How to Make Persian Sesame Brittle

This recipe is adapted from Nejmeh Batmanglij’s cookbook, Joon: Persian Cooking Made Simple.

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On my recent trip home to North Dakota, I was gifted a beautiful Persian cookbook by my brother-in-law. I’m so excited to cook through it and learn even more delicious meals.

My mom and I decided to try making this sesame brittle, or shirini konjedi (literally: sesame candy) as it’s called in Farsi. It was so simple and came together quickly and easily! I found myself meandering back to my parents’ pantry throughout the day to sneak a few pieces.

This brittle is tasty on its own but it’s normally eaten alongside a glass of black tea (try brewing your own Persian chai here). My mom served the brittle with a bowl of ice cream to some recent guests, which I want to try the next time I make this.

The recipe calls for 1 1/2 cups of sesame seeds – much more than the little packs available in the spice aisle. You can certainly load up on multiple packs, but my mom found her sesame seeds in the bulk section of our local grocery store and was able to get an exact amount for a good price.

I hope you try this sweet and easy little snack!

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INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons rose water*
1 1/2 cups raw sesame seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

METHOD:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, stir together all the ingredients.
  3. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a light simmer, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let the mixture cook for about 20 minutes or until the sesame seeds have turned a light golden brown, stirring every few minutes.
  5. Working quickly, pour mixture over the parchment paper and smooth out into an even layer with a greased spatula or spoon. It will begin to harden fast.
  6. Let the brittle set at room temperature for about 30 minutes.**
  7. Once hardened, break the brittle into small pieces.

RECIPE NOTES:
*Rosewater is optional but I highly recommend including it. It pairs really well with the warming spices.
**After 30 minutes of setting, my mom and I felt that our brittle was still soft, so we stuck the entire baking sheet into the fridge for another 20 minutes or so. This helped harden up the brittle so that it cracked easily.

Persian carrot jam

Other Delicious Recipes:
How to Make a Simple and Refreshing Persian Salad
How to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves: Persian Dolma (Dolmeh Barge Mo)
Easy Carrot Jam | How to Make Persian “Morabaye Haveej”
How to Make Persian Potato Patties | “Kookoo Sibzamini”
How to Make Persian Chai

How to Make a Simple and Refreshing Persian Salad

This simple and refreshing Persian salad is a great way to use up those fresh summer vegetables and makes a tasty light side dish to any meal!

Here’s how to say “salad” in Farsi: sahlahd (hint: it’s pronounced like the English word “salad” just spoken a little more slowly and more drawn out. Look at you, speaking Farsi already!).

Tomatoes and cucumbers are a staple at any Middle Eastern table for any meal. Diced up along with onion and dried mint makes for a delicious addition to any lunch or dinner.

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It’s super simple to make; I even felt a little silly writing out the directions because it’s so straightforward. It’ll pair well with really anything, but I suggest: How to Make Persian Potato Patties | “Kookoo Sibzamini”. 

Alright, here’s how to put it all together!

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INGREDIENTS

2 English cucumbers, diced small
1 large heirloom tomato, diced small
1 small red onion, diced small
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dried mint
pinch of salt

METHOD

1. Place diced cucumbers, tomato, and onion in a bowl
2. Drizzle lemon juice, olive oil, and vinegar over the vegetables
3. Sprinkle the dried mint and salt and mix everything together
4. Place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (2 – 4 hours is best)

MORE DELICIOUS RECIPES:
How to Make Persian Chai
How to Make Persian Potato Patties | “Kookoo Sibzamini”
Easy Carrot Jam | How to Make Persian “Morabaye Haveej”
How to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves: Persian Dolma (Dolmeh Barge Mo)

Persian carrot jam (1)

How to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves: Persian Dolma (Dolmeh Barge Mo)

Grape leaves are in abundance this time of year in Turkey. These leafy green vines are a staple in every local’s yard. They snake along stone walls and twist their way around metal arbors.

Many countries have claimed dolma – stuffed grape leaves – as their own. During a trip through Greece a few years ago, my sister and I took a cooking class where we learned how to make dolma and our teacher proudly exclaimed this food originated in Greece. But Iran, Iraq, Armenia, and Turkey all have their own version of dolma too. This recipe below is how my Iranian mother-in-law makes her dolma or dolmeh barge mo.

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Fresh Leaves or Jarred Leaves?

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on fresh grape leaves, choose leaves with no holes or tears that are medium-sized (about 5 inches across). You’ll need to blanch your leaves first. To do this, pile all the leaves in a medium-sized pot and pour in just enough water to almost cover the top of the leaf pile. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Grape leaves from a jar will work perfectly fine. I’ve found jarred leaves in the international section of the grocery store. Simply remove all the leaves from the jar, rinse under cold water. Then bring a pot of water to boil, throw the leaves in, turn off the heat, and let leaves steep in the hot water for 30 minutes.

A Word on Rice

Dolmas are pretty versatile and can be eaten hot or cold (I like cold best). They also can be stuffed with anything, really. For this recipe, we stuffed the grape leaves with seasoned ground beef and rice.

