Kalam Polow Shirazi (Cabbage herbed rice with meatballs)- Iranian Cuisine

Kalam Polo Shirazi (from the region of Shiraz, Iran) was introduced into the family by my father. His love for this fragrant Iranian rice dish dates back to his childhood in Shiraz where my grandmother’s cooking reigned.  Years later when his mother passed away, he had to ask around in order to obtain the recipe. Finally, he got his hands on the recipe which surely had changd over the years. Coming home from school I would often smell the fragrant aroma of tarragon from outside.  I instantly knew he missed his mother… that is usually when he would prepare the dish. He would make it whenever feeling nostalgic or missing my grandmother. I had never attempted to make Kalam Polow until recently I had a major unexpected craving for it. I think I just missed my father and thought by making his signature dish I’d fill the void brought by the distance. Winter time when fresh cabbage is in season is the best time to prepare this dish. And today, I miss my father who happens to be thousands of miles away in Iran for the winter. So I am making this dish in memory of my grandmother and because I just miss my father plain and simple.
Note: if you grew up hating cabbage. Don’t worry as this dish will make you change your mind. I myself am not a big fan of cabbage but when eating it in this dish- it tastes delicious. 
Ingredients (Serves 4-6 ppl): 
2 cups of rice
4 cups of shredded white cabbage
1 onion (grated)
1 lbs ground beef
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 teaspoon of saffron
Herbs: (May use dry or fresh)
2 cups of fresh parsley  (1 cup if dried)
2 cups of fresh cilantro (1 cup if dried)
2 cups of chives (1 cup if dried)
2 cups of Persian basil (1 cup if dried)
1/2 cup tarragon
1 cup fresh dill (or dry dill)
salt and pepper
olive oil
1. Grate onion into small pieces, remove the onion juice. Mix the onion with the ground beef. Add salt and pepper and turmeric and mix with the meat and onions
2. Roll small pieces of meat mix into meatballs. You want the meatballs to be on the smaller side
3. Cook meatballs in a lightly oiled pan until partially cooked
4. Shred white cabbage into small pieces
5. Saute shredded cabbage in a slightly oiled pan until cooked. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of turmeric.
6. Chop all the herbs into small fine pieces.
7. Mix the herbs with the sauteed cabbage and add to the meatballs. Add 1 cup of water and cook on medium heat until water partially evaporates.
8. Prepare rice and remove from heat when partially cooked.

9. When your rice is ready, remove from pan. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add layers of thinly sliced potatoes. Add one layer of rice and another layer of mixture. Continue layering and gently mix pot to mix the ingredients together. Finish with a thin layer of rice. With the bottom of your spatula make several holes in your rice layer without touching the bottom of the pot. This allows the steam to reach the top. Cook for 40 minutes on medium-low heat.
10. Serve with rice and pickled torshee.




Continue Reading

Authentic Tiramisu Recipe


Serves: Approximately 12 Servings


– 6 egg yolks

– 1 cup white sugar

– 1 1/4 cups mascarpone cheese

-1 3/4 cups heavy whipping cream

– 2 cups of espresso (cooled off)

– 2  packages lady fingers (approx 24 lady fingers total)

– 1/3 cup alcohol of your choice (grand marnier or rum)

Topping extras

– 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder (dust)

– 1 (1 ounce) square semi sweet chocolate (shaved)


