Minoo’s Recipe For ‘Khoresht-e-aloo va esfenaj’

‘Khoresht-e-aloo va esfenaj’ or Persian spinach and dried plum stew is another popular dish in the Beech household. This recipe should serve 4-5 people.

Ingredients

  • 750 g lamb chopped into cubes
  • 750 g fresh spinach
  • 2 chopped large onions
  • 12-15 dried plums
  • Salt
  • 1 ½ cups of split peas
  • 3-4 cups of water

Instructions

  1. Boil split peas separately until almost soft
  2. Fry the lamb, onions and dried plums in a medium pan over a moderate heat until they turn golden-brown, adding salt to taste.
  3. Add 3-4 cups of water, add split peas, put lid on pan and simmer for c. 25 minutes
  4. Add spinach and simmer for a further 15 minutes
  5. Serve with Persian-style white rice

Minoo’s Recipe For ‘Khoresht-e-Fesenjan’

 

‘Khoresht-e-Fesenjan’ is a kind of pomegranate-flavoured Persian stew made with poultry, or occasionally with meatballs. Depending on the taste of the cook it can be a sweet or sour dish. My wife Minoo usually makes it medium-sweet. In the amounts indicated the recipe serves about four people. 

 Ingredients

Pomegranate juice (3 cups) or pomegranate paste if you can get it from your local Iranian shop (3-4 tablespoons)

1 kg Chicken thighs (duck is also used in Iran)

Ground walnuts (350 grams)

3 chopped onions (medium)

Sugar (2 spoons)

Half a cup of cooking oil

Salt to taste

 Instructions

  1. Peel onions and chop finely
  2. Remove skin from chicken thighs
  3. Add salt and fry chicken thighs and onions in oil until golden brown
  4. Add 3 cups of water and bring to boil
  5. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes adding more (boiling) water if required
  6. Add ground walnuts and pomegranate juice or paste
  7. (If you are using pomegranate paste, add 1-2 more cups of boiling water and bring to boil again)
  8. Simmer the ‘Khoresht-e-Fesenjan’ until the oil in the walnuts separates and the mixture has the texture of thin porridge
  9. Taste the mixture- if it seems sour add sugar to taste
  10. ‘Khoresht-e-Fesenjan’ should be served hot with white rice.

Minoo’s Recipe for ‘Sabzi Polou’

‘Sabzi Polou’ is Persian rice with herbs that is commonly accompanied by fish. We like Sabzi Polou at any time of the year- not just at our Baha’i celebration of Naw-Rúz when it is a Beech family tradition. The following recipe should serve 4-5 people.  

 Ingredients 

Chopped fresh fenugreek, coriander, dill, chives and parsley- sufficient to fill small cup when chopped

2 cups basmati rice  

Vegetable Oil, Salt to taste

Instructions

1.           Rinse rice in pan, carefully pouring out the ‘cloudy’ water (this will avoid the rice going sticky)

2.           Add 4 cups of fresh water, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the rice in the pan

3.           Boil for around 15 minutes, until rice is par-boiled

4.           Drain rice in a colander.

5.           Cover the bottom of the pan with a few teaspoons of cooking oil

6.           Put the par-boiled rice back into the pan, if possible heap it in the middle (Don’t know why-it seems to cook better…).

7.           Add chopped herbs- ‘folding in’ gently to avoid ‘mushing’ rice

8.           Wrap the pan lid with a muslin-type cloth and cover

9.           Cook on a low heat for a further 30 minutes or so

Ideally it should become crunchy at the bottom, forming what the Iranians call ‘tahdiq’. You should be able to turn over the pan onto a tray so that the rice ‘pops out’ in an aesthetically-pleasing round pan shape. Serve with fish.

Minoo’s Recipe For ‘Khoresht-e-Karafs’

Our eight-year old daughter is a big fan of her mum’s ‘Khoresht-e-Karafs’ which is a kind of Persian stew with celery.

