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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:  

Pumpkin-spiced butternut squash, yogurt, and spinach pilaf

This pilaf is a cultural juxtaposition of a Caspian style butternut squash pilaf and the Western autumn-time favorite pumpkin-spiced seasoning. The original vegetarian Caspian pilaf does not contain yogurt and spinach, has a different spice profile, and is usually served with fried eggs.  Likewise, the presented pilaf can be served with fried eggs and as an excellent and nutritious dish. It can also be a side to grilled meats and vegetables or be served with seafood.  

14.1 Oz (~400 gr) butternut squash, cut to fine cubed
2 TBSP vegetable oil*
TBSP sugar (optional)**
2½ TSP salt
1 Inch (~2.5 cm) ginger root, grated
½ TSP allspice
¼ TSP cinnamon
¼ TSP mace (or ⅛ TSP nutmeg)
Pinch of saffron (optional)
1 TBSP red wine vinegar (or apple cider)
1 TBSP hot sauce of choice (I used Sriracha)
2 cups Jasmine, long grain, or Basmati rice
3 cups water***
7.05 Oz (~200 gr) 5% Greek yogurt
7.05 Oz (~200 gr) spinach leaves
* double the amount, if you prefer to use fat-free yogurt
** depending on your taste and the sugar content of the squash
*** reduce to 2½ cup in the case of Jasmine rice

To a large skillet, set on medium heat, add the squash cubes, sugar, salt, and oil. Sauté until the squash cubes are soft and lightly caramelized. Add the ginger and sauté for a minute. Add the spices and toast in the oil for 30 seconds. Add the hot sauce, vinegar, and a dash of water to de-glaze.
Add the rice and toast the grains for 30 seconds. Add the water and yogurt and mix well. Decrease the heat to low, cover the skillet, and let the rice cook and absorb the liquid. Uncover the pan every five minutes and stir the contents to prevent the grains from sticking to the bottom. When all the surface moisture is evaporated and absorbed, arrange the spinach leaves on top, cover the pan, and let the rice steam for around 30 minutes. You can occasionally shake the skillet (without uncovering) to ensure the rice grains cook uniformly and do not stick to the bottom.