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Posts Tagged ‘Persian’

Bandari fishcakes

These Persian fishcakes are full of herbs and make a delicious starter or light lunch. They can be made up in advance and cooked when you need them.

Wine Suggestion: the only option here is a youthful, light, off-dry Riesling where the aromatics, herbs, date and tamarind all play with each other. Tonight we drank the Dr Loosen Estate Riesling, his entry level wine made with his own fruit in the Mosel and it was an excellent match. Along with the Mosel we’d recommend the fruity styles (Kabinett & Spätlese) from other German regions such as the Nahe and Rheingau. Further afield the Aussie Rieslings tend to be too dry for a dish like this but there are some excellent NZ examples, Forrest Estate and Felton Rd spring to mind.

Bandari fishcakes with a tamarind and date sauce (Kuku-ye mahi) – serves 4

  • 300g potatoes, peeled and roughly diced
  • 200g white fish fillets e.g. cod/haddock
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 50g coriander, finely chopped
  • 25g parsley, finely chopped – plus extra to garnish
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaf (menthi)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 medium egg
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 3 tbsp sunflower or olive oil

FOR THE TAMARIND & DATE SAUCE:

  • 50g tamarind pulp soaked in 100ml just boiled water for 10 minutes
  • 75g Iranian or Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp light brown sugar
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of cinnamon
  • 150ml hot water

Put the potatoes into a large pan and cover with cold water. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to the boil, then simmer until tender. Drain, mash the potatoes, and put into a large mixing bowl.

Add the fish to the potatoes. Dry fry the cumin seeds in a small frying pan for a minute or until fragrant. Grind the seeds with a pestle and mortar, then add to the bowl along with the fresh herbs, fenugreek leaf, garlic, cayenne, turmeric, lemon zest, egg, 1¼ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of pepper.

Mix well with your hands, then shape into eight round patties. Dust with a little flour and place on a plate, cover with cling film and chill.

To make the sauce, put the tamarind and its soaking liquid, the dates, brown sugar, cayenne, cinnamon and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan. Add the hot water and cook for 10 minutes over a low heat until the dates are very soft.

Take the sauce off the heat and sieve into a bowl, use the back of a spoon to rub as much through as possible.

To finish the fishcakes, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the cakes on a medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes, turning every few minutes, until golden brown and crusted. Garnish with parsley and serve with the sauce.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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Fesenjoon

We love this Persian dish, so rich and full of unusual but intriguing flavours. We’ve tried to make it before with limited success but this version by Yasmin Khan was much more like the dish we remembered. Serve with steamed basmati rice and salad.

Chicken with Walnuts & Pomegranates – Fesenjoon – serves 4

  • 250g walnuts (fresh is best)
  • 1.2 litres of cold water
  • 100ml pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 800g skinless chicken thighs, on the bone
  • a handful of pomegranate seeds to garnish

Grind the walnuts in a food processor until extremely fine – they will eventually turn into a smooth paste. Transfer the ground nuts into a large casserole pot with a litre of water and mix well. Bring to the boil and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour, partially covered. Stir occasionally to make sure the walnuts don’t stick.

Stir in the remaining 200ml of water and simmer for another hour with the lid on. Add more cold water if the sauce starts to look dry – in the end it should have a thick, porridge-like consistency.

By the end of the time the sauce should have thickened and darkened in colour. Add the pomegranate molasses, tomato purée, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper and stir well. Add the chicken, put the lid back on the pot and cook over a low heat for 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the sauce is dark and glossy.

Taste the sauce and season, you might like to add more sugar or pomegranate molasses to adjust the sweet/sour balance. Cook for a final 10 minutes with the lid off so the sauce thickens around the meat. Serve over rice and sprinkled with the pomegranate seeds.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

 

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Aash-e reshte

This soup, from Yasmin Khan’s Saffron Tales, is delicious and also very filling – perfect for lunch on a cold day and a lesson in how to use dried herbs.

Aash-e reshte – serves 4 to 6

  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 x 400g tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 150g green lentils, rinsed
  • ½ tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp dried dill
  • 1 tbsp dried mint
  • 1 tbsp dried coriander
  • 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • 500ml water
  • 1 litre good chicken stock or veg stock
  • 100g spaghetti, broken in half
  • 200g spinach, roughly chopped
  • 25g bunch chives, finely chopped
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 ½ tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

For the toppings:

  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced into half-moons
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp dried mint

Heat the sunflower oil in a large heavy-based pan with a lid. Add the onion and fry over a low heat for 10-15 minutes. When softened, add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the chickpeas, beans, lentils, turmeric, dried herbs and water. Stir, cover with a lid, and leave to simmer over a low heat for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally and add another cup of water if it shows signs of sticking.

Add the stock and spaghetti to the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the fried onion topping. Dust the sliced onion with the flour and salt. Heat the oil in a frying pan until sizzling, then add the onion and fry over a medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown and crispy. Drain on some kitchen paper and sprinkle with a little more salt.

