Thursday, November 10, 2011

Khoresht Gheimeh

It doesn't get more home cooking than Khoresht Gheymeh (Lamb and Split Pea Stew). Remember growing up and stealing the french fries while your Mom was cooking in the kitchen?? We sure do.

Ingredients (Serves about 6)
- 2 lbs of red meat (Beef stew or go fancy and get Top Sirlion)
- 1/3 or 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
- 1.5 white/yellow onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 6 Tablespoons of yellow split peas (1 Tablespoon per person)
- 2-3 potatoes
- Salt, Pepper, Turmeric and Ground Cinnamon
- 3-4 Limoo Amani (Dried limes, get this at Ethnic markets)
- Cooking Oil

- Cut meat into small little cubes
- Cut onions into small even pieces
- In a large pot, on medium to high heat, begin frying onions until golden brown.  Remove 1/3 and place in a plate for later use

- Right before you add the meat, add some crushed garlic to the onions and lightly fry.  Garlic can burn easily so add them at the end.  Now add the meat to the pot and stir so that each side of the meat cubes gets lightly seared. While stirring, add some turmeric powder (1-2 spoonfuls)

 - As you stir, the juices from the meat will start to evaporate
 - Once the meat juice has evaporated, add the tomato paste to the meat

- Add ground cinnamon, salt and pepper.  You can go easy on the salt and add more later.  Too much salt can dry out the meat.

- Add 3-4 Limoo Amani to the stew; make sure to add some holes into the dried limes

-  Now its time to add water to the stew

 - Add enough water so that about a half of your fork is submerged under the water while hitting the meat.  You will let this simmer (with the lid on)  for about 2 hours.  You want it be a light boil with not a lot of bubbles.

- Quickly wash and drain your split peas
- Optional step: In a small pot, add some cooking oil and lightly fry the peas

-  Add water and boil the split peas.  While boiling, the mixture might foam up; use a spoon to remove it.  Some peas cook faster than others so we cook it separately and add it to the stew before right before serving.

-  About 30 minutes before serving, add the split peas to the stew.  You can also add your fried onions that you had previously set aside to the stew at this time as well.

-  While the stew is boiling, cut up potatoes into long "french fry" looking strands.
- Option 1:  Healthy version no frying: Add the potatoes to the stew and let the boil along with the rest of the khoresht
- Option 2:  Fry the potatoes in some oil and add some salt.  You may want to put the cut up potatoes in a bowl of water for 20min first, it's supposed to make the frying process go a little faster.
- Option 3:  Do half boiled and half fried (what I prefer)

- In addition to the Limoo Amani (dried lemons) in the stew, you can also add Limoo Amani powder (if you can get your hands on some) to the stew to adjust the sourness.

- Veggie Version: This meal can be made vegetarian style also.  Increase the amount of split peas and potato.  Fried eggplant and Fried Tofu can be added in as well.

KooKoo Sabzi

- 1 leek ("tareh farangi")
- 1 bunch Italian parsley ("Jafari")  *not regular parsely
- 1 bunch cilantro ("gishneez")
- 3 eggs (or egg whites)
- 1 teaspoon flour
- Salt/Pepper
- Cooking Oil
- pinch of baking soda
- Optional:  2 Romain lettuce leaves, green onions, spinach, fresh or dry dill
- Super Persian:  add some some crushed walnuts

- Wash and de-stem your greens.  Using a food processor chop up all your greens.  Use the entire leek.
-In a bowl whisk 3 eggs (you can toss out some of the egg yolk or use egg substitute).  Then combine the greens and the egg in the same bowl.  Add some salt/pepper for flavoring and the flour and baking soda.  Garlic or garlic salt can be added also.
- The amount of egg, flour and baking soda can be adjusted to make the meal "poofier"
- Heat a pan with cooking oil on high.  Go ahead and be a bit generous here with the oil.  Add the entire greens into the pan once the oil is nice and hot.  Try to get all the greens in there at once so it cooks evenly.

-  You will see the edges getting crispy. After a few minutes take down heat to a medium.

- Option 1:  Cook one entire side and when ready flip it over and fry the other side. Ttry cutting it in 4's to help flip it without falling apart.

- Option 2:  Healthier version with less oil:  Cook one entire side on stove and then put the pan in the oven.  Cook for 10 min at 320F degrees.  Flip the kookooh (try cutting it in 4's) and bake it for another 10-20min at 250F or until the insides are fully cooked.  Test with a knife or fork.  Be careful not too touch the pan handle and burn yourself.

- Once both sides are cooked you are done.  Kookooh sabzi tastes good both hot and cold.  Its a great meat replacement for vegetarians as well.

- Get Creative:  You can add almost any greens to this meal on top of the base ingredients. Try spring mix, green onions, spinach and nuts.

- Sometimes Italian Parsley is harder to find.  It's okay to make this meal without it, just make sure you have leeks as part of the base.