Have you ever been to Morocco? Then you probably know the local street food Sfenj, pronounced Sfinsch. It is a popular street food in the souks of Morocco and the many Sfenj bakeries. You have probably also seen Moroccans with a Sfenj handbag 😉 For they are tied together with a “ribbon” of palm fronds or a string and sold as a way to carry them. Sfenj is prepared fresh in the morning and served while still warm for breakfast. And it’s enjoyed with Moroccan mint tea or a strong coffee in the afternoon. The best way to eat them is plain, but some also like to roll them in sugar, and others soak them in honey or syrup. I’ve made the recipe for Sfenj Moroccan donuts a few times, and the one I liked best was this version from Atlas Kitchen, which I’m sharing with you today. Be sure to give it a try! Watch Video on Instagram
Sharbat- e Rivas – Persian Rhubarb Lemonade is finest ice-cold lemonade made from rhubarb. Make a delicious rhubarb syrup from fresh rhubarb stalks and sugar first. Pour right before serving, rhubarb syrup over crushed ice in a glass and top it with non-carbonated water, add a little lemon juice and a tiny bit of rose water, and enjoy. In Iran, we have temperatures up to 26 degrees in the spring. When we returned from school in the afternoon, we were welcomed by my grandmother with this refreshing drink, as it is an excellent way to refresh yourself. The spoon clinking against the glass when she filled the syrup with water, rose water, and lemon juice is like music to my ears and brings back sweet childhood memories.
Do you see the jewels glowing in the rice? All ingredients in Javahar Polo – Persian Jeweled Rice, look like gems and make the rice shine. Barberries and pomegranate seeds shine like rubies, pistachios glow as emeralds, saffron rice, carrots shine like gold, and almonds like pearls. Be sure to try the recipe, a 1001 Night’s Dream.
Kisir – Turkish Bulgur Salad is one of my favorite salads from Turkish cuisine. Bulgur salad is delicious, healthy, and easy to prepare. It’s a savory vegan salad with a nutty flavor due to the bulgur. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and green onions add a fresh touch. The dressing of pomegranate molasses, parsley, mint, lemon, and olive oil adds a lovely juicy touch. Paprika paste, pul biber, salt and pepper add spice. My favorite way to eat Kisir is in lettuce. Take a tablespoon of Kisir and place it in the middle of a lettuce leave and roll it up to form a wrap. It is an explosion of flavor on your palate. Try it out for sure!
Nan-e Barbari is a Persian flatbread, usually 70 – 80 cm long, and tastes best fresh from the oven. It is most baked and sold in Iran. The bread is very similar to the Turkish flatbread, but not quite so thick and round but thin and oval. If you plan a trip to Iran, you should visit a Noonvai – a persian bakery. The bread is baked in the morning, at noon and in the evening ,fresh and in front of your eyes. Each bakery is specialized in one type of bread and bakes it in a stone oven. In Iran, we have four different types of breads baked in stone ovens, for example Nan-e Sangak is from rye flour and is baked on pebbles, Nan-e Lavash is wafer-thin patties made from wheat flour without yeast, and Nan-e Taftoon is from whole wheat flour.
A birthday with the beloved retro classic Cold Dog was a must-have in my childhood. So who else has nostalgic feelings and childhood memories with this recipe? The Retro Food tastes great and is easy peasy to prepare. The preparation alone is a lot of fun, melt chocolate with coconut oil and cream, layer between crunchy butter cookies and cover with more chocolate. So where are the chocolate fans? Today, I present the cold dog cake yet in a modern version – Mini Triple Chocolate Cold Dog Cake. We have even in Iran a similar version of the Cold Dog we call Cake Yakhchali, which means fridge cake. The Persian version is quite different soft, and even more tender-melting on the tongue.
Eid Mobarak! Today is Eid al Fitr and Reshteh Khoshkar is a crispy sweet specialty from Gilan in northern Iran, which is prepared for the sugar feast. The dough (Reshteh) is traditionally prepared from rice flour with water and filled with a mixture (Khoshkar) of walnuts, cinnamon, cardamom, and powdered sugar. The tricky part of these pastries is not the folding- method but the piping method. The dough is poured into a mold, then piped into a pan in a mesh pattern. The folding method is easy with this pastry, form them into packets and press the sides firmly. This dessert has warm properties and is very popular for preparation during Ramadan. Ramadan is this year from 22.03 to 21.04.23 and ends with a big celebration, namely Eid also known as Eid-al-Fitr. The homemade Reshteh Khoshkar – Gluten Free Sweet Pastries رشته خوشکار can be enjoyed not only during Ramadan, meantime they are available all year round.
Vavishka is a quick and easy Persian skillet dish, a speciality from Gilan at the Caspian Sea. In Gilan it is called “Vavij” or “Vabij” which means steaming. There are various versions of Vavishka. I prepared Vavishka from minced meat, onions, tomatoes, and seasoned it with turmeric, lemon juice, Advieh – a Persian spice blend and topped it with eggs. The unique flavor of this dish is the spice blend Advieh – the jewel among the spices of the Persian cuisine. It gives the dish a warm, sweet floral flavor. If you don’t have Advieh use these ingredients: 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp mixed cardamom, 1 tsp rose petal powder, 1/2 tsp mixed saffron, 1/2 tsp mixed coriander, 1 tsp dried lime powder and some nutmeg. Vary the ingredients according to your own taste. It goes best with Nan-e Barbari – Persian flatbread, Nan-e Taftoon – Persian pan-fried Nan bread, Salad Shirazi – Persian tomato and cucumber salad and Sabzi Khordan – Persian herb platter, Sir Torsi – pickled garlic, Torshi – pickled vegetables or …
Valak Kuku is a delicious quick pan-fried egg dish blended with tasty wild garlic, eggs, crunchy walnuts, and tart barberries. Spices like coriander, cinnamon, and turmeric add this irresistible sweet and sour flavor. I soak the walnuts and barberries in boiling water, which gives the walnuts a nice fresh touch and makes them less floury, so try it out. For Sabzi Khordan – a Persian herb dish, I also soak the walnuts and enjoy the fresh taste. Do you want to learn more about wild garlic? I have posted about it here.
Finally, it’s wild garlic time, and you can only find it on the market a few weeks of the year, so I prepared several Persian recipes with wild garlic. I made Valak Polo today, a traditional Persian Rice Dish with Wild Garlic, Sumac, and Saffron. We serve Chicken or meatballs with this dish in Iran. I prefer to fish with Valak Polo, so I made it with salmon in a lemony marinade. The marinade is to die for and consists of rose petals, ground dried lime, bay leaves, sumac, cinnamon, grated zest of a lemon, lemon juice, and lemon pepper tossed in olive oil. Salmon tastes best when you marinate it for about 2 hours. If you like wild garlic, you might also like my creamy One Pot Past with green asparagus and wild garlic, as I also show you the place near my home where wild garlic grows. Watch Video on Instagram (Wild Garlic Rice Preparation) Watch Video on Instagram (Marinated Salmon Preparation)