Persian rice with sour cherries (Albaloo polo)

Sour cherry or Morello cherry is called ‘ Albaloo’ in Persian language. Iranian housewives make different things with albaloo such as: sour cherr juice, hot and cold drinks, jam and stew, cake and cookies. One of the Iranian famous rice dish is called Alballoo polo/pilaf which is made with sour cherries, spices and different meats such as: beef, lamb, or chicken and meat balls.

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The spices used in this pilaf vary but typically include Persian saffron and cinnamon. In Iranian cuisine there are wonderful mild sweet dishes such as: Fesenjan, Jewelled rice, Basterma pilaf, Albaloo polo and . And, and………….

Albaloo polo is mind blowing rice dish with combination of sweet/tangy taste. It’s moist and fluffy with plenty of morello cherries.

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Ingredients

  • 4 cups sour cherries
  • 3 cups rice
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 300 g chicken breast or thigh, cooked
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 2 tbsp Persian saffron water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil

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How to make???

Soak the rice in salted water for an hour. Meanwhile, Place deseeded cherries in a pan. Add sugar and simmer gently over low heat for 10 minutes. Then place the cherries in a colander and let to drain the juice.

Melt the butter in a pan. Add cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, 1 tbps saffron water and stir. Then add cooked chicken to the butter and fry for 5 minutes. In this point, toss in the cherries and fry for 5 minutes more and set aside.

Pour in water into a pot and bring it to a boil. Drain the salted water of rice and add the rice to the boiling water and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Drain the rice in a colander and rinse the rice with cold water.

Add some oil to the pot, place a tortilla bread over the oiled base. Place some rice over the bread, then place half of the cherries and chicken mixture. Repeat until the rice and cherries mixture are used up.

Pour some saffron water, and albaloo juice over the rice. Place pieces of butter top of the rice. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 20 minutes on medium to low heat.

Serve the rice in a plate along with the crispy tortilla from bottom of the pot that is called ‘ Tahdig’ in Farsi.

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French Toast

French toast is one tastiest bread dish which is slices of bread soaked in mixture of egg and milk or cream with lovely spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.

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French toast is known with different names such as gypsy toast, German toast, or eggy bread.

Cooked slices of bread might be served as a sweet dish with maple syrup , jam or honey and might be served as a savory dish with tomato sauce.

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Ingredients

  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • Butter
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • 3tbsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

How to make it??

In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and cream.Butter the slices of bread on both sides. Then soak the slices of bread in the egg mixture for 10 minutes, and turning to coat boat sides.

Fry the slices of bread on lightly greased on a skillet on medium heat until browned on both side.

Transfer the French toast to a plate and pour over honey , jam or maple syrup.

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French toast

Ingredients

  • 4 thick slices of bread
  • Butter
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup cream
  • 3tbsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

How to make it??

In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, cinnamon and cream.Butter the slices of bread on both sides. Then soak the slices of bread in the egg mixture for 10 minutes, and turning to coat boat sides.Fry the slices of bread on lightly greased on a skillet on medium heat until browned on both side. Transfer the French toast to a plate and pour over honey , jam or maple syrup.

How to Make Homemade Butter

Butter made from milk of sheep, goat, cow, buffalo,…In old times, butter was luxury and used only in special occasions and events. Butter used for frying, sautéing and baking. It’s colour varies from deep yellow to pale yellow.

Few days ago I prepared my own home made cheese and the result was FAN TAS TIC. Then I told myself lets make home made butter, why not?

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I know everyone can buy butter but making butter at home is amazing experience. You have no idea how much is easy. I mean it’s super super easy to make beautiful butter at home and however in ancient time making butter needed time and energy but nowadays with simple device you can do that. Ancient technique and method is still used in some of villages. They use a goat skin filled with milk and rock it until formation of butter.

what you need is cream and mixer. About mixer, I used my hand holder mixer, but you can use food processor or even egg beater but this last one will require lots of energy and time !!!

