Iran- Kuku Sabzi Recipe

My Persian-American friend Narguesse sent me this wonderful recipe for Kuku Sabzi, a colourful and exotic herb frittata. It is often served for the Persian new year, Nowruz. In fact, the original recipe comes from Sabrina Ghayour’s book Persiana. I have halved the recipe, lowered the amount of salt, and added some extra notes. In addition, I made a substitution using pecans instead of walnuts, because of an allergy to walnuts.

While the dish was cooking, the aroma in the kitchen was fragrant and enticing. I could not wait to try it! At last, I took a bite of the kuku sabzi. It was spongy, crunchy with the pecans, full of herb flavour, and with a tangy sweetness from the barberries. What an incredible combination of flavours and textures! Of course, it also looked beautiful with the array of colours. In fact, the barberries dotted amongst the green reminded me of confetti, which is fitting for a New Year’s dish.

I have not yet had the opportunity to visit Iran, though I hope someday to go. From friends, I have heard stories about the bustling city life of Tehran. Therefore, I imagine in my mind colourful, busy markets where one could buy the herbs and spices used for the Persian cuisine.

Huge bunches of herbs were reduced to this small ball after mincing
Mixing in the herbs, pecans and barberries. What colours!

Ingredients

100g flat leaf parsley
100g fresh coriander
20g dill
30g of chives
1 bunch of spring onions, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp turmeric

4 medium eggs
1 Tbsp plain flour
1 Tbsp Greek yoghurt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp sea salt flakes
Ground pepper to taste
2 heaped Tbsp dried barberries
100g walnuts, chopped (I used pecans because I am allergic to walnuts)

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas mark 4

Remove the large stems from the parsley and coriander, after measuring. Place a large saucepan to warm over medium heat. Finely chop all of the herbs by hand or with a food processor. Pour the olive oil into the warm pan and fry the herbs and spring onions for a few minutes, then add the turmeric. Cook for a further 5 minutes, then set the herbs aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk the eggs, flour, yoghurt, baking powder, and salt and pepper until everything is well combined and smooth. Once the herb mixture has cooled slightly, add it to the egg mixture and stir well. Add the barberries and walnuts (or pecans) and mix well.

Line a large glass baking dish with non-stick baking paper (for easy removal of the finished dish as it does tend to stick!). I used a quiche dish and that worked well. Pour in the mixture and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Insert a knife into the centre to check if the kuku sabzi is done. It should come out clean. If not, return to the oven for a few more minutes. Once cooked, allow to cool then cut into wedges to serve.

Persian Kuku Sabzi, ready for the oven
Freshly baked Kuku Sabzi

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