Falafel

Falafel is one the most favourite fast foods in the Middle East. Falafel is an Arabic word,and plural ‘ filfil’ meaning “pepper”. Falafel is a meatless food and good source of protein and suitable for vegetarians.

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Originally it is spicy but in any country it has adjusted based on the taste of people. Falafel is made of chickpeas or fava beans. Egyptians make falafe with fava beans and sometimes with combination of both. But if you make with chickpeas, they should be soaked and then should be ground up or mashed and mix with beautiful spices and vegetables such as onions, garlic parsley.

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Falafe serves with flat bread ( Naan ), pita bread, or Budget bread and garnished with different things such as tomato, cucumber, lettuce, fresh herbs, tahini sauce, spicy sauce, humus, chutney, garlic yogurt. Or they are just perfect on their own.
Falafel can be eaten cold or hot. This chickpea balls are mostly popular in S and SW of Iran but in other cities of country such as Tehran is very popular too.

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Ingredients

  • 450 g chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1 1/2 tbsp  plain flour or chickpeas flour
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • A bunch of parsley
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2tsp cumin
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil

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Ingredients for mint-parsley sauce

  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt
  • Small bunch of mint and parsley
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • Salt to taste

 

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Preparation
If you want your falafel to turn out right, you need to soak dried chickpeas overnight. So they will be double in size. Next day, drain and rinse them. Pour chickpeas into a food processor. Then add all ingredients ( except flour)  for falafel into the food processor and make smooth mixture.

 

Then add flour and   season the chickpeas mixture with all above mentioned spices. Mix all together very well. Using wet hands or a falafel scoop, form falafel mixture into round balls or oval shape. By the way,  If you wish, sprinkle some sesame seeds on each chickpeas ball too .Then place chickpea balls in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

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Falafel is traditionally fried but you can bake it instead too. So bake falafel in 175 C degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
And if you want to fry falafel, add enough oil for deep frying in a deep saucepan. Place the pot over a high heat and heat the oil, then drop falafel balls in the oil and fry until brown ( 7-8 minutes).


For making sauce, you need to place all ingredients for sauce in a blender and make a smooth sauce.

 


When all falafels are fried. You can serve them plain or Wrap 3-4 of falafels in a pita bread, topping with sauce and enjoy it.

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Falafel

Ingredients
300 g chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 cloves of garlic
1 large onion.
A bunch of parsley
Salt – pepper to taste
1 tsp turmeric
1tsp coriander powder
Oil
Ingredients for mint-parsley sauce
3 tbsp. plain yogurt
Small bunch of mint and parsley
1 small bell pepper
Salt to taste
Preparation
If you want your falafel to turn out right, you need to soak dried chickpeas overnight. So they will be double in size. Next day, drain and rinse them. Pour chickpeas into a food processor. Then add all ingredients for falafel into the food processor and make smooth mixture.
Then add and season the chickpeas mixture with all above mentioned spices. Mix all together very well. using wet hands or a falafel scoop, form falafel mixture into round balls .Then place chickpea balls in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Falafel is traditionally fried but you can bake it instead too. So bake falafel in 175 C degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
And if you want to fry falafel, add enough oil for deep frying in a deep saucepan. Place the pot over a high heat and heat the oil, then drop falafel balls in the oil and fry until brown ( 7-8 minutes).
For making sauce, you need to place all ingredients for sauce in a blender and make a smooth sauce.
When all falafels are fried. You can serve them plain or Wrap 3-4 of falafels in a pita bread, topping with sauce and enjoy it.

Persian Stuffed Zucchini (Dolmeh Kadoo)

Dolama or dolmeh is a tasty dish found in Iranian cuisine, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Greece, Arabic countries and Central Asia. The word dolma is a Turkish word and means to fill.  Dolma is the Persian version of stuffed vegetables. You can use eggplant, zucchini, onion, or tomato and stuff with either ground beef or turkey and aromatic herbs.

Up to now, I have shared several recipes for my collection of dolma recipes including: stuffed grape leaves, cabbage rolls, stuffed eggplants, stuffed onions, and today I am going to share my Persian stuffed zucchini.  In Persian language zucchini or courgette  is called Kadoo .