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It takes just about 15 minutes to make your own home made butter. You can keep your butter plane or add different flavours and make it sweet or savoury. For example one of my adding flavour is sumac, because Iranian use sumac and butter for kebab and rice and is perfectly ok.

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Ingredients

  • 720 ml double cream or heavy cream
  • 1 cup Iced water
  • Mixer

 

For flavouring

  • one orange or lemon zest and honey
  • 1 garlic clove and paprika
  • Sumac
  • Finely chopped chives

How to make it??

Add cream to your device and beat it until the cream become stiff and turn into whipped cream ( it takes 5-6 minutes).

Now add iced cold water to the whipped cream. It helps separate butter from butter milk. Keep beating until butter milk come out and you have yellow butter solids.

In order to separate butter from butter milk, Pout the mixture into a bowl lined with a sieve or line a sieve with a clean butter muslin and set over a bowl and allow the butter milk drain into the bowl. Pick the butter in your hand and squeeze out all butter milk.

Butter is ready. Now if you like, you can add some flavour to the butter or keep it plane. I divided my butter into several pieces and added different spices, and herbs.

You can store this butter for 2 months in the fridge or freeze and store it for longer time.

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How to make Homemade Butter

 

Ingredients

  • 720 ml double cream or heavy cream
  • 1 cup Iced water
  • Mixer

For flavouring

  • one orange or lemon zest and honey
  • 1 garlic clove and paprika
  • Sumac
  • Finely chopped chives

How to make it??

Add cream to your device and beat it until the cream become stiff and turn into whipped cream ( it takes 5-6 minutes). Now add iced cold water to the whipped cream. It helps separate butter from butter milk. Keep beating until butter milk come out and you have yellow butter solids. In order to separate butter from butter milk, Pout the mixture into a bowl lined with a sieve or line a sieve with a clean butter muslin and set over a bowl and allow the butter milk drain into the bowl.

Pick the butter in your hand and squeeze out all butter milk. Butter is ready. Now if you like, you can add some flavour to the butter or keep it plane. I divided my butter into several pieces and added different spices, and herbs. You can store this butter for 2 months in the fridge or freeze and store it for longer time.

No bake cookies with smarties

These cookies require just simple ingredients. You do not need an oven to make them. I made these cookies with smarties but you can substitute smarites for dried fruits or chocolate chips. They are super easy to make.

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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups oat flour
  • ½ cup smartise
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla or orange extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tnbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

How to make it

First of all line a tray with parchment paper and set aside. Place the sugar and the butter into a saucepan set over medium heat and melt together.

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Add vanilla or orange extract and milk to the melted mixture and stir together until mixture combine together.

Place oat flour in a bowl and sprinkle with the smarties Now add wet mixture and salt into the oat four. Stir with a spoon or with your hand until combine very well.

Using an ice cream/cookie scoop or just simply take small portion of dough and roll into a ball and place on the baking tray. Gently press down the dough. Once all cookies dough are done, place them in the fridge for an hour until to set.

 

Store them in the fridge for several days.

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No bake cookies with smarties

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups oat flour
  • ½ cup smartise
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla or orange extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 tnbsp milk
  • pinch of salt

How to make it

First of all line a tray with parchment paper and set aside. Place the sugar and the butter into a saucepan set over medium heat and melt together. Add vanilla or orange extract and milk to the melted mixture and stir together until mixture combine together.

Place oat flour in a bowl and sprinkle with the smarties Now add wet mixture and salt into the oat four. Stir with a spoon or with your hand until combine very well.

Using an ice cream/cookie scoop or just simply take small portion of dough and roll into a ball and place on the baking tray. Gently press down the dough. Once all cookies dough are done, place them in the fridge for an hour until to set.

Store them in the fridge for several days.

