This week, we’ve stuck with Turkish and Lebanese dishes, but also ventured across a border or two into Iran, and tried out a couple of Persian dishes.
The specific country of origin for this dish is unknown, but I made a Warm Salad with Pumpkin, Chickpeas, Spinach & Dates. The pumpkin is roasted first, and then added to the other ingredients and warmed through. It was really lovely, and had a wonderful lemony flavour, and the sweetness from the dates – mmmmmmmmmmm.
Steve made another version of Mujaddara – Mujaddara bi Fasoulia, which is Stew of Pinto Beans and Cracked Wheat in Caramelised Onions. Since it ended up resembling tinned dog food, we decided not to take a photo of it. The taste was a bit on the bland side, so something may have gone awry. It was still quite edible, and went well with the other dishes. Some coconut yoghurt helped too. The other dishes were leftover salad from the previous day, and another batch of Loubieh Bi Zait, since we had some green beans that needed to be used.
Steve felt the need to redeem himself after the disappointment of the Mujadurra bi Fasouli, and I was quite happy to leave him to prepare dinner. On the menu was Zeytinyagli Havuç – Turkish Carrots and Lentils and Batata ma3 Kizbra – Lebanese Potatoes Saute in Garlic and Coriander. Served with some of the Mujaddara and coconut yoghurt. Mmmmmmmmmm redeemed!
I was feeling slightly under the weather, and Steve didn’t feel like cooking, so it was lucky we still had plenty of leftovers for dinner.
Since I was preoccupied with finalising and launching the new website (yes this one!), and accompanying Facebook page, Steve took charge in the kitchen. Feeling adventurous, he made an Harissa Lentil, Pea and Potato Stew – his own creation. It didn’t turn out quite like he wanted, as he said it seemed to lose some of the flavour while it cooked. It still tasted pretty good to me, especially with some coconut yoghurt. Yoghurt is pretty popular in much Middle Eastern cooking, and coconut yoghurt seems to be a great accompaniment for most of the things we’ve made so far.
I decided to trip across the continent to Iran and try a Persian dish called Fesanjoon, which is usually not vegetarian. It’s a stew, usually made with chicken, duck, pheasant or meat balls in a walnut and pomegranate sauce. I substituted tofu and cauliflower to make it vegan. It’s very rich and creamy, thanks to the walnuts but the flavours are quite delicate. I think cashews would work really well in this too. They say it’s better the next day, so I made it in the morning so the flavours would have some time develop.
I decided to stay with Persian for another day, and this time made Khoresht Gharch – a mushroom stew. I love mushrooms! Cooked or raw, anything with mushrooms is pretty much guaranteed to be a winner with us. Again this wasn’t a vegetarian dish, so I substituted potatoes for the chicken and soft tofu for the egg yolk that’s added at the end. It’s very tasty, with lots of lemon coming through.
I also made a discovery about how Persian food is traditionally served, and that is with Sabzi – a plate of fresh herbs and greens to add to your meal. What a fantastic idea! It can be anything that you like, have or is in season, and that you think will work with the meal of course. I made a plate of mixed herbs (mint, basil & parsley), baby spinach, endive and radish. It was great, and really set the meal off.