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Dolma is considered comfort food. These different kinds of dolma are stuffed with either meat and spices, or meat herbs and rice, or there are vegetarian version with rice and herbs and GOOD NEWS IS, all are DELICIOUS.
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Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini or Courgette,
  • 300g ground beef or lamb meat
  • 5tbsp semi cooked rice
  • 100g mixed herbs: mint, parsley, coriander, spring onions
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 2tbsp tomato paste
  • 1tbsp dried dill (I use dried dill because it is more aromatic rather than fresh dill)
  • Olive oil
  • Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, grated

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How to make it??

First of all wash the zucchini. If the skin of the zucchini has been waxed , peel the skin but leaved the skin of if it’s unwaxed. (However large zucchini should be peeled because the skin might be bitter).

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Then cut each each zuchini into 3 tubes. Scoop out the insides. Keep the insides and add into the pot where you are going cook the zucchini dolma.

For stuffing you need, add rice, chopped fresh herbs, salt, pepper, some turmeric and dried dill to the ground meat and mix ingredients until combine well. Fill each zucchini with the stuffing and settle stuffed zucchini in the pot.

Fill each zucchini with the stuffing and settle stuffed zucchini in the pot.

In a saucepan, add tomato paste, olive oil,  pinch of salt, turmeric and Chilli powder. Saute for 2 minutes. Then, add a cup of water to the tomato paste and bring it to a quick boil.

Pour the sauce on the stuffed zucchini. Simmer over the low heat for about 30-40 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce.

Meanwhile, mix yogurt with grated garlic. Serve the stuffed zucchini with garlic-yogurt.

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Persian Stuffed Zucchinni

 

Ingredients

  • 2 large zucchini or Courgette,
  • 300g ground beef or lamb meat
  • 5tbsp semi cooked rice
  • 100g mixed herbs: mint, parsley, coriander, spring onions
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 2tbsp tomato paste
  • 1tbsp dried dill
  • Olive oil
  • Greek yogurt
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, grated

How to make it??

First of all wash the zucchini. If the skin of the zucchini has been waxed , peel the skin but leaved the skin of if it’s unwaxed. (However large zucchini should be peeled because the skin might be bitter).

Then cut each each zuchini into 3 tubes. Scoop out the insides. Keep the insides and add into the pot where you are going cook the zucchini dolma. For stuffing you need, add rice, chopped fresh herbs, salt, pepper, some turmeric and dried dill to the ground meat and mix ingredients until combine well. Fill each zucchini with the stuffing and settle stuffed zucchini in the pot.

Heat some olive oil in the saucepan. Add tomato paste, pinch of salt, turmeric and Chilli powder. Saute for 2 minutes. Then, add a cup of water to the tomato paste and bring it to a quick boil. Pour the sauce on the stuffed zucchini. Simmer over the low heat for about 30-40 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce.

Meanwhile, mix yogurt with grated garlic. Serve the stuffed zucchini with garlic-yogurt.

 

 

Aubergine Pirogue

The meaty aubergine or eggplant with earthy taste is brilliant as ingredient in stew, curry, salad, stuffed, roasted, grilled or deep fried.

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The following aubergine recipe is a simple vegetarian dish full of flavour and delicious plus pretty easy to prepare it.

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Ingredients

  • 4-5 large aubergines, sliced lengthwise

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 1 ½ cups cooked rice

  • 100 g Parmesan cheese, grated

  • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

  • small bunch of spring onion, finely chopped

  • ½ tsp dried mint

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Vegetable oil

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How to make it??

Slice and place aubergines in a colander. Then sprinkle salt over it and allow it to drain for 1 hour. Salt draws out excess moisture and the bitterness. After an hour rinse the eggplant under cold water to remove the excess salt and pat it dry.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the eggplant slices. Allow to fry until golden and set aside.

In a large bowl with cooked rice, add chopped bell peppers, herbs, cheese, and spices. Mix until combine well.

In a tart mould set eggplant slices (overlap them a little, as you see in the photos).

Then cover base of the tart mould with eggplant slices too. Now spread rice mixture in the mould. With a spoon press down the rice. Place 3-4 eggplant slices on the top centre of the rice and fold up aubergine slices as you see in the photos.

Put the mould in the oven and allow to bake for about 30 minutes. Then remove from the oven, let it to cool for 5 minutes and then turn the tin up side down.

