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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Gata ( walnut rolled sweet)

This lovely sweets are so good and delicious. Armenian population in Iran make it and it is very popular between all 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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Macaroni cheese

I love Mac and cheese . It’s very easy dish with lots of cheese sauce.

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Ingredients

  • 200g pasta
  • 150g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 medium onions
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1tbsp flour
  • 1tsp nutmeg powder
  • Salt- pepper to taste
  • Butter
  • Vegetable oil

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Method

Heat the oil in a pan and sauté chopped onion until they are soft. Bring the water to a boil, add pasta, pinch of salt and 1tbsp oil and cook it.

For making cheese sauce: Melt the butter in a pan, add flour and pinch of pepper and nutmeg powder. Stir 2 minutes. Then pour milk in the pan and once milk is warm, add grated cheese. Stirring for 2 minutes and remove from the heat and mix it with fried onion. Such an amazing sauce.

Mix pasta with cheese sauce and serve it.

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Brussels Sprouts Soup

A hearty soup with creamy texture for winter season. One of ingredients for  this soup is bacon. Bacon is a meat prepared from cured pork but there are meats from other animals like: beef, lamb, turkey that prepared resemble to bacon and referred to as bacon.

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Brussels sprouts soup

Ingredients
250 Brussels cabbage, slices
25 g butter
2 smoked bacon ( beef, lamb, pork, turkey), diced
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 large potato, diced
1 litter chicken stock
100 g ground almond
1 Tsp nutmeg
Salt- chilli to taste

 

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Preparation
Heat the butter in a saucepan, add chopped onion and fry for 5 minutes until softened. Add diced bacon and potato. Fry gently.

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Toss in the butter and allow frying for 5 minutes.
In a pot, pour one litter chicken stock, add ground almond, and all the spices: nutmeg, salt and chilli. Bring to the boil. Add Brussels cabbage( keep a little bit of cabbage for garnishing), and fried ingredients. Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes. Then puree in a blender.
Serve it with chopped Brussels cabbage and bacon.

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Gata Bread

A thick gorgeous, aromatic, golden outside, soft and sweet inside Armenian cake. Gata can be found in variety of size, shape, fillings and versions. In old times, gata was baked inside the tandoori oven but nowadays, gata is baked in the ovens. This cake is HEAVENLY DELICIOUS.  trust me,  if do not try this cake, you are a looser 🙂 In Iran you can find this beautiful gata cake in most of bakeries.

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Ingredients for the dough

  • 2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 whole egg plus white from other egg
  • 1 yolk egg
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup clotted cream
  • 1 large orange zest
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tsp. baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp. milk

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Ingredients for the filling

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 20 g unsalted butter
  • ½ Tsp cinnamon powder
  • ¼ Tsp nutmeg powder
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup crushed walnuts

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Preparation
Using a blender and mix sugar and butter for 2-3 minutes. Then add clotted cream, one whole egg and whites of other egg, and mix for 2 minutes more. In other bowl, mix flour with salt and baking powder.
Add flour in two steps and mix 2 minutes. Now add orange zest and knead the dough until orange zest combined with dough. Cover the dough and place it in the fridge for 30 minutes.


While dough is in the fridge, prepare the filling. In a bowl with sugar and butter, add cinnamon, nutmeg and flour. Mix all ingredients and make it crumbly. Now, add crushed walnuts and raisins to the flour and mix well.


Preheat the oven at 190C.
Sprinkle some flour on the working surface and place the dough on the surface and spread it. Put the filling on the centre of the dough and gather the sides of the dough and give a round shape. Spread pinch of flour top on the surface of the dough and gently seal the edges.


Grease the baking pan , and line the pan with parchment paper. Place the dough in the pan and gently tap on the dough. Mix egg yolk with 1 Tbsp milk and brush top of the cake. Using a flok and make a pattern top of the dough.
Place it in the oven and bake it for 30 minutes.
This heavenly delicious cake can be saved for a week in the fridge.
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