Persian Makaroni

So what exactly is a Persian Makaroni? It’s spaghetti mixed with a meat and potato sauce and it gets steamed for almost 1h to create this golden crust love child at the very bottom of the pot that goes by the name Tahdig.

I guess you could call this dish a love story between a Persian and an Italian… if the love story ended with the Italian getting a heart attack when he found out just how overcooked this pasta was. Forgettooo about the aldenteooo.

Perhaps they would reconcile their relationship if the Italian had a taste of that crispy oily god almighty Tahdig. Yes, that is Tahdig with a Capital T – because that’s the respect it deserves. 

 

Go and ask any Iranian kid and they would say that this is the most nostalgic food of their childhood. Honestly, the reason we probably remember it and get so excited is because 99,9% of our dishes come with rice so you can imagine THE EXCITEMENT over this EXOTIC and REVOLUTIONARY dish. Then we take it and make the pasta EXACTLY the same way we make our Rice loool  

I know it sounds like I’m taking a piss but honestly tho – it’s delicious. It’s the very best of my childhood memories so because of that it will always have a special place in my heart (and gut).

It’s just funny because it technically goes against the traditional way of cooking… but that’s precisely why I love it more. Isn’t that what food is about? Learning from each others cultures… butchering each others cooking techniques lol It’s all about finding a common ground by creating new yummy variations of dishes in this new global world. Imma right?

Hope you enjoy, Bon Shabétit!! xx

Persian Makaroni

Steamed spaghetti with a Meat and Potato sauce and a crispy Tahdig bottom. Can easily be made veg/vegan by using Quorn meat or just chopped mushroom instead of meat.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 400 g Spaghetti
  • 4-5 small Potatoes - chopped
  • 350-400 g Minced meat
  • 1 large Onion
  • 1 small Chilli pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic - minced
  • 2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tsp Onion Granula
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • salt after taste
  • 1 tbsp boiling water

Instructions
 

  • In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoon oil with 1 tsp turmeric over medium heat. Add chopped potatoes to the pan and saute until fully cooked.
  • Put the potatoes aside on a plate and now add the onions, garlic and chilli to the same pan and let them saute for 1 minute or so before you add the minced meat. (My dad taught me that when you cook minced meat - it's always better to allow the onion and meat to cook together instead of separate). Add all the spices and let the meat to cook for 6-7 minutes. Add the potatoes and then the the tomato puree and pour in 1 tbsp water to help the puree to mix well (you can add a bit more if needed - or add some oil) and let it simmer for an additional 3 minutes.
  • In the meantime, in a large pot bring water to boil and add some salt to it. Cook spaghetti 2-3 minutes less than the time suggested on its package instructions (This is important because if you leave it to be fully cooked - it will get a bit mushy when you steam it), strain and set aside.
  • In a sauce pan (big enough to fit pasta/sauce), heat 2 tablespoon oil on medium heat and add 2 tbsp of the sauce mixture in make sure it's all over the bottom.
  • Then add some pasta and then a layer of the meat sauce. Keep layering until everything is in the pot. Make 4-5 deep holes (use the handle of a spoon) and pour a liiiittle bit of water in each hole.
  • Decrease heat to low, cover the lid (with a kitchen towel) and cook for 50 minutes. Flip the pot by using a plate as a 'lid' and the Makaron should come out looking like a savoury cake. Serve with a side salad and some yoghurt.
Keyword Meat, Pasta, Tahdig

 

 

Persian Makaroni

Steamed spaghetti with a Meat and Potato sauce and a crispy Tahdig bottom. Can easily be made veg/vegan by using Quorn meat or just chopped mushroom instead of meat.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 400 g Spaghetti
  • 4-5 small Potatoes - chopped
  • 350-400 g Minced meat
  • 1 large Onion
  • 1 small Chilli pepper
  • 3 cloves Garlic - minced
  • 2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tsp Onion Granula
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • salt after taste
  • 1 tbsp boiling water

