Shirazi Summer Treats

Saffron Scented Memories of the Sabet Kitchen

Growing up, my Farsi was very limited and I couldn’t understand much beyond simple greetings. Although my speaking skills were poor, there’s one phrase that I knew very well: “seer shodam,” or “I’m full.” My grandma and aunts always kept me very happy and full of food whenever I went to visit. They would spend hours in the kitchen cooking their khoresh (stews) and ash (soups) to perfection.

When I was six, I became vegetarian, which caused a bit of an upset in the kitchen. Meat has always been my family’s favorite part of every dish. Despite their carnivorous tendencies, they kindly modified their ash and khoresh to be meat-free. For good measure, my grandmother would offer me goosht (meat) before meals, just in case I had changed my mind. This never bothered me because I knew, just by the smell of it, that Persian meat is something to be appreciated.

Now that I am older, I often invite my friends over when we cook Persian food and they always look forward to whatever khoresh we have cooked up. They have also become more interested in learning more about Iran and our culture. I began to realize that food not only brings people together, but it helps people appreciate another culture in new ways as well. To appreciate a foreign culture’s food is to appreciate the history of the individuals who have cultivated these recipes. It is to appreciate the aromas that waft through the house. It is to appreciate the plants and spices that grow in a foreign country. It is to appreciate the hard work of the people making the food.

To honor my own culture, I would like to share two very simple (and delicious!) Persian recipes. The first is Shirazi Salad, a tasty and refreshing starter to any meal. The second is my mother’s favorite: saffron, pistachio ice cream. These foods are the perfect antidote to beat the summertime heat and they offer a great way to embrace Persian culture. Enjoy these meals with friends and family as you share a sweet slice of Iran.

 

Persian Shirazi Salad

Author: Scrambled Chefs

Total time: 10 mins

Serves: 4

This easy and diverse salad will become a staple salad at your house!

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 3 cucumbers
  • ½ medium white onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 cup finely chopped mint
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Deseed the tomatoes and chop them into bite size cubes. Dice the cucumbers as well.
  2. Finely chop the white onion and set aside.
  3. Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and black pepper together and give a quick whisk.
  4. Toss all ingredients together and serve fresh.

 

Bastani – Persian Rosewater, Saffron and Pistachio Ice Cream

Author: Ahu Shahrabani

Time: 15 mins

No churn bastani – Persian ice cream with rosewater, pistachios and saffron. A semi-homemade Middle-Eastern treat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint pistachio gelato (I prefer gelato because the end result is more creamy instead of icy)
  • ¼ cup of rosewater
  • 1 teaspoon powdered or ground saffron

Instructions:

  1. Let your gelato sit on the counter for about 15-20 minutes until soft.
  2. Heat the rosewater in a small mug in the microwave for 30 seconds until hot.
  3. Add the saffron to the rosewater and stir to combine.
  4. Scoop the softened ice cream into a mixing bowl, and pour the beautifully orange saffron-rosewater mixture over it.
  5. Mix well with a spoon until all combined.
  6. Pour the softened bastani back into the ice cream container and freeze for at least an hour or until it reaches your desired consistency.

Notes: You can find saffron and rosewater at your local ethnic grocer or at the online links.

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  • Diane E. Witters says:

    What a fun post. Thanks, Noelani! I’ve long felt that fresh authentic food is a perfect door to invite both skeptics and the receptive into discussions about diversity and how to value the colorful variety that infuses our world and neighborhoods. I especially like how Noelani shares the story of her loving grandmother and aunts who accommodated her evolution of eating habits — but still kept her rooted in Persian tradition.

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