Ingredients

2 bunches of celery

1 kilo of boneless stewing lamb or beef (lamb is best)

1 large onion-finely chopped

Cooking oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

1.5 measures water

1/2 measure dried limes (or lime juice)

Salt and Black pepper (to taste)

1 measure chopped mint and parsley

Instructions

Cut fat off the meat and chop into cubes. Cut celery into c. 1 inch lengths and fry until slightly softened. Fry the onions and meat over a medium heat in cooking oil until they turn golden-brown, adding the turmeric and salt and pepper (to taste).  Put in the chopped mint and parsley and fry for a few more minutes stirring all the while. Turn down the heat. Add water, celery and dried limes. Put on the lid and simmer gently until meat is tender (for about an hour to an hour and a half). To be be served with white rice.

Minoo’s Recipe For ‘Dolmeh’

‘Dolmeh’ or stuffed vine leaves is another popular Iranian recipe prepared by Minoo (a.k.a. Mrs Beech). It can be eaten as a main meal with bread, or as an accompaniment to other dishes. In the amounts indicated this dish serves about 5-6 people.

Ingredients

4 cloves garlic, crushed

20 medium to large fresh vine leaves

1 pound minced lamb

1 and a half cups basmati rice

half cup split peas

2 finely chopped medium onions

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon cumin

2 teaspoons salt

3 tablespoons lemon Juice

Instructions

  1. Fry minced lamb with onions, garlic, and coriander adding pepper, salt and cumin
  2. Par boil rice and split peas
  3. Mix lamb and rice/split peas together to make stuffing
  4. Dip vine leaves in boiling water to soften
  5. Fill vine leaves with about a tablespoon of stuffing (depending on size) roll leaves tightly, continue until all leaves are stuffed
  6. Place ‘dolmeh’ in layers in a pan, adding sugar, lemon juice and one or two cups of water. Boil on low heat for c. 45 minutes. Can be served hot or cold

Minoo’s Recipe For ‘Polou-ye-Sefid’

In my unbiased opinion my wife Minoo is an expert in rice technology.;-) This is her (not so secret) recipe… ‘Polou-ye-Sefid’ or ‘White Rice’ is the foundation of Iranian cooking. It is served with the various ‘khoresht’ dishes I have described elsewhere in ‘Myriad Lives’ Recipes. In the amounts indicated it should feed about four people.

Ingredients

·         2 cups basmati rice

·         Vegetable Oil

·         Salt 

Instructions

1.       Rinse rice in pan, carefully pouring out the ‘cloudy’ water (this will avoid the rice going sticky)

2.       Add 4 cups of fresh water, 1 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil to the rice in the pan

3.       Boil for around 15 minutes, until rice is par-boiled

4.       Drain rice in a colander.

5.       Cover the bottom of the pan with a few teaspoons of cooking oil

6.       Put the par-boiled rice back into the pan, if possible heap it in the middle (Don’t know why-it seems to cook better…).

7.       Wrap the pan lid with a muslin-type cloth and cover

8.       Cook on a low heat for a further 30 minutes or so

Ideally it should become crunchy at the bottom, forming what the Iranians call ‘tahdiq’. You should be able to turn over the pan onto a tray so that the rice ‘pops out’ in an aesthetically-pleasing round pan shape.

Minoo’s Recipe For ‘Haleem Bademjan’

‘Haleem Bademjan’ is a Persian dish made with mashed aubergine (egg-plant). It can be eaten as a meal on its own or as a starter. Apart from family meals we sometimes serve this at Bahá’í holy days. Personally this is one of my favourites. (Yes I know, I say that about all Persian food..).

The following recipe serves about 4-5 people.

Ingredients

4X Medium aubergines (mashed)

2 pounds of lamb cut into cubes

1 cup of lentils

1 cup of rice

4 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 cup of ground walnuts

2 large onions, chopped

Salt & Pepper to taste

A handful of finely chopped mint

A couple of tablespoonfuls of ‘Kashk’ (a kind of Persian dried Yoghurt; in its absence you could use some Greek Yoghurt instead, not really the same but..).

