Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yoghurt

Eggplant and Yoghurt is very common, even eggplant and saffron yoghurt is not unusual. Ottolenghi has his version in his first cookbook, Ottolenghi. This book is still one of my favourites, given to me as a gift when I was spending a couple of months in London. Lucky for me I was so very close to Islington, and so Ottolenghi’s became my usual haunt. This was long before anyone in Australia had heard of him. So this book brings back many joyful memories.

As usual, I feel free to massage his recipes to suit my preferences at the time and the availability of ingredients. Today I had a deep sticky sauce that I had made sitting on the kitchen bench, so the eggplant slices got smeared in this before roasting. You don’t need to do that, though. This recipe is actually very very simple to make (Yay!) and it is perfect for evening suppers. It doesn’t seem that it has appeared in the Guardian column, so you will need to check his books if you want to check the original.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Kuku with Cauliflower Puree, Noodles with Fried Eggplant, Eggplant in Spicy Tomato Sauce, and Cheesy Baked Eggplants.

Browse all of the recipes from Ottolenghi, and all of our Eggplant dishes. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Roasted Eggplant with Saffron Yoghurt”

Crispy Couscous and Saffron Cakes

What a beautiful dish! Couscous is soaked with saffron and mixed with barberries and feta to form wonderful patties that are cooked until crisp and utterly delicious. They have an addictive flavour of mint and saffron. You will love them.

The patties are quite easy to make – relatively easy for an Ottolenghi recipe. The couscous is soaked, the barberries infused, the mixture made and the patties cooked.

Couscous is the tiny hand-rolled semolina pasta of North Africa that immigrants introduced to Israel and the Middle East. Semolina is made from the first milling of the heart of the durum wheat kernel, and so is halfway between wheat and flour.

These patties have a sweet and salty edge which make them very popular. It is the rice flour and yoghurt that makes them crispy.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. 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. We have modified this recipe to eliminate the eggs.

Similar dishes include Broad Bean Burgers, Falafel, and Vegetable Cutlets.

Browse all of our Couscous dishes and all of our Patty recipes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

Continue reading “Crispy Couscous and Saffron Cakes”

Saffron and Cardamom Pilaf

Rice. Such an essential food around the world, particularly in the countries from the Middle East to India, around to Indonesia, then up through South East Asia, through China, Korea and Japan. Then if you pop through many island countries and parts of Africa, more rice dishes can be found. So many delicious ways with rice.

This is a pilaf flavoured only with saffron and cardamom. Subtle and delicious, with the sweetness of sauteed onions.

Similar recipes include Tomato Rice, Okra and Coconut Rice, and Black Cumin and Pepper Rice.

Browse all of our Rice recipes and all of our Pilafs. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Saffron and Cardamom Pilaf”

Saffron Rasayana for the Weary

Are you weary? Stressed? In need of some relaxation? I have a rasayana for you – saffron in milk with honey and ghee. Amazingly, this drink relaxes and destresses. You feel your breath ease and deepen and worries vanish.

The art and science of rasayana is about lengthening the lifespan, and individual rasayana recipes can be considered as tonics or something that enhances well being. Rasayanas not only include food but behaviours and practices.

This is a very precious recipe.

Similar recipes include Dates and Saffron in Ghee, Dates Milk to fight Fatigue, and Saffron, Date and Almond Rice.

Browse our Rasayanas and Ayurvedic recipes. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Saffron Rasayana for the Weary”

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.

Continue reading “Persian Saffron Rice”

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.

Continue reading “Persian Love Tea | Saffron Tea”

Grilled Zucchini and Fennel with Saffron Crumbs

Grilled vegetables are commonly used in our kitchen to make simple and quick salads. Veggies are sliced thinly or cut into chunks and then grilled, usually on the BBQ, or inside on a ridged grill pan. Simply dressed with olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt, they make a flavoursome salad or side dish.

So trust Ottolenghi to take grilled vegetables to the next level by adding “crumbs” or croutons that have been soaked in saffron water then fried with garlic. These are scattered over grilled vegetables for a salad that has visual impact and tastes delicious. The crumbs have many uses, so make them in bulk and use them often.

