Dolmeh y Kalam or stuffed cabbage leaves

I really love to eat dolmeh, any dolmeh and the great thing is, you can use almost any vegetable for dolmeh. Dolmeh y Kalam is a recipe I learnt from sister-in-law who is from the north west of Iran and so this recipe is probably a regional variation. You can substitute the cabbage leaves for aubergine, potatoe, peppers, onions and leave out the meat if you want  to make it vegetarian. There are specific differences in the herbs you use but this is the basic method and recipe for dolmeh in general.

This is not  a recipe for those who are new to Persian cooking as it’s quite fiddly and time consuming. All in all you probably need to set about 3 hours aside, at least an hour is needed for the preparation alone.

~~DOLMEH Y KALAM~~

Ingredients ~

  • 1 large white cabbage
  • 1/2 lb minced beef or lamb
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/4  cup split yellow peas
  • 1 cup of basmati rice
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cummin
  • a good handful of flat leaved parsley
  • a good handful of tarragon
  • a good handful of dill
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Preparation~

  1. Core the cabbage and place in a large pan of boiling water. After a few minutes you will start to see the leaves of the cabbage falling away. Help ease them off being careful not to damage or tear the leaves or burn your self.
  2. Allow the leaves to sit in the simmering water for about 5 mins or so until the stalky bit has began to soften.
  3. When soft, remove from the water and put to one side to cool.
  4. Cook the split yellow peas in 2 cups of salted water until soft. Drain and put to one side.
  5. Cook the rice in salted water until soft to bite, drain and put to one side.

Method~

  1. Chop the onion and cook in a tablespoon of oil, add the meat and brown off.
  2. Add about 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and stir in. Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the rice, meat and split yellow peas and stir gently.
  4. Add the cinnamon, cummin and salt and pepper and stir.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a heavy bottomed non stick pan ( one with a lid) and heat. Take a few of the cabbage leaves ( I usually use any that have been damaged or the really small ones as they are difficult to stuff) and place at the bottom of the pan. This prevents the dolmeh from burning.
  6. Take a desert spoon of the meat and rice mixture and place at the stalky end of the cabbage leaf.  Gently begin to roll the leaf, being careful to tuck the sides  in as tightly as possible  so that none of the mix will escape during the cooking process. This is quite difficult at first and it will probably take you a few times to get the hang of it. Don’t try to put too much meat mix in the leaf or you will have difficulty in rolling it.
  7. Arrange these in the pan layering them on top of each other.
  8. Add 1 cup of water and two tablespoons of lime juice, a pinch of salt and cover with pan lid. Alternatively you can cook them in the oven at about 200 oc. Some people like to cook this is tomato juice and to add a little sugar.
  9. Now leave to cook on a low heat for about 1 – 1 1/2 hours, checking periodically and basting with the juices.
  10. When cooked, gently remove from the pan and place on a serving dish.

Serve with salad, and natural yoghurt.

~Nooshi joonet ~

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How to make Tahdig with sibzamini (potatoe)

Tahdig or taadig is the crusty bit at the bottom of the rice. There isn’t really a name for it in english AND it’s pretty unique to Persian cooking. It’s completely delicious and I guarantee everyone will want it. When my children were little they used to almost fight for the last piece of tahdig…. it’s that delicious.You can make Tahdig with a few different things but in this recipe Im going to explain how to make it using potatoes.Once made, you can either serve the Tahdig separately or use the crispy potatoes to add some decorative touch to your rice dish.

~~TAHDIG SIBZAMINI~~

~WHAT YOU WILL NEED~

  • A heavy bottomed non stick saucepan with a lid.
  • A padded lid … I wrap and secure a teatowel around the lid.

~INGREDIENTS~

  • Rice
  • A medium-sized potato thinly sliced
  • Oil
  • Butter
  • Hot water
  • Liquid saffron

~METHOD~

  • Having boiled the rice in water until its soft to bite ( see how to make ‘perfect Persian Rice’) drain it and place to one side.
  • Use a good non stick saucepan and add a little oil, a desert spoon of butter and melt.
  • Add a few drops of liquid saffron and stir in or swirl it in the pan until its infused.
  • Then add a little water, empty into a cup and put to one side.
  • Returning to the saucepan, add about 2 tablespoons of good vegetable oil, sunflower oil is good and heat.
  • Add a drop or two of liquid saffron.
  • Turn up the heat to full and add the sliced potatoes and allow to sizzle a little for a few minutes.
  • Then spoon the rice on top.
  • Using a wooden spoon, just go around the edge, pushing the rice away from the side of the pan to avoid too much crisp rice… you only really want the bottom to become crispy.
  • Pour on most of the oil, butter and water you put to one side earlier … you should see some steam rising now.
  • Once you see some steam, cover with a padded lid ( I use a teatowel wrapped securely around the lid) this helps absorb any condensation and prevents it from dripping back onto the rice.
  • Turn the heat down to the lowest setting and leave for about 3/4 of an hour to an hour. You might have to experiment a little as it depends on your heat settings.
  • When your rice is ready, spoon the rice onto a dish until you reach the bottom of the pan. Then carefully remove the potatoes.

