Koko Sabzi (Fresh herb patties) by Ms. Ozra Avezzadeh

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·         2 bunch Parsley·         2 bunch Cilantro·         2 pc Leeks·         ½ bunch Spinach·         1 bunch Fenugreek·         8 eggs·         1 tbsp hickpeas flour·         ½ tsp tumeric·         Salt, black pepper as needed·         ½ cup oil

Wash, chop and mix all herbs together in a mixer

Warm a pan on medium heat and pour in the oil

In a bowl mix herbs, eggs, flour, salt and pepper

Test the oil to see if it is hot enough by dropping a drop of mixture to see if it jumps.

Pour mixture into the pan and keep shaking it to spread evenly

When sides fried, brown and it hardened and cooked- it takes 30 minutes. In the pan cut slices like pizza into pie shapes.

Flip each piece so the other side is cooked and fried as well

When I was a child I used to see my mom grow herbs in the garden and take care of them every day. She used to pick them and wash them, then chop them and make food with it. One of the dishes she made and we all loved was Koko Sabzi. When I was 8 and my mom was on vacation. My dad went to work and I decide to surprise my dad by cooking Koko Sabzi for him. I went to garden and picked all the herbs and weeds together without knowing what is what. I picked them, wash them, chopped them (imagine what a 8 yr old can chop and how it would look like). I mixed 12 eggs in them for small amount of herbs which probably would equal to 2 bunches of herbs. I poured it into the pan and added so much oil that the green mixture was floating in the oil. My dad came in and was shocked but he ate it with me and said it tasted good. After my mom’s return, she taught me how to make this dish properly.  

Kashk-e- Bademjan = Eggplant Dip by Ashraf Soraya Nejad

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·         4 Eggplants·         2 Onions·         6 pcs Garlic·         3 tbs dried mint·         4 tbs sour cream or Kurd (Kashk)·         1 cup ground walnut

·         1 tsp Cinnamon·         Salt, pepper·         1 tsp tumeric·         ½ cup water

Fry eggplants separately

Brown the onions, add chopped garlic, sauté the garlic, add dry mint and turn it off

Add half of onion-mint mixture to eggplants, add salt, turmeric and water- let it cook for 10 min

Add kashk and cook for another 10 min

Spread the mixture in a flat dish, spread kashk (Kurd) on top, and decorate with walnut, half of onion mint mixture

When I was 16 and young bride, my mom for the first time taught me how to cook various dishes with eggplants. Before that I did not know what to do with eggplants. She stood by my side and taught me how to cook this dish for the first time for my husband. It was more like she order me and I followed her orders. She always said “any girl that wants to learn how to make a dish must do it once with supervision and then do it on her own. After that she will know how to cook that dish.” This meant she would teach once and you had to learn. I was a new bride and needed to cook for my husband. 

Kalam Polo (Cabbage Rice) by MS. Meimandi

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·         3 Large onions·         1 lb ground beef·         1cup rice·         ½ green cabbage·         ½ tbsp lime power·         1 tsp saffron·         1 tsp Cinnamon·         1 tbsp Chickpeas flour·         2 tbs tarragon·         4 tbsp Basil·         1 tbsp Dill·         Salt and Pepper·         1 tsp Turmeric

Soak rice over night

Chop cabbage, sauté and when softened added herbs and lime powder, Add salt, pepper and ½  of turmeric

Grate onion to the ground beef, add chickpeas flour, salt, pepper, and ½ turmeric- mix well and make tiny meatballs

Drain rice, put it a side

For bottom of the pan for rice put a single layer of pita, add rice on top of it, spread one layer of dill over rice, spread one layer of cabbage over dill, add few meatballs to the center of the layers – making sure they do not get close to the edge to burn and harden, add another layer of rice – Cabbage – meatballs, Rice toil all ingredients are finished. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Soak saffron in 2 tbsp of hot water, leave it inside the pot of rice.

Before serving rice, mix little bit of cooked rice with saffron in a small bowl- set aside

Serve rice in a platter and decorate it with saffron.