You need to have already prepared your rice before starting the first step. Cook 1 cup of rice either on the stovetop, in a rice cooker, or in the instant pot. Just make sure to cook your rice parboiled. This means the rice should be al dente – still a little crunchy in the middle. The rice will continue to cook once the stuffed grape leaves are steamed. You should end up with about 3 cups of parboiled rice.

How to Roll a Grape Leaf

This part is always a little intimidating in the beginning, but it’s super easy once you get the hang of it. The series of photos below show the more traditional way of rolling dolma. Turks and Greeks do it this way.

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The Persian way is much simpler: place a half a spoonful of beef and rice mixture in the center of the leaf. Then fold in every side over the mixture to create more of a circular shape. I don’t have a photo of the steps, but the photo below shows how they should look in the end.

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INGREDIENTS

Meat Mixture:
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch tarragon, finely chopped
1 small onion
1 garlic clove (or more to taste)
1/2 pound ground beef
1 tsp turmeric
red pepper flakes, pinch
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups parboiled basmati rice (1 cup of uncooked rice)

Grape Leaves:
1 16oz jar of grape leaves or about 40 fresh grape leaves
1.5 cups of water
1 Tbl granulated sugar
1 Tbl vinegar (white or apple cider or lemon juice)

METHOD

Meat and Rice Mixture:
1. After blanching the fresh leaves (or rinsing the jarred leaves) cut off any hard stems with scissors or knife. If you haven’t started cooking the rice, do so now.
2. Chop the onion and mince the garlic.
3. Put chopped onion into a skillet with cooking oil. Cook on medium heat until soft and translucent. Add minced garlic.
4. Add ground beef, turmeric, salt, and black and red pepper. Cook meat until no longer red.
5. Add 1 1/2 cups of the chopped fresh herbs to the meat. (Freeze any leftover herbs to use at a later time. Stirred into plain yogurt is delicious!)
6. Stir together the meat mixture and parboiled rice.

Stuffing the Grape Leaves:
1. Place oil in a heavy-bottomed pot. Then line the bottom with a single layer of grape leaves so the entire bottom surface is covered. This will prevent the stuffed dolma from burning on the bottom.
2. Take a single grape leaf and place it flat, vein side up. Put 1/2 tablespoon of the meat and rice mixture at the bottom center of the leaf. Fold the bottom part of the leaf over the mixture. Then fold in the left and right sides of the leaf towards to center. Roll the leaf from the bottom to the top, keeping the sides tucked in as you go.
3. Add the stuffed grape leaves to the pot, stacking them evenly and tightly. The mixture should make about 35 stuffed leaves in total.
4. In a small bowl, stir together water, sugar, and vinegar. Pour over all the stuffed leaves in the pot. This mixture helps to balance out the bitterness in the grape leaves.
5. Place a dinner plate (one slightly smaller than the circumference of the pot) face side down over the stuffed grape leaves. Gently press down on the leaves. This will help keep the dolmas in place while steaming. Cover the pot with a lid.
6. On low heat, let the dolma steam for about 30 min.
7. When the dolma is soft and warm, take off the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Eat warm or put it in the refrigerator to eat cold.

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Other Delicious Recipes:
Easy Carrot Jam | How to Make Persian “Morabaye Haveej”
How to Make Persian Potato Patties | “Kookoo Sibzamini”
How to Make Persian Chai

How to Make Persian Potato Patties | “Kookoo Sibzamini”

My love for potatoes has always been pretty strong. Mashed, scalloped, baked, roasted, and French, I didn’t know that this humble root veggie could get any better – that is, until I married a Persian.

Persians always seem to know how to take things to the next level. From the elaborate, poetic Farsi language (before saying goodbye, my husband will end any run-of-the-mill phone call with ghorbunet, which translates to “I will sacrifice myself for you”), to their dancing, parties, and picnics, Persians certainly know how to kick it up a notch. Food, and specifically the potato, is no exception.

Enter Persian kookoo sibzamini (say that 5 times fast!)It’s basically potato pancakes fried in oil. I didn’t even know it was possible to mash potatoes into patties and fry them! My potato world expanded when my mother-in-law made these for my homeschool kiddos for lunch one day. This was before I met my husband or even knew he existed. Looking back, I’m pretty sure my mother-in-law was strategic in making kookoo as a way to lure me into her family. I can’t prove it for sure, but either way, it worked.

The best way to eat these, according to my husband, is with fresh bread, tomatoes, and yogurt. It is popular for a lunch or a light dinner and is a favorite among children.

  • Servings: 2
  • Print

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A delicious gluten-free, vegetarian dish perfect for a light lunch, a side for dinner, or stuck into sandwiches and lunch boxes the next day

Ingredients

  • 2-3 medium potatoes
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of cooking oil
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Boil potatoes in large pot with skins until fork tender
  2. Dump water and allow potatoes to cool, then remove skins
  3. Grate potatoes into a large bowl using a cheese grater
  4. Add in garlic salt, turmeric, dill, and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed
  5. Place potato mixture into the refrigerator for 10-20min to firm up
  6. Allow oil to heat in a large skillet
  7. Once potatoes are cool, add in the egg and mix with hands or a spatula
  8. With your hands, form potatoes into palm size patties and place in the skillet with hot oil
  9. When potato patties are golden around the bottom edges, it’s time to flip
  10. Remove potato patties from oil with slotted spoon and let cool

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