Persian Saffron (Zafaran) sharbat 

Saffron is one the most expensive and luxurious spices in the world but it’s taste, flavour and giving yellow- orange colouring to the foods is worth the price. Saffron has amazing flavour, some say it’s like honey, some say it’s floral but I say it’s just saffroni.

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Iran is one of the most important places for cultivation and export of saffron. Grades of Iranian saffron are strongest grade. Iran is responsible for %90 of global production.

Saffron or zafaran comes from Persian word ‘ Zarparan’ meaning flower with golden petal. Saffron is one of essential spices in Iranian baking and cooking. This lovely spice is used in dishes such as different stews or rice dishes. Saffron is known as king of spices. Other countries such as Spain and Keshmir are known for their saffron too.

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Ingredients

  • ¼ tsp saffron
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup rose water
  • 1tbsp boiled water
  • ½ lemon juice

 

How to make it??

Using a pestle and mortar, add pinch of sugar or small piece of solid sugar and saffron threads. Mash it ( as you see in the photos).

In a small cup or bowl, first pour preheated water and then add mashed saffron. Seal the bowl with a lid and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Adding sugar to saffron will help release the best colour and also aromatic components.

Meanwhile, mix sugar, lemon juice and water in a pot and bring it to a boil until sugar dissolve. Add rose water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Then turn off the heat and add saffron water to the sugar syrup. Allow to cool.

You might serve your drink in a plane glass or you can rimming your glasses. For this purpose, mix lemon zest and sugar together. Moist rim of the glass with lemon juice and dip into the lemon zest.

For serving, add 2-3 tbsp of saffron syrup to a glass with a cup of cold water.

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Persian Saffron (Zafaran) sharbat

Ingredients

  • ¼ tsp saffron
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup rose water
  • 1tbsp boiled water
  • ½ lemon juice

How to make it??

Using a pestle and mortar, add pinch of sugar or small piece of solid sugar and saffron threads. Mash it ( as you see in the photos).

In a small cup or bowl, first pour preheated water and then add mashed saffron. Seal the bowl with a lid and allow to steep for 15 minutes. Adding sugar to saffron will help release the best colour and also aromatic components.

Meanwhile, mix sugar, lemon juice and water in a pot and bring it to a boil until sugar dissolve. Add rose water and simmer for 5 minutes.

Then turn off the heat and add saffron water to the sugar syrup. Allow to cool.

You might serve your drink in a plane glass or you can rimming your glasses. For this purpose, mix lemon zest and sugar together. Moist rim of the glass with lemon juice and dip into the lemon zest. For serving, add 2-3 tbsp of saffron syrup to a glass with a cup of cold water.

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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Tahchin shevid- baghali (Persian dill & broad beans rice cake

Traditionally this rice dish is called Tahchin or upside down rice also known as Persian baked rice cake. Tahchin is an Iranian divine rice dish with beautiful presentation. It’s made of layered meat and rice. It may not look like much from the outside but the combination of cooked meat, yogurt, egg and aromatic spices with rice create a crunchy outer crust and soft inside rice. We Iranians love our Tahchin.

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There are different versions of Tahchin made with red meat, chicken, and vegetables. My today’s Tahchin is made with combination of dill or (ُُ Shevid  in Persian) and broad beans or (Baghali  in Persian) with chicken .

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups Iranian rice ( due to it’s amazing aroma and taste)

  • 400 g chicken fillet, cooked and diced

  • 2 cups Broad beans or Fava beans, cooked

  • 1 cup dried dill

  • 500 g Greek yogurt

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 onions, finely chopped

  • 1 tsp cardamom

  • 3 tbsp Persian saffron water

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tbsp dried rose petals

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Vegetable oil

 

How to make it

Yogurt is important ingredient in making Tahchin. We need a sort of thick yogurt, therefore, I have used a traditional way that my mother used to apply and make a thick creamy yogurt by Pouring regular yogurt into a double layer of cheesecloth or kitchen cloth. Tied up the cloth.. Hang it over a bowl and leave to drain overnight. ( as you will see in the following photos).. You would see the liquid left in the bowl. Resulting is a thick yogurt.  Wash the rice. Soak it in the salted water for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, fry the onion until slightly soft. Add diced chicken meat. Stir in salt- pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, dried rose petal, dried dill and Fava beans ( just keep 1 tbsp of Fava bean for later) for 2-3 minutes.

Now, In a bowl, mix yogurt with eggs, 2 tbsp of Persian saffron water, pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk it until combine well and set aside.

