Hmmm, something looks a bit different with Sunshine Kitchen, you might be saying to yourself. Yes – I finally bought a domain name for this blog! I initially wanted to see if I was going to stick with this whole blogging thing, and then I just never bothered to get around to it. But here we are! Yay! So this week I decided to do another Persian/Iranian dish, which is called a kuku. It’s basically their version of a frittata. I looked at a number of recipes, and ended up making a stove-cooked mishmash of this recipe and this one.
1/2 medium eggplant, chopped into wide matchsticks
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 eggs (I did 2 eggs and 1 egg white)
1/4 tsp turmeric
3/4 tsp ground ginger
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
Heat some olive oil in a frying pan. Saute the onions until soft, then add the eggplant pieces until they are soft too. While the eggplant and onion are cooking, beat the eggs in a bowl. Add the garlic, turmeric, ginger, parsley and a dash of salt. When the onions and eggplant are done, pour the egg mixture over them. Cover the frying pan and cook at medium heat until the edges are done. Flip and cook the other side until done, which will only be a few minutes. If you can actually flip in in one fell swoop, color me impressed. I, however, cut it in in half and flipped each one. Serve and eat warm.
So good. The first bite was like, hmmm, but after a couple more bites it was mmmmmm! Every time I try a new Persian recipe my reaction is always why don’t I cook Persian dishes more often? This will be made again. And there are a billion variations, and I like the spice/herb combos in Persian food a lot so more versions will be made and posted as well. Song of the week: I am the Walrus, by the Beatles. Total honestly, when I saw the name of the zucchini version was kuku kadoo, my first thought was koo koo kachoo from this song’s refrain. So, it clearly needed to be featured this week. It’s also a great song and trippy in the best possible way.
Last year for Eid I made a Persian eggplant dish, Mirza Ghasemi. Since then, I’ve made it several times and its become one of my favorite dishes, although a complicated one I don’t make too often. Well, now that it is summer, and eggplant is back in season, I decided to revisit this lovely dish. Then, I had a brilliant idea (partially because I forgot to buy pita bread) – I could stick it in filo and make a delicious savory pastry! So that is precisely what I did.
½ large eggplant or 1 smallish eggplant
1-2 medium tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 onion, chopped
1 tsp ground ginger or turmeric (to taste)
Fresh parsley (chopped, to taste)
Fresh mint (chopped, to taste)
Lightly coat the eggplant in olive oil. Roast at 400 until the eggplant is soft. To test, press the skin of the eggplant. If it collapses a bit, it’s done. Once the eggplant is cool enough to touch, scoop out the insides. Mash/chop/puree the cooked eggplant. This breaks up the fibrous clumps. Place in a bowl.
Heat some olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add the garlic and onions. After a few minutes, add the salt, pepper, ginger, and eggplant. After a few more minutes, add the tomatoes. Cook (mashing up any lumps) until the tomatoes have largely broken down, and mixed with the eggplant. Add the fresh mint and parsley. Set aside to cool. One cool, add one egg and a couple ounces of feta cheese.
Assembly: Take the thawed filo dough. Fold a sheet into quarters. Brush with melted butter. If you don’t have a pastry brush (like me – somehow I manage to not have one, not sure why) then you can spoon on some butter and spread it with the back of a spoon – it totally works. Add a plop – about a 1/4 cup, of the mirza ghasemi mixture on one end of the filo. The fold the filo up like a flag in order to create a lovely triangle. For those of you who weren’t girl (or boy) scouts like yours truly, here is a handy (US-centric) website – start at step 4. Stick the triangles on a baking tray and bake at 400 until golden brown – about 20-30 minutes.
Not the most exciting looking, but its what’s on the inside that counts
The result was really really good. Sadly, it wasn’t great. The flavors were a bit muted for my taste. I think it was double cooking the herbs or maybe not using enough spices, or both. Next time, I will add the parsley and mint in with the eggs and feta, so they don’t lose any of their flavor, or that the very least, lose less of it. The filo was delicious – though again, the downside is that when you reheat filo in a microwave, it doesn’t remain crispy. Again though, something coming out a 9 instead of a 10 is nothing to sneeze at. Given the flavors and the season, serve this with a light, white wine – red would be too heavy. Finally, this week’s song – “Along Comes Mary” by the Association. It’s a fun song with nearly indecipherable lyrics – it took me forever and reading them repeatedly before I got even half of them.