  1. Chill large bowl in the fridge.
  2. Combine the 6 egg yolks and 1 cup of sugar in the top of a double boiler.
  3. Reduce heat to low.
  4. Stir the egg yolks and sugar for about 10 minutes. (This step is to coddle the egg and prevent eating raw eggs). Remove the mixture from heat and allow it to cool.
  5. Once cooled, beat the mixture until light in color and thick.
  6. Add the mascarpone to the whipped yolk-sugar mixture. Blend well.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of espresso and mix until thoroughly combined.
  8. Whip the whipping cream in the chilled bowl until stiff peaks are formed.
  9. Gently fold the whipping cream into the yolk-sugar mixture and set aside.
  10. Split the lady fingers in half.
  11. Mix the expresso and alcohol and pour into flat dish.
  12. Dip lady fingers and soak in espresso mixture for less than 5 seconds until soaked. (Not too long or it will become too soggy).
  13. Line the bottom and sides of your serving bowl with the lady fingers.
  14. Spoon half of the filling over the lady fingers.
  15. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers and top with the filling.
  16. Sprinkle the top with cocoa powder and chocolate curls.
  17. Refrigerate for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight.

Total prep time: 30 minutes


Continue Reading

Iranian Saffron Barberry Rice with Chicken (Zereshk Polow ba Morgh)

Zereshk or barberry is typically used in Persian dishes ranging from Iran to Western Afghanistan. Each bright glowing berry resembles a jewel which is packed with vitamin C. What does it taste like? It is very tart. Your mouth will quench as if you have just had a spoonful of lime juice. It is very powerful. The barberry is usually mixed with a tad bit of sugar to sweet the tart flavor. It is typically served along side saffron chicken and basmati rice.  There are many variations to Zereshk polo depending on the region of the country.
Ingredients (Serving 4)
  • 4 cups long-grain basmati rice
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 peeled onions, 1 whole and 1 thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 4 tablespoons hot water
  • 2 cups dried barberries (zereshk), cleaned, washed, and drained
  • 2/3 cup clarified butter (ghee) or oil
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons toasted cumin seeds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons slivered pistachios (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons slivered dried orange peels (optional)
  1. Saute onions in 2 tablespoons of butter until translucent, add garlic until golden then add the pieces of chicken and cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat.  Once chicken changes color from pink to white on the outside, add 1 tablespoon of turmeric and 2 cups of water. Cook on medium-high heat with lid covered for 1 hour (or more depending on the size of your chicken).
  2. Once ready, add 1 tablespoon of saffron and put aside.
  1. Clean the barberries by removing their stems and placing the berries in a colander. Place colander in a large container full of cold water and allow barberries to soak for 20 minutes. The sand will settle to the bottom. Take the colander out of the container and run cold water over the barberries; drain and set aside.
  2. Sauté 1 sliced onion in 2 tablespoons butter, add barberries and cumin, and sauté for just 1 minute over low heat because barberries burn very easily. Add 4 tablespoons sugar, mix well, and set aside
Note: If you prefer a tangy flavor reduce the amount of sugar. If you prefer a sweeter dish, add more sugar. Adjust to taste. 
Saffron Flavored Steamed Rice
  1. Bring 8 cups of water with 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in a large non-stick pot. Pour the washed and drained rice into the pot. Boil briskly for 6 to 10 minutes, gently stirring twice with a wooden spoon to loosen any grains that may have stuck to the bottom. Bite a few grains. If the rice feels soft, it is ready. Drain rice in a large, fine-mesh colander and rinse in 2 or 3 cups of cold water.
  2. In a bowl, mix 3 spatulas of rice, 2 tablespoons yogurt, 3/4 cup butter or oil, 1/2 cup water, a few drops of dissolved saffron water, and the cumin seeds.
  3. In the pot, spread the yogurt-rice mixture over the bottom of the pot and pack down. This will help to create a tender golden crust (tah dig) when rice is cooked.
  4. Take one spatula full of drained rice at a time and gently place it on top of the yogurt and rice mixture, gradually shaping the rice into a pyramid. This shape leaves room for the rice to expand and enlarge. Poke one or two holes in the rice pyramid with the handle of a wooden spatula.
  5. Cover and cook rice for 10 to 15 minutes over medium-high heat in order to form a golden crust.
  6. Dissolve the remaining butter in 1 cup hot water and pour over the rice pyramid. Place a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towels over the pot and cover firmly with the lid to prevent steam from escaping. Cook for 50 minutes longer over medium-low heat.
  7. Remove the pot from heat. Allow to cool on a damp surface for 5 minutes without uncovering it. This helps to free the crust from the bottom of the pot. There are two ways to serve the rice. The first is to hold the serving platter tightly over the uncovered pot and invert the two together unmolding the entire mount onto the platter. The rice will emerge as a golden crusted cake. Serve in wedges. The second way is to put 2 tablespoons of rice in a dish, mix with remaining saffron water, and set aside for garnish.
  8. Then, gently taking 1 spatula full of rice at a time, place rice on a serving platter in alternating layers with the barberry mixture. Mound the rice in the shape of a cone. Arrange the chicken around the platter. Finally, decorate the top of the mound with the saffron-flavored rice, some of the barberry mixture, and almonds and pistachios. Places pieces of chicken around your serving dish making the rice the center of the display.
  9. Detach the layer of crust from the bottom using a wooden spatula. Place into a small platter and serve on the side or arrange it around the rice. Enjoy! 
Continue Reading