~Now you have ‘TAHDIG SIBZAMINI’ … WELL DONE!~

Nooshi joonet . Enjoy

Reshteh Polou or Persian Noodle Rice

This rice dish is traditionally eaten at norooz, the Persian new year but why not eat other times too because it’s too delicious not to! In this recipe I use gluten free noodles because I have coeliacs disease, an allergy to Gluten but if you can substitute them with wheat noodles.

~~RESHTEH POLOU OR PERSIAN NOODLE RICE~~


~Ingredients~

  • Basmati rice 1 cup per serving
  • 1 handful of reshteh per three servings For coeliacs use rice noodles or gluten-free spaghetti.
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 1 small onion

~Method~

Follow the recipe for making Persian rice to step 3 and then place to one side.

  1. Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and then pre soak for at least 2 hours in salted water.
  2. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a teaspoon or 2 of salt according to your taste and then add the rice.
  3. Allow to bubble away until the rice becomes soft to bit. You should see the rice grains grow in length but dont allow them to become fluffy.
  4. Now drain and rinse and place to one side to finish draining.
  5. Meanwhile break the noodles into pieces. It doesn’t matter what size
  6. Chop and gently fry the onion in the butter and oil and add the noodles until golden
  7. Combine the rice and noodles in one pan as from step 4 and continue  through the rest of the instructions to step 14.
  8. Some people like to add cinnamon and raisins which is delicious and you can sprinkle these on just before serving.

Shirin Polou or Jewelled Rice

I thought I’d  have a go and make something new for our family Easter meal and settled on ‘Shirin Polou’ as it looks so delicious in all the pictures I see . The other thinking behind this choice was that it’s full of fruit and nuts and somehow captures the taste of summer, which is a great thought and something to look forward to!

I once  had Shirin Polou back in Iran…. a long time ago but I’ve never made it myself. So it was a little bit of trial and error and learning as I went along. My only error was not to make enough liquid saffron but the recipe below should be fine. In the end it turned out well…. according to my resident expert!

~~SHIRIN POLOU OR JEWELLED RICE~~

~Ingredients~

  • 1 cup of basmati rice per person + 1 extra
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 1 cup of orange peel
  • 1 cup of thinly sliced carrots
  • 1 cup of sliced almonds and pistachio nuts
  • 1 cup of barberries
  • 3/4  teaspoon of ground saffron
  • salt to taste
  • 1 thinly sliced potato for the taadig
  • 1 teaspoon of advieh
  • 1 tablespoon of butter or ghee

~Preparation~

  • Cut the peel from the orange and slice into small slithers
  • Slice the carrots into thin small slithers
  • Soak the barberries, rinse and drain
  • Roughly chop the pistachio nuts into medium-sized pieces.
  • Grind the saffron with a pinch of sugar in a pestle and mortar, add to 1 medium cup of boiling water, cover and leave to stand.

~Method~

  1. Thoroughly rinse and then pre soak the rice for at least 2 hours
  2. Boil up a large pan of water add a teaspoon or two of salt according to your own taste.
  3. Add the rice and allow to simmer until the rice has grown and is soft to bite.
  4. Drain and rinse and then put to one side.
  5. Meanwhile, place the orange peel in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for about a minute then drain. This is to remove the
  6. Combine the orange peel, carrots, raisins, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 mins. Drain and put to one side.
  7. In a large pan add 4 tablespoons of  vegetable oil and heat.
  8. Add a few drops of saffron and if you want to make a good taadig, add some thin slices of potatoes.
  9. Add a layer of rice, then a layer of the carrots, orange peel and raisins.
  10. Continue to alternate the layers as above, ending with a rice layer.
  11. Add a teaspoon of advieh, a tablespoon of ghee or butter, cover with a padded lid and cook on a low heat for about 50 mins.
  12. 5 minutes before your ready to serve take the sliced almonds, pistachio nuts and barberries and cook in a pan over a low heat for a minute or two. Add the saffron liquid and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  13. Place half of the nuts, barberries and saffron onto the rice and gently begin to spoon onto your serving dish. When you reach the bottom of the pan, remove the taadig and place around the rice or serve separately.
  14. Finally take the remaining nuts, barberries and saffron and place on top of the rice.

Serve with any poultry, chicken, turkey or duck and salad.

Shirin Polou is usually served at a celebration of some kind.

Nooshi joonet. Enjoy ….. we did!