Persian kebab kubideh with rice (Chelow kebab)

Kebab is an absolute favourite, the most popular and delicious dish in Iran. In Iranian cuisine, there are different types of kebab with ground meat or diced meat and believe me all are super tasty and you will be over the moon when you have kebab for lunch or dinner.
Kebab is usually grilled over hot coals or in the oven if you have no barbecue.
Chelow kebab means a dish with rice and kebab. Kebabs are various cooked meat dishes.

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My today’s kebab is called ‘ kebab kubidhe ‘ made with ground beef/lamb, other kind of kebab is ‘kebab barg’ with diced beef, lamb or chicken. Still, there is more different kebabs.
Chelow or pilaf (pilau) is  a kind of plain steamed rice topped with butter, saffron and kebab.
Making a good kebab firstly requires quality fresh meat. It should be combination of lamb with beef ( mixed minced). The meat should be around 20% fat which will keep the kebab juicy and moist.
Secondly, when you buy minced meat, you should ask your butcher to grind the meat 2-3 times or do it at home by using your food processor.
Thirdly, you need to marinate the kebab meat earlier and leave the meat to rest in the fridge overnight.

Once kebab is ready serve it with pilaf/polow, fresh herbs, sumac powder  and doogh ( that is an Iranian yogurt based drink).

 

Ingredients for kebab

  • 600 g ground lamb
  • 400 g beef
  • 250-300 g onion, grated and remove excess juice
  • 1/2 lime/lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

 

Ingredients for accompaniment

  • A bunch of cherry tomatoes
  • 4-5 potatoes
  • 3-4 red-yellow bell peppers

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Ingredients for mint sauce ( optional)

  • Handful fresh leaves of mint and coriander
  • 3 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • Salt to taste

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Preparation
Grind finely the meat 2-3 times or ask butcher do it for you. Grate the onion and remove the juice. In a big bowl, add grated onion, salt, pepper, lime juice and meat. Mix well and knead the meat mixture for 3-4 minutes and  until  well combined… Kneading the meat mixture for few minutes will make the meat like a paste that will stick together and not fall apart when your thread it on skewers. Then refrigerate the meat overnight.


For threading the kebab you can use either  metal skewers or wooden ones. If you are using wooden skewers, you need to soak them in water overnight as well to prevent of burning in the oven.
Next day, divide the  meat into seven or eight pieces and thread on the wooden skewers by pressing the meat and shaping it evenly. Preheat the oven to 180C for grilling the kebabs.

 Place a flat bread or  (tortilla bread) on the baking  tray and place the kebabs skewers on it. Grill the kebab for 20-25   minutes.The juice from the kebab will soak into the flat bread as the kebab cooks.

Thread the potatoes and peppers on the skewers as well. Grill them in oven 200C for 20-30 minutes. You can do grill  the tomatoes too  but I just fried them in a pan

For refreshing mint sauce you need to blend all ingredients in a blender and make a puree.
Once kebab and accompaniments are grilled, remove from the oven. Traditionally kebab kubideh is served  with steamed saffron rice ( chelow/polow), cubes of butter on top of the rice, fresh herbs such as basil, chives, mint, onions.

Sprinkle sumac powder on kebab. If you serve the kebab with rice, you can sprinkle sumac powder on the rice as well.

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King Rice/Shah Pilaf

Shah plov or crown rice is an Azerbaijani signature dish. There are different types of rice dish in Azerbaijani cuisine but this one is king of rice.

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This rice dish is known as : Khan rice, shah rice or crown rice and is served in special occasions. Shah rice made with red meat or chicken mean, dried fruits and nuts and last but not least, Persian Saffron water.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 400g diced meat, cooked
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup apricot, cut into small pieces
  • 220 g melted butter
  • 3 tbsp Saffron water
  • 1 large Lavash bread or 5-6 medium tortilla bread
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Rinse the rice in cold water 2-3 times. Then soak the rice in salted water ( add 1 tbsp salt) for an hour.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add chopped onion and fry onion until soft. Then add cooked meat , dried fruits, season with salt and pepper and  fry for few minutes.   Add saffron water and Stir constantly to prevent from burning and set aside.

