Cooking is one of those things that is in the heart of the Iranian culture. From our shiny steam-cooked rice to our delicately and painstakingly prepared sauces, are things we can never let go of. When I traveled abroad, one of the main things I missed was Iranian cuisine. This urged me to learn how to cook. At first I thought the passion for this cuisine is only in our blood. But once I began cooking for my non-Iranian friends, I realized that the taste of Iranian food goes beyond our boundaries.
A few days ago I made a northern Iranian dish called Mirza Ghasemi for a friend of mine. They were psyched, and immediately asked for the recipe, so they can cook for their colleagues. When I finished writing the recipe in English, I thought it could be a good idea not only to share it with my friend, but with whoever else who might want to try it. Hence I decided to add a section to my long-abandoned blog for Iranian cuisine.
Before you cook
- This recipe serves 2-3 people
- The preparation time is about 2 hours.
- As for many northern dishes, this dish is made with lots of garlic. We northerners just love it! If you can’t eat it, please stop reading here, and wait for the next recipe in the series. Because this will be very, very garlicy!
- This is a vegetarian dish, but there are eggs in it. So, if you are vegan, you are unfortunately out of luck. Off the top of my head I don’t know any Iranian dishes which are vegan-friendly. But I will try to find one for this blog.
- Aubergines (eggplants): 3 large
- Tomatoes: 4
- Garlic: 1 bulb (1.5 if it’s a small one)
- Eggs: 3
- Turmeric (kurkuma)
- Salt and pepper
- Make some deep holes or cuts in the aubergines, and then bake them in the oven or on a grill until they are tender thoroughly.
- Peel the garlic, and grate it into fine grains.
- Put the tomatoes in hot water for 1 minute, so their skins crack and can be peeled easily. Remove the skin, and grate them into a mush. There should be no solid pieces left.
- When the aubergines are ready, peel the skin and cut the tail off. Then use a knife to chop them length-long into thin stripes. Personally I do it until they look like a puree.
- Fry the garlic with 2-3 spoons of oil until golden (not for too long).
- Add the aubergines to the garlic, and cook until the water is drained.
- Add the grated tomatoes, and mix with a tablespoon of turmeric, and enough salt and pepper.
- Keep the mix cooking until the mix is fully drained of water, and becomes a little oily. Stir periodically so you have an even mix, and make sure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
- Now push the paste on one side of the pan. On the other side, break the eggs, and let them and mix the yellow and white parts together. When the eggs are fried, mix them with the rest of the paste until even.
- Voila. This dish is served with rice or sometimes bread. I will add another post later to explain how Iranian steam-cooked rice is made.
- For best authentic taste, bake the aubergines on direct fire.
- The orange color of the dish comes from tomatoes and turmeric. Some people add tomato puree as an ingredient to complement the color and taste. In this case, you can add one tablespoon of tomato puree in place of two tomatoes. But always leave some fresh tomatoes in there.
- Remember, the paste should be drained completely. I have found that non-Iranians also like it when the paste is a little damp. But then it no longer qualifies as Mirza Ghasemi to an Iranian chef. The sheen on Mirza Ghasemi’s texture should come from the oil, not water.