This isn’t quite a frittata, it’s not quite a quiche. It’s really in a league of its own and perfect for spring! Eaten hot or cold, kuku is awesome and super healthy to boot!
Happy almost Persian New Year slash first day of spring!
When you step outside in Chicago and you don’t immediately feel your eyebrows freeze up, you know that spring is on its way. Aaaaand yep! I’m pretty sure I’m alone on that one so let’s try another…
When you step outside in Chicago and it doesn’t hurt, you know that spring is on its way!
So here we are, just a few days away and so, SO ready for it. New beginnings, new life, new growth, and thankfully for us here, new air!
And to start the Persian New Year off right, we need to eat well, right? But not that kind of well where we say, “OK, time to starve so that we can look good for one day only to eat everything again, plus more and then feel really badly about everything. Yeah!!”
I’m talking about the kind of “well” where you pay attention to what’s available to you, to what your body truly craves, and to what gives you nourishment and sustenance. And don’t forget, happiness too! And no, that doesn’t mean we start eating birdseed. Point made above.
So kuku! Well, we’ve got everything that’s good and right in this Persian New Year specialty that I grew up eating all the time, and not just as part of New Year’s dinner. There are a TON of green herbs (vitamins and minerals), colorful spices that don’t overpower in any