Shirazi Rice Pilaf

Shiraz is an ancient city in SW of Iran. Shiraz is known as the city of literature, flowers, wine, gardens, nightingales and poets.

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This beautiful city is a one of the important tourism centres in Iran. With a short driving distance from Shiraz there are ruins of some of most spectacular ancient sites such as: ancient city of Persepolis, Tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae, ancient necropolis of Naqsh-e Rustam with rock cut tombs of Persian kings, Naghsh-e Rajab with rock cut reliefs,….

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My today recipe is called Qanbara polow, one of traditional classic rice dish from Shiraz that is served in especial occasions, parties and as Iftar in month of Ramadan.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups rice
  • 350 g minced meat
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 100 g chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp gram flour
  • 50 g raisins
  • 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 ½ tsp grape molasses
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil

Instructions

In a bowl with minced meat, add gram flour, turmeric and season with salt and pepper. Mix all together well. Then, give small ball shape to the meat. Heat the oil in a pan and fry them.

Heat the oil in another pan and sauté chopped onion until soft, then add raisins and chopped walnuts. Fry for 2 minutes and set aside.

In a bowl with pomegranates molasses, add grape molasses and 2 tbsp of olive oil. Mix together.

Semi cook the rice. Add meat balls and fried onion mixture with walnuts and raisins. Pour molasses mixture top of rice and allow to cook perfectly.

Once rice is done, gently stir the rice and serve it.

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Persian petit meatballs ( Kofteh rizeh Yazdi)

In Iranian cooking ‘ Kofteh’ or ‘ Kofta’ is a kind of meat ball. Kofteh means pounded meat in Persian language. Meat ball or Kofta is made from ground meat such as: mutton, beef, lamb and chicken, along with aromatic fresh or dried herbs, nuts, fruits and eggs.

Kofteh is usually shaped into balls and round but sometimes kofteh is in cigar-shape too. Kofteh , kupta, kofta, kufta …. are in different sizes from giant ones to medium and petit kofteh.

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Some of cities in Iran are well known for their Kofta recipes. Tabriz an ancient city in NW of Iran is known for having Giant Kofteh Tabrizi recipe, that is one of the most famous and popular kofteh in Iran. This dish includes a giant meat ball made from meat, rice, yellow split peas, aromatic herbs and spices.

Kofteh Isphahani, kofteh Shirazi, Kofteh Kermanshahi, Kofteh Yazdi, are other type of Persian meatballs from different areas in Iran.

Kofteh sometimes is stuffed with nuts, eggs or fruits and sometimes are normal kofta.

Petit kofteh might be served with Persian flat bread or with rice, pickles, yogurt and salad.

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Today I made Yazdi Kofteh rizeh ( petit kofteh), that takes its name after the Yazd an ancient city in central Iran. Yazd is an ancient city in Iran and is recognised as a world Heritage site by UNESCO. Yazd is well  known for its special architecture that its nickname is ‘ wind catcher’ or ‘ Badgir’. Also this city is well known for having its Zoroastrian ancient fire temple, Qantas (under ground water channels to transport water from water well to surface for irrigation and drinking) and Yakhchal ( yakh meaning ice and chaal meaning pit) is an ancient type of evaporative cooler, it used to create ice in the winter and store it in the summer time.

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Ingredients

350g minced meat ( half beef/ half lamb)

1 onion, grated

Handful cherry tomatoes

1 egg

3 tbsp freshly chopped chives or coriander

2 tbsp gram flour

½ tsp turmeric

Salt and chilli pepper to taste

Olive oil

 

Method

Peel the onion and grate it. Extract juice from grated onion . Add all ingredients to grated onion. Mix well until combine together.

Shape the meat mixture into little balls, the size of a walnut. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add meat balls . Cook until brown. Then add ¼ cup water and cherry tomatoes to the meat balls and let the cook for 10 minutes with the lid partially covering the pan.

I served meat balls with steamed rice-potato but as I mentioned it might be served with flat bread and salad, yogurt and pickles on the side.

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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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Kufte Buzbash

This recipe is one  of Azerbaijani kufteh/kofte or  meatballs.  Usually people know about Italian or Swedish meatballs but  they know less about Persian and Azerbaijani kufte or meatballs. Sometimes kufte or meatballs  are stuffed with cooked egg and dried fruits and nuts and sometime they are plain meatballs without any filling. The word kufteh is derived from Persian word ‘ Kuftan’ which literally mean ( to pound). Main ingredient for making kufteh is meat: beef/ lamb or combination of both. Other ingredient is aromatic herbs, which could be dried or fresh chopped. Herbs such as mint, basil, tarragon.
Each meatball depends on its size (because some meatballs are giant and could be stuffed with cooked egg and dried fruits ) or simply stuffed with dried fruits such as apricots, prunes, dates and Barberry.

Ingredients
200 g ground beef
½ cup cooked chickpeas
1/3 cup cooked rice
2 tbsp fresh chopped mint leaves or dried herbs
Salt – pepper to taste
4-5 dried prunes and apricots, finely chopped

Ingredients for broth
2 tbsp butter
4-5 baby potatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
Salt – pepper
½ tsp turmeric
2 tbsp plain flour

Preparation
Pour cooked chickpeas in a blender and make it into a paste. Mix ground meat with chopped herbs, spices, and rice and paste chickpeas and combine very well. Then take small portion of meat mixture and, place ½ tbsp. chopped dried fruits in centre of meatball and Shape into a medium (apple size) meatball. If mixture is sticky, you could wet your hand and carry on with giving shape to the meat. Set aside meatballs and prepare broth.
For making broth, Melt the butter in a pot, add chopped onion and spices. Saute until softened. Pour 700 ml water, 2 tbsp plain flour and mix well. Bring it to boil. Add potatoes and gently add meatballs one by one to the pot and let it cook over medium heat for about 30-40 minutes.
Once kufteh is ready, serve it with broth, kufteh and potatoes.

Persian Celery Stew (Khoresh Karafas)

Firstly, celery in Farsi language is called ‘ karafas’. Secondly, this is heavenly deliciousssss Persian dish. I am sure among your meals, are some of them that flavour and taste develops more better next day, and celery stew is one of those. Basically, this dish made with celery, parsley and mint, … So there are some notes before cooking it.
Cooking meat first, allows the meat turn into the broth and you make your first layer of flavour. Then, celery itself is star of this dish, so do not let it overcooks and mushy.

Ingredients
300 g beef or lamb meat
2 large onions, chopped
2 medium tomatoes or some cherry tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch of celery, washed and chopped
1 bunch of parsley, washed and chopped
1 bunch of mint, washed and chopped
2 tbsp lime/lemon juice
Salt – pepper powder to taste
½ tsp turmeric
Olive  oil

 

 

Preparation
In a pot with water, add one of chopped onions and meat. Allow cooking until tender. In a pan heat the oil and sauté chopped other onion until becomes soft and slightly brown, set aside. Then, sauté chopped celery, parsley and mint for 5 minutes, stir frequently.
Once meat cooked, add sautéed vegetables and onion to the meat. Season with salt and pepper. Add turmeric and lime juice. Pour 1 ½ cup water to the pot and allow cooking for 20 minutes. Add tomatoes in last 10 minutes. Serve stew with steamed rice.
Enjoy