THE JUICE OF SOUR GRAPES PART 2

My obsession with the juice of sour grapes reaches new, unchartered heights, and I found myself describing it in some detail while videochatting with my mother- the only person apart from you, Gentle Reader, who seems remotely interested in my condition.

My mother, screaming her approval of my obsession and reinforcing it with a ton of unproven medical anecdata on the benefits on ab-ghooreh (drink it twice a week! It will dissolve the fat the in your blood! And balance your hormones!), went on to provide an amazing traditional recipe based on ab-ghooreh, which I had never heard of before. That didn’t stop me from galloping out to buy the ingredients, and making it asap. It was perfect- perfect for this unpleasent winter storm and perfect for life in general. how lucky you are, Gentle Reader, that I am about to share with you:

A Stew with the Juice of Unripe Grapes (ash-e abghooreh)
-Make meatballs however you like to make them. I grated an onion and a garlic in a bowl of ground beef, and smooshed them all together with turmeric, salt and pepper.

-Chop and fry onions. Lots. As the onions are turning golden-brown, start adding the uncooked meatballs to the pan in which the onions are sizzling.

-Gently push around the meatballs and the onions, trying to prevent burning. Add more turmeric, salt and pepper. Don’t let the spices fry too long as this will turn them bitter.

-When you can take it no longer, add water to the pot. Add half a cup of rice (I used sticky rice, as it is generally agreed that it is a waste of good basmati rice to use it in soups and stews), and half a cup of yellow split peas. Gently stir everything together.

-Now for the moment of ecstasy: pour in a turkish-coffee-cup’s worth of ab-ghooreh. (those were my mother’s exact measurements)

-Bring to boil, then turn the heat down and let simmer for a couple of hours. Stir occasionally- the rice has a tendency to stick tp the bottom of the pan and turn brown.

-About twenty minutes before you are ready to eat (ha! bet you thought you were done!), add in a good few handfuls of chopped fresh or frozen herbs- anything you have. I used dill, spinach and parsley. Here, I cheated and added another turkish-coffee-cup full of ab-ghooreh. That’s beacuse I…

-Taste, taste and for god’s sake taste again. The secret to any half-decent dish is tasting.

So, we are done, with a pot full of beautiful winter stew, savoury and fragrant. I think I’ll be eating this dish twice a week through winter.

3 comments

  1. Hi Newcomer, it sounds delicious, but how did people before managed to preserve the ab-ghooreh for winter time ? I assume when you bought it from the Persian food store, it is pasteurized or preserved with chemicals. But in the past ?? Of course the most ancient way of preserving grape juice is to ferment it to wine. This will always work, even if the grapes are still unripe and contain less sugar. As soon as the fruit sugar is converted into alcohol, and the sour fruity acids remain, the wine is stable. But in the raw juice, without any alcohol produced by fermentation, even small concentrations of sugar would promoted growth of bacteria or yeast. Therefore, in some very orthodox muslim communities, even consumption of fresh grapes is considered against the law, cause all grapes contain some yeast on their outside, which permanently convert some of the fruit sugar into micro-molar amounts of ethanol.
    Have you tried if you can replace ab-ghooreh for your stew with a dry white wine ?
    greetings, Michael

  2. thenewcomer

    I assume that the stuff is so delicious that it was guzzleed up with no need of preservation. But yes, the factory versions are pasteurized- says so on the bottle. No, haven’t tried it with white wine, and the association of ash with wine is slightly hilarious.

  3. in case you try it with a dry white wine, it would be appropriate to say CHEERS or A SANTE instead of ENJOY THE ASH AB-GHOOREH?
    michael

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