Recipe for Low-Fat Banana Bread



  • 1 Cup of mashed ripe bananas (2 large bananas)
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 Cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 Cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg or 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tea Spoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 1/2 Cup dark chocolate chips


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • In a large bowl mix the bananas, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 cup of yogurt and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the 1/4 Cup canola or vegetable oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract and set aside.
  • In another bowl, sift together the white all purpose flower, the whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  • Add the bowl of banana ingredients to the the egg mix and blend.
  • (Optional step: Add chocolate to the wet ingredients).
  • With a rubber spatula, fold the wet ingredients into the the flour mix to the bowl and mix thoroughly until all ingredients are  moistened. (Do not over mix the batter as it will result in a touch bread).
  • Pour mix into a slightly oiled pan, place in center rack of oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until the bread is golden brown. You can also tell when it is ready if placing a toothpick inside the loaf does not result in any ingredients being stuck to the toothpick.


Continue Reading

A Thanksgiving to Remember

Autumn. My favorite season. I love watching the descending leaves turn and twist in the air before falling to the ground. I love watching the leaves change color from green to hues of yellows, oranges and reds. The air is fresh and crisp, the sun is shining making the colors glow in a magical way that only nature can do. Pumpkin based recipes fill menus all over the country from pumpkin pie to pumpkin spiced latte.
Walking on dry leaves is one of my all time favorite fall time activities. I love listening to the leaves under my feet. Throwing myself into a pile of dried leaves…sadly ready to be taken away and burned. Love the smell of burnt leaves and chimney fires. Most of all, I love thanksgiving and all that it symbolizes. I love gathering around with friends and family and feasting away. What is your favorite Thanksgiving moment?
Here I am sharing just a few of my favorite thanksgiving recipes including oven roasted Turkey, Oven Baked Yam, Mushroom Gravy,  Brussels Sprouts and Cranberry Sauce.
Prep time- 10 minutes Cook time- 4 hours
1 Turkey, approximately 15 lbs*
1 Lemon (juice)
Salt and Pepper
Melted Butter 
1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped
Sprigs of fresh rosemary
* If you need help deciding how big your turkey you should get here is the general rule: 
12-15 lbs turkey for 10-12 people
15-18 lbs turkey for 14-16 people
18-22 lbs for 20-22 people
1. If frozen turkey allow it enough time to thaw and bring to room temperature before cooking (I generally defrost overnight). Allow approximately 5-6 hours of defrosting for every pound. Do not remove plastic wrapping until you are ready to cook. 
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
3. Once you remove the plastic wrapping, remove the neck and giblets usually tucked inside the cavity. I use the giblets to make stock for the stuffing and giblet gravy. If the legs are tied check to see if you need to remove prior to cooking. If you remove then you will need to tie the legs together using string. 
4. Wash out the turkey and pat it dry. Spray the inside of the cavity with lemon juice and sprinkle the inside with a handful of salt. 
5. Optional step: Place stuffing inside the cavity (stuffing recipe below). Another option is to fill the inside with chopped onions, celery, carrots and parsley. Cap the outside with foil so that the filling does not spill out. Close up the cavity with a metal skewer and make sure once again that the turkey legs are tied together. 
6. Rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
7. Place turkey breast up on the bottom rack in heavy bottom metal/foil roasting pan. Add fresh sprigs of rosemary to the outside of the turkey. 
8. Place turkey in the oven. It is recommended that you cook 15 minutes for every pound. However, you will want to check the instructions that comes with your turkey. You will start cooking at 400 F for the first 30 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350 F for the next 2 hours. Add two cups of water. Reducing to 225 F for the next hour until ready. Meanwhile every 15-20 minutes you will have to remove the juices from the roasting pan using a turkey baster. This is KEY to make the turkey juicy and tender and also one of the most arduous tasks. Remove the juices with the baster and spray all over the turkey. 
9. Using a meat thermometer, insert deep into the thickest part of the turkey breast- the turkey will be ready with the temperature reaches 160F for the breast and 170F for the thigh.
10. Once the turkey is removed, allow it to rest for 15-20 minutes prior to serving. 
Oven Baked Yam: 
Prep time 5 minutes Cook time- 30 minutes


