20.8.11

Persian Kookoo Sabzi and Rose Petal Tea

Kookoo Sabzi is an ancient Persian breakfast that is traditionally served on the morning of Nowruz, which is the Persian New Year. Timed with the vernal equinox Nowruz welcomes spring, old endings and new beginnings. The word Nowruz means simply, new light. This celebration with its roots in Zoroastrian history is filled with many customs; from jumping over small fires to buying new clothes, the home is thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom, known as 'khoneh tekhouni', meaning to 'shake the house down'. But no Nowruz celebration is ever complete without Kookoo Sabzi and it can be found on every breakfast table.
My version of this Persian, vibrant green, herb rich dish is a cross between a frittata with a souffle texture and is far too delicious to only eat once a year. It is light, fragrant and packed with flavour, perfect for a lazy breakfast with friends. I have even seen small hands reach in for a  second slice of this green treat. Served with some Earl Grey tea scented with rose petals and some warm flatbreads like lavash, runny yoghurt and some sharp bright pink pickled turnips and a light crumble of feta it is sublime. Iron rich, packed with vitamins this delicious breakfast will stop you from ever walking passed a grocery store that have bunches of bright herbs for sale, without always remembering this green, saffron scented, walnut tasting delight. 

Persian Kookoo Sabzi
Serves 8

8 free range medium eggs
1 tbspn plain flour
1 tspn baking powder
Butter for greasing dish
2 tspns sea salt
1 tspn black pepper
3 garlic cloves minced
10 gms crushed walnuts
6 large spring onions
1/2 bunch of chives
1 large bunch flat leaf parsley
1 large bunch spinach
1/4 bunch coriander
1/4 bunch dill
1/4 bunch fenugreek
Pinch of Persian saffron
Preheat your oven to 350F/190C/Gas mark 6
Cut all the stalks from your herbs and your spinach, it is the fresh green leaves that you want, not the more bitter taste from the stalks. Wash them carefully and thoroughly, removing all of the grit and picking out any bruised or yellowed leaves. Shake them dry and start chopping, they need to be fairly fine but not so they lose their structure. Mince your spring onions and crush your garlic cloves and stir together well with the herbs. The smell is incredible. In a separate bowl put your saffron strands into a tablespoon of warm water and let it turn the water a golden red colour. Break your eggs into another bowl and add the flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and your saffron. Whisk together well and pour into your herbs and add your crushed walnuts. A really thorough mix is required, all the herbs need to be coated with the egg mixture. Pour into a buttered terracotta dish. Press the mixture down slightly so the top is flat. Cover with foil and place in the top of your oven. Cook for 20 minutes or so until it is firm. Remove the foil for a further 20 minutes or until a toothpick when poked in the cntre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and slide a sharp knife around the edge and leave to cool for 15 minutes or so. As it cools it firms and it becomes easier to cut into slices ready for serving. Crumble some feta cheese over the top and decorate each slice with a walnut half. Some Persian pickled turnips give a great contrast to the feta and herbs. Yoghurt goes without saying as does some warm lavash bread.
Another custom enjoyed at Nowruz is for the lady of the house, once she has all her family, friends and guests comfortably seated around her carefully prepared food, she will put a mirror to each of their smiling faces, to reflect back to them their past, show them their present and to remind them of their future with the edict 'As you sow, so shall you receive'. Enjoy this breakfast and I wish you 'New Light'.

'Food is our common ground, a universal experience.'
James Beard 1903-1985 Chef  

2 comments:

  1. this is so much more than food....it is beautiful

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  2. It helped me so much with my Iranian Café Project. I couldn't find this kind of informations anywhere but here. Thank u soooo much! I agree with the person above me.. this is beautiful

    ReplyDelete