nA shopping list pleases me more than a list I write down when I’m planning on making Persian food. Eggplant and walnuts, pomegranate seeds and rose water; saffron, turmeric, lemon; four ground c – cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom; large bunches of fresh herbs (dill, parsley, mint); And thick, sour yogurt. It’s a roll call of the tastiest things. Add factor in chicken and beans, and time and friends, and this is a list that never fails to satisfy and delight.
Fesenjoon Chicken Kebabs (pictured top)
A platter of Persian food is often the perfect balance of perfume and spice, sweetness and sourness, and fesenjunChicken Stew, a classic, nutritious, is just that. It is usually served as a stew, but I use it as a sauce to coat the gently marinated chicken. Serve with rice or flatbread.
to submit 20 minutes
to marinate 30 minutes+
cook 1 Hourr 50 min
700g skinless and boneless chicken thighs (about 8), cut into 3cm pieces
2 tbsp gheemolten
for the spice mix
tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1½ tbsp ground cumin
3 tbsp rose petalsfinely ground in mortar
tsp castor sugar
45 ml olive oil
2 onions (320 g), peeled, halved and thinly sliced
2 carrots (160 g), grated
125 g walnut halves, Toast and Finely Blitz
500 ml chicken stock
75 ml pomegranate jaggery
1½ tsp castor sugar
For the Shirazi Salad
one and a half Cucumber (160 g), halved, seedless and cut into cm cubes
red onion (80 g), peeled and finely chopped
200 g cherry tomatoesquadrilateral
60 grams pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tbsp mint leavesroughly chopped
First marinate the chicken. Add all spices to a small frying pan and fry over medium-high heat for one to two minutes, until fragrant. Add the tip, chicken and three-quarters of a teaspoon salt to a medium bowl, toss to coat and leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight in the fridge).
For the fesenjoon, in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat add two tablespoons oil, the onion and carrot, and cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add remaining oil and walnuts, and cook for two more minutes, so that the mixture does not hold. Pour in the stock, molasses, sugar and teaspoon salt, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until thickened, 30–35 minutes. Remove from flame and keep aside.
Divide chicken evenly among eight skewers (if using wooden ones) and brush with ghee. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and, once hot, turn the heat to medium and grill the chicken in two batches for three minutes on each side, brushing with more ghee while turning. Remove from pan and set aside for five minutes.
For salad, combine all ingredients with eight teaspoons salt in a medium bowl, and divide among four plates. Place two chicken skewers on each plate and top it with hot fesenjoon sauce.
kashke bad name Eggplant Dip
This classic Persian aubergine dip makes a great side dish on hot summer days. You can also make it with whole roasted or charred brinjals. Serve with plenty of pita.
to submit Twenty minutes
cook 50 minutes
works 4as a dip
2 onionspeeled and thinly sliced
105 ml olive oil
2 eggplantsPeel and cut each into 6 long wedges (780 g)
2 garlic clovespeeled and crushed
tsp ground turmeric
fine sea salt and pepper
100 g sour creamplus 1 tbsp extra
1 lemonzest, to get 1 tsp, then juice, to get 4 tsp
1 tsp cuminlightly crushed in mortar
tsp Dr.eye mint
tsp saffron threadsLightly crushed and dipped in 1 tsp hot water
20 grams walnutstoasted and roughly chopped
First make the caramelized onions. Place a large saucepan with the lid you have on medium-high heat, add onion and two tablespoons oil, and cook until deep golden, 25-30 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the onions to a plate covered with kitchen paper and return the pan to medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, toss eggplant with 45 ml olive oil in a large skillet, then toss to coat. Working in two or three batches, arrange a single layer of the aubergine in the hot pan and cook until slightly golden and softened, three to four minutes on each side. Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining eggplants.
Put all the cooked brinjals in the pan, reduce the heat to medium, grind half the garlic, turmeric, 200 ml of water, three-fourths of a teaspoon of salt and a fine grind of black pepper. Cover the pan and cook the aubergine for 10-12 minutes, while stirring occasionally, until all the water is absorbed and the aubergine becomes soft. Remove the lid, add half the caramelized onions and cook for two to three minutes to get rid of the excess moisture. Use a spoon to break up the eggplants, so that they are all mashed. Remove from heat, add one tablespoon sour cream and one teaspoon lemon juice, then keep aside.
Transfer the remaining cream along with the lemon zest and remaining juice to a bowl, add a pinch of salt, mix well, then refrigerate.
Place a small frying pan over medium heat, add the last two tablespoons of oil and when it’s hot, add the remaining garlic and cumin and fry until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Remove from heat, add mint and a pinch of salt and keep aside.
To assemble the dish, spoon the hot eggplant onto a lined platter, followed by the sour cream. Sprinkle peppermint and cumin oil on top, repeat with saffron and its water, and serve with remaining onions and walnuts.
Cannellini Beans with Dill, Yogurt, and Cumin Burnt Butter
it is inspired by bugged Ghatog, a Persian bean stew, although the lemon curd and cumin charred butter are my twists. Serve with crusty bread for a great breakfast (or lunch or dinner).
to submit 25 minutes
cook 35 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
30 grams unsalted butter
2 onionspeeled and thinly sliced
tsp demerara sugar
sea salt and pepper
4 garlic clovespeeled and thinly sliced
40 grams dillroughly chopped, plus Tbsp selected fronds
40 grams parsleyroughly chopped
tsp ground turmeric
400 ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 x 400g tin cannellini beansdry
8 medium eggs
150 grams legume broad beansSkins removed (100 g)
cumin for burnt butter
50 grams unsalted butter
1½ tsp cumincoarsely ground in a mortar
For seasoned yogurt
200 g Greek yogurt
2 garlic clovespeeled and finely crushed
2 lemonszest, to get 1 tsp, then juice, to get 21/2 tbsp
Add the olive oil, butter, onion, demerara sugar, and a teaspoon of salt to a large saucepan with the lid on and turn the heat to medium-high. Cook, for 15 minutes, until soft and lightly caramelized, then stir in garlic, herbs, and turmeric, and cook for two to three minutes, until softened. Pour in stock, bring to a boil, then stir in cannellini beans, cover and cook for 10 minutes, until mixture has thickened and liquid is reduced by half.
Remove from the flame and with the help of a spoon make eight wells in the bean mixture. Crack an egg into each egg, sprinkle on an eighth of a teaspoon salt, and crack some black pepper on top. Cover the pan, return it to medium-high heat and leave to cook for three to four minutes, until the egg whites are just set and the yolks are runny (if you prefer grayer yolks, So give them a minute or two). Remove the pan from the heat and remove the lid.
To make Cumin Burnt Butter, heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until brown and nutty, three to four minutes, then add cumin seeds and remove from heat.
Combine the yogurt with the garlic, lemon zest, a tablespoon of lemon juice and teaspoon of salt in a small bowl, mix well and keep aside.
Just before serving (so that they don’t lose their vibrant color), add the peeled broad beans to a small bowl with the remaining lemon juice and one-eighth of a teaspoon salt, mix well and set aside.
To assemble, pour one-third of yogurt over cannellini beans and eggs, scatter broad beans over top, and spoon half of cumin over butter. Sprinkle suya leaves on top and serve hot with remaining curd and butter.