Happy Valentine's day to all of you. Spread the love!
A surprise Valentine's day snowfall overnight for us today in NC!! A very beautiful white day to start the Valentine's day!:)
I read "Pomegranate Soup" by Marsha Mehran last month which tells the story of three Iranian sisters and their survival in Ireland with a secret from the past which haunts them wherever they move. Book also comes with few popular Persian recipes with their fond memories of them. I decided to make some of the recipes for you which of course enjoyed very much at home by us.
Three young Aminpour sisters flee Iran during the revolutionary era to England. Just when they are settling down in the new country, one of the sister is threatened by her past secret and they flee to Ireland to escape. While there, they start a restaurant cooking Persian delicacies but face hostility,resentment and prejudice by the locals. Just when they are getting comfortable there, their past (Well..you will have to read the book to know what that is!) catches up again. As the time passes, finally they are accepted into the Irish society, youngest sister finds love and all is well in the end!!:)
Pomegranate soup (Aash-e Anar),
Lavash (Nan-e Lavash),
Elephant Ears( Goosh-e Feel).
I am sending this wholesome Pomegranate soup to Meeta from "what's for lunch honey?" for her Monthly Mingle event with the theme of "One-dish dinners" this month. Enjoy all in one dinner Meeta!:)
One pot dishes are a great solution to our busy lives. They are also healthy and less labor intensive, saves lot of time without needing to use more than one pot to wash up later. You have a choice of making soups, stews, Casseroles and Risottos in one pot and if you make a large batch,they are easily freezable for the next time too!!
Pomegranate soup goes to sra from "when soup came alive" to her "AFAM" event as well. She has chosen "Pomegranate" this month to cook and blog about. Thanks sra!:)
The pomegranate fruit is originated from Persia, has been cultivated and widely used in Asia and the Mediterranean region.They are rich in antioxidants.More info is here.
In India and Iran, Pomegranates are called Anar. The most famous and memorable Hindi movie made in India in 1953 is "Anarkali", which means "pomegranate blossom" bestowed for the beauty of a dancing girl in the Mughal court! It's a love story with a tragic ending of a Mughal Prince Jahangir who falls in love with a young beautiful courtesan, which is forbidden by his father Emperor Akbar. On Emperor Akbar's order, she was buried alive as her punishment for falling in love with the prince!!
Pomegranate-Beet soup (Aash-e Anar):
Pomegranate soup is simple and deliciously tangy, all in one meal with very subtle spices. Just adding Pom juice will not give you the bright red color, I added a slice of Beet (not traditional) , chopped finely to the soup which gives that vibrant color. You can use any kind of meat balls or add veg Koftas but lamb koftas are traditionally added to this soup in Iran.
1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil or butter, saute 2 small onions chopped, 2 garlic chopped, until golden. Add washed and drained 1/3 cup Moong dal (yellow split peas), 1/2 cup rice, saute for a minute in oil. Add a slice of Beet, finely chopped to the soup.(You can skip this if you don't have the Beet on hand but soup looks yellowish!)
2. Add 4-5 cups of water or stock, salt, pepper, 1/4 tsp turmeric. Bring it to Boil and then turn down the heat to simmer, cover and cook until rice and dal are half way cooked ie for 30 mins. Add 3 tbsp Parsley, 3 tbsp Cilantro, 2 tbsp mint leaves, 1/4 cup green onions to the pot, mix,cover and simmer again for 15 mins.
3. Meanwhile, mix Lamb or any ground meat with any spices you like or just with little salt, make medium sized round meat balls and drop them into the soup.
4. Add 1 1/2 cups Pomegranate juice, 1/2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp Angelica Powder, (I didn't have this pd) simmer until cooked soft. Adjust the salt and pepper.
5. Garnish with garlic chives and serve with or without Lavash on the side.
Note: Although this recipe doesn't have these, you could add 1 tsp cumin seeds powder, few chili flakes for more taste.