Instructions
 

  • In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoon oil with 1 tsp turmeric over medium heat. Add chopped potatoes to the pan and saute until fully cooked.
  • Put the potatoes aside on a plate and now add the onions, garlic and chilli to the same pan and let them saute for 1 minute or so before you add the minced meat. (My dad taught me that when you cook minced meat - it's always better to allow the onion and meat to cook together instead of separate). Add all the spices and let the meat to cook for 6-7 minutes. Add the potatoes and then the the tomato puree and pour in 1 tbsp water to help the puree to mix well (you can add a bit more if needed - or add some oil) and let it simmer for an additional 3 minutes.
  • In the meantime, in a large pot bring water to boil and add some salt to it. Cook spaghetti 2-3 minutes less than the time suggested on its package instructions (This is important because if you leave it to be fully cooked - it will get a bit mushy when you steam it), strain and set aside.
  • In a sauce pan (big enough to fit pasta/sauce), heat 2 tablespoon oil on medium heat and add 2 tbsp of the sauce mixture in make sure it's all over the bottom.
  • Then add some pasta and then a layer of the meat sauce. Keep layering until everything is in the pot. Make 4-5 deep holes (use the handle of a spoon) and pour a liiiittle bit of water in each hole.
  • Decrease heat to low, cover the lid (with a kitchen towel) and cook for 50 minutes. Flip the pot by using a plate as a 'lid' and the Makaron should come out looking like a savoury cake. Serve with a side salad and some yoghurt.
Keyword Meat, Pasta, Tahdig

Beef patties in Mushroom Sauce

 

I don’t know about you guys but I find ‘minced meat’ being that – one – ingredient that I always tend to struggle with as I never know what to do with it. There’s minced meat as taco filling, minced meat in bolognese type of dishes, meat balls and then what… WHAT ELSE IS THERE?? I started making this dish back in Uni and I always felt particularly proud of it. I sometimes feel like beef patties on their own is a bit boring… I mean isn’t that why the hamburger was invented?

I think it’s important to have some sort of a sauce/gravy that brings it to life. But what I realised – by pure laziness tbh I just didn’t want to wash any more pans than necessary – was that when you let the patties cook in the sauce – myyy gooood – not only does the flavour multiply B U T the patties get a creamy texture that just melts in your mouth.

Also make sure you sprinkle in some feta to make that boring patty interesting (no but in all seriousness the salty and tangy feta helps to enhance the sweetness of the carrots – so don’t skip it).

Serve this dish with roasted or mashed potatoes and Bon Shabétit (and if you have any tips on what to make with minced meat – please let me know).

 

Ingredients:

Patties:

350g minced meat

1 small carrot – shredded

20 g feta cheese – sprinkled

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

3 tsp garlic powder

1 egg

1 onion – grated

2 tbsp butter

 

Mushroom sauce:

200g mushrooms

1 onion, chopped

2 tbsp butter

1 beef stock

2 tbsp soy sauce

½ dl crème fraiche

1 dl cream

¼ dl boiling water

1 tsp pepper

 

Method:

  • Gently mix together the ground beef, egg, grated onion, shredded carrot, sprinkled feta, salt and pepper, garlic powder, turmeric. Form into small patties (you should be able to do 8 medium ones).
  • Fry onion and mushroom in a frying pan until they are golden brown – and pour it in a temp bowl and put aside.
  • Melt 2 tbsp butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Add patties and fry until brown. Flip the patties and brown the other side.
  • Add the onion and mushroom mix, add crème fraiche, cream and soy. In the meantime, mix the beef stock with boiling water in a cup and pour it in the sauce. Add pepper for final touch and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.

 

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Stuffed Peppers

Stuffed peppers or as I like to call them – Mary Poppins bag. Ok I have never called them that but that’s what they remind me of – stuffed with endless of magic and necessities in life.

I think this has been my best stuffing to date and it’s all because of the cinnamon. The mixture was so tasty and had so much flavour – I was almost ready to ditch the peppers and eat it plain.

This is one of those throw what you have in the fridge type of recipes. Use my portions and ingredients as guidelines but definitely feel free to experiment.