2 Large Yams
1 tablespoon rosemary (crushed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt/pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Wash yam thoroughly
3. Chop into round pieces about 3 inches
4. Mix the olive oil, rosemary and salt and pepper
5. Toss the yam in the oil mix. 
6. Place individual pieces of yam on a roasting pan. 
7. Place in oven and cook for 15 minutes on one side and turn over for 15 minutes on to the other side. 

My classic mushroom gravy: 
Prep and cook time: 20 minutes
1-2 cups of Turkey drippings
1 cup mushrooms
1/4 cup of corn starch
1 teaspoon salt/pepper
1. Wash and chop mushrooms diagonally
2. Heat one tablespoon of olive oil and cook mushrooms for 10 minutes
3. Separately, scrape the drippings off the bottom of the roasting pan and add along with the turkey juice into a small skillet. Ladle off excess fat with a spoon
4. In a separate bowl take a quarter cup of corn starch, add water to dissolve the corn starch. Beat cornstarch with a spoon to remove lumps. Add the corn starch slowly to the turkey mixture
5. Add mushrooms to the turkey mixture
6. Allow the cornstarch to thicken the gravy
7. Add any additional spices to taste
Cranberry Sauce: 
Cook time: 10 minutes
Cranberry sauce is not one of the easiest thanksgiving recipes but one of the most delicious. I hope after reading this you never ever turn to canned cranberry sauce again (although sometime the canned sauce tastes oh so good).
1 bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of orange juice
2/3 cup of brown sugar
1. Wash the cranberries. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. You will hear a popping sound. Don’t worry that is the cranberries exploding. Stir the mixture every few minutes. 
2. You are done. Bring to room temperature and serve. 

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts:
Prep time- 5 minutes Cook time- 30 minutes


1 lbs Brussels sprouts, trimmed (option to cut in half lengthwise)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 black pepper
1/2 garlic powder


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
2. Chop garlic 
3. Mix all the olive oil, garlic and spices
4. Toss Brussels sprouts with all the ingredients
5. Place on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice until the the Brussels sprouts turn a deep golden brown, crisp on the outside. 
6. Transfer to a bowl and serve. 

Finally, after cooking all day I am ready to eat. Happy Thanksgiving to all my wonderful readers and followers. Please feel free to share your favorite recipes and let me know if I have left anything out. 