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Cut the eggplant pirogue into the pieces and serve it with tortilla bread and garlic-yogurt mixture.

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Aubergine piroque

Ingredients

  • 4-5 large aubergines, sliced lengthwise

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 1 medium yellow bell pepper, finely chopped

  • 1 ½ cups cooked rice

  • 100 g Parmesan cheese, grated

  • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped

  • small bunch of spring onion, finely chopped

  • ½ tsp dried mint

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • Vegetable oil

How to make it??

Slice and place aubergines in a colander. Then sprinkle salt over it and allow it to drain for 1 hour. Salt draws out excess moisture and the bitterness. After an hour rinse the eggplant under cold water to remove the excess salt and pat it dry.

Preheat the oven to 180C.

In a large skillet, heat the oil and add the eggplant slices. Allow to fry until golden and set aside.

In a large bowl with cooked rice, add chopped bell peppers, herbs, cheese, and spices. Mix until combine well.

In a tart mould set eggplant slices (overlap them a little, as you see in the photos). Then cover base of the tart mould with eggplant slices too. Now spread rice mixture in the mould. With a spoon press down the rice. Place 3-4 eggplant slices on the top centre of the rice and fold up aubergine slices as you see in the photos.

Put the mould in the oven and allow to bake for about 30 minutes. Then remove from the oven, let it to cool for 5 minutes and then turn the tin up side down.  Cut the eggplant pirogue into the pieces and serve it with tortilla bread and garlic-yogurt mixture.

Vegetarian kebab

This is one of the  tastiest vegetarian kebabs which is made with bread and vegetabls. It is simple but super tasty and easy to make it, with crispy texture, golden outside and fulllllllllllll of flavour. You may serve it with yogurt, sweet chilli sauce, any kind of chutney or ketchup.

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Ingredients

  • 5 slices of fresh white or brown bread
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lemon juice
  • Handful fresh mint leaves
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • Small piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to make it???

Put slices of bread into a food processor or blender and blend it until crush and look like soft bread crumbs and set aside.

Put cooked chickpeas into a mixing bowl. Add onion, garlic, ginger, mint and coriander leaves, lemon juice, yogurt and oil to the chickpeas. Blend until become purée. Add puree mixture and all spices to the bread crumbs, mix until combine well.

Grease your hand, take a small portion of mixture and roll it like a hot dog, however you can give ball shape or cutlet/ round burger shape too. Once all kebabs are done, you may push the wooden sticks into the kebab . it ‘s just optional.

Now heat the oil or butter in a saucepan. Place kebabs into the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden crispy.

Serve it with your favourite sauce.

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Vegetarian kebab

Ingredients

  • 5 slices of fresh white or brown bread
  • 1 cup chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 onion
  • 1 lemon juice
  • Handful fresh mint leaves
  • Handful fresh coriander leaves
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • Small piece of fresh ginger
  • 3 tbsp yogurt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

 

How to make it???

Put slices of bread into a food processor or blender and blend it until crush and look like soft bread crumbs and set aside.

Put cooked chickpeas into a mixing bowl. Add onion, garlic, ginger, mint and coriander leaves, lemon juice, yogurt and oil to the chickpeas. Blend until become purée. Add puree mixture and all spices to the bread crumbs, mix until combine well.

Grease your hand, take a small portion of mixture and roll it like a hot dog, however you can give ball shape or cutlet/ round burger shape too.

Once all kebabs are done, you may push the wooden sticks into the kebab . it ‘s just optional.

Now heat the oil or butter in a saucepan. Place kebabs into the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, until golden crispy.

Serve it with your favourite sauce.

 

Potato Salad

Potato salad is a popular dish,  made with boiled potatoes and other ingredients. There are so many variations of potato salad and today I have also two good ones. This is an instant and easy salad.

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Ingredients

  • 5 potatoes
  • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup yogurt or Mayo
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it??

Place the potatoes in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover the top of potatoes. Add 1 tsp salt to the water. Cook the potatoes until tender. Drain the potatoes. skin off potatoes, add butter or olive oil, lemon juice, and mash with potato masher.

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Now, add all above munitioned spices and chopped parsley. Mix all together. Taste again, if needs add more salt and pepper.

Take an orange size of potato mixture and shape it like a bowl ( as you see in the photos). Once all potato bowls are done, place them in a plate and set aside.

