Khagineh - Iranian Sweet Omelette from Sofreh At'ameh - A Qajar Dynasty Cookbook


I recently received a copy of سفره اطعمه Sofreh At'ameh, a delightful cookbook written in 1881 by Mirza Ali Akbar Khan Kashani, the royal head chef to the court of ناصرالدین شاه قاجار  Naser al-Din Shah Qajar (1831-1896), the fourth king of the Qajar dynasty. The French Dr. Joseph Desire Tholozan was the chief physician to the king for more than 30 years. He asked the آشپزباشی ashpazbashi (chef) of the royal court to put together a guide detailing the king's diet, eating habits, and his typical daily menu, in an effort to be able to serve him better. Sofreh At'ameh is filled with bits and pieces of information that gives one a glimpse into the past. This book is a compilation of recipes, ingredients, and virtually everything that was served in the royal palace for breakfast, lunch and dinner including sharbats (sweet drinks), khoresh (stew), ash (soup), polow (rice), moraba (jam), and torshi (pickles).


Naser al-Din Shah Qajar
Joseph DésiréTholozan



There are many timeless recipes in this book that I think most Iranians know by heart as well as new recipes that are definitely worth trying. There are also a few dishes that I had forgotten about and reading this book helped refresh my memory. One of those recipes was خاگینه khagineh. I remember Maman serving a delicious fluffy sweet omelette that could also be eaten as a dessert. Back then I never thought to ask her how she made it and the recipe never made it into my handwritten recipe journal. Yet, when I saw it in the book I knew I had to make it. However, like many old cookbooks most of the recipes in this book lack exact measurements. Therefore, the following is my adaptation of its khagineh recipe. 


Khagineh - Sweet Omelette
Adapted from Sofreh At'ameh 

Ingredients:
Serves 2

3 large eggs
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1-2 tablespoons butter
A little dash of salt *optional

Sugar Syrup

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch ground cardamom
Pinch ground saffron

Method

  1. In a small pot, combine water and sugar, bring water to a boil, over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves completely. Add the cardamom and saffron. Stir well and let simmer  uncovered on low heat for another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk the eggs until smooth.
  3. Add in the flour and mix well.
  4. In a a nonstick skillet heat the butter over medium heat until it has melted. Pour in the egg mixture all at once. Cook over low heat for about 2 minutes or until eggs are almost set but not hard and gently flip the eggs using a thin spatula and cook for another two minutes. Slice the eggs and slowly pour the syrup over the eggs and cook for another minute or until the syrup is fully absorbed. You may use other sweeteners such as honey or grape molasses. 
Transfer onto a platter and serve warm or at room temperature. I added a tiny pinch of dried, crushed rose petals and a little powdered sugar, for dusting.

*Historical Cookbook recipes:

Borani Kangar-Yogurt and Cardoon Dip - A Qajar Era Recipe
Sholeh Maash - Green Mung Bean and Kohlrabi Soup - A Qajar Era Recipe
Ash-e Jo - Barley Soup with Spinach and Cilantro -A Safavid Era Recipe

Enjoy!

Yalda Night Celebration - 2017

شب عاشقان بیدل چه شبی دراز باشد     تو بیا کز اول شب در صبح باز باشد 
~سعدی
شب یلدا Shab-e yalda or شب چله shab-e chelleh (winter solstice) is here. The Iranian celebration of yalda (December 20-21) starts on the eve of the last sunset of the last day of autumn. The yalda festivities proceed into the night and it officially ends at the sight of the first sunrise of the first day of winter. Shab-e yalda is the longest night of the year and it is followed by the shortest day of the year. Then the days start to get longer which marks the victory of light over darkness and the birth of Mithra (the Sun God) according to ancient Persian tradition dating back thousands of years. Today, Yalda celebration centers around family gatherings, Hafez khani (reading the poetry by Hafez of Shiraz), storytelling, music, and eating fruits, nuts and sweets.


Growing up, celebrating shab-e yalda wasn't about preparing an elaborate meal. My mother always had the yalda spread on our dining room table and on it was winter watermelon, pomegranate, پسته pesteh (pistachios),  بادام badam (almonds), برگه زردآلو bargeh zard-aloo (dried apricot), انجیر anjir (figs), and تخمه tokhmeh (seeds). Another Yalda tradition is reading Hafez which was a daily ritual in our home. This was my mother's way of passing on tradition and teaching us the importance of our culture.

!شب یلداتون مبارک
Happy Shab-e Yalda!

Khoresh Gheymeh Kadoo Sabz - Iranian Lamb and Yellow Split Pea Stew with Zucchini


Here's my favorite خورش قیمه کدو سبز khoresh-e gheymeh kadoo sabz: a combination of the delicious and popular khoresh gheymeh and khoresh kadoo. Recently, I posted a picture of this dish on my Instagram and I was asked for the recipe. So I made it again and this time I measured the ingredients instead of eyeballing everything and wrote a new blog post! Traditionally, gheymeh is made with small bite-sized lamb, yellow split peas, limoo amani, fried onion, tomato sauce, and topped with fries. Khoresh kadoo sabz is cooked with cubed lamb, lightly fried kadoo (gray squash/zucchini), fried onion, tomato sauce, and limoo amani (dried limes). Gray squash is lighter in color and more round at the bottom than zucchini. For this recipe you can use gray squash or zucchini or baby zucchini if available.
Baby Zucchini



It's worth mentioning that the word کدو kadoo refers to both summer and winter squash such as  pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini, or gray squash. سبز Sabz means green in Persian/Farsi.

  کدو حلوایی/ کدو تنبل Kadoo Tanbal/Kadoo Halvaie (Pumpkin & Butternut Squash), Kadoo Sabz (Gray Squash & Zucchini)

Gheymeh Kadoo Sabz - Yellow Split Pea Zucchini Stew

Ingredients:
Serves 4-6

1 pound boneless lamb or beef, trimmed and cut into small bite-sized cubes
1 1/2 pounds regular zucchini, peeled and cut lengthwise into thick slices or whole baby zucchini
1 cup yellow split peas
1 large onion, peeled and diced or thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes or 4 small tomatoes, peeled and diced
4-5 limoo amani (dried limes), make 2-3 little holes in each of the dried limes with a fork or a knife
1 cinnamon stick (small)
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper
Pinch of red pepper *optional
Juice of 1 lemon *optional
Vegetable oil or olive oil
Water

Method:

  1. Rinse yellow split peas, place in a pot, add 3 cups of water, add a small stick of cinnamon and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat, cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat or until tender and remove foam as it cooks. Set aside. Remove the cinnamon stick.
  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan. Fry the zucchini until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion, saute until soft and transparent. Add a pinch of salt and the turmeric powder, stir. Add the minced garlic and saute for another couple of minutes.
  4. Add the meat and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and thoroughly brown on all sides.
  5. Spoon in the tomato paste in the center of the pot, cook for 2-3 minutes until the tomato paste changes color.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes, yellow split peas, limoo amani, 1 teaspoon salt, a pinch of red pepper and enough water to cover the stew by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 30 minutes. 
  7. Layer zucchini slices or whole baby zucchini on top of the gheymeh. Add a little more water if needed. Cover and cook for another 30 minutes over low heat until the meat and the peas are fully cooked and the flavors come together. 
  8. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in juice of a lime or lemon if you like.
Serve warm with rice, mast o khiar, salad shirazi and sabzi khordan.

Enjoy!