The Hungry Nomad

Continue Reading

Recipe: Chicken with Oyster Mushrooms and Saffron Curry

One of my favorite restaurants in Vancouver and possibly the world is Vij’s. Ask any Vancouverite and they will recommend it as one of the top places to dine. Who can resist the amazing Indian food and spices in one of the most innovative Indian restaurants? Even Anthony Bourdain had to get friendly with Vikram Vij on his No Reservations trip to Vancouver. Knowing that I am a big fan, a close friend purchased Vij’s cookbook: VIj’s At Home: Relax, Honey. The book is a lovely presentation of what Vij’s family make at home including really informative facts on meats, poultry and spices. 

I am never one to stick to a recipe so every recipe that I have made from the book has been twisted around to represent my version. Here is Vij’s recipe with the Hungry Nomad’s Twist. Note that the recipe is located on page 170 of the cookbook.

1/2 cup cooking oil
2 1/2 lbs red onions (I use regular white onions)
6-7 chopped garlic (18 to 21 medium cloves)
1 Tablespoon salt
1/2 Tablespoon turmeric
1/2 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoon paprika (optional)
3 1/2 lbs skinless chicken things, bones in
4 cups water
4 cups whipping cream
8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced (I used oyster mushrooms unsliced)
1 Tablespoon dried green fenugreek leaves
1/4 teaspoon saffron (about 20 threads) in 1/4 cup hot water

My addition:

Served with: 
White basmati rice

Heat oil in a medium pot on medium-high for 1 minute. Add onions and saute for several minutes until onions turn a golden color. Reduce the heat to medium, add garlic and saute for 5 minutes, or until slightly colored. Stir in salt, turmeric, cayenne and paprika and saute for 1 more minute. Add chicken and cook, stirring regularly, for about 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups of water  and cream, increase heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. In a separate medium sized pan, heat oil for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and saute for 3-5 minutes. Add Okras. Remember to leave the head of the okra in tact. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and okra to the chicken. Just before serving, bring the curry to a light boil. Stir in fenugreek plus saffron and its soaking water. Serve with a side of rice.  

Continue Reading

Recipe: Poulet Congolais from the Congo

local market

Finally I’m back home (& back online!) after months of living and working in Congo. So many stories to tell, so many experiences to share. For this blog the main question to answer is of course: what does a hungry nomad eat when this far away from home?

Well, she tries all that she can: from foufou (cassave paste resembling mashed potatoes, low on flavor, heavy on the stomach), pili pili peppers (hot!!) and fried fish from Lake Kivu, to loads of peanuts and cheese from Goma (small yellow cheese a bit like an aged Gouda… great for this cheese addict). But what I’d like to share with you today is a local recipe for a dish with ingredients you can source easily wherever you may be. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment!


1) A chicken
2) Tomatoes
3) Onions
4a.) Peanuts
4b.) …  or peanut butter


1) peel and puree your tomatoes, add tomato paste and dice the onions

2) grind peanuts
3) in a big pot add (olive) oil and onions. When the onions are glazed, add tomatoes, paste, peanuts and chicken. Cook until chicken is tender. Add water if necessary.
4) Serve with spinach and rice. Yum!
Continue Reading

Iranian Recipe: Lubia Polow (Persian Green beans and Rice)

Growing up Lubia Polow was always a favorite which in my world is best made by my mother. Somehow, nothing ever tastes as good as my mother and grandmother’s cooking. But now that I’m all grown up, I’ve tried to follow her directions closely in order to have a similar result. I’ve realized it rarely happens since I choose to use very little oil and/or butter while cooking. It seems the secret to that mouth watering taste is all in the butter. Who knew. 

Lubia Polow is a combination of chopped green beans, rice, meat, tomato paste and a pinch of cinnamon. It’s quite simple to make and healthy if you increase the ratio of green beans to rice and meat.