Pour water in a large pot and bring it to a boil. Drain salted water of rice and add the rice to the boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes.

Using a colander and drain the rice.Add half of the drained rice and half of the chicken mixture into the yogurt mixture bowl and gently blend together.

Pour some oil into a non stick pot or pan, spread 1 tbsp of plain fava bean on the bottom of the pot. Spread rice mixture into the pot ( as you see in the photos) and flatten with wooden spoon or spatula.

Then, layer second half of the chicken mixture around the edges of the surface. Finally, layer with second half of the white rice and cover the entire surface. Flatten the top with the back of a large spatula or spoon while pressing down( as you see in the photo). Pour 1 tbsp of saffron water over the rice.

Place the pot on medium heat for 5 minutes. Then lower the heat cover the pot with a lid and cook it for 45-60 minutes until the crust forms.

Once rice is done, let it cool for few minutes. Place a serving platter on top of the pot and gently turn the pot over, Voila you have a wonderful rice cake shape dish. Sooooooooo delish.

 

 

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Carrot stew with potatoes and chicken

Carrot stew is one of best Iranian dishes. Havij is Farsi word for carrot and carrot stew that is called ‘ Khoresht-e Havij’ in Farsi, is a Persian stew that is made with carrots, potatoes and meat (chicken/lamb or beef).

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Carrots with their brilliant colour is lovely ingredient to make carrot stew. There are different recipes for this dish, sometimes combination of carrots with prune or plum that is called khoresht haveej-aloo.

Other recipe is combination of carrots with potatoes and meat. 

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Carrot stew is one of Iranian stews and come originally from Tabriz, an ancient city in NW of Iran. That’s why mostly it’s known as Tabrizi carrot stew. If you prefer sour taste, therefore add some lemon/lime juice to the stew or if you wish sweet taste, simply delete lime juice and add some sugar.

 

Ingredients

  • 300 g chicken breasts
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 300 g baby carrots
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into strips
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. Saffron water
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp chilli powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Salt   to taste
  • Olive oil

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Preparation
Place chicken in a pot. Add water and let it to cook. If there is left chicken. Once it is cooked, remove it from the pot and fry it in olive oil until turns golden and add return it back to the pot.

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Heat the oil in a pan, add chopped onions. Sauté until just soft. Then add chili powder and turmeric. Stir in for couple of minutes. In other pan, fry baby carrots for 10 minutes.
Fry potato strips as well. Set aside.


In a bowl with cold water, add tomato paste and salt. Mix all together. Pour liquid into the pot with chicken. Add fried carrots, onions, potatoes, saffron water and lemon juice. Taste and adjust salt and chili, if needed. Allow to cook for about for 30 minutes over medium heat.
Serve it with rice, salad and pickles.

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Spiced rice(Tabrizi advieh polow )

Spiced rice (advieh pilaf) is a classic Azerbaijani dish in Iran. Spice is called ‘ Advieh’ in Persian language. This is a rice dish made with mixed spices. This mixed spices is not that crazy hot and spicy but mild and full of flavour. Spiced rice is served with chicken cooked in red sauce made with fried onion, tomato paste- Persian saffron water and lime/lemon juice.

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This spiced rice with chicken dish is such a aromatic and delicious meal that would satisfied you.

If you live in Iran, you can get easily mixed spices for rice dishes from Grand bazaar or spice shops and stores but do not worry you can prepare it at home, as I did.Spiced rice is one of dishes for month of Ramadan( Ramzan).

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It is a mixture of different spices with different amount of each one as follow: 3tbsp dried rose petals, ½ nutmeg, 10 cardamom, 1tsp Persian saffron, ۲ cinnamon sticks, ۱ tsp ginger, 1tsp coriander seeds, ½ tsp pepper seeds, 1 tsp clove, 1tsp cumin.

In order to grind your spices , you can go traditional way, and use mortar and pestle or use electric spice grinder.

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After grinding the spices, you should store them and because spices do not like light, air or humidity and heat, is better store them in a jar that is airtight.

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups of Persian rice
  • 2 slices of chicken breast, boneless and skinless
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large potato, peeled and sliced
  • 1 lime or lemon
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 tbsp Persian saffron water
  • 3 tbsp advieh ( mixed spices for polow/pilaf)
  • 4 tbsp barberry ( zereshk)
  • 3 tbsp almond flakes
  • 2 tbsp chopped pistachio
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil

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Instructions

Heat the oil in a pan and sauté onion until soft. Heat the oil in other pan, add diced chicken, season with salt and pepper. Fry until change the colour, then add tomato paste. Fry for 1-2 minutes.