Add the spinach, chives, lemon juice, soy sauce, olive oil, salt and pepper to the soup. Leave to simmer for another 10 minutes, then taste and adjust the seasoning if needed.

Serve with a spoonful of yoghurt, the crispy onions and a sprinkling of dried mint.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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Gilaki herb stew

This sour herb stew is unusual, and perhaps not to everybody’s taste, but we loved it! Served with some saffron rice it felt like a big dish of healthy goodness. It would also work as a side dish, or as they serve it in Iran with smoked fish.

Gilaki Herb Stew (Torsh-e tareh) – serves 4

  • 300g spinach
  • 65g fresh coriander
  • 65g fresh parsley
  • 40g fresh dill
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 400ml water
  • 1½ tbsp cornflour mixed to a paste with 2 tbsp water
  • juice of ½ a lemon (plus a bit extra)
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 10g butter

Finely chop the spinach and herbs (use a food processor if you’ve got one). Put the chopped greens into a saucepan and add the garlic, turmeric and water. Stir well, then cover and cook for 15 minutes over a low heat.

Add the cornflour paste, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Turn up the heat and cook for 5 minutes, without the lid, until the sauce thickens.

Crack the eggs into the greens and allow to cook for a minute before touching them. Run a wooden spoon through each of the egg yolks twice (horizontally then vertically) so they are just broken. Don’t be tempted to mix them around as you want the chunks of cooked egg, rather than scramble.

Cover with the lid again until the eggs are cooked. Remove from the heat and stir through the butter. Season to taste. Serve with some extra lemon if you like it sour.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Jasmine Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

 

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Lamb shoulder kebabs

These lamb kebabs from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan are fabulous cooked over hot coals. Ask your butcher for lamb neck, it’s cheap and really tasty. Good served with saffron rice, herby salad and yoghurt with cucumber and mint. They were also good stuffed into some warm flatbreads with a radish and broad bean salad (see pic below).

Wine Suggestion: We chose the Poggio ai Ginepri which is a Cabernet, Syrah & Merlot blend from Bolgheri in Tuscany. The classic Bordeaux blend with the infusion of Syrah creates a balance of power and juiciness that works with the BBQ smokiness and the moist lamb with a good earthy spice that compliments the herbs and spices in the marinade.

Dr Asaf’s Juicy Lamb Kebabs – serves 4

  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 small onion, finely grated
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • ¾ tsp sumac, plus extra to garnish
  • a generous pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 800g lamb neck fillet, cut into 2.5 cubes
  • 4 tomatoes, halved

Mix the yoghurt, onion, garlic, oregano, oil, sumac, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Stir in the lamb pieces until well coated then cover with cling film and leave to marinade in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Don’t skip this as it will make the meat nice and tender.

Preheat the barbecue. Thread the lamb onto metal or wooden skewers (wooden ones need to be soaked for about 20 minutes before using). Cook the lamb kebabs and the tomato halves on the barbecue for 5-7 minutes or until cooked through.

Rest the meat for a few minutes and sprinkle with some more sumac before serving.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

Lamb kebabs with radish salad

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Yoghurt with cucumber and mint

A perfect cooling accompaniment for barbecued lamb kebabs and Persian rice dishes. The fresh mint can be replaced with fresh dill.

Yoghurt with Cucumber & Mint – serves 4-6

  • 200g cucumber
  • 500g Greek yoghurt
  • ½ garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp dried mint
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tbsp sultanas
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Cut the cucumber in half and scoop out the watery middle and seeds with a teaspoon. Grate the cucumber and squeeze out the excess water over a bowl using your hands.

Mix the cucumber into the yoghurt, along with the garlic, dried mint, fresh mint, dill, sultanas, salt and pepper. Stir well before serving.

(Original recipe from The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan, Bloomsbury, 2016.)

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Pistachio & Feta Dip

We have made this dip many times as we, and our friends, keep on devouring the lot before a photo can be taken. Not really problematic as we love it so much. We finally got  a photo 🙂 but will keep on making the dip, which has become a firm favourite and works great as a starter to share with some barbecued flat breads.

Pistachio & Feta Dip – serves 8

  • 100g shelled pistachios
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 300g feta cheese
  • handful of dill, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 2 handfuls of coriander, leaves picked and roughly chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 long red chilli, seeds removed and roughly chopped
  • 3 large tbsp Greek yogurt
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of ½ lemon
  • sea salt if needed

Blitz the pistachio nuts and oil in a food processor for 30 seconds.

Add the feta, herbs, crushed garlic, chilli, yogurt and lemon zest and juice and blitz for about 1 minute, or until the mixture has a rustic texture.

Taste and add salt if needed but bare in mind that feta is already quite salty.

Serve with barbecued flatbreads.

(Original recipe from Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour, Mitchell Beazley, 2014.)

 

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