Fill a pot with water. Bring it to a boil. Drain salted water of rice and add it to the boiling water. Let to cook for 10 minutes.

Using a colander and strain the rice. Rinse with tap water. Melt the butter and spread it on the bottom and sides of the pot.

Place one round bread on the bottom of the pan . Grease each Lavash or tortilla bread with melted butter and arrange around the sides of the pan, overlaps each other ( as you see in the photos).

Do not leave any open space between breads. Now, Spread a layer of rice in the pot and then pour some of meat and fruits mixture. Pour some saffron water on the rice. Repeat the procedure again.

Cover top of the rice with another round bread then fold the corners down. Grease with melted bread.

Cover the pot with a lid. Cook in the oven for 50-60 minutes until Lavash bread is golden. Remove from the oven and let to rest 5 minutes.

Turn the pot upside down and cut the crust into portions and serve it.

Noosh ulsoon , enjoy it, Noosh-e jan

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King rice/Shah pilaf 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rice
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 400g diced meat, cooked
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup apricot, cut into small pieces
  • 220 g melted butter
  • 3 tbsp Saffron water
  • 1 large Lavash bread or 5-6 medium tortilla bread
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Rinse the rice in cold water 2-3 times. Then soak the rice in salted water ( add 1 tbsp salt) for an hour.

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add chopped onion and fry onion until soft. Then add cooked meat , dried fruits, season with salt and pepper and fry for few minutes. Stir constantly to prevent from burning and set aside.

Fill a pot with water. Bring it to a boil. Drain salted water of rice and add it to the boiling water. Let to cook for 10 minutes.

Using a colander and strain the rice. Rinse with tap water. Melt the butter and spread it on the bottom and sides of the pot.

Grease each Lavash or tortilla bread with melted butter . Place one round bread on the bottom of the pan . Then, grease remaining of breads and arrange around the sides of the pan, overlaps each other ( as you see in the photos).

Do not leave any open space between breads. Now, Spread a layer of rice in the pot and then pour some of meat and fruits mixture. Pour some saffron water on the rice. Repeat the procedure again.

Cover top of the rice with another round bread then fold the corners down. Grease with melted bread.

Cover the pot with a lid. Cook in the oven for 50-60 minutes until Lavash bread is golden. Remove from the oven and let to rest 5 minutes.

Turn the pot upside down and cut the crust into portions and serve it.

Noosh ulsoon , enjoy it, Noosh-e jan

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Harissa ( Wheat Bulgar porridge from South of Iran)

Haleem,  or hareesa is a thick and delicious porridge. Basically, this dish is made of boiled ground wheat or barley (bulgur) mixed with spiced meat….Haleem ( Halim) is popular dish in Iran, Arab countries around the Persian Gulf, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

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Haleem, hareesa, Jareesh, Keskeh or Arizah has different recipes and varies from region to region.

Haresse or halim is a dish for breakfast, and very popular especially during month of the Ramadan and also as a breakfast in the weekends. According to Wikipedia, the first written Hareese recipe dates back to the 10th century.

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This is a slow cooked dish for 6-7 hours. My following recipe belongs to South of Iran and in  cities South of Iran, this dish is called ‘ Hareese’ that is served as breakfast. 

The meat for this dish might be lamb, beef, mutton, turkey or chicken. The key point is frying the meat in spices such as turmeric and cinnamon which gives it amazing flavour.

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Ingredients

  • 250g lamb meat
  • 1 cup wheat bulgur, soaked in the water overnight
  • 7 cups water
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2tbsp black or white sesame seeds
  • butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Heat the oil in a pot and add the meat. Fry the meat until brown. Then add turmeric and 1 half of cinnamon powder to the meat and saute for 2 minutes. This will give lovely flavour to the meat. Now add water to the pot and bring it to a boil.

