Mutekke Cookies

Mutekke cookie is a traditional Azerbaijani cookie. Mutekke which is called bolster in English language is a long and narrow pillow filled with cotton or feather. By the way I have attached some photos of Mutekke in following photos.

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So name of this cookie come from their shape which resembles a traditional tube-shaped pillow which in old times of Iran, we used to use it as a pillow or back and arm support but nowadays, you can find them in small towns or villages.

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IMG_20180913_152655.jpgBasically, Mutekke cookie is rolled up pastry filled with nuts such as walnuts, almond, hazelnuts, pistachio or mixture of all but typically with walnuts and also fragrant spices. This cookie has a very straightforward recipe and super easy to make it. Usually baking Mutekke  in the celebration of new year ( Nowruz) is popular. The good point about this cookie is there is no sugar in the pastry and for adding sweetness to the cookie you add sugar or apricot or other fruit preserves as stuffing .

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Ingredients

  • 2 ¾ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 113g unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 egg yolks

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Ingredients for filling

  • ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder

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How to make it??

Mix flour and salt. Add butter to the flour. Use your hand and mix butter with flour. Now your mixture looks like fine sands. Add sour cream and egg yolks. Mix all ingredients until well combined and dough is not sticking to your hand.

Now, divide the dough into 3 pieces and wrap each piece in a plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge for an hour.

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Meanwhile, we prepare the filling. In a bowl mix all filling ingredients together and set aside.

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Preheat the oven to 193C degree. After one hour, place one piece of dough on a floured board.

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I show two methods of cutting the dough:

  • 1- you can cut a circle dough into 4 wedges and then each wedge to be cut into 2 more wedges, so you will have 8 wedges.
  • 2- other method is roll out a dough into rectangle shape. Then cut lengthwise. And cut into triangle shape.

Now put 1 tsp or some of stuffing on each wedge and then start to roll it from wide side ( as you see in the photos).

Repeat same process with rest of wedges. Place them in a parchment lined baking tray and bake the cookies for 20 minutes.

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Remove from the oven, let to cool before sifting with powdered sugar on top. Now call all family members, make cuppa tea or coffee and enjoy these tasty cookies together.

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Persian herb rice with fish ( Sabzi polow ba mahi)

Sabzi in Persian language refers to green herbs and polow means rice. Sabzi polow is a Persian rice dish with chopped herbs such as dill, parsley, coriander, .. . that is served with fried fish or Persian herbs frittata (kookoo sabzi).

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.Herbed rice with fish or kookoo sabzi is traditionally served for Persian new year ( Nowruz) in the first day of the Spring.

 

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Ingredients for the rice
300 g rice
150 g mixed herbs ( parsley, coriander, dill, spring onions), finely chopped and washed
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3 cloves of garlic , peeled and diced
Salt to taste
Thin bread
Vegetable oil and butter

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Ingredients for fish
200 g haddock fish
4 Tbsp plain flour
½ Tsp turmeric
1 egg
1 Tbsp saffron water
4 Tbsp bread crumbs
Salt- chilli powder to taste
1 lemon or lime
Vegetable oil

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Preparation of the rice
Wash the rice. In a bowl with salted water add rice and let the rice soak for about 1 hour.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Drain the soaked rice and stir it into the boiling water. Allow to cook the rice for 7 minutes. Add chopped herbs and let to cook for 3 minutes more. Then drain the rice and discarding the water.

 


Pour oil over the bottom of the pot . Place a sheet of thin bread on the bottom of pot. Spread half of the rice over the bread, add diced garlic and some ground cinnamon.

 

Then repeat with remaining of the rice. Finally place small pieces of butter top of the rice. Cover the pot with a lid and set over high heat for 2-3 minutes and then reduce the heat and  simmer for 30 minutes.

 


Preparation of the fish
In a plate mix flour with turmeric, salt and chilli powder. Crack the egg in a bowl, add salt and chilli powder and beat together.

 


Coat both sides of the fish with flour, dip in the  beaten egg and coat with bread crumb. Fry in the pan.Once the rice is ready let rest for 5 minutes and serve it with fish and sabzi koko ( herbed frittata).
Dish is ready. So so sooooo  delicious , healthy and aromatic.