The first day after wedding, I went to work and came home with all the ingredients and started cooking for my new husband. I did not know much about measurement  and had never cooked for two but knew this recipe. I cooked for 2 hours and realized that pot is too big and there was too much food. My husband came home and saw the food and said this food is enough for at least 10 people.

We ate for 3 days and we were sick of this dish. I had to throw it out and di no want to give it to others or  let them know I do not know measurements. 

Eshkeneh Shanbalileh (Onion soup) by Parvin Zarabi

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·         1 Onions·         8 Small Potatoes·         2 bunches Fenugreek·         2 tbs Tomato paste·         2 cups Water·         Salt, paper, turmeric

·         4 Eggs

Chop and fry onions in a pot, add potato wedges to the onions. Keep mixing and frying them till neither sticks to the bottom of the pan. Add Fenugreek and turmeric to the mixture, add tomato paste and mix and sauté. Add water and let it boil.

Mix egg and milk in a small bowl and pour it into the pot.

About 50nyears ago, One summer day, we were going back home from a trip. I was tired, frustrated with kids and back then there was not so much fast food available.  During the trip we had many different foods and we did not want to try any food but we were hungry and just wanted to fill the stomachs and just get to bed. We got home. I was tired and had to go back to work the next day. My mother –in-law said by the time you guys put everything away in their place in the house, I can get something  very good and tasty ready to eat. She went to the kitchen and started cooking on a camping oil heater and prepared this dish. We were about 10 people in the house. That dish was one of the best foods I ever had and I still talk about it very fondly. Every time I cook this dish bring back memories of my departed loved ones that are not among us anymore and shared this meal that day in my house. 

Ghalieh Meigoo (Spicy hot and Sour Shrimp Stew) by Mariam Nourian

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·         2 pcs garlic·         4 pcs onion·         2 bunches Cilantro·         1 tbsp Fenugreek·         ½ pk Tamarind·         2 tbsp Tomato paste·         2 lbs Shrimp·         Salt and pepper·         2 tbsp sugar·         4 tbsp Oil·         3 cups water

Chop onion and mince garlic, brown them in a pan and put them aside. Add chopped fresh herbs and dries herbs plus spices, salt and pepper into the onion mixture. Fry them together. Add shrimp to the pan and let it cook with the rest of the ingredients for 10 minutes. Add tomato paste let it cook for 10 minutes. Then add Tamrind to 3 cups water to dilute the paste, then add sugar to the solution, then add to the pot. Let it cook on medium heat for 30 minutes. It is ready.

I did not know this dish till my son got married to a girl from southern part of Iran. We are from central part of Iran and had not had this dish before. My daughter-in-law knew how to make it and all my kids loved it so I had to learn. It took me 3 times to get it right. The first two times I made it did not taste right nor did look right. I made my immediate family try it before introducing and letting other family members try it. It took me some time to learn but I learned something delicious from younger generation. 

Kofteh Tabrizi (Meatball) by Mahin Alave

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·         2 lb ground beef·         500 gr split chickpeas·         1 cup rice·         2 large onions·         4 eggs·         2 cups chopped Fresh herbs and green onions·         1tbsp dried savory·         1 tsp turmeric·         As needed Mixed condiments; turmeric, salt, black pepper·         Tomato paste

·         Butter·         Saffron·         1 cup water·         Filling:·Almond, walnut, apricot, Barberry, and fried onion

Mix Cooked split chickpeas, grated onion, ground beef, and cook rice half done. Mix and add all herbs and spices and keep kneading till it loses its stickiness. Grab handful of meat mixture, in the center add the ingredients of the filling and make a round meatball the size of a grapefruit.

Mix water, butter, tomato paste and saffron in a small pot and bring to boil, add all meatballs and let is cook for 20-30 minutes on medium heat.

This is a Turkish dish that belongs to Azarbaijan region. My daughter has married to a person who is not from our part of Azarbaijan. My daughter learned how to cook this as I learned from my mother and she cooked it for her husband and his family. They all have loved this dish because it is o different from their own traditional meat balls. 