Drain the bulgur and once water starts to boil, add, pinch of salt, bulgur, black sesame seeds, and sugar.

Reduce the heat and allow to cook until meat is tender and dish is thickened. Once dish has reached to consistency, you need to mash it. Traditionally a wooden masher was used, but nowadays you can use a blender or mixer and make it puree.

Serve harissa in a platter, topping with melted butter, cinnamon, sugar and sesame seeds.

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Katmer ( kattama)

Katmer is folded dough, and is a Turkish desserts, that is originally from Gaziantepe. A crunchy pancake that is sooooo yummy and super easy to make it. Basically, Katmer is a thin dough ( filo pastry) packed with crushed pistachio, clotted cream (kaymak), sugar and butter. It might be baked either in the oven or in a pan.

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There are more than one kind of Katmer in Turkey. Katmer can be served sweet or savoury. In some region it’s filled with sesame seed paste (tahini), in another regions it’s filled with poppy seeds, topping with icing sugar and serving with a nice cupa tea or with ice cream.

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Ingredients

  • 3 Sheets of filo pastry

Ingredients for filling

  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 tbsp clotted cream or mascarpone cheese or kaymak
  • 2 tbsp ground pistachio
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

Ingredients for filling might be increased or decreased based on your taste.

Instructions

Take the filo sheets out of your fridge 1 hour before using and leave to warm to room temperature.

Place on filo sheet on a work surface and brush with melted butter. Then overlap with another sheet. Brush melted butter again. Now leave a margin about 10 cm around the edges. Sprinkle some of crushed pistachio, then place small pieces of clotted cream, and then sprinkle sugar over the cream.

 

Now fold the four edges of the pastry ( as you see in the photos) to make a square shape parcel. Brush with melted butter top and bottom.

Heat the oil ( 1tbsp) in pan over medium heat. Place each parcel into the pan and fry each side about 2 minutes.

Once katmar is golden, remove from the pan and place in a platter and cut it into smaller pieces. Topping with crushed pistachio and icing sugar.
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Oatmeal cookies

Either Soft and chewy or crunchy cookies are tasty snacks. You can make your home made cookies with dried fruits such as dates, raisins, figs, or nuts and seeds or chocolate chips. My oatmeal cookies are soft cookies made with raisins and orange skins. Due to orange skin , taste is gorgeous. If you baked these cookies, please send a photo of that to me.

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Ingredients

  • 125 g all purpose flour
  • 150 g oatmeal
  • 150 g raisins
  • 1 egg
  • 115 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 50 g white sugar
  • ½ tap baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp orange or vanilla extract

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Instructions

In a bowl mix flour with salt, cinnamon and baking soda. In another bowl, add butter, brown and white sugar and with an electric mixer, combine for 2 minutes until mix well. Then add egg and orange or vanilla extract.

Now add flour to the above mixture and keep mixing then add oat meal and raisins too. Transfer cookie mixture to a plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 176C.Line baking tray with parchment paper.

After 30 minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Drop 1tbsp of the cookie dough onto the tray, and gently press down to flatten each cookie dough, also leave a good space between each cookie dough, as they will spread in the cooking process. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes. Then remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray before transfer to a platter.

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Scrambled eggs

A delicious and popular dish in all over the world. It is made from beaten white and yolk eggs.

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Ingredients

  •  2 eggs
  • 20 g butter
  • 1/2 tbsp. crème fraiche
  • Salt – Pepper to taste

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Instructions

Crack the eggs in a pot, add butter. Don’t add slat as it will cause watery eggs. Place the pot over low heat and start to stir slowly.

Keep stirring until eggs aقe runny. Remove from the heat, add cream fraiche, still keep stirring.

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Place it back on the heat and stir for 1 minute more. Now, you could add salt and pepper.

And serve it with toasted bread and fried cherry tomatoes.

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