The vegetables that Ottolenghi uses in this dish are zucchini and fennel, but don’t restrict yourself to this combination. Also, try scattering the crumbs over roasted vegetables too. And onto soups in place of croutons. My goodness, they are good.

The fried saffron crumbs in this add colour and a luxurious crunch to an otherwise simple looking dish. Make more than you need, and omit the garlic – they’ll keep in an airtight jar for a week or so.

The recipe comes 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 fact, 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 dishes include Zucchini Carpaccio with ParmesanFennel with Almonds and Raisins, Beautiful Fennel Puree, Marinated Zucchini, Zucchini in Oil with Mint, Chilli and Garlic, and Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella.

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

Continue reading “Grilled Zucchini and Fennel with Saffron Crumbs”

Soupa de Habas | Mexican Fava Bean Soup with Saffron

Recently we made a Mexican dried fava bean soup, full of chilli, garlic and herbs, and very delicious. Today’s Fava Bean soup, also from Mexico, is full of garlic, chilli, cumin and saffron, and really is very good. I think it has become my second favourite fava bean soup. We have a larder full of all sorts of dried broad beans this year, so it definitely will be a broad bean Winter!

The secret of this soup is a recado – a flavoursome and aromatic puree of tomatoes, garlic and onions that is fried off and used as a soup base.

Fava bean soups generally fall into two categories – the style that features the texture and flavour of the beans, and the style that uses the creaminess of the beans as a base for other flavours. Both are wonderful winter soups, and the Mexican style falls into the last category.

Similar dishes include Fava Bean Soup with Roast Garlic, Mint and Coriander, Fava Bean Soup with Potatoes, Fava Bean Soup or Dip with Herbs, and Fava Bean Soup with Turmeric and Herbs.

Browse all of our Fava Bean dishes, and all of our Soups. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

Continue reading “Soupa de Habas | Mexican Fava Bean Soup with Saffron”

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.
Continue reading “Persian Barberry Saffron Rice with Almonds and Pistachios”

Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans | Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Broad Beans

Mograbieh is a large couscous/pasta in the shape of pearls. Similar products are known by various names – Ptitim, Israeli Couscous, Jerusalem Couscous, Pearl Couscous, Ben-Gurion rice, Maftoul, Lebanese Couscous, Giant Couscous, and more. It is also similar to the Kabyle Abazine and the Sardinian Fregula.

Although they can be used interchangeably, technically speaking, there are some differences between the products of different countries. Some are an extruded pasta, similar to Italian orzo, made with semolina and flour which is toasted to dry. This one has a nuttier flavour than normal couscous. One type is Ptitim, or Israeli Couscous, is a type of toasted pasta and shaped either like rice-grains or little balls and was developed in Israel in the 1950s when rice was scarce.

Others, like Mograbieh (Lebanese) and Maftoul (Palestinian), are rolled and dried large couscous pearls about the size of tapioca pearls, and when cooked they have a chewy buttery flavour and are larger than Israeli Couscous. These starchy pasta balls swell and become soft and chewy when cooked and are fantastic at absorbing the flavours of the dish they are cooked in.

Sadly, the globalisation of food has meant that differences get smoothed over, and names get mixed, or all the variations merge into one product. Locally, for a long time I was only able to find the extruded pasta type, but more recently a local Afghan shop stocks the best Mograbieh. The pics show the extruded type – I will update when I make this dish again.

For this recipe, a celebration of Spring, use any of these types, cook it with saffron and add broad beans and chilli. You can even use Italian orzo pasta or risoni if you wish.

Are you perhaps after Broad Bean recipes? Try Saffron and Cardamom Pilaf, Couscous and Chickpea Pilaf, French Braised Lettuce, Peas and Broad Beans, Fava Bean Puree with Dill, Glorious Five Bean Salad, and Tawa Broad Beans.

Also try our Saffron Couscous with Apricots and Pumpkin, Burnt Eggplant and Mograbieh Soup, Mograbieh and Artichoke Pilaf, and Freekeh Pilaf with Herbs and Yoghurt Dressing.

You might like to browse our Middle Eastern recipes, our Israeli recipes and our Orzo recipes. Enjoy all of our Late Spring recipes here.

Continue reading “Saffron Mograbieh Pilaf with Broad Beans | Israeli Couscous Pilaf with Broad Beans”