpeas flour
  • 1 ½ cups cold water
  • 1tbsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil

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Method

Mix chickpeas flour with salt- pepper, cumin, and garlic powder. Whisk in 1 cup of the water to form a paste and make sure there is no lumps.

Whisk in the remainder of the water and combine well. Let the batter rest for 30 minutes. It will make the interior cream when cooked.

Heat the oil in a large or tiny non stick frying pan.

Pour some of batter in the pan and spread it. Cook the batter until becomes firm , then flip over and bake other side (each side will need 3-4 minutes to bake).

Serve hot or cold . They go well with salads, yogurt, butter or any curry or stew. It’s very delicious bread.

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Chocolate lace lollipops

I love these chocolate lollipops . They are cute!! making these beauties was so fun and pretty simple. All you need is good quality dark or white chocolate, freezer bag and sticks.

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Ingredients

  • white or dark chocolate
  • Candy chocolate (optional)
  • lollipops sticks
  • Baking paper
  • Freezer bag

 

Method

On a baking paper, draw shapes like heart, square, circle, ..and use these designs as guide line. Or just be creative and draw other shapes.

 

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Melt the white/dark chocolate. If you want to have coloured chocolate mix white chocolate with candy chocolates.

Pour melted chocolate into a freezer bag. Make a tiny hole on the tip of the plastic bag. Squeeze melted chocolate on the guide line and fill inside the shapes as well.

Finish off by adding a bit more chocolate to the bottom of design and place lollipop on it and then cover it with more chocolate. Repeat process with remains of ingredients.

Leave them dry. Once they dried up, carefully remove from baking paper.

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Fried zucchini – aubergine bites

In my childhood, when my mother used to fry slices of zucchini ( kadoo) and aubergine ( baademjan) for preparing stew, we always took several fried slices and with a pinch of salt ate them. . Fried zucchini – eggplant were very yummy.

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Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 aubergine, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 small clove of garlic, grated
  • Flat Lavash – tortilla or Taftun bread
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Oil

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Preparation

In a pan heat the oil and fry slices of zucchini and aubergine. In a bowl mix grated garlic with yogurt and season with salt and pepper. Make zucchini or eggplants bites with garlic yogurt dip.

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Deep fried blooming onion

The only star of this recipe is a beautiful large sweet onion to make crispy -crunchy blooming onion.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbs cumin powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Oil
  • Salt- chilli powder

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Method
For making batter, in a bowl add 1 cup milk with egg and beat well. Then in other bowl with flour add all spices and mix together. Set aside.


Peel skin off onion. Cut top and bottom of onion. Put flat side down. Cut core of the onion and make a hole in the centre of onion. Be careful not to go all the through.. Slice the onion in quarters. Then, keep slicing and make smaller cuts between quarters in order to make more and thinner slices. Just be careful do not go too much down, otherwise petals will separate.

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Bring the water to a boil and place onion into the boiled water for a minute then remove from boiled water and place it in iced water.
Now, put the onion into the eggwash. Then put it into the seasoned flour and cover all petalls with flour.Then carefully dip the onion into the eggwash again and finally coat it with flour again. Put the onion into the freezer for 2 hours.

Then in a deep fry pan, heat the oil and bring it to 400 degree. dip onion in it. Allow to fry one side and then flip over to fry other side until beautiful golden brown. It will take about 10 minutes you have a beautifully fried blooming onion.
Serve it with your favorite sauce.
It is very tasty.

 

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Sweet/sour mint syrup ( Sekanjabin)

During  the Summer time in Iran to avoid of heat of summer, housewives make and bottle different types of syrups (Sharbat)by cooking fruits or flowers and herbs in dissolved sugar/honey water. Then, we store them and when we are gathering in family members , friends and guests group, we serve it. One of most popular sharbat is Mint syrup).

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Basically it made from white vinegar, sugar/honey and water. You can flavor with different kinds of essence but mint is most popular.
Sekanjabin, is a sort of syrups that we serve it with lettuce. After preparing syrup, dip lettuce leaves in the syrup ( sekanjabin) and eat it, sooooo good.
In olden times, based on traditional medicines in Iran, each vegetable , fruit, meat or any ingredient for making food, has a “cold” or “hot” attribute.
These terms relate to the fundamental nature of the food and are not related to temperature.