Next, add fried onion, lemon juice, 2 tbsp saffron water and ½ cup water to the chicken and allow to cook until reduce the juice. Set aside.

Soak the rice in salted water for 1 hour. Bring the water to a boil. Drain the salted water and pour rice inside the boiled water and cook for 10 minutes. Then using a colander and drain it.

Pour some oil in the pot, layer sliced of potato at the bottom of pot. Layer it with some of par-cooked rice. Sprinkle some of spices . Repeat process. At the end pour remaining of saffron water top of rice. Cove the pot with a lid and allow to cook the rice.

Meanwhile, in a pan with 1 tbsp water, 1 tbsp oil, add chopped pistachio, almond flakes and barberry ( zereshk) and fry for a minute.

Serve the rice with chicken stew, fried nuts and fried potatoes from bottom of the pot.

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Persian Campfire Halva

Halva means ‘ sweet’ in Arabic language and is a kind of sweet, dense and rich dessert, usually made with plain flour – wheat flour – rice, sesame paste and semolina flour but might be made with vegetables such as carrots or pumpkins as well, mixed with sugar, saffron, rose water, cardamom or cinnamon.

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Halve  is one of the most favourite desserts in the Middle East countries such as Iran, Turkey, Arabic countries around the Persian Gulf and even in North Africa and East Europe.

For making halva apart from vegetable oil we add butter or ghee as well, because butter or ghee gives nice flavour.

 

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Ingredients

1 cup wheat flour

1 cup plain flour

½ cup Ghee

½ cup sunflower oil

 

For syrup

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

½ cup rose water

1 tbsp saffron water

1 tsp grounded cardamom ( optional)

Method

First I prepared chocolate flames. Melt the candy butter. Spread on parchment paper until cool and dried. Use a knife or toothpick and pull out different sizes of flame shape. Once you created flames, fridge them until halva get ready.

Now, Place a saucepan over low heat and add flours . Stir flour continuously until it turns into brown colour (it would take about 30-40 minutes). Now add Ghee and vegetable oil and combine well. Keep stirring and let to cook for next 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

In another pot, add the sugar to 1 ½ cups of water, and bring it to a boil. Add Saffron water, rose water and cardamom and stir it. After 2 minutes remove it from the heat.

Once the flour is ready pour the syrup over it, but do not pour all syrup at once. Put the saucepan back over the medium heat. Stir it for 1-2 minutes until mix well and become dense. Now halva is ready.

 

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Basturma or Basdirma polow

Basturma or Basdirma polow /pilaf is a traditional Azerbaijani rice dish that is popular in Ardebil an ancient city near Caspian Sea.

The meaning of the word ‘ Basturma or Basdirma’ translates as ‘ to press’ or ‘ pressed’. An other literally meaning of this word is ‘ buried’. Why the name of this dish is Basturma polow? Well I would say, because meat mixture of this dish would be placed between layers of rice and looks like hidden and buried, so is invisible until to be served.

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Flavour and taste of this dish with quince and medlar jam is fantastic.One of Ingredients for this amazing dish are quince and medlar jam or marmalade. Flavour and taste of this dish with quince and medlar jam and saffron is fantastic.

Duck, lamb shank, beef and chicken might be used for this rice dish. I have tried with all and I prefer with red meat and has much better taste, but yet it’s your choice 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups Persian or Basmati rice
  • 1 cup crushed walnuts
  • 300g diced meat
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 3-4 tbsp saffron water
  • ½ cup quince jam
  • ½ cup medlar jam
  • 1 large potato, peeled and thinly sliced
  • Pinch of pepper
  • butter
  • vegetable oil

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Method

Wash the rice and soak in salted water for 2 hours.

In a pot with water and one of chopped onions, add diced meat and cook the meat until tender. Heat the oil in a pan and saute other onion on medium heat until soft. Add pinch of pepper, cooked meat, 2 tbps of saffron water, quince and medlar jams and crushed walnuts. Gently mix all together. Let to fry for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside.

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Bring the water to a boil, drain salted water of rice and add rice to the boiled water and cook for 10 minutes. Then using a colander and drain parboiled rice.

Add 3 tbsp vegetable oil to the pot. Set slices of potato at the bottom of the pot. Cover top of potatoes with one cup of rice. Then spread meat mixture all over the rice. Finally spread remaining of the rice top of the meat. Press down the rice. Add rest of saffron water and 1 tbsp butter on the rice and cook the rice on medium heat.