Lubia Polou or Persian Rice with Green Beans

Lubia Polou is a complete meal in itself with the tangy taste of limes and the sweetness of cinnamon. Completely gluten-free and a great meal for kids. You can make it with lamb or minced lamb or beef, which ever you prefer but this recipe uses minced beef. Simply replace with the meat of your choice.

Lubia Polou is ideal for lunch or dinner and is a balanced ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ dish.  I wish I could capture the smell in my kitchen right now, package it up and sell it!

~~LUBIA POLOU~~


~Ingredients~

  • 400 gr’s minced beef ( or small cubes of lamb or minced lamb)
  • 4 Cups of basmati rice
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 packet of fresh green beans ( you can used tinned or frozen ) cut into inch length
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of advieh
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground lime powder or 2 tablespoons of lime juice.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 small cup of liquid saffron
  • A little vegetable oil

~To make the taadig~

  • 4 good tablespoons of natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon of saffron liquid
  • 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil

~Method~

  1. Thoroughly wash and re soak the rice in salted water for at least 2 hours beforehand.
  2. Rinse and leave to drain.
  3. Put a little oil in a fry pan and begin to brown the onion.
  4. When becoming a little golden, add the mince and garlic, salt and pepper and continue to fry until brown.
  5. Add the green beans, tomatoes, cinnamon, 3/4 spoon of advieh, lime powder and a cup of water. Mix well.
  6. Bring to the boil, cover and turn down the heat. Allow to simmer for about 30 mins or until the green beans are soft. You may need to add a little more water depending upon your heat setting.
  7. Meanwhile boil up a large pan of water and add 1-2 teaspoons of salt according to your taste.
  8. When boiling, add the rice and leave to bubble away for a few minutes until the rice has expanded and is soft to bite.
  9. Remove from the heat, drain and rinse in tepid water. Put the side to continue draining.
  10. Now prepare to make the taadig and bring it all together ~  Your meat should be almost cooked. Your rice is standing by!
  11. Take 4 tablespoons of yoghurt and add  1/2 teaspoon of liquid saffron and 3 tablespoons of rice. Mix well.
  12. In a large pan, add 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat.
  13. Add the rice and yoghurt mix. It should sizzle a little.
  14. Add a layer of rice,  then a layer of meat and finally another layer of rice.
  15. Sprinkle the last of the advieh, a touch of cinnamon and either a little butter or ghee.
  16. Cover with a padded lid ( a lid securely wrapped in a tea towel) this finishes the cooking process and prevents condensation from dripping back onto the rice.
  17. About 1/2 hour before serving pour on remaining the liquid saffron, cover and leave to cook on a low heat for about 40 mins.
  18. Spoon  the rice onto your serving dish, and serve the taadig on a separate dish.

Serve with a fresh salad, a dish of sabzi khordan and naan or flat bread like pitta.

~Nooshi Joonet~ Love life, eat well and cook Persian~

Sabzi Polou ba morgh or Persian dill rice with chicken

Another of our favorite rice dishes Sabzi polou is easy to make and served with chicken, fresh herbs and salad it makes a great nutritious and gluten-free meal.  We eat the traditional persian way with a sofreh, it’s like a  table-cloth on the floor, unless we have guests when we sit at the table. The children love it! It’s a bit like having a picnic indoors!

Taadig is the crusty rice bottom. I have used potatoes in this recipe but you could use flat or unleavened bread. We rarely do because I have Coeliacs Disease, an allergy to gluten found in wheat.

SABZI POLOU BA MORGH

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients for the rice:

  • 4 cups of basmati rice
  • 4 handfuls of dried dill
  • 1-2 teaspoons of salt ( according to taste)
  • vegetable oil
  • 1 thinly sliced potato for the taadig
  • 1/3 small cup or egg cup of liquid saffron

Method:

  1. Pre soak the rice in salted water for at least 2 hours
  2. Drain the rice and rinse well under running cold water and put to one side.
  3. Take a large pan, add plenty of water and bring to the boil.
  4. Add salt. If you like your rice a little salty add 1.5 – 2 teaspoons. Otherwise add 1 teaspoon.
  5. I always add a few drops of liquid saffron to the boiling water also but this is optional.
  6. When the water is boiling, add the rice and allow to boil.
  7. Add 3- 4 handfuls of dill. I have a medium size hand!
  8. The rice will swell and you should see them grow in length. Be careful not to let the rice become too soggy. You want the rice to be ‘al dente’ or soft to bite.
  9. When ‘al dente’ remove from the heat and drain.
  10. Lightly rinse the  rice again and put to the side.
  11. Meanwhile place a non stick pan on the heat, add a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and a few drops of saffron and mix.
  12. Take the thinly sliced potato’s and add them to the bottom of the pan. They should sizzle a little. Be careful not to burn yourself.
  13. Add the rice now
  14. Take a spoon with holes in and lightly pour on about a tablespoon of oil
  15. Cover with a lid wrapped in a clean tea towel and leave to cook for about 1.5 hours on the lowest heat setting you can. Please be careful and make sure the tea towel is secure to avoid risk of it catching alight.
  16. When the cooking time is finished pour the rest of the liquid saffron over the rice. Then take your serving dish (usually a large flat dish or tray) and place over the top of the pan and quickly turn upside down and your rice will come out as in the picture above. Alternatively spoon it onto your serving dish and arrange your crispy potatoes around or over the rice or simply serve the taadig on a separate dish.

