Thank you for providing me with a copy of this book for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own, based on my experience.
Love Persian food or know someone who does? This Persian Carrot and Beef Meatball recipe is the perfect place to start, along with the fabulous “The Enchantingly Easy Persian Cookbook“ from Shadi, the blogger behind Unicorns in the Kitchen! This is a fragrant and flavor packed, easy and delicious Kofta recipe!
One last post before I wrap up 2016 and this one’s a doozy. It comes straight from my friend Shadi’s (author of Unicorns in the Kitchen) first cookbook – The Enchantingly Easy Persian Cookbook!
The book starts with a very apt question: have you ever eaten at a Persian restaurant? I have and the one thing (actually three things) I can tell you about Persian food is that it’s delicious, diverse and above all fragrant. And I think that’s very representative of all the recipes that you will find in this cookbook. It’s a treasure trove of wonderful Persian recipes and as the book title suggests, the recipes have been made accessible to anyone wanting to try this rich and exciting cuisine. As someone who has never cooked Persian food before, I can tell you how easy to follow the instructions are. As Shadi says in her introduction, if you have some freshly ground saffron (which might be the special ingredient that’s heavily used in Persian cooking), you’re good to go. Oh, and a love of good food, made using natural ingredients!
The book starts with an extended introduction demystifying Persian cooking. From its rich and diverse history, to the flavors, to the Persian pantry staples, to the ingredients, kitchen equipment and tips & tricks to make these recipes even easier, everything is covered. There are 108 recipes and each one is accompanied by an icon indicating the difficulty level of the dish, from a level of 1 to 4 – one being extremely easy and quick and 4 being more involved recipes with a longer list of ingredients. I especially loved how the book is sprinkled throughout with her childhood memories of these recipes and that was a beautiful personal touch that elevated this book!
I loved how Shadi introduces the history and aspects of Persian cooking to us too. From definitions of Garam and Sardi food (which I was happy to realize was similar to Sri Lankan cooking), to explanations and prepping instructions for spices and ingredients. It’s a great resource for anyone who loves learning about different food cultures.
If you follow me on Instagram, you would’ve seen Shadi’s cookbook making appearances on my feed as well as on IG stories. I planned a couple of Persian nights at home, preparing a full Persian meal, complete with dessert – all from the cookbook.
On one of those days, we made this delicious Carrot and Beef Meatball dish (Koofteh Havij), with Saffron Rice Cake and then for dessert, I made Persian Crepes with Saffron Syrup and whipped cream. I can’t tell you how amazing our kitchen smelled that night! Who needs to go to a restaurant when you can make such awesome and legit Persian food right at home?
This Carrot and Beef Meatball dish was a home run! The carrots made this Persian meatball sweet and earthy, and they were juicy and delicious too. They were cooked in a simple tomato based sauce and each step contributes to the flavor profile of the final dish. I followed the recipe exactly, and only added extra salt to the sauce – just to adjust it to our taste.
The Saffron rice cake was so good too! It’s the first time I had made a rice cake in this way, and I loved the addition of yogurt and saffron. Shadi explains how to properly bloom the saffron and how to cook the rice perfectly. She also notes what to look for, so you know when the dish is done – which helped because I needed some extra time for my rice to develop that beautiful golden brown crust.
I have always loved saffron, but never used it much because it was so expensive. But let me tell you, I will never not have saffron in my kitchen again. It’s such an amazing spice and I’ll be using it again and again, if I don’t finish it first by making the incredible saffron syrup, that is. The fragrance and subtle flavor of saffron are incredible, but that golden color is to die for. I loved the Persian crepes doused in the golden saffron syrup. I did fill the crepes with whipped cream, and added some chopped nuts on top… because it’s me, and I just can’t eat crepes without whipped cream?!?!
My predominantly carnivorous, non-sweet toothed husband loved the crepes so much, we had it for breakfast the next day too. With plenty of leftovers, we had Carrot and Beef meatball with Saffron Rice for dinner the next day as well.
The carrots made the meatballs sweet and earthy, and they were juicy and delicious too!
This is one cookbook you want to own. If you love trying new cuisines and new flavors, this is the next cook book you should get. You know my blog is all about making food fun – and this book definitely does that. What’s more fun than learning about a rich and diverse food culture? It sparks your imagination, because you actually learn the basics of that food culture, as well as the recipes.
So go ahead and add it to your wish list now. Or buy it for someone you love (like… yourself, or for the one that cooks for you 😉 ) There’s something for everyone here, and I plan on making many more recipes from The Enchantingly Easy Persian Cookbook.
Try this delicious carrot and beef meatball (Persian meatball) recipe for yourself and see how good it really is!
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Persian Carrot and Beef Meatball Recipe
Carrot and Beef Meatballs
- 1 lbs carrots peeled and grated
- 1 medium yellow onion grated
- 1 lbs lean ground beef
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper I used 1 ½ tsp because we love spicy food!
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
For The Sauce
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion finely chopped
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 1 tsp white sugar
- Salt to taste
- Topped with sliced almonds and cranberries because I wasn’t able to find barberries
Carrot and Beef Meatballs
- Place the grated carrots in a clean cloth or cheesecloth and squeeze the excess moisture out of them. Set aside.
- Place the grated onions in the same cloth as well and squeeze out the excess moisture.
- Place the onions, carrots, beef, egg, flour, spices in a bowl and use your hands to knead the mixture until everything is mixed well.
- Using wet palms (wet your hands with clean water), portion out into 1 ½ - 2 inch meatballs. Alternatively, you can use a cookie scoop to scoop equal portions. Roll the mixture into smooth balls and set them aside on a plate/tray.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick pan or skillet, over medium-high heat. When the oil is heated well (and is shimmering), add the meatballs (in batches if necessary) to the skillet and brown on all sides. This should take 6 - 8 minutes. Set the meatballs aside.
- Wipe the skillet clean and heat the vegetable oil on medium-high heat to make the sauce. When the oil is hot, add the onions and saute until golden brown (about 15 minutes, depending on the heat of your stove).
- Add the turmeric, sugar, cayenne pepper and tomato paste. Stir and cook this for about 1 minute. Add the water and stir until the tomato paste is dissolved. Bring the sauce to a boil and lower the heat to medium. Add salt to taste.
- Place the meatballs in one layer in the sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, frequently spooning the sauce over the meatballs. I flipped the meatballs carefully, halfway through the cooking time. Once the meatballs are cooked through they are ready to be served.
- Sprinkle sliced almonds and cranberries on top (if you can find barberries, use those instead). Serve with rice, or saffron rice.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”
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