 

Shirin Polo (Sweet Rice) by Maryam Yazdi

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·         4 pcs chicken thigh·         1 cup fresh shredded carrot·         ½ cup fresh shredded sour mandarin·         1 cup mixed shredded pistachio and almond·         1 cup barberry·         1 tbsp Saffron·         1 stick cinnamon·         ½ green peppers·         ½ cup water·         2 cups rice·         2 tbsp sugar·         1tbs oil

In a pot put chicken pieces, water, cinnamon stick, green pepper let it cook till all the water is gone, (30 Minutes).  Soak rice and drain and put a side.

Shredded sour mandarin has to be cooked in water as soon as it boils and drain it, repeat this step twice till all the bitterness is gone. Sauté shredded carrots, add shredded sour mandarin plus shredded pistachios and almond plus sugar, sauté till carrots are soft. Put this aside.

Mix oil and saffron in the bottom of separate pot, add a layer of rice, lay chickens on rice, add a layer of shredded carrots and nuts mixture, add the rest of rice, add another layer of nut mixture, and add a layer of barberry close the pot. Cook for 45 minutes on low heat.

I love this food because it is served in weddings and happy occasions since it is very sweet dish. I made this dish for my daughter on her wedding in August 2014. She was very happy and were so her guest because many have not tasted it in a very long time. It is a dish that reminds everyone of their happy occasions.

 

Lobia Polo (Beef and Green Bean Rice) by Farideh Mohammadi

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·         1 lb ground beef·         2 lb green beans·         1 bunch garlic·         5 tbs Tomato paste·         6 onions·         3 lbs rice·         Salt and black pepper, tumeric·         1 cup oil·         1tbs saffron

Onion and garlic be sautéed. Add ground beef, salt, pepper, turmeric, and saffron to the onion and garlic and cook for 30 minutes on medium heat. Cook rice and set aside.

Put a layer of rice at the bottom of pot, add a layer of the above mixture on top of rice and keep repeating it 2 more times till all the ingredients have been used.

I was a teenager. My mom was making it one day and I was looking at her and she patiently explained every step. The following month I decided to make this dish on my own and I put so much effort into making it. I was so proud. The time came for everyone to eat it in the family of 8 and I was so excited. Everybody complemented me on the food, how it looked, how it smelled but after one bite everyone spit it out. It was so salty that you could not eat it. We had to throw it out. I was so embarrassed and heartbroken that I did not want to come out of my room for days. My parents were trying to make me feel better and kept telling me it is ok and it was my first time but I knew food was bad. My siblings had fun for months making me feel horrible about my dish. That stayed in my family as a funny story for few years.

 

Koko Sibzamini (Potato patties) by Touran Sofi

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·         3 lbs potatoes·         15 eggs·         2 bunches mixed parsley·         1 bunch cilantro·         2 tsp saffron·         Salt, pepper and turmeric    2 cups oil

Cook potatoes in water, let it cool and drain out the water. Wash, chop and put aside fresh herbs. Mash the potatoes; add eggs, salt, pepper, turmeric, saffron, and fresh chopped herbs mix them all together.

Put oil in pan and put spoon full of potato mixture in the oil, brown it on both sides and keep frying them one by one till mixture is finished.

I was teenager when I got married. I had my husband’s family and my family all together in the house. I decided to make this dish and another dish. I was serving guests and all of sudden I heard one of the uncles of my husband who was elder and very respected due to his age, started yelling that there is a horrible smell in the house. He was very frank and loud person. I said there is no bad smell in the house. I ran to the kitchen and realized that the potatoes are burning. My brother-in-law came to my rescue. We both started to take the bottom layer of the potatoes off by cutting them and again frying them in fresh oil and clean pan. Then at dinner time, I served the burnt dish but it looked nice. I was worried who would smell it. As soon as the uncle tasted it, he said “it smells burnt. You new brides do not know how to cook what is wrong with you”. I was very embarrassed and my brother-in-law and my husband said to him, eat something else if you don’t like it. No one has forced you to eat that dish, there is another dish. I felt horrible. My guests said to uncle to leave me alone because I was very young and I was preparing for so many family members.