Ingredients

4 big peppers
3 dl rice
250g minced meat
1 big yellow onion, chopped
7-8 medium sized mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, crushed
a bunch of coriander, chopped
3 handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoon turmeric
3 teaspoons chilli flakes
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon parsley
2 teaspoons cumin
4 tablespoons cheddar cheese
salt after taste
pepper after taste

For sauce

1 vegetable stock
4 tablespoons boiled water
2 teaspoon tomato purée
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon chopped coriander

Method

  1. Heat the oven to 200°C
  2. Cook your rice and put it aside.
  3. Cook the mushroom in a pan and add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 clove of crushed garlic and 1 pinch of salt. Once the water has evaporated, and the mushroom has start to soften – add the spinach and cook and stir until the it’s wilted.
  4. Fry the chopped onion in another pan and add turmeric, chili flakes, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, parsley and some salt and pepper. After one minute, add the meat and let it stir-fry over high heat for 5 minutes. As soon as the meat is getting its brown colour, add the cinnamon and the cumin. Let it cook for another 2 minutes and leave it aside.
  5. Take a little pot and add the boiled water, vegetable stock, tomato pure and olive oil. Stir it until it becomes an even mixture and then add the spices. Let it cook for 1 minute and then add the chopped coriander. Leave it to cook for additional 3-4 minutes on medium high heat.
  6. Prep the peppers by cutting a ‘lid’. Mix the meat, mushroom/spinach mix, chopped coriander and the rice in a big bowl.
  7. Stuff the filling into the peppers with a help of a spoon and leave some space of the shredded cheddar cheese on top. Pour the sauce over the peppers and then put on their lids.
  8. Cover the baking tray with a foil and leave it in the oven for around 25 minutes. Remove the foil and leave it for another 10ish minutes.
  9. Serve the peppers with some side salad.

Lasagna with Cottage Cheese

When you are cooking one of the most beloved dishes of the Italian cuisine, you can’t help but wonder how many people you will offend the f*ck out with this recipe? 🙂

This is grandmas dish –  the most holy thing you can find and then there are people like me that come and add cinnamon AND a ready-made can of white sauce to it. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait until I have the privilege to eat my first home cooked lasagne made by the ultimate Italian grandma somewhere on the hilltops of Tuscany with beautiful wineries nearby – but for now I will have to settle with my own easy but yummy touch of this holy dish.

If I borrow the words that the Italian born-and-raised chef Massiomo Bottura said regarding classic traditional Italian cuisines ‘tradition is oppressive, it’s so difficult to be creative with such a heavy heritage’. However, Massiomo was brave enough to reinvent the classic Italian dishes as he took the best from the past into the future. 

*sprinkles a little bit of cinnamon to the meat sauce and then suddenly she thinks she is as revolutionary as Massiomo*

No but in all seriousness, my mom taught me that cinnamon goes amazing with minced meat, it gives it a surprising taste which makes the meat taste so much better.

Although a classic lasagne recipe will always be golden, I’m always open for new varieties of this dish because it can be so versatile. It’s not known for being the easiest dish to make but it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. I think we can all agree on how comforting this dish is, it fills the belly and the heart. You just have to get the flavours right, master that and let your oven do the rest. 

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INGREDIENTS

For the filling:

  • Oil for frying
  • 500g minced beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic gloves, chopped
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • ½ dl water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • salt after taste 
  • pepper after taste
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 ½ tsp oregano
  • bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 7 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 400 g chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp butter

For the Lasagna:

  • 470g ready-made Dolmio Creamy Lasagne White sauce
  • 300g Cottage cheese
  • 200 g grated Mozzarella
  • 9 pieces of Lasagna sheets 

To serve:

  • Mix salad

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  
  2. Combine the minced beef, onion, turmeric, some oil, salt and pepper in a sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat, breaking apart the meat until no pink remains. Then stir in the garlic, chili flakes, the chopped plum tomatoes, cinnamon, parsley and butter. Add more salt and pepper if you wish.
  3. Let is simmer for 4 minutes and then add the tomato purée, the can of chopped tomatoes and oregano. While you are doing this, dissolve the vegetable cube in a ½ dl cup with water and then pour it in as well. 
  4. Let this simmer in a low heat for 10 minutes – until you have a heavy and meaty tomato sauce. 
  5. Take your baking dish and spread 1/3 of the meat sauce on the bottom, lay three sheets and then pour some white sauce so it covers the sheets. Repeat until you have 3 layers.
  6. Spread out the cottage cheese evenly on top. Season with some pepper and chilli flakes and then sprinkle over the mozzarella cheese.
  7. Cook in the middle of the oven for about 50 minutes – until the top is bubbling and golden brown.