Instructions

1)      Peel the aubergines and remove the stem. Slice lengthwise, sprinkle with a little salt and leave in a sieve to drain. Fry until brown and soft, absorbing the oil. Turn off heat and allow to stand.Mash with potato masher.

3)       Fry the meat, 1 chopped onion, and 2 cloves of garlic over in a medium pan on a moderate heat until they turn golden-brown.

4)      Add water (about 1 cup). Cook on a medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.

5)      Add lentils, mashed aubergines, rice, ‘kashk’ (or yoghurt) and ground walnuts and cook for a further 40 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking to the pan. (You will know when it is ready as the mixture will blend together, the meat separating into ‘fibres’ and the rice and lentils will cook and break down into the mixture). Add salt and pepper (to taste).

6)      In a separate pan fry the remaining onion and garlic. When onion and garlic has turned golden brown add chopped mint and fry for a few more minutes. (This is called ‘Nana dagh’ in Persian).

7)      Serve hot sprinkled with ‘Nana dagh’. (We usually eat Haleem Bademjan with bread).

Minoo’s Recipe for ‘Ash-e-Reshteh’

‘Ash-e-Reshteh’ is a kind of heavy-duty Persian soup which can be eaten as a meal in itself. (Reshteh is a sort of Persian pasta; if you can’t get any, thin pasta is not a bad substitute). We sometimes make this in winter to eat with our friends at the Ninteen Day Feast. In the following amounts this meal serves about 4-5 people.

Ingredients

Chopped spinach (1 cup)

2 large sliced onions

5 cloves chopped garlic

Cooked chick peas (1 cup)

Cooked lentils ½ cup

Chopped fresh coriander (1/2 cup)

12 oz ‘reshteh’ or thin pasta

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 Teaspoon turmeric

Cooking oil

Instructions

Fry chopped onion and garlic with the turmeric in a medium saucepan until golden brown. Fill saucepan two thirds with water. Add vegetables and herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on a low heat for c. 1 hour (Refilling with water if it evaporates). C. ten minutes before serving add ‘reshteh’ or pasta to still-cooking ash . Serve hot with a garnish of fried garlic or onion (fried with a little turmeric).

Minoo’s Recipe for Khoresht-e-Gheimeh

Khoresht-e-Gheimeh is a kind of Persian split-pea stew and is another favorite in the Beech household. We sometimes serve this at the Bahá’í meetings we hold in our home. In the amounts indicated this dish should serve about 5-6 people.  

Ingredients

4 medium Potatoes

2-3 handfuls of Split Peas (recommend par-boiled)

1 pound lamb or beef cut into cubes

1 large onion chopped into thin slices

1 can of chopped tomatoes

Squeeze of tomato puree

Dried limes (or lime juice)

A pinch of turmeric and cinnamon

Salt and pepper to taste

Water

Instructions

  1. Peel and chop potatoes like French fries. Fry until golden-brown put to one side.
  2. Fry the meat and onions in a medium pan over a moderate heat until they turn golden-brown, adding the turmeric cinnamon and salt and pepper (to taste)
  3. Add water (about two cupfuls), chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, split-peas and limes. Cook on a medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, stir frequently to avoid sticking. (If you are using dried limes instead of lime juice, remove them before serving-they are only meant to add flavour to the dish whilst cooking)
  4. Add potato ‘french-fries’, cook for a further 5-7 minutes
  5. Serve hot with Iranian-style rice (basmati is good)

Mmm…..

Recipe for ‘Lubya Polou’

Now this is one of my favourite Persian rice dishes. How do I know how to make this dear reader? Only By watching Minoo in the kitchen (after all my real talent lies in eating Persian food rather than cooking it..).

‘Lubya Polou’ (Persian Green Bean Rice)

Ingredients

1 can of chopped tomatoes

400 grams green beans, sliced into about half-finger lengths (Wait, that’s not very scientific it depends how big your fingers are..).

600 grams rice washed and drained in a colander (The Beech family swears by basmati- despite the recent price rise we are rice addicts..)