Since then I am always worried that my potatoes are not burnt especially when I have guests. 

 

Adas polo (Persina Rice with lentils) by Mitra Noroozi

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·         3 cups Rice·         2 cups split chickpeas·         1 cup raisins·         300 gr browned onion·         1 lbs ground beef·         1 box dates – turn them into small balls·         Salt. Pepper, turmeric. Saffron as needed

Sauté browned onions and raisins separately and put them aside. Sauté onion with grated onion for 10 minutes Cook split chickpeas separately till tender, drain and set aside.

Cook rice half cooked. Put a layer of rice in the bottom of the separate pot and add a layer of split chickpeas. Repeat this till all is gone. Let this cook on low heat for 20 minutes.

Separate 1 cup spoons of rice and mix with soak saffron.

Pour rice in a dish and keep decorating your rice with dates, ground beef, onions, and raisins as desired.

*** Dates can be mixed individually with pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon, or rose pedals for different tastes. This is optional.

Enjoy!

When I heard that City of Markham wanted Parya to create different dishes for “Markham Cook” book, I decided to join and cook something that is beautiful, presentable and very traditional. I am proud that I made this dish because people took so many pictures of this dish. I am perfectionist. Everyone asked me during the event what it was in the decoration of the dish. Most wanted to know what I have used. These are all Iranian people and I was proud to present this dish that even puzzled them. 

 
 

Mahi Polo (Fish and Rice with Herbs) by Foroozan Jalaei

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·         12 lbs fresh Dill, Cilantro, Parsley·         4 cups Rice·         1 fish- rainbow (750 gr)·         3 tbs Oil·         4 pcs Fresh garlic        Salt, pepper, saffron as desired·         2 cups fresh squeezed lemon

Soak fish in lemon juice with salt, pepper for 1 hour. Take it out and rub saffron all over the fish. Fry the fish in oil till cooked.

Cook rice half-cooked and in a separate pot put a layer of rice in the pot and add layer of fresh herbs on the rice, add another layer of rice and repeat with herbs and rice. Put fresh garlic on top of the rice and put the lid on. This way the garlic would cook fully with steam from rice. Let it cook on low heat for 3o minutes.

Serve rice in a flat dish, put fish on top of the rice and enjoy.

The first year I got married, soon after, it was the New Year. I decided to celebrate with my husband by cooking this dish. This is the traditional dish for Iranian New Year which is cooked and eaten on New Year eve. It is a dish that is expected to be served in every household on New Year ’s Eve. This is was the first traditional meal I had with my husband. 

 

Dizi (Iranian Lamb Stew) by Hossein Rezaei 

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·         ½ cup Chickpeas·         1/2 cup Red Beans·         ½ Onion·         200 Gr Lamb meat·         1 tomato·         1 Potato·         2 tbsp tomato paste

·         Turmeric, salt and black pepper as desired·         2 tbs oil·         4 cups water

Put all ingredients in a pot, put the lid on and put it in the oven (300 C ) for 1:30 min.

I remember I used to always go out with my dad and his friends to Dizi places (Restaurant that just makes and serves Dizi). After I left Iran and now that I am apart from my father, every time I make this dish, it reminds me of my time with him. It is a bitter sweet memory. It brings back the smell of all men and workers coming from work to eat in the restaurant and all the conversation men would have about their jobs and lives. I was a little kid among men and made me feel so important. This dish is very manly dish and traditional. 

 

Salad Shirazi (Cucumber and Tomato salad)

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·         ½ large cucumber’2 tomatoes·         2 onions·         1 tbsp mint·         4 tbsp vinegar·         Salt and pepper

Chop them in small pieces and mix them in a bowl and add vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve!