CHICKEN RECIPE

I have only made enough for two but just increase the amount of chicken you use if you are cooking for more

Ingredients:

  • 3-4  Chicken breasts
  • 2 teaspoons of liquid saffron
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil
  • A knob of butter

Method:

  1. Heat your oven to 200 c
  2. Heat a little oil in a pan and add the chicken pieces.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper
  4. Fry until golden
  5. Place some tin foil in an oven dish and add the chicken
  6. Pour a few teaspoons of liquid saffron over the chicken and add a knob of butter to each chicken piece.
  7. Wrap the foil around the chicken and cook in the oven for about 25 mins. This will vary according to the size of the chicken pieces you use.
  8. Half way through cooking time, remove from the oven and pour the liquid over the chicken again to keep it moist.
  9. Remove from the oven and pour the remaining liquid over the chicken before serving.

Serve with a salad, fresh herbs and mast or natural yoghurt.

Nooshi joonet. Enjoy

Tah-chin ba Morgh or Persian Rice and chicken

I love making these all in one pot meals. Once it’s in the pot  you have time to tidy up, prepare the table and if you’re lucky,  to relax with a pot of chai before you eat and Tah-chin ba morgh is the perfect meal for this.  Most of the work is in the preparation and once it’s all in the pot you are free to do other things.

You can make Tah-chin either on the cooker in pan or in a dish in the oven. I’m going to take you through the pan method but if you prefer, place your ingredients in a pre greased, large, deep oven proof dish and cook for about an 1 hour to an 90 minutes on 250 c for about 90 minutes – 2 hours.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of basmati rice.
  • 1 large onion
  • 350 gr’s Chicken boneless breast pieces
  • 1 cup or approx 300 ml’s of mast or natural yoghurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small cup od concentrated liquid zafaran
  • Oil
  • Butter
  • Turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste.
  • barberries ( optional)

Preparation:

  • Skin and trim the chicken breasts or pieces and cut into medium  size pieces.
  • Take a desert spoon  of lime juice , a pinch of salt, mix well and pour over the chicken and then keep in the fridge for a few hours before using.
  • Beat the eggs yolks
  • Combine the eggs yolks with the rest of the yogurt, add a pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of concentrated zafaran liquid.
  • Pre soak the rice a few hours before you intend to cook in salted water.
  • About an hour before cooking, rinse your barberries, place in a drainer and put to one side.

Method:

  1. Rinse the rice and put to one side
  2. Boil up a large pan of water, add a teaspoon of salt, a drop or two of zafaran and a teaspoon of butter.
  3. When boiling add the rice
  4. Keep the rice boiling until it becomes soft to bite. The rice should become long but not fluffy.
  5. Remove from the heat and drain.
  6. Rinse the rice lightly. Put to one side.
  7. Chop an onion and fry in a pan until it starts to go change colour.
  8. Now take the chicken and add to the pan, add a pinch of salt and fry until golden.
  9. Remove from the chicken from the pan and put to one side.
  10. Take the barberries  now and place them in a frying pan and heat without oil or water. This will cook off any remaining water from their  rinse. You should see a little steam. When the steam is finished, add a little oil and fry gently, then add the zafaran and allow to bubble away for a  minute. Remove from the heat and put to one side.
  11. Take a large pan with a lid.
  12. Place a few tablespoons of oil in the pan and heat.
  13. Add a few drops of the saffron liquid and mix it into the oil.
  14. Now add the yoghurt mix you put aside earlier and put it in the pan with the oil.
  15. Add a layer of rice and press down into the yoghurt
  16. Add a layer of chicken and then another layer of both yoghurt and rice and continue until all the ingredients have been used.
  17. After you add each layer, press down gently before you add the next.
  18. Cook on a low heat for about 90 minutes to 2 hours. The longer you leave it the better the taa dig will be.

To turn it out for serving you can do this two ways:

  1. Place your serving dish over the top of the pan and turn upside down. If it the rice gets stuck in the pan wait a few minutes and gently tap on the bottom of the pan. or
  2. Remove the rice from the pan with a spoon onto your serving dish. Mixing in your barberries in the saffron as you go. Then remove the taadig separately when you come to it.