Once rice is ready, hold serving platter over the uncovered pot and unmolding the rice into the platter. Voila you have such a lovely golden crust rice..Serve this dish with pickles specially with olives.

Thanks for reading this recipe. I would be glad have your comments.

 

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Coloured tahdig

Persian ( Iranian) rice gets steamed with the most scrumptious, crunchy and golden crust that is called ‘ tahdig’ meaning bottom of the pot in Farsi language.

Tahdig, is speciality of Iranian cuisine consisting of crispy, crunchy, golden browned layer of either rice – bread, potatoes or meat taken from the bottom of the pot , while the rice on the top steams.

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Usually in serving time of meal there is big battle for having more tahdig and when you have it, it will disappear in a second from the table with no leftover.

Most common ingredients for making tahdig include yogurt and saffron, bread, or potato.

In my previous posts I have shared my recipes with more details for making tahdig: 1- Persian steamed rice with saffron crust and 2- Tahdig.

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Today I made coloured tah dig that looks as beautiful as rainbow. It brings sun shine to the kitchen. So if you are interested to have a crispy coloured crust rice that formed at the bottom of pot by frying parboiled rice, try and make this recipe.

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Ingredients

4 cups Persian dry rice or Basmati rice

½ cup oil

¼ cup water ( or 7 tbsp )

Food colouring

1-2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp vegetable oil

Salt to taste

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Method

Wash the rice with cold water. Fill the bowl with cold water, add rice, cold water and 1tbsp salt. Let to soak for 1-2 hours.

 

In a non-stick pot, bring water to a boil, drain salted water, pour in rice and add it to the boiling water. Let to cook for 10 minutes. ( If rice is soaked in salted water for 1-2 hours, so 10 minutes cooking would be just enough or drain it).

Using a colander, drain the rice and rinse with cold water.

 

 

 

In a bowl combine ½ cup of vegtable oil , ¼ cup water and 3 spatulas of parboiled rice (about 2 cups rice) and stirring well. Then divide the rice in 3 separate bowls.

I want to make three colours tahdig, so I divided the rice into 3 but if you want to make 2 colours, divide it into 2 separate bowls. Add pinch of favourite colour to the each bowl and mix well.

 

Add 1 tbsp vegetable oil to the bottom of the pot. Cover the bottom of the pot with coloured rice ( you can make a design perhaps or just randomly make a pattern) and pile up the rest of the rice on the top and shaping the rice into a pyramid. put some butter top of the rice.

 

Cover the pot with a lid and cook over medium to low heat for 30-40 minutes to form crunch crust.

Once rice is ready, hold serving platter over the uncovered pot and unmolding the rice into the platter. Voila you have such a lovely rainbow crust rice.

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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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Persian zucchini stew ( Khoresht-e Kado sabz)

Green zucchini/courgette stew  is a classic- colourful and flavourful Persian stew ( khoresht). Zucchini is called kadoo in Farsi language. If you think courgettes were boring, you have to try this recipe. It’s cooked in a lemony-tomato sauce along with beautiful spices such as Persian saffron, turmeric, ….You might use either beef/lamb or chicken meat.

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You can make this stew (khoresht) with either beef/lamb or chicken. Lemon juice or Ghooreh ( unripe grapes) gives unique taste to this recipe. This meal is a lovely, comforting stew that my mother used to cook once a week.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large zucchini/courgette, peeled and sliced
  • 200g lamb, diced
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 lemon juice or handful Ghooredh (unriped grapes)
  • pinch of Persian saffron
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 2tbsp tomato paste
  • Sand pepper to taste
  • Vegetable oil

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Method

In a pot with diced meat, add one of chopped onions and water. Leave to cook until nice and tender. In a non-stick pan, drizzle with oil and saute other onion until translucent.

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Cut zucchini lengthwise. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and place them in the pan. Lightly fry.

Once meat is ready, add fried onion and sauté for 2-3 minutes.. Mix 1 ½ cups of boiling water with pinch of Persian saffron, turmeric, tomato paste, and lemon juice.

Seasoning with salt and pepper, mix well and pour in the pot with meat and onion. If you do not like lemon juice, simply add unripe grapes to the stew and let to cook with other ingredients.

Add fried zucchini slices and tomatoes halves to other ingredients in the pot. Cover the pot and cook over medium to low heat until juice reduce.

Serve khoresht kadoo warm over polo (pilaft ) or with flat bread and a salad by the side.

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