Eggplant Kuku with Cauliflower Puree | Egg-free Eggplant Kuku

Kuku , sort of like a Persian omelette or frittata, comes in many forms. I love this one that I make at home without eggs. Because it doesn’t have eggs I tend to make it looser than a frittata but it can be cooked more omelette-like and I include instructions below.  It is packed with herbs, and I love the tart barberries with the crunch of the walnuts.

Kuku is traditionally served with flatbread, crunchy items like radishes, acidic pickles and feta. Today I have served it on a Cauliflower Puree as well. It is a great mezze dish.

The inspiration for this dish originally came from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. But as his is an egg-based dish, we have made significant alterations. It is delicious, though, retaining the original flavours of barberries and herbs. I like that Ottolenghi’s version is a “wet version” – it sort of justifies my take on this dish. His recipe is here.

Similar recipes include Three Cheese Eggplant Bake, Eggplant Pahi, Smoky Eggplant with Coriander, and Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce.

Browse all our Eggplant dishes, Iranian recipes and Ottolenghi dishes.

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Persian Love Tea | Saffron Tea

Years ago, on my first trip to India, I had the most beautiful tea of Saffron and spices. I still make that often, but it is also very nice to pare the tea back and make an infusion with only saffron, or with saffron and rose buds. It is an amazingly relaxing tea which can be consumed hot or chilled.

While this is commonly called a Persian recipe it is also found all through India which is not surprising given the attention to spices in that sub continent. We prefer saffron from Saffron Only – it is excellent quality with long threads. (I love this saffron, and do not receive any remuneration for mentioning them.)

Similar recipes include Saffron Rasayana for the Weary, Saffron Spice Tea, Ginger Cooler, and Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea.

Browse all of our Chai recipes and Herbal Teas. Explore all of our Drinks. Our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials here. Or explore our Early Summer dishes.

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Herb and Walnut Fritters

These Iranian fritters are herbaceous and delicious. They are a perfect snack at afternoon tea time, or make a great lunch with flatbreads and fresh salads.

We make our herby fritters with a chickpea flour base rather than eggs. With a little eno or baking soda for aeration, it is the perfect replacement for eggs in this type of recipe.The inspiration was Ottolenghi’s dish in his book Simple. They are very easy to make and utterly delicious. These fritters are a bit of a fridge raid – use whatever soft herbs you have to hand.

Similar recipes include Rosti with Goat’s Cheese and Chives, Spinach Fritters, Vegetable Fritters, and Chickpea Flour Fritters and Pancakes.

Browse all of our Fritters and all of our recipes from Simple. Or explore all of our Mid Summer recipes.

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Persian Stew with Winter Vegetables

I remember when the Ottolenghi books first came out, there was some excitement (at least in this household) about the dried Iranian limes. They were difficult to find, but finally I tracked some down. I can’t recall where I found them at last, probably at a shop that had an extensive rack of spices.

These days, they are much more common (thank you, Ottolenghi), and I discovered that there are both black dried limes and the lighter coloured, beige dried limes. The dried limes impart a citrusy, smoky flavour with a slight tang to food, lifting them from ordinariness to something spicy and tangy. The flavour is bright and limey while also being earthy, funky and grounding. The black limes are slightly more smoky in flavour than the lighter coloured ones.

One of the recipes I would look at longingly in those days was the Iranian Stew, and yet, all these years later, I had not made it. Until today. And it is quite amazing. The vegetables are simmered in a broth of tomatoes, onions, herbs and dried limes, before being baked with barberries in the oven. It produces an amazing plate of vegetables with a thickened sauce and an amazing, bright, citrusy flavour.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area. In this case, track down those dried limes in Middle Eastern shops or purchase online if your local providore does not stock them.

It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Sautéed Butternut and Spinach with Roasted Mushrooms and Roasted Garlic, Braised Tomatoes with Herbs, Sesame Potatoes, Vegetables with Indian Flavours, Dried Lime Tea, and Persian Tea with Rose Flowers, Lime and Persian Borage.

Browse all of our Stews and all of our Dried Lime dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Persian Noodles with Eggplant, Saffron and Kashk

It is interesting how Italy dominates the pasta world when noodles of all sorts are found all over the world, from Israel through Italy, around the Middle East, through India and Asia and up to Japan. Similarly with pizza, where many countries top their flat leavened and unleavened breads with a whole range of ingredients.

So let’s continue to celebrate noodles world wide with this dish from Iran. It is topped with roasted eggplants that are then cooked with garlic and spices, and a tangy yoghurt and creme fraiche mixture, and a mint oil. Perfectly delicious.

It is an Ottolenghi recipe, from his book  Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area or in our kitchen. For this dish we stuck pretty close to the recipe.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cook the Booksday on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note again that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Noodles with Spring Onions and Edamame, Soba Noodle Salad with Cucumber and Sesame Seed, Chickpea and Butter Bean Soup with Reshteh Noodles, Glass Noodles with Spinach, and Japanese Noodles in Broth with Tofu.

Browse all of our Noodle recipes, our Pasta dishes, and our Eggplant dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Saffron, a Special Spice

Saffron is indigenous to India and Iran. It is formed from the whole, orange-red dried saffron threads, the stigma of the autumn crocus, crocus sativus. Look for a reliable supplier of saffron, as it is very expensive, and there can be a great deal of adulteration. Luckily it is so potent that it is used in only small amounts, especially to enhance the taste of desserts and rice dishes.

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Yazarf Sabzi | Iranian Bowl of Herbs

Another amazing dish from The Archives. This traditional beginning to a meal is very special.

This is another traditional dish that I love very much. It’s a traditional beginning to a meal and is very special.  The Caucasians and Iranians, particularly the latter, have a beautiful custom of offering fresh herbs and vegetables with cheese at the beginning of the meal. Adopt this habit for your own…. Not only is it healthy, starting your digestive fires, it is yummy as well.

Note the name of the dish – Sabzi – literally means “herbs”. Quite like the Indian word Subzi or Subji, meaning vegetables.

Feel free to browse recipes from our Retro Recipes series. You might also like our Middle Eastern recipes here. Or you might like to browse Salad recipes. Check out our easy Summer recipes here.

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