Salad-e Khiar-o Anar | Cucumber Pomegranate Salad

Since discovering golpar, I have been looking at ways to use it. This lovely salad has its origin in a book by Najmieh Batmanglij, New Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking. It is quite a terrific salad, with the flavour bursts of pomegranate kernels, the tang of the lime, golpar and salt, the freshness of mint and the cooling taste of the cucumber. It is a remarkable mix of flavours and is totally gorgeous. It would make a great Xmas Salad with those lovely colours.

Golpar is the powder made from the seeds of Iranian Hogweed, and you can read more about it here. Pick up some of the powder or the seeds at a Middle Eastern or Afghan grocery. If you can only find the seeds, grind them to a powder in a spice grinder.

Similar recipes include Salted Cucumber Salad, Pomegranate Salsa, Tomato and Pomegranate Salad, and Golpar Namak.

Browse all of our Cucumber recipes, our Pomegranate recipes and our Salads (lots of them). If you are just looking for Cucumber Salads, they are here. Or explore all of our Early Summer dishes.

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Persian Saffron Rice

Saffron rice – it’s a classic of the Middle East, and one that is so gorgeous. This is a simple recipe that gives 2 colours to the rice. Always use good saffron – nice long threads with an earthy and sweet aroma.

Serve with any Middle Eastern or even Indian dish. You will love it.

Are you wanting other ways to use saffron? Try crushing a tiny piece of saffron into a glass of champagne or sparkling apple cider, turning the drink into a golden elixir. And coffee spiced with saffron and cardamom is a wonderful, soothing drink. Try our Saffron and Spices Tea – relaxing and amazing.

Similar recipes include How to Cook Buttery Steamed Rice, How to Cook Rice with the Absorption Method, and Simple Oven Finished Rice.

Saffron dishes include Saffron Mograbieh with Broad Beans, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, and Dates and Saffron Soaked in Spiced Ghee.

Browse all of our Rice dishes, all of our Saffron dishes, and all of our Persian recipes. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Early Summer 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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Persian Barberry Saffron Rice with Almonds and Pistachios

We are so in love with our long stranded saffron from Saffron Only. With our delivery we also received several recipe cards including the recipe for this rice dish which has also been mentioned by an Irani work colleague. As beautiful soft barberries are available at the local Afghan shop, the recipe was added to our must-cook list.

The recipe simmers long grained rice until al dente, then steams it on a bed of potatoes or pita bread (optional) until the bottom is crispy and the rice is perfectly cooked. It is then served with saffron water, the toasted barberries, almonds and pistachios.

Berberis, commonly known as barberry, is a large shrub that has yellow flowers and red or blue-black berries. The berries, rich in vitamin C, have a distinct sharp acid flavour. The country in which they are used the most is Iran where they are used in rice pilafs.. Due to their inherent sour flavor, they are often cooked with sugar before being added to rice. Iranian markets sell barberry dried. In Russia they are sometimes used in jams and extract from them is a common flavouring for soft drinks and candies/sweets. They are rarely used in Europe in modern times. (Thanks wikipedia.)

I notice that Ottolenghi has a similar recipe on his website. I mention it only as we have an Ottolenghi Project happening, cooking from his book Plenty More. You can check his recipe out, but I like this one better. 🙂

Barberries are also such a beautiful colour that they make a great garnish to any rice dish or salad.

Similar recipes include Couscous and Chickpea Pilaf, Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, and Golden Saffron Tea.

Browse all of our Saffron dishes and all of our Persian recipes. Our Middle Eastern dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.
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Broad Bean and Dill Rice

Sometimes we just need to throw something together quickly. This is your recipe for a rice side dish, or a snack if you will – ideal for Spring time when young broad beans are around, or at other times using frozen, peeled broad beans from your Middle Eastern of Afghani Grocer. Grab your dill from there too – they have simply the best, largest, freshest bunches of dill, far better than the limp branch or two we get from Supermarkets. (If you buy your frozen broad beans from the supermarket, it is likely that you will have to peel the individual beans once they are blanched. The ones from a Middle Eastern shop will save you quite a bit of time.)

Similar dishes include Red Rice in Tomato Juice, Tomato Rice, Black Pepper and Cumin Rice, Persian Barberry Saffron Rice, Saffron, Date and Almond Rice, Kosheri, and Zucchini Rice.

Browse all of our Rice dishes and all of our Middle Eastern recipes. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Thick Thick Yoghurt with Zaatar, Walnuts and Olive Oil | Labneh with Walnuts and Zaatar

While others may call drained yoghurt as Labneh, I have always made it myself and began calling it Thick Thick Yoghurt all those years ago, before I had ever heard of Labneh and before labneh became trendy.

It is a versatile product that can be used in a multitude of savoury and sweet ways. Salt it and add spices to use as a spread, dip, dressing or filling. Serve with wedges of toasted pita bread. Sweeten it a little (or not) and use it with fruits, jam, on scones, on toast and jam and it is a great alternative to cream.

Countries from India through the Middle East and into the Mediterranean make and use thick thick yoghurt. This dish is one that uses golpar, that tangy, slightly tart powder made from Persian hogweed. Speaking in terms of traditional medicine, the use of golpar with yoghurt counteracts the cold property of yoghurt. You can buy it from Middle Eastern, Afghan and some Asian groceries. You can substitute some grated lemon rind – it is a different flavour but will still be very very good.

