Eggplant Patties ( kookoo Bademjoon)




Don't you just love eggplants? I can't think of one dish with eggplant that I don't like. The only problem with eggplants is that they absorb a lot of oil when frying and they don't cook well in the oven. So you have to pick your poison (well the later is not a poison really and it's actually very healthy), fried delicious eggplant or dry and healthy oven roasted eggplants.  It's up to you and your diet which one you pick, but roasting them in the oven is a much easier and healthier choice  and we all know that healthy does not always equal delicious.  It's the sad truth.

These patties are delicious and perfect for a light dinner.

Serving: 4

Ingredients:


  • 6  seedless japanese Eggplants 
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 Tbs flour
  • 1/2 tsp saffron
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions:

Peel the eggplants, add salt and set aside for about 1 hour. This will help decrease the amount of oil the eggplants are going to absorb during frying. Pan fry them until they are cooked. Set aside and let them cool down.

Cook the onions in a frying pan with some oil until they are golden and soft. Add to the eggplants and let them cool down. 

Beat the eggs, add salt and pepper and pour in the eggplant mixture. Add the saffron and flour and mix well until the eggplants are completely smashed. If your mixture is still very watery, add a little bit more flour.



Heat some oil in a non-stick frying pan with just a little depth. It's time to add the mixture to the pan. I use egg rings for this part to make them perfectly even shaped, but you can also make whatever shape you like in the pan. Add the mixture to the pan, one patty at a time. Cook one side on low heat until the patty is shaped and it holds. Carefully turn the patty around and cook the other side. Add oil as needed. Cook the rest of the mixture in the same way.

You can serve the patties hot or cold with some bread, pickles and fresh herbs. (Basil and radish will be great with this dish).

eggplant patty

Anaar Avij recipe


Anaar avij

I'm glad I caught your attention with the name (and hopefully the picture) and you decided to read on. You are now thinking what in the world is that name? You might have heard the first word which is "Anaar, pomegranate in Farsi but you have no idea what the second word means.  Well, you are not alone, I still don't know that :).

This dish comes from north part of Iran (we call it Shomal, it literally means north), the beautiful Gilaan and is a combination of pomegranate molases, walnuts, parsley and cilantro.  It is very similar to Fesenjaan, another delicious Persian dish that is also made out of walnuts and pomegranate.

This isn't exactly a dish I grew up eating. My mom started making Anaar Avij for dinner parties when I was a teenager and it suddenly became one of her specialties.  Ever since then, it has become my all time favorite Persian dish.

Here is the disclaimer, this is a sweet and sour dish in case you don't like sour in your food.

Serving: 4

Ingredients:


  • 2 cups ground walnuts
  • 1  cup  finely chopped cilantro
  • 1  cup  finely chopped parsley 
  • 1  1/2 cup pomegranate molases (found in whole foods)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 8 pieces of chicken thighs (you can mix thigh with breast and use 3 pieces of breast and 3 pieces of thighs )
  • 1 Tbs corn starch or flour
  • Salt and pepper to taste
(Note: the measurement for parsley and cilantro is for after it's chopped since they shrink a lot after being chopped).

Directions:

Heat the oil in a medium size pan with some depth and cook the onions until they are golden . Don't use a lot of oil since walnuts when cooked are going to release a lot of oil. Cook the chicken with the onions until they are lightly golden. Add in the walnuts and mix well and cook for about 2 minutes. Be sure, to stir the mixture at all times since it can stick to the pan.

In a different pan, saute the chopped parsley and cilantro with a little bit of oil until the aroma is released.  . Be careful not to overcook it, it can burn really easily.  Add it in to the walnut mixture, mix well, add salt and pepper and the crushed garlic. Add in enough water to cover all the chicken and let it cook for about 20 minutes on low heat. Stir occasionally. 



Here comes the fun part. Adding the pomegranate molases. Be sure that the chickens are cooked well before this step. Adding anything sour (in our case the molases) to chicken will prevent it from being cooked any further. 



Cover and let it simmer on low heat for another 30 minutes until you see the oil from walnut is released.  Dissolve the corn starch or flour in some water and add it to the stew. This will make it thicker. Cook for another 10 minutes and voila, you have Anaar Avij! 




I like to serve this with rice and some saffron. What you see on top of my rice in the picture is Tahdig (the literall meaning is bottom of the pan) and is basically crip rice taken from bottom of the pan.


anar avij

Nooshe jaan! 

Lemony Saffron chicken

I'm a little hesitant to call this Joojeh Kabob (persian chicken kabob) because it's simply a made up recipe and a much simpler (I assume) version of an actual Joojeh Kabob.  I have so much respect for Joojeh Kabob, that I don't want o accidentally offend her (or maybe him). So I'm calling this Lemony Saffron chicken but it's very close to Joojeh Kabob.  There is one more reason; a big part of the Joojeh Kabob taste, comes from "manghal", ( it's basically a form of coal grill), which unfortunately I'm not allowed to have in my San Francisco apartment. I know, what a shame.  So, my lemony Saffron chicken is made in a  Lodge cast iron grill on a gas stove. The cast iron actually makes it taste very close to an actual Jooje Kabob, but let me tell you my friend, the smoke that comes out of a coal grill and blends into the chicken, is not the same.  If you ever come close to a Persian restaurant, be sure to order "Joojeh kabob ba ostokhan" and compare the tastes.

Serving: 2 people

Ingredients:


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 2 Limes
  • 1/4 teaspoon grind Saffron 
  • 1 tbs yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs olive oil

Directions:

Cut the chicken breasts into big cubes. Mix with diced onions, olive oil, salt and pepper in a ziplock bag. Add in the saffron and yogurt and mix well. Squeeze the limes (I know I said lemony, but there is no word for "limy" that also sounds good)  in the mixture and mix again. Let it sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours or over night. The more it marinates in the mixture, the tastier the chicken becomes.




Heat the cast iron on a gas stove (you can also do this on any kind of grill and it will turn out better). 

Grill the chicken until it's cooked. Be careful not to overdue it, chicken becomes chewy if overdone. 


Serve with rice or vegetables and enjoy!