Now, mix yogurt with grated garlic, pinch of pepper and mix them.

Pour 1-2 tbsp of yogurt inside each potato ball. Serve potato salad topped with sweet chilli sauce.

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Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 5 potatoes
  • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ cup yogurt or Mayo
  • 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How to make it??

Place the potatoes in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover the top of potatoes. Add 1 tsp salt to the water. Cook the potatoes until tender. Drain the potatoes. skin off potatoes, add butter or olive oil, lemon juice, and mash with potato masher.

Now, add all above munitioned spices and chopped parsley. Mix all together. Taste again, if needs add more salt and pepper.

Take an orange size of potato mixture and shape it like a bowl ( as you see in the photos). Once all potato bowls are done, place them in a plate and set aside.

Now, mix yogurt with grated garlic, pinch of pepper and mix them. Pour 1-2 tbsp of yogurt inside each potato ball. Serve potato salad topped with sweet chilli sauce.

Cabbage aash ( ash-e kalam Azari)

Azerbaijan is located in NW of Iran. People of this region have their own magnificent recipes. This is one of those.

It is called ‘Azari cabbage aash or kalam aashi in Azari language.  Maybe you ask what is aash ( aush) ?? In Iranian cuisine  there are two kinds of  liquid food.  Aash is a thick soup which is served warm and hot and exactly like soup made with variation of vegetables, noodles,, stocks and spices. This dish is spelling: Ash, aash, aush, ashe.

But soup is a thin and light liquid food, served warm and made by combining vegetables with water, stock, spices,…

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Ash or aush is popular food in Iranian, Turkish, Afghani, Azerbaijani and Caucasian cuisine.There are tens and tens of thick soup in Persian cuisine. Like Ash reshteh ( noodle soup), ash doogh,  ash anaar, ……

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup cabbage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh herbs: spring onions, coriander, parsley, spinach, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp fried onions
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 3-4 tbsp Yogurt
  • 1 tsp dried mint (fry in oil for 1 minute)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

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How to make it??

Bring to  a boil water in a pot, add beef stock cubes and dissolve them.

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Then, add cooked chickpeas,Oatmeal, oil and spices.Allow to cook for 10 minutes.

 

Then, add chopped cabbage leaves, herbs and fried onions.

Stir occasionally. Allow aash cook for 20 minutes over low to medium heat. Pour your aash in a plate, garnish with fried onions, mint, and 2-3 spoons of yogurt.

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Cabbage aash (a soup from Iranian Azerbaijan)

Ingredients
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 cup cabbage leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh herbs: spring onions, coriander, parsley, spinach, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp fried onions
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 beef stock cubes
  • 3-4 tbsp Yogurt
  • 1 tsp dried mint (fry in oil for 1 minute)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil

 

How to make it??
Bring to  a boil water in a pot, add beef stock cubes and dissolve them.Then, add cooked chickpeas,oatmeal, spices and oil.
Allow to cook for 10 minutes. Then add chopped cabbage leaves, herbs and fried onions. Stir occasionally. Let aash cook for 20 minutes over low to medium heat.Pour your aash in a plate, garnish with fried onions, mint, and 2-3 spoons of yogurt.

My Savoury Bread (Cake)

Savoury bread (cake) is very popular in France.Savoury bread is one .Today I was thinking what kind of bread I make. I had a look into the fridge and found some olives and spring onions.

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Then I went to my small garden and collected some fresh basil and baked my savoury bread. But if you do not like basil, just easily add fillings of your choice. your favourite herbs such as dill, coriander or parsley. but you can add fillings of your choice.

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Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

Ingredients for filling

  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, chopped into chunks
  • 1 cup black/green olives
  • 1 lemon zest
  • small bunch of parsley
  • 2 spring onions, green part

Instructions

Preheated oven to 180C.

First purée basil and parsley leaves, green part of spring onions and lemon zest. This gives extraordinary flavour to our bread (cake).

For bread batter: place the flour in a large bowl. Add baking powder, salt and pepper. Mix together. Add eggs, milk and vegetable oil. Using a spatula and combine all together well.

Coat olives with 1tbsp of flour. This will prevent olives from sinking into the bottom when baking. Now add purée herbs, olives and chopped cheddar cheese. Combine all ingredients well together.

