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My cookbook: "Tehran to New York"

On the Norouz day of 2020 spring, I finally published my book. The manuscript is titled: "Tehran to New York: A culinary bridge between Persian and Western cultures" and aims at presenting a unique blend of classic and contemporary Persian recipes, as well as samples of Western-style cuisine, offered in a Persian context. It is important to build bridges between cultures, and not walls. This book aims at constructing a bridge between the Persian and Western cultures. The book may be ordered here:  

Persian pilaf with barberries, beet, and blood orange

The Persian flavor profile of "barberries, orange zest, and saffron," is the authors most favorite. The presented dish, celebrating such flavor profile, is inspired by a meatball and rice dish my mom used to make. Traditionally, in Iran Barberry Pilaf (i.e. Zereshk-polow) is served with chicken stew. The one-pot pilaf style, however, can be made for simpler and quicker preparations. In traditional versions of this pilaf, meatballs or shredded chicken are layered in between rice and cooked along side its parboiled grains. In the presented version, meatballs are cooked separately and served on top of the cooked rice.
Originally posted a few hours before 2015's Valentine's day, this post was meant to offer a romantic dish to such readers, showcasing red colors for their amusement. Blood oranges and beets were, therefore, added to the typical red ingredients such as barberries and saffron. The result is great; surely executable in any day of the year, other than Valentine's; presentable to anybody, other than your Valentines.     

Turmeric meatballs (recipe follows)
2 cups Basmati or Jasmine rice
1 medium beet, sliced (optional. Only to dye the rice red)
3 blood oranges, juice and zest
3/4 cup barberries
2 TBSP butter
1/2 cup almond or pistachio slivers
Pinch of saffron
Turmeric meatball:
1.1 Pounds (~500 gr) 80/20 ground beef
1 TSP turmeric
2 TBSP granulated onion
2 TBSP caramelized onions
1 TSP salt
1/2 TSP ground black pepper

Parboil and drain the rice following these instructions. For sheer aesthetic reasons, I divided the rice and boiled one of the portions with beet slices, to infuse rice grains with red color. Zest the oranges and mix with half the barberry.
Sauté the barberry/orange mixture in the butter for two minutes. In the meantime, make the meatball mixture by combining all the ingredients.
Remove the barberry mixture from the heat and immediately add the orange juice. The harvested juice should be around one cup. Sprinkle the mixture with saffron.
Mix both the drained rice mixtures. The color enhancement is optional, rice could be parboiled as usual with no beets added.
In a 2~3 Q.t. saucepan, layer the barberry mixture in between rice layers. In a pan, form small meatballs from the meat mixture.
Cook the rice, covered with the cloth wrapped lid, for 30 minutes over low heat. During the first five minutes the heat should be high to generate the steam. Do not uncover the pot during the cooking process, or you will lose the crucial steam.

Cook the meatballs in the hot pan for two to three minutes. Add the pistachio slivers and the other half of barberries and toast in the released juices for one minute. Cover the steamed rice with the mixture and serve.