Herb Kuku with Barberries

In Iran it is eaten on New year’s Day ( the festival of Nowruz, at the spring equinox): The green of the herbs symbolizes rebirth, while the eggs represent fertilely and happiness for the year to come.


  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, butter, or ghee
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons Persian spice mix (advieh) (see Tips, below)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh garlic, chives, or leeks
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek or 2 tablespoons dried barberries, cleaned (optional)


½ cup dried barberries              1 cup toasted walnuts



1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour the oil into an 8-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper.

2. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Add the baking powder, advieh, salt, and pepper. Lightly beat in the garlic, chopped herbs, flour, and fenugreek. Adjust seasoning.

3. Pour the egg mixture into the dish (do not over mix because egg whites separate from the rest of the ingredients during cooking) and bake uncovered for 45 to 50 minutes, until the edge is golden brown.

4. Serve the kuku from the baking dish, or unmold it by loosening the edge with a knife and inverting the dish onto a serving platter. Remove the parchment paper. NUSH-E JAN!


Pistachio Soup



· 3/4 cup unsalted shelled pistachio (4 oz, not dyed red)

· 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (16 fl. Oz)

· 1 medium leek (white and pale green parts only)

· 1/4 cup finely chopped onion

· 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

· 1/4 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger

· 1/8 teaspoon cayenne

· 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

· 1 tablespoon cumin seed

· 1/2 teaspoon coriander seed

· 2 cups water

· 3/4 teaspoon salt

· 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

· 1/8 teaspoon turmeric

· 2 tablespoons rice flour

· 2 tablespoons dried barberries (aka "zereshk"... you can substitute cranberries soaked first in hot water)

· 1/2 teaspoon grape juice concentrate (grape molasses) or 1/2 teaspoon grape jelly

· 6 tablespoons fresh orange juice

· 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice



  1. 1 Cook shelled pistachios in a small saucepan of boiling water 1 minute, then drain and rub off skins.
  2. 2 Transfer ½ cup skinned pistachios to a blander (reserve remainder), then add broth and blend until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. 3 Chop leek and wash in a bowl of cold water, agitating it, then lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl along with onion, garlic, ginger and cayenne.
  4. 4 Heat 2 T oil in a 3-4 quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then cook cumin and coriander seeds, stirring, until fragrant and a shade or two darker, 10 to 30 seconds. Stir in leek mixture, then reduce heat to moderately low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. 5 Add pistachio puree, water, salt, pepper, and turmeric, then whisk in rice flour and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, covered, whisking occasionally, 30 minutes.
  6. 6 Meanwhile, heat remaining ½ T oil in a 7-8? heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook barberries, grape molasses, and remaining ¼ c skinned pistachios, stirring, until combined and heated through, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (be careful not to burn barberries) Transfer to a small bowl.
  7. 7 Puree soup in 2 or 3 small batches in blender (use caution when blending hot liquids) until smooth, transferring to a large bowl.
  8. 8 Return soup to pot, then stir in juice and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve soup topped with pistachio mixture.
  9. 9 Cooks? Note: Soup, without citrus juice, can be made 1 day ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat, stirring in juice.
  10. 10 Pistachio topping can be made 1 day ahead and kept covered at room temperature.





RICE with MIXED HERBS and Smoked White Fish

Sabzi Polow ba mahi





·        500 g (1 lb) Basmati long grain rice 

·        750 g (1.5 lb) fresh herbs, equal portions 
   of parsley, chive, dill, coriander and 

·        4 sprigs fenugreek 

·         1 medium onion 

·         1/3 cup oil 
1/4 tsp ground saffron 
salt and pepper


1. After washing the rice thoroughly, soak the rice in salted lukewarm water to cover by 2 inches for 3 to 4 hours.

2. Trim the meat of all fat, cut into small pieces (2 inch cubes), wash and drain.

3. Slice the onions and fry in a little oil until it turns golden brown. Add the meat, salt and pepper and cook over low heat until the meat is well done, 45 minutes to an hour.

4. Clean the herbs cutting out coarse stem, wash, dry and chop finely.

5. In a large saucepan, bring 8 to 12 cups of water to a rapid boil.

6. Pour off excess water from rice and pour into boiling water. Bring back to boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Test to see if the rice is ready. The grains should be firm in the center and rather soft on the outside. Strain and rinse with lukewarm water. Toss gently in the strainer.