500 grams minced beef (in Iran diced meat seems more popular, me, I prefer minced beef)

1 large finely diced onion

Teaspoon of Turmeric

Teaspoon of Cinnamon

Half a teaspoon of saffron

Cooking oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Fry minced beef and chopped onions for about seven to ten minutes on a high heat, stirring all the while. Add turmeric, cinnamon, saffron and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the chopped tomatoes and green beans, cook mixture for another five minutes or so.

At the same time par-boil basmati rice in a separate large non-stick pan. (This is a bit of an art- use about one measure of water to a measure of rice so it does not go mushy). When par-boiled remove rice from pan and pour a little oil to cover base. Put pan back on the cooker to heat up the oil.

Put rice and meat mixture back into the large pan. Now this is the technical bit… Add the ingredients a layer at a time. A layer of rice, a layer of mixture, get the idea? (This is to avoid mashing the rice).

Use a clean cloth to cover the top of the pan, put the lid back on the pan, and cook on a very low heat for about forty minutes. When ready ‘flip back’ the rice on to a serving dish. (I know this is a risky procedure).It should theoretically pop out in a nice pan shape with a crust of fried rice the Iranians call ‘tah diq’. Serve hot with salad.

Minoo’s Recipe For ‘Khoresht-e-Bademjan’

This is a kind of Iranian aubergine (egg plant) casserole which Minoo makes for some of our Bahá’í meetings (notably Naw-Ruz).

This dish should serve about 5-6 people.

Ingredients

5 medium-sized aubergines

1 pound lamb or beef cut into cubes (we like chicken as well)

1 large onion chopped into thin slices

1 can chopped-tomatoes

Dried limes (or lime juice)

A pinch of turmeric

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1) Peel the aubergines and remove the stem. Slice lengthwise, sprinkle with a little salt and leave in a sieve to drain.

2) Fry the aubergine in a little oil until it begins to turn brown.  Turn off heat and allow to stand.

3) Fry the meat and onions over a moderate heat until they turn golden-brown, adding the turmeric and salt and pepper (to taste). 

 4) Add water (about half a cup), chopped tomatoes, and limes. Cook on a medium-low heat for about 45 minutes.

 5) Put the aubergine in a single layer in an oven dish. Pour the meat and tomatoes over the aubergine and cover with foil, cook in a medium oven for about an hour

6) Serve hot with Iranian-style rice (basmati is good).

Is it any surprise I have put on so much weight since I got married..?

P.S Minoo just reminded me- if you are using dried limes instead of lime juice, remove them before serving-they are only meant to add flavour to the dish whilst cooking.

 

Minoo’s recipe for ‘Ghormeh-sabzi’

Don’t tell her that I have given away her secret but here is my wife Minoo’s recipe for making Ghormeh-sabzi, a Persian Stew. (We sometimes serve  this at the Bahá’í meetings we hold in our home).

Ingredients

(We usually get ours from the local Pakistani merchant- but if you live in an area with a large Iranian population, for example ‘Tehrangeles’ your local Iranian shop can supply) This should serve five or six people.

1 kilo of boneless stewing lamb or beef (lamb is best)

1 large onion-finely chopped

Cooking oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

1.5 measures water

1/2 measure dried limes (or lime juice)

3/4 measure kidney beans (best to pre-cook them)

Salt (to taste)

Black pepper (to taste)

1/4 measure finely chopped ‘tareh’ (chives)

1/4 measure finely chopped ‘shanbelileh’ (fenugreek)

1/4 measure finely chopped coriander

1 measure finely chopped spring onions

1.5 measures finely chopped spinach

1/2 measure finely chopped parsley

Instructions

Cut fat off the meat and chop into cubes. Fry the onions and meat over a medium heat in cooking oil until they turn golden-brown, adding the turmeric and salt and pepper (to taste).  Put in the herbs and fry for a few more minutes stirring all the while. Turn down the heat. Add water, kidney beans and dried limes. Put on the lid and simmer gently until meat is tender (for about an hour to an hour and a half). Should be served with white rice.

Enjoy! (or as the Iranians say ‘Noosh-e-joon’)!