Oct 26

This was my very first attempt at making Haleem Bademjoon (a delicious eggplant Persian recipe) :) I used ground beef for my recipe, but many people use lamb or beef that they cook and then mash up. I will try that at another time, but this time I tried to go the easier route and use ground beef to simplify the cooking.

Haleem bademjoon

Haleem bademjoon

Ingredients:
2 large eggplants
approximately 1 lb ground beef
1 cup kashk — found typically in a Persian (Iranian) Grocery store, or some Middle Eastern store)
2 medium onions
2 tablespoons dry mint
oil
salt/pepper
turmeric
250 grams lentils

Directions:
Chop the onions up and fry in oil in a pot. Once the onions start turning a golden brown color take out about half and place aside for later use. Add the ground beef and lentils to the remaining onions in the pot and stir. Add turmeric, salt, and pepper and continue stirring. Add 1-2 cups of water and cover with a lid and allow the meat to cook for 40 to 50 minutes on medium heat. If it starts to dry up you can add a little more water.

Haleem Bademjoon

Haleem Bademjoon

Peel the eggplants and chop them up length wise. Add salt to the eggplants and in a frying pan heat up oil on medium-high heat. Fry the eggplants on both sides until golden. Once all the eggplants pieces are fried you want to throw them in a food processor or mash them up some other way. Then add the mashed mixture to the meat mixture and stir in and mash everything together. Add a cup of water if there is not enough water and the mixture seems too dry. You want to cook over a medium-low heat for at least an hour and stir occasionally until no water is left. Halfway through I took half of the mixture and poured it into my blender to puree and get a smoother mixture. You may want to leave the lid off the pot to make sure the water evaporates. Keep in mind that after you allow the Haleem Bademjoon to cool down it will thicken as well. Once the Haleem Bademjoon is cooked remove the mix from the heat and add the kashk. Mix the contents well and then pour into a serving dish.

Fry the onions you put aside a bit more until a darker golden brown (piaz dagh–fried onion). Fry the dry mint in oil as well. Sprinkle the fried onions and fried mint over the Haleem Bademjoon in the serving dish and you are done! Serve with bread :)

Note: Be careful with the amount of water you use, especially if you are going to puree the mixture it may take a lot longer for all the water to evaporate. I ran into this problem and had to let it cook for a long time just to get most of the water to evaporate.

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Sep 15

This is a dish that is somewhat similar to Tahchine Morgh, but yet it is different! :) I actually call it Shirazi Polo ghalebi because I make it in a round oven safe dish (Pyrex).

Shirazi Polo Ghalebi

Shirazi Polo Ghalebi

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts (you can also use thighs, or a combination)- cut the chicken up in pieces
1 medium onion- chopped up
3 cups rice
2 small eggplants or 1 medium eggplant
1 cup yogurt
oil (or melted butter)
2 egg yolks
1 cup zereshk (barberries) – Found in Persian or Middle Eastern stores
Sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons liquid saffron
salt/ pepper
turmeric

Directions:
Wash rice, and soak in water. Add salt to the water as well.

In a frying pan or pot (has to have lid) place some oil and add the onions. Once the onions are tender add the chicken pieces and stir. Add salt, pepper, and turmeric. Add half a cup or a little more water to the chicken and cover. Allow to cook on med-low to med heat for approximately 30-40 minutes. Set the chicken pieces aside, and keep the chicken stock (strain the broth to remove onions).

Cut up the eggplant into circles and fry in oil. Keep on a high heat when sauteing since eggplants do soak up oil on lower temperatures. Place a paper towel on a dish and place the eggplant pieces on it when done.

Wash the zereshk after cleaning them (make sure you clean because stones may be mixed in the packaging). Place them in a small pot and add a spoon or two of oil. Add a bit of saffron and if you desire some sugar to the zereshk. Allow it to cook on a low or med-low temperature for a few minutes. Make sure you do not over cook the barberries, and turn the heat off once they are prepared. Place water in a pot to cook rice. When the water boils add the rice after pouring out the water it was soaking in. Once the pot begins boiling again, pour the rice into a strainer.

In a large bowl mix together the yogurt, some oil, a little bit of the chicken stock, egg yolks, liquid saffron, and some salt. Using a large cooking spoon (kafgir), spoon rice into this bowl (fill the cooking spoon with rice two times). Mix the rice in with everything else in the bowl.

Grease your round oven safe dish/Pyrex with oil and then take two tables spoons of the mixture and spread it around the dish to cover the bottom and sides. Then pour the rest of the mixture into the bottom of the dish. Pour some more rice into the Pyrex, add the eggplant pieces, then add the chicken pieces over that, and finally pour some of the zereshk (barberries) on the chicken. Keep the rest of the zereshk for later. Spoon the remaining rice into the dish to cover everything. Gently press down once everything is in the dish. Add a spoon of oil to the chicken stock saved earlier and pour this all over the contents in the Pyrex. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350° or 375° (degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 1/2 – 2 hours (one and a half to two hours). This way the crust will be crispy and golden brown in color.

When you take it out of the oven to serve, you may need to wait a few minutes before placing a platter on top of the Pyrex and then inverting the contents. Sometimes if enough oil was not used to grease the pan it will be stuck. Once that is done pour the remaining zereshk (barberries) over the upside down rice and serve.

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