Use this as a mezze dish, a dip, with tomatoes and cucumbers (and radishes), a spread in a sandwich or wrap, slavered over baked vegetables, in place of sour cream.

To get you started, this is how you make Thick Thick Yoghurt. And read more about Golpar.

Similar dishes include Orange and Pecan Cream Cheese, Yoghurt and Kaffir Lime Spread, Ways to Use Thick Thick Yoghurt, Salty, Garlicky Thick Thick Yoghurt, and Blueberry Shrikand.

Browse all Thick Thick Yoghurt dishes and our Dips and Spreads. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Golpar Namak

Persian Hogwood seeds, ground into a powder called Golpar, makes an interesting spice – slightly bitter, earthy, woody.  You will find it quite aromatic too. It is used a lot in Middle East countries, and you can buy the seeds Middle Eastern or Afghan grocers. You might be able to buy the powder, but I can only get the seeds and grind them myself.

I got chatting to a gentleman in the local Afghan shop, and he says that Golpar is known and commonly used in Eastern European countries too. It is sometimes called Angelica seeds, but that is incorrect.

Golpar Namak is the powder mixed with salt. It is a great seasoning, useful for almost anything, and especially good with beans, grains, rice and lentils. Try it sprinkled over cucumbers and pomegranates. If you can find sour plums, use it with them too. Put some in your preserves and chutneys.

Read more about Golpar here.

Browse all of our recipes using Golpar, and all of our Middle Eastern recipes. Or try our Early Summer recipes.

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Fragrant Persian Rosebud and Borage Flower Tea

Persian food is pretty extraordinary, and one of the more unusual ingredients that features in it is the Dried Persian Borage Flower. This is different to the European Borage flower which is quite tiny compared to the Persian one. Beginning life as a pink flower, it turns blue as it dries. It has such a relaxing quality, that making tea from it is a perfect evening task.

You can find Persian Borage Flowers online, at Persian shops or at Afghan shops. I found mine recently at a local Afghan shop. Also close to the Borage Flowers you will see the Persian Dried Rosebuds. I like these better than the Chinese ones as the Chinese ones currently available have had a strange colour and no flavour or aroma (I think they are dyed). The Persian ones are so fragrant and a natural pink in colour.

While you are at the Afghan or Middle Eastern shop, pick up Dried Limes as well – they will be near the spice section. Intensely lemony, they feature often in Persian and Middle Eastern food, and we put some in this tea. They come in black and yellow-brown colours. Either will do. I love the look of the black ones and the slight smoky flavour they add.

Also near the dried ingredients you will find Dried Mint. You will need a pack of this as well. Also pick up coriander seeds, saffron and cinnamon sticks if you don’t have any at home. And for a treat, grab a packet of nabāt, crystalised rock sugar on sticks. It is a beautiful sweetener with a lovely clear flavour, without any taste of caramel.

You might like to try our other teas made from herbs and spices. Try Cardamon, Cinnamon and Clove Tea, Mint and Lemon Verbena Tea, or Balinese Lemongrass and Ginger Tea.

You will find all our our Teas here, or just browse our Late Summer recipes.

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Dried Lime Tea | Chai Noomi Basra

A popular Iraqi tea, it is said to be good for the digestion.

This is a popular Iraqi tea made with dried limes. It is said to be good for the digestion including stomach aches. Dried limes are popular in Middle Eastern and Israeli dishes and can be found in Middle Eastern groceries or herb specialist shops.

Are you looking for teas? You will love Cumquat Tea, Fragrant Persian Rose Bud and Borage Flower TeaCumin, Coriander and Ginger Tea and Lemon Verbena and Lavender Tea.

Please feel free to browse all of our Tea and Infusion recipes. All of our Middle Eastern recipes are here. Or get inspiration by exploring our  Early Spring recipes.

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Saffron and Rosewater Scented Aubergine | Persian Style Eggplant

This beautiful recipe of eggplants stewed in a jammy tomato sauce flavoured with saffron and rosewater is testament to the versatility of this exquisite vegetable.

Aubergines! No one cooks them better than Italians, Indians and Middle Eastern cuisines. This beautiful recipe of eggplants stewed in a jammy tomato sauce flavoured with saffron and rosewater is testament to the versatility of this exquisite vegetable.

This recipe has a wonderful mix of spices including saffron and the sprinkling of rosewater gives it a wonderful Middle Eastern ambiance. The house smells amazing as the aubergines cooks gently in this scented tomato base.

Are you looking for more Eggplant dishes? Read more about Eggplants, and try Babaganoush, Eggplant and Zucchini with a Chickpea and Harissa Sauce, and Marinated Eggplant.

Or Middle Eastern dishes? You might also like Turkish Red Lentil Soup, Beetroot with Yoghurt Tahini Dressing and Za’atar, and Eggplants with Sultanas and Pinenuts.

Also try Saffron, Dates and Almond Rice, Golden Saffron Spiced Tea, and Dates and Saffron Soaked in Spiced Ghee.

Browse all of our dozens of Eggplant dishes, our Middle Eastern dishes and Persian dishes. Or simply explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

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