Nan-e Lavash goes to "Flat breads" event hosted by Petra from "Chili and Ciabatta" blog this month, a "bread baking day #7" event started by Zorra from "kochtopf". Thanks for hosting, enjoy the beautiful bread!:)
Lavash, also called Naan-e Lavash in Persia, is a popular bread. You can have this with soups or serve with Kababs. Easy to make, it tastes great right out of the oven. Usually, it is rolled out to a very large rectangle and thin, almost crispy bread. Since I don't have that much of counter space, I made it as big as I can and about 1/4" thick. You can use stand mixer with dough hook to make the dough too to make it easy on you. Enjoy.
Lavash (Nan-e Lavash):
(Cut this recipe into half (ie use 2 cups flour etc) if you want less lavash for your family or you can divide 4 cups flour dough into half and freeze for future use too!)
1. Warm 1/2 cup water until 110F to 115F, add 1 tbsp of quick rising Yeast, 1 tsp sugar,let it foam.
2. In a wide pan, add yeast water, 1/4 cup Olive oil, 1 cup warm milk, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, 2tbsp Sesame seeds, mix.
3. Add in 4 cups plain flour gradually, 1 cup at a time and mix with liquid until you can knead it to a dough. Divide into 4-6 balls, cover and let it rise for 30 mins.
4. Preheat the oven for to 500F. Roll out a ball of dough as thin as you can and into a rough rectangle shape. Place it on a buttered or sprayed baking sheet, brush some water on top, sprinkle some Poppy seeds and bake for 5 mins. As soon as you see the red spots on top, take it out, do not let it burn. Fold and cover it with a fooi to reheat or serve immediately. Repeat with other dough pieces. Your yummy Lavash is ready!!
Elephant ears (Goosh-e Feel):
Here is a fun dessert for the young and the old called Elephant Ears, which refers to the shape of the crisp sweet which looks like Elephant ears! Again, very easy to make and sprinkled with sweet Cinnamon (not Dalchini) and sugar, it's delcious. (Skip egg, use half the recipe to make a few Gooshe Feel, like I did. This following recipe makes quite a large batch!) Here is the recipe as it is given in the book.
Make the sprinkle first:
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 tbsp Cinnamon powder well and keep aside.
1. Beat 1 egg in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup Rose water and 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder. Mix well.
2. Slowly, add in 3 1/2 cups plain flour, knead.Make balls, roll out thin, cut into 5" circle. With your index finger and thumb, pinch the middle of the circle until they touch.
3. Heat oil, fry these until golden. Drain on paper, sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top generously before they cold.
4. Store in an air tight container when cooled.
My kids love Cheese bread! So, as soon as the Lavash came out of the oven, I added Jack cheese on top, sprinkled some steak spices and folded it into half. The heat in the hot Lavash melts the cheese and it's delicious to eat soon after the cheese melts!
I managed to read just one book this week, didn't have much time to spare. Husband and my son were both sick from the dreaded cold Virus going around everywhere these days. Both are okay now, "old girl" and the young girl took care of them well! :D
"Fried Butter" by Abe Opinkar, about his certain memories attached particular food. He says when mom was pregnant with him, she became sensitive to light, so she would draw all the curtains in the house in Summer and start making fried eggs to soothe herself and she tells him the whole house smelled like fried butter when she was carrying him.
He also writes few beautiful paragraphs about Indian Basil and why it's worshiped and how it is used in daily lives of Indians! He once drove 45mins in the storm just to buy the 3 plants of rare Indian Basil (Tulsi Basil as he calls them) from a herb nursery!!:)
He talks about why French do not like to bathe often, the history and the reason behind it, talks about his high school days in Japan and his experiences in Latin America and Israel too. A very enjoyable read.
Movie I watched:
"Immortal Beloved", a movie about the life of composer Ludwig Van Beethoven with his beautiful music. Immortal beloved was a name he had given to a woman he loved and mentioned in his letters he had left behind after he dies but nobody knew who she was but they try to investigate to find her identity! All these geniuses are so eccentric,aren't they?! ;p
Have a wonderful day today and a great weekend!:)