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Persian Mulberry marzipan sweets (Tut)

So Iranian new year (Nowruz) is coming soon ( 21st March) and there are lot’s of things should be done. One of them is preparing home-made sweets, candy or cookies.

These gorgeous marzipan sweets are one of the most popular sweets that traditionally served for Iranian new year. Toot or tut in Farsi language refers to a sweet white fruit of mulberry tree.

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In Iran we serve this fruit fresh or dried. I have attached some dried mulberries photos. You can have dried mulberry with a cup of tea that would be veryyyyyy tasty.

So, these marzipan sweets are super easy to make, no need to bake or cook. Just with few ingredients you can make a large plate of these tiny lovely sweets.

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Ingredients

2 cups ground almond

2 cups powdered sugar

3 tbsp orange blossom or rose-water

1 tsp cardamom powder

2 tbsp silvered almond or pistachio

½ cup regular sugar

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Preparation

In a bowl combine ground almonds, powdered sugar and cardamom. Gradually add orange blossom and mix all ingredients well until you have a soft past. You can have plain paste or divide the paste into 3-4 portions and add food colouring as I did.Then set them aside for 30 minutes.

Take a small piece of paste and form a tiny ball or mulberry. Then roll each marzipan paste in the regular sugar. Place a silvered almond or pistachio on top of each marzipan in order to make it like the stem of the mulberry fruit. Arrange them in a platter and help yourself.

You can store them in a container for sometime.

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Iranian New Year ( Nowruz)

Iranian new year is just around the corner. Nowruz is the name of Iranian new year which is first day of the Spring. Nowruz has been celebrated in Iran, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Georgia, ..
Nowruz is celebration of spring equinox and roots back to ancient religion Zoroastrianism. All Iranian in all over the world celebrate Nowruz, no matter where they are.

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Nowruz is the name of Iranian new year which is first day of the Spring. Nowruz has been celebrated in Iran, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikestan, Afghanistan, Kazaghestan, Georgia, ..
In 2010 United nation general Assembly recognized the ‘ international day of Nowruz’.
Nowruz means new day and before arrival of Nowruz, Iranian families start Spring cleaning or ( khoneh tekoni) which literally means shaking the house and it looks like shaking the house, because all family members have to spend day , night to clean up everything and spot of the house.
Few days before Nowruz, you would see men dressed in red with a tambourine in hand, on the streets of Iran. This man is called ‘ Haji Firooz’. His face covered in soot. They are singing and dancing on the streets and trying to cheer people and deliver the news that Nowruz in on the way.

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Haji firooz is assistant of Uncle Nowruz, which is parallel to the Santa Clause. Uncle Nowruz is an old man with white beard who brings good luck to people. According to folklore, uncle Nowruz appears annually at the beginning of Spring with his sidekick, Haji firooz.
For Nowruz, we set a table which is called ‘ Haft seen’ or seven S’s. We decorate our table with seven items that start with letter ‘S’ in Farsi language and each item has symbolic meaning.

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These seven items are:
Sabzeh ( lentil, wheat or barley growing) is symbol of rebirth
Samanu ( sweet pudding) is symbol of affluence
Sib ( apple) is symbol of beauty
Seer ( garlic) is symbol of medicine
Serkeh (vinegar) is symbol of age – patience
Sumac is symbol of color of sun rise
Senjed ( sliver berry) is symbol of love

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Other items that we add to the Haftseen tables includes: the Holy book or a well known poetry book , a mirror, coins, painted eggs, lit candles for each member of family, a bowl of water with gold fish, sweets, nuts and fruits, and flowers.
Iranians start celebration of Nowruz around 21th March, the time of the spring equinox. It does not matter if it is early morning , mid night, noon or after noon. People dress up new clothes, sit around the Haft seen table and wait for the exact moment of the spring arrival. And then family members hugs each other, kisses and gifts exchange.
Then people start visit their family members or friends and neighbours.

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Nowruz celebration last 12 days. During this period schools are closed and visiting family members, eating and drinking is main activity. The last day of Nowruz is celebrated on the 13th of Nowruz and as 13 is a bad luck, for this reason people leaving their houses and spending the day in the nature.

So as we say in Farsi: Nowruz mobarak = Happy Nowruz

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