Ingredients (serving 4)
1 Large onion, chopped
300-500 grams ground beef or beef/lamb stew meat
2 Cups green beans, cut, 1 cm in length
1 Teaspoon liquid saffron
1 Tablespoon turmeric
1 Teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2oz can of tomato paste
1-2 Cup of Basmati Rice

salt and pepper to taste 


As all Persian cooking, it all begins with the fried onions. 
  1. Chop the onions into small pieces and fry slightly in oil until it turns golden in color. 
  2. Add beef/lamb or ground beef and cook until there is no pink showing. 
  3. Then add 1 tablespoon of turmeric. 
  4. Add salt and pepper to preferred taste. 
  5. Add one cup of warm water, put lid on and cook on medium heat for 1 hour. If all water evaporates add more. Once meat is cooked, add the tomato paste and mix thoroughly. The end result must be a thick meaty paste.
Green Beans: 

While meat is cooking, wash green beans and chop into 1 cm pieces. Heat pan, add olive oil and slightly fry the beans.  Once the meat and sauce is thick, add green beans to the meat sauce mix. 

Meanwhile, while preparing all the above, prepare your basmati rice.  
  1. Boil water, add a pinch of salt, add 1 cup of rice, cook over a low boil for a few minutes and remove/rinse. 
  2. Then place rice in a new pot, add cloth to the lid (for the evaporation to be absorbed) and cook on low heat. 
  3. While placing rice, place one layer of rice, one layer of meat sauce, and repeat. This allows for a perfect mixture. 
  4. Mix the sauce and rice so that there is no white rice remaining. 
  5. Pour over the liquid saffron on the rice.
  6. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon powder.
  7. Cook for 30-45 minutes. 
  8. Serve with condiments.


Every Iranian meal is best served with a side of Balkan style yogurt, herbs (fresh mint, basil, radish), torshee (Persian pickled vegetables), and Iranian salad (shirazi). 

Continue Reading

Recipe Friday: 6 Layer Chicken Teriyaki Bowl

This is my personal take on a dish that I love at a local restaurant chain in Vancouver, Canada: Cactus Club. They call it the Teriyake Rice Bowl. I call mine the 6 layer chicken teryiake bowl. I took all the flavors made estimates and re-invented to create my own. It has become my husband and friend’s favorite dish. It is very easy to make and on the healthier side if you add enough veggies. 

Ingredients for 2: 
  1. 1-2 Chicken Breast (substitute tofu or beef)
  2. 1 large onion
  3. Teriyaki sauce
  4. 1-2 cup of shredded carrots
  5. 1-2 cups of pickled red cabbage
  6. 1 bunch of cilantro
  7. 1 cup of basmati rice (or brown rice)
  8. Optional: red/yellow peppers
  9. Optional: sliced water chestnut
Yogurt sauce:
  1. 1 cup of fat free yogurt
  2. 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  3. 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  4. 2 tablespoons ranch dressing or powdered ranch mix
  5. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  6. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
Leave for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to completely blend. 



I make my rice in a rice maker which simplifies things. Add 1 cup rice and 2 cups of water (or less if you are in a humid area). A pinch of salt. A pinch of oil and that is it. 

  1. Wash, peel and slice onions
  2. Heat frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  3. Add onions and fry slightly until a light golden color 
  4. Slice chicken breast into small pieces and add to onions
  5. Add teriyaki sauce 
  6. Allow to cook for 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. 

In the meantime: Wash, peel and shred carrots; Slice other veggies that you’d like to add to the mix.

    Wash and slice radish.

    Wash the cilantro, cut off the stems and slightly chop.

    You can adjust the spicy yogurt sauce based on how spicy you want it to taste. I like mine very spicy so I add 1 tablespoon of cayenne pepper. You can adjust to taste. 

    Combine 1 cup of yogurt, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 2 tablespoons ranch dressing or powdered ranch mix, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon paprika.  Leave for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to completely blend. 

      The red pickled cabbage comes in a bottle or you can make at home (see recipe). Remove and drain. Set aside. 

