Saturday, November 22, 2008

My Kitchen, My World: Iran

Before I describe my experience with Persian cooking, let me tell you about two things I learned.

1. One person's difficult/hard recipe is another person's easy recipe.

2. Dehydrated herbs, in quantity, are to be avoided.

Now, on with the story.

When I learned that we were traveling to Iran this week, I contacted my neighbor, who is also my excess-baked-goods recipient. I knew that one of her friends came from the central Asia region, so I decided to find out which country it was, hopes high. Much to my pleasure, she told me that F was indeed from Iran and would be more than willing to share some recipes with me. So, F and I met at a local coffee shop and she showered me with 4 recipes, instructions, and some dried whole lemons.

She also referred me to a local shop that might have some of the less common ingredients. Her generosity was amazing.

After we parted, I went straight to the shop, and found the three ingredients in question. F had suggested that for one dish, using the dried herbs would be much quicker than washing and chopping all the fresh ones, so based on her recommendation, I bought this:

Combining the recipe on the can and F's recipe, I prepared Gormeh Sabzi. On one level, it was a delicious, lemony meal, but oh, those dehydrated herbs! They just never lost that grassy taste, even after soaking, sauteeing, and cooking. I will have to remake this dish using the fresh ingredients, for I am sure it will be ten times better that way. I really don't recommend using them if you ever make this. Also, I did substitute beef for lamb, which F does as well, since she doesn't like the taste of lamb.

Since F gave me four recipes, I now have three left to try. I will only use fresh ingredients, because, for me, it is not a burden to wash and chop. I will be sure to write a post about them as they are each different from one another: Fesenjan, Dizi, and Tah Chin. (When I re-post the remake for Gormeh Sabzi, I will include the recipe.)

Thanks to Elra for taking us to Iran this week, to Lauren for hosting, and to Susan for having a vision.


Michelle Dargen said...

I am going to have to try Gormeh Sabzi. It sounds like a great dish. What are the whole dried lemons for? They sound so cool!

Megan said...

Those lemons look.......interesting. Can't wait to see what you do with them.

KC said...

Gormeh Sabzi sounds wonderful. Sabzi must mean herbs. I want to make Kookoo Sabzi and that recipe calls for a kilo of fresh herbs.

NKP said...

How great that you have some inspiration for this week's country.
Lemony is my favourite kind of flavour - I bought some dried limes but I don't know what to do with them!
Looking forward to your other dishes too,

Dewi said...

Hi Judy, I am so sorry that you're disappointed with that dried herb. we make a very similar dish (though the name of the dish is quite different), too bad you didn't list the ingredients, so I don't really know weather this is the same dish.

I really recommend you to try fasenjan, since pomegranate is in season right now. Fasenjan is really deicious, I think really going to love this one. I make fasenjan from time to time, I also posted the recipe, Check it out if you have the time. Good luck for your next Iranian dishes!