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For example. The following recipe is a kind of syrup with a “hot” attribute and is served with lettuce leaves which have a “cold” attribute and the combination of these two different atributes , will combine to produce a “balanced” meal , this process is called food treatment.

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Ingredient
1/2 cups white vinegar
2 cups white sugar or honey
2 cups water
Handful fresh mint leaves
Preparation
In a pot combine sugar or honey with water, bring it to a boil and add vinegar. Simmer until it thickens. In the last minute add chopped fresh mint leaves to the syrup and remove from the heat. cover the syrup with a lid and let to cool. Now syrup is ready. remove mint leaves and refrigerate it for few months. . Serve it with lettuce leaves and enjoy it.

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Persian Zucchini Stew ( Khoresht-e Kado Sabz)

Green zucchini/courgette stew  is a classic- colourful and flavourful Persian stew ( khoresht). Zucchini is called kadoo in Farsi language. If you think courgettes were boring, you have to try this recipe. It’s cooked in a lemony-tomato sauce along with beautiful spices such as Persian saffron, turmeric, ….You might use either beef/lamb or chicken meat.

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 Lemon juice or Ghooreh ( unripe grapes) gives unique taste to this recipe. This meal is a lovely, comforting stew that my mother used to cook once a week.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini/courgette, peeled and sliced
  • 200g lamb, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 lemon juice or handful Ghooredh (unriped grapes)
  • pinch of Persian saffron
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2tbsp tomato paste
  • Sand pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil

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Method

In a pot with diced meat, add one of chopped onions and water. Leave to cook until nice and tender. In a non-stick pan, drizzle with oil and saute other onion until translucent.

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Cut zucchini lengthwise. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and place them in the pan. Lightly fry.

 

Once meat is ready, add fried onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes.. Mix 1 ½ cups of boiling water with pinch of Persian saffron, turmeric, tomato paste, and lemon juice.

Seasoning with salt and pepper, mix well and pour in the pot with meat and onion. If you do not like lemon juice, simply add unripe grapes to the stew and let to cook with other ingredients.

 

Add fried zucchini slices and tomatoes halves to other ingredients in the pot. Cover the pot and cook over medium to low heat until juice reduce.

Serve khoresht kadoo warm over polo (pilaft ) or with flat bread and a salad by the side.

 

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Gata ( walnut rolled sweet) گاتا مغز گردویی

This lovely sweets are so good and delicious. Armenian community in Iran make it and it is very popular in the whole nation. We can get it easily form confectioneries or bakeries.

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Ingredients
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups plain flour
1 cup icing sugar
½ tsp nutmeg powder
½ tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg yolk
1 cup crashed walnuts
Puff pastry dough

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Preparation
Heat the pan on a medium heat and melt the butter in it. Add flour and stir in for 5 minutes. Then add sugar and stir in for 2 minutes. Add cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and walnuts to the mixture and stir for 2-3 minutes more. Set aside to cool.


Preheat the oven on 175C .
Sprinkle 1-2 tbsp. flour on working table. Place puff pastry dough on it. Brush with egg yolk. Spread filing mixture on dough and then roll the dough from one of the long sides. Give soft punch to the dough with rolling pin.

Brush with egg yolk surface of prepared dough . Then use a cutter or a knife and cut it into small pieces.

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Set them in a baking tray and bake in oven for 30 minutes or until golden.
Serve it with your favourite tea.
Bon appetit.

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Dried Fruits Biscuits (Biscotti)

These scrumptious biscuits are really good. I am sure kids and adults would love it. Recipe is flexible and you can choose your favourite dried fruits. They are just good, simple, healthy, tasty and beautiful.

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Ingredients

  • 160g all purpose flour
  • 110g butter, softened
  • 100g sugar
  • 50g nuts:pistachio or walnuts or almonds, chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried fruits such as: cherries, raisins, apricots, chopped
  • Handful crystallised ginger

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Method

Preheat oven to 180C.

In a bowl, beat the butter with sugar until creamy. Add eggs, lemon, orange zest and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Add baking powder and flour. Combine well. Then add dried fruits, nuts and ginger.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the dough into 2 small and long loafs in the baking tray. Sprinkle some flour top of the dough and give the right shape.

Bake it for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Then cut each loaf into small slices. And put it back in the oven and bake for another 15 minutes.

You can store these yummy fruity biscuits in a container for about 10 day. They can be frozen up to 2 months.

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