      Once your rice is ready. Layer at bottom of bowl. Add chicken on top. Add carrots. Add red cabbage. Add other veggies. Add cilantro and turnips. Add spicy yogurt sauce on top and let it drizzle down.  And voila!

        Continue Reading

        Sabzi Polo Mahee (Fish and Persian Herbed Rice)

        The weather has warmed up, the cherry blossoms are in full bloom, the Canadian geese are back from their winter trip down south in Mexico (I admire them). It can only mean one thing: Spring is here which means its also time for Persian New Year. On the day of the new year, Persians all over the world get together with family to have the famous sabzi polo meal. This is equivalent to Turkey dinner at Christmas. 

        Sabzi polo is a colorful green version of the famous Persian polo (rice) dish. The green comes from a variety of fresh herbs including cilantro, parsley, dill and scallions. Sabzi polo is traditionally served with white fish but in my family we have replaced it with  fresh sockeye salmon given that we live in the mecca of fresh salmon. It is a really healthy meal and perfect for any time of year.  Here is the recipe for those craving this dish on Norooz or any other day of the year. 

        Norooz Potluck with Friends

        And happy Norooz to all Persians worldwide. 


        4 c. Basmati rice

        4 tbsp canola oil

        1 large piece lavash bread or lettuce

        1/2 c. scallion tops (greens only), washed & chopped fine

        1 1/2 c. flat leaf parsley, washed & chopped fine

        1 bunch (4-5 stalks) green garlic, washed but left whole

        1 c. cilantro, washed & chopped fine

        1 1/2 c. dill, washed & chopped fine


        1. Soak the rice in well-salted water for a few hours before cooking, changing the water once towards the end of the soak.
        2. Fill a large, heavy pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt.
        3. Add the rice (and the water it was soaking in), and bring it back up to a boil.
        4. Stir gently a couple of times, and keep an eye on the grains – as they begin to turn translucent on the ends, occasionally take one out and chew it – you’re looking for something slight on the crunchier side of “al dente”, but chewable.
        5. Drain the rice in a colander, and run some water over it to rinse off the excess salt.
        6. Add the oil to your pot, along with 1/2 cup of water or milk (to make tahdeeg), and lay the lavash bread  on the bottom in one layer (an alternative to lavash bread is lettuce)
        7. Begin adding the rice and herbs into your pot, but “mounding” everything so that you have a pyramid of sorts at the end. You want to lightly “fluff” the herbs into the rice to incorporate as you go along. The garlic you want to lay about halfway through the mound in one or two layers as needed.
        8. With the handle of a wooden spoon, make a few holes around the mound of rice to create “steam vents”
        9. Wrap the lid of the pot in a clean kitchen towel and secure it, ensuring that the towel is well out of the way of any flame. 
        10. Drizzle a couple of tablespoons water or oil over the top of the rice, and put the lid on (the towel will help absorb the steam so water doesn’t drip back onto the rice).
        11. Cook on high heat for 5-8 minutes until you see steam, and hear a sizzling/crackling coming from the bottom of the pot.
        12. Reduce to medium, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, keeping an ear and nose on things – you don’t want to smell smoke, but you do want to hear light crackling/popping.
        13. Finally, reduce again to medium-low, and cook a final 10-15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when you smell a “toastiness” from the tahdeeg on the bottom, and the top grains of rice are tender.
        Serve this with the fish, which you warm slowly in the oven, and narenj (bitter orange, which is actually tart-bitter). If you can’t find narenj, lemons will do.
        Traditionally, this dish is served with white king fish however I choose to use salmon. You can really substitute for any type of fish that you fancy cooked in any way you know best. 
        My recipe for cooking the salmon is to place the pieces of fish in foil add lemon pieces and a bit of olive oil to the fish, wrap the fish in the foil and place it in the oven for 15-30 minutes depending on how many pieces of fish you are using. The fish will cook in its own steam leading to one delicious, juicy and healthy dish. 

        Continue Reading