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You can either lightly Butter the loaf pan or spray oil , so that parchment paper sticks on it. Then butter parchment paper.

Fill the pan with batter and Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes. Once bread is ready, remove from the oven, top the bread with drizzle of olive oil and grated cheddar cheese. Place the cake inside the oven again for 3 minutes until cheese is melted.

Remove from the oven and serve it.

it’s very flavourful, soft, with melted cheese, citrusy and taste of olive.

 

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Spinach soup

What about  a healthy, filling and a light green soup for today!!

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Ingredients
200g spinach
1/2 cup brown lentils
1/2 cup barley
2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Parsley stalks
Olive oil
Salt – pepper to taste

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Preparation
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add chopped onions and garlic. Add salt and pepper. Fry gently until softened but not coloured.

Meanwhile, Add 800 ml water to a pot and cook dry lentils and barley. Cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer until cook tender.
Chop parsley and spinach, add it to the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Once lentils and barley are cooked, add fried mixture to the lentils and barley. Let it to cook for 10 minutes more.
Garnish it with yogurt and chopped parsley.
Enjoy

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Azerbaijani Yogurt Soup

Today I made yogurt soup. Yes yogurt soup!!!. Perhaps it makes you curious or surprise to hear about it. But it is a very tasty soup made of Greek yogurt along with variety of fresh herbs and cereals. I have to mention this yogurt soup is different from other famous yogurt soup which is called Ayran ashi, and is popular in Iran, Turkey, and Republic of Azerbaijan.

By the way,  have you ever thought there is a connection between sense of smell with your memory? I mean deliciousness and beauty of a food is not a only factor which give you a pleasure but also memories with that food makes it double delicious. It remind us our beloved family or friends we were together and even can give you positive or negative impressions.

For instance, this yogurt soup reminds me of times when I was child and my mother made this soup for a picnic, We had an amazing happy family time together full of fun, laugh and just love, and anytime I cook it, it’s smell takes me back to those days that will never come back again.

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Ingredients
500 g Greek yogurt
4 cups water
1 medium onion, finely chopped
300 g mixed herbs includes: chives or spring onions, spinach, parsley, coriander , tarragon ( if tarragon is not available, use 1 Tbsp of dried tarragon)
4 cloves of garlic
1 small fresh chilli pepper
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup cooked pinto beans
½ cup oats
2 beef stock cubes
1 Tsp dried mint for garnish
½ Tsp turmeric
½ Tsp sweet paprika
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp vegetable Oil

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Preparation
In a big pot with yogurt, add 4 Tbsp water and mix until combined well. Add oat, beef stocks, turmeric, sweet paprika, salt and dried tarragon to the yogurt mixture and allow to cook for 15 minutes on a low heat until boiling. Stirring occasionally.

 

 


Heat the oil in a pan and saute chopped onion until soft. Set aside.
Once yogurt mixture started to boil, add oil, cooked chick peas and pinto beans, grated garlic, chopped herbs, sautéed onion and chilli pepper.

 

 


Stir occasionally, cook for 15 minutes on a medium heat.
Fry dried mint in a dash of oil and once soup is ready garnish with fried mint.
Bon appetite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Herb Stuffed Bread ( Herbs Samosa)

This is a very simple but healthy and tasteful recipe.  For wrapping herbs, I  use a kind of  Iranian bread that is called ‘ Lavash bread similar to tortilla bread .

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Ingredients

  • 3 lavash bread (Tortilla bread)
  • 30 g parsley leaves
  • 30 g spring onions
  • 50 g spinach leaves
  • ½ Tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt- pepper to taste
  • Plain yogurt
  • Butter
  •  1tbsp flour

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Preparation
Wash and finely chop all the green. Melt the butter in a pan. Add all spices and chopped herbs . Saute for 5 minutes until soft, set aside.


Mix the flour with a little bit of water to make glue like paste and set aside. Cut the crusts of the bread as you see in the photos, and give rectangular shape. Take 1 Tbsp of herbs mixture and put on the bread. Wrap the bread according to the photos.
Seal the edge of each bread with flour glue. Repeat the processe with remaining of the ingredients.


Heat the oil in the pan and fry all the wrapped breads until both sides are golden brown.
Serve hot with garlic yogurt or plain yogurt.

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