7. Bring 1/4 cup water and 2 to 3 tbs oil to rapid boil. Add layers of rice and the mixed herbs interchangeably building it up to a dome shape. The top layer should be rice. Make sure the herbs are dry before mixing them with the rice.

8. Poke 5 or 6 holes through the rice to the bottom with the handle of a spoon. Close the lid. Keep on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until rice is steaming. Heat up 1/4 cup of water and 2 tbs oil and pour over the rice. Wrap the saucepan lid in a clean tablecloth and cover the pan firmly. Reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes to an hour.

9. After removing from heat, place the saucepan in the sink and run cold water under it to cool down.
10. Add 1/4 tsp saffron to 1 tbs hot water. Lightly mix 2 to 3 tbs of rice with the liquid saffron in a small bowl. Set it aside for garnish.

11. To dish up, gently toss the rice and sprinkle lightly in a dish in a symmetrical mound. Garnish with the saffron rice. You can either serve the meat (or chicken) in a separate dish or mix it with the rice in the same dish.

12. Remove the crusty bottom and serve in a separate plate.


Smoked White Fish

·         3 whole bulbs garlic with the skin

·         ½  cup olive oil

·         ½ teaspoon salt

·         ¼  teaspoon pepper

·         3  sprigs of thyme

·         1 whole smoked white fish, between 4-5 pounds

·         3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

·         4 fresh limes or Seville oranges

1-     Place the garlic bulbs in a terra cotta garlic roaster or any baking dish. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cover and cook in a 300F preheated oven for on hour. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2-     Preheat oven to 350F. Place the fish on a baking dish and stuff the fish with crushed garlic and the juice of two limes or Seville oranges.

3-     Cover the fish. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

4-     Remove fish from oven and gently transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with whole garlic and lime.  








Caspian Olive Tapenade

Zeytoun parvardeh



·        1 cup walnuts, toasted

·        5 cloves garlic, peeled

·        1 cup fresh mint

·        1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

·        1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

·        1 tablespoon angelica powder (golpar)

·        ½ teaspoon salt

·        ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

·        ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced

·        1 teaspoon ground cumin

·        1 teaspoon grape molasses or honey

·        ¼ cup olive oil

·        ½ cup fresh pomegranate juice     

·        1 pound green pitted olives


Place all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you have a chunky paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl, toss well and adjust seasoning to taste. Cover and refrigerate for minutes and up to 3 days.

Serving Note

Place in a serving bowl. Garnish with walnuts, fresh pomegranate arils, whole olives and cilantro. Serve with toasted bread cut into 4-inches pieces.    



Orange Saffron Rice Pudding

Sholeh Zard


·         2 quarts water

·         1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice

·         2 cups sugar

·         8 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

·         1 1/2 teaspoons saffron threads, crushed and dissolved in

·         1 tablespoon water

·         6 tablespoons almonds, slivered and blanched

·         4 tablespoons unsalted pistachios, slivered or finely chopped

·         1/2 cup bottled rose water

·         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

·         8 whole blanched almonds


  1. Start a few hours ahead of time by preparing the rice by picking out any dark or discolored grains and then washing in a colander until the water runs clear.
  2.  Place the rice in a large bowl or pot with the salt and enough cold water to cover by an inch and soak for about 2 hours.
  3.  Drain the rice, and then bring the 2 quarts water to a boil over a high heat.
  4.  Stirring constantly pour the rice in a slow thin stream.
  5.  Turn the heat down very low and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  6.  Stir in the sugar, then add the butter and saffron mixture and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves, the butter has melted and the rice is bright yellow.
  7.  Stir in the slivered almonds and 1 tbsp of the pistachios and, stirring frequently, cook for 30 minutes longer or until the mixture can hold its shape almost solidly in the spoon.
  8.  Stir in the rose water and ladle the mixture into a large, heatproof serving bowl.
  9.  Spread it out with a spatula and sprinkle the top with two thin crossing lines of cinnamon to divide it into quarters.
  10.  Sprinkle each quarter with the remaining 3 tbsp of pistachios and decorate with whole almonds.
  11. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until the pudding is chilled and firm.
  12.  Serve directly from the bowl.