 

Whey Soup (Kaleh Joosh)

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2 Cups Kashk (Whey)   1 large onion   2 tbsp chopped mint, dry or fresh   1 cup walnut   2 garlic cloves   1 tsp turmeric powder   1 tsp black pepper   ½ tsp salt   Vegetable oil   Water

Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Dice the onions and saute them until golden. Mince the garlic cloves and add to the pot. Add turmeric, salt and pepper and stir well. Add the mint to the pot and stir. Ground the walnuts, add to the pot and fry along. Add Kashk to the pot and stir thoroughly until well mixed. You can add boiling water to the Kashk to soften, if needed. Add a cup of water and allow it to simmer for 15 minutes over low heat.
Serve warm with bread.

 

 

Persian Bean and Noodle Thick Soup (Ash Reshteh)

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1 cup red kidney beans, soaked overnight, drain      1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight, drain     1 cup lentil     1 bunch parsley, chopped  1 bunch cilantro, chopped      1 bunch spinach, fresh or frozen, chopped      1 bunch scallion or chives, chopped       Salt and pepper to taste     6 ounces dried noodles, you may find reshteh (noodles) in Persian/Iranian grocery stores.      Water

For Garnish:  1 large onion, thinly sliced     5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped    2 tablespoons dried mint     1/2 teaspoon turmeric     Vegetable oil or olive oil      1 cup kashk (liquid whey)

Place the chickpeas, beans and lentils in a large pot, add 8 cups of water, bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for an hour and a half or until beans are tender.

Add the chopped vegetables, noodles, salt and pepper. Stir well, cover and cook for another 30-40 minutes on medium-low heat.

Add more water if needed. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

In medium pan, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and cook until golden.

Add the garlic and saute for another 3-5 minutes.

Add the turmeric powder, stir well.

Add the dried mint and saute for 2-3 minutes.

Pour the soup in a large serving bowl, top with fried onion, garlic and mint mixture and drizzle with a generous amount of liquid kashk, Serve hot with warm bread and extra kashk on the side.

 

Torshi-e Makhloot

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·       1 kg small eggplants    500 grams very small cucumbers (available in Iranian or middle-eastern stores)    500 grams small carrots    1 small cauliflower    250 grams green beans    250 grams small potatoes    150 grams shallots (or small onions)    1 small celery    250 grams green peppers    250 grams herbs (parsley, coriander, mint, tarragon, basil)    white vinegar    2 tablespoons salt    2 teaspoons black pepper

Wash eggplants and bake in the oven at medium temperature for about 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool, then peel skins away. Place in a strainer and add some salt. Leave overnight or for several hours until all water has left eggplants. Chop very finely, add some vinegar, and mix well. 

Wash herbs and allow to dry completely. Chop very finely and add some vinegar. Wash cucumbers, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, potatoes, celery, and green peppers. Peel shallots (or onions), cucumbers, potatoes, and carrots. Chop all of them very finely. Add salt and spread on a piece of cloth. Leave overnight or for several hours. 

Add everything to eggplants and herbs. Add some more vinegar, salt and black pepper, and mix well. 

Store in a cool, dry place for 2-3 months. 

** Note: When removing torshi from the jar, use a clean, oil-free spoon or fork.

 

Celery Stew with tomato paste

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·       200 gr lamb meat cubes   200 gr chopped Celery   1 Onion   2 tsp dried mint   2 tbsp tomato paste   2 tbsp verjuice   3 cups water   Turmeric powder, salt, black pepper as needed   Oil as needed

Chop and fry the onion in a pot, add turmeric powder and the tomato paste till they mix and fry well. Fry chopped celery in a pan. While frying the celery, add lamb cute to fried onion and tomato paste pot and fry them all together. Check for the lamb color to change and add the fried celery to the pot. Add 3 cups water and put the lid on to cook all together for 10 minutes after boiling. When softened add salt, pepper and dried mint, let it boil for another 10 minutes and it’ll be ready.

 
 
 
 
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