This is what I prepared for a circle of about 20+ classmates/family/colleagues (collectively known as friends) last Saturday night. They were wowed. For most of them, this was their first taste of Iran.

In order of deliciousness (for me, obviously):

1. Kashk-e bademjan


Main dish: Eggplants, onions, kashk (purchased at the Persian restaurant on Hollis Street)

Garnish:  sauteed garlic with turmeric, saffran (strictly optional), mint, more fried onions

Time to prepare: one hour

Preparation: Peel eggplants and slice into thick wedges. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for a while, for the bitterness to drain. Pat dry and fry the slices on low heat until nicely golden-brown on both sides. Drain fried eggplants on tissue paper to get rid of the extra oil. Separately, dice onions  and fry until deep browny colour, also add turmeric while frying. Put fried aubergines and onions together in big deep pan, and some water and let them simmer together for as long as you like. Occasionally mash and mix together. Add some salt, but not too much because of the kashk. Do NOT add the kashk to the mixture while it is cooking, as my father will be upset if you do that.   

Serving: Put the aubergine/onion mixture (which should have the consistency of thick yogurt) in a flat dish.  Decorate with lots of runny kashk, fried mint, fried onions and fried garlic, walnuts, saffron. Eat with bread and fresh herbs. This is one of my favourite dishes ever, and is hard-core traditional food.

2. Salad Olivier

See link:

This time, I garnished it with carrot sticks, baby tomatoes and fresh herbs. Very nice.

3. Rice with lentils


Main dish: rice, and surprisingly enough, lentils.

Garnish:  fried onions (yes, we spend a LOT of time frying onions in our part of the world), dates sauteed with turmeric and cinammon 

Time: Less than an hour.

Preparation: Wash rice. Bring to boil with about a finger of salted water over it. When the water is almost disappearing, add the lentils which you have already half-cooked. Stir them with a fork. Add a bit more water. Turn the heat low, and leave to “settle”.   Meawhile prepare the garnish. Chop dates, and add to oil warmed in the pan, and push them around a bit. We want it lightly heated, not deep fried. Add the onion which have been fried previously (in my case, the evening before), and add tons of cinnamon and slightly less turmeric. Mix well.

For meat eaters,  this dish can be served with meat balls or just ground beef fried well with turmeric and cinnamon.

Note: As I explained to my guests, this not really party food, but rather everyday food which moms prepare during weekdays- perhaps with the exception of the eggplant dish. For “proper” formal parties back home, we have kebabs, lots of different kebabs, which I cannot prepare (nor can any other Iranian woman I know). For less formal family gatherings, the usual dishes are one or two types of khoresh (stews), or chicken cooked with saffran and rice. However, I cannot cook khoreshes in large amounts, and in any case, I have noticed non-Iranians are not as fond of khoreshes as we are. So this kind of food worked well in a informal party setting.

Partying while Iran burns. What else can we traitor expats do?



  1. Oh wow…. can I be your friend?

  2. thenewcomer

    Friended! And your welcome to drop by for a taste of Iran if/when you’re in halifax…

  3. GLi

    من عاشق میزای خاله نسرین بودم… الانم واسه همین دوباره می خوام با ثمین دوس شم.

  4. Beth

    Hi you, I’m loving getting caught up on your blog! I want to try making the kashk-e bademjan as eggplants and onions are some of the few vegetables I can easily get my hands on here during the current season, but I don’t know what kashk is. Is it something that could be substituted for anything I’m likely to find in a Zambian supermarket?

  5. thenewcomer

    I was thinking of you when I had that dinner party, by the way- I missed you so much! Thanks for the comment and the kind words…

    As for kashk- well, I think plain yogurt or even sour cream would work. By plain yogurt, I mean that it should be slightly sour, not sweetened. Only you must stir it in after the heat is turned off and your eggplant/onion mixture is ready for serving. Yogurt “cuts” as we say, if exposed to cooking heat. And actually, now I remember me that in Iran, many expats preferred theis dish only with the eggplant and onion mixture, without the kashk or any other dairy-based sauce. Don’t leave out the sauteed garlic though.

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