ماست و خیار Mast-o-khiar is a delicious, cooling and very popular Persian dish that is served with most meals. You will find the combination of yogurt and cucumbers in Greece (Tsatziki), but also in many other Balkan and Arabic countries and as well from Turkey to India (Raita).
The use of rose petals (fresh or dried) and rosewater for cooking was popular all over the Middle East and spread to Europe during the Middle Ages. However rosewater had been replaced by vanilla once world exploration had been brought from America to Europe.
About 20 years ago we planted in our garden a very strong scented white and red striped rose, since then its petals had been used in our cooking for several sweet recipes and we prepared hundreds of rose jam jars.
The basic ingredients for Mast-o-Khiar are yogurt, cucumber, mint, rose petals, salt and garlic. Other herbs can be added as well as chopped walnuts and raisins.
Tip: skip the cucumber for a delicious sauce for salad.
As I asked my husband to mention me one of his favorite recipes I prepared at home, he said „orange chicken“.
Well, I don’t know how many times I prepared some recipes with chicken and orange, so he really could not tell me which one.
After searching in my recipes and photos, I came across this recipe I prepared 5 years ago and it was really phenomenal. I found it in another site, I prepared this, photographed it, enjoyed it and reviewed it. Today I will post this here in order to remember this again and make my family very happy!
I’ve been away once more and this time we’ve spent some time on Crete enjoying some very sunny days and the local food.
As always I love to experiment with the local ingredients available and this autumn the choice fell on the pomegranate fruits.
Do you have a pomegranate tree carrying hundreds of these delicious fruits and do you need a recipe? This recipe was perfect for us as I decided to prepare some pomegranate juice concentrate to be used for cooking and as special ingredients for salads.
I started with preparing my concentrate. The main steps: collect the fruits, halve them and remove the red seeds in a bowl full of water (the thin white skin will come to the surface and can be easily discarded), blend and sieve the seed to release the juice, boil every 2 cups of the juice with ½ cup of sugar until reduced to one quarter (this takes more or less one hour).Fill you the boiling molasses into small jars, close immediately the jars and place them head side down for a few minutes and then turn them again. This can be prepared with bottled pomegranate juice as well.
I’ve prepared this recipe with skinless and boneless chicken breasts, I did not powder the walnuts and I served this to some friends. The recipe has been very much enjoyed and it was a real success!
Now I’m happy to share this with you very much!
Fesenjan - Persian Chicken with Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce
1 kilogram skinless chicken, thighs or breasts, if you prefer boneless and cut into big pieces
Salt to taste
2 onions, chopped
2 cups water or low sodium chicken stock
5 tablespoons pomegranate molasses or juice concentrate
1-2 tablespoons sugar to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pomegranate seed for garnish, optional
Parsley for garnish, optional
Wanuts halves for garnish, optional
Toast the walnuts in a large skillet stirring constantly until fragrant or bake in the oven at 180°C for about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool down then blend them to finely ground or chop them very finely using a knife.
Half butter and half oil in the skillet and brown the chicken pieces on all sided. While browning season with salt to taste. Remove from the skillet and set aside.
Add remaining oil and butter and fry the chopped onions until translucent.
Return the chicken pieces to the skillet and add water and simmer for about half an hour or so.
Now add pomegranate molasses, sugar, turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir well season with salt to taste if using water.
Add walnuts, stir and cover. Cook for about 1 hour stirring from time to time or basting the chicken pieces, with the sauce.
When the chicken is soft remove from the heat and adjust salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
Garnish as desired and serve with rice or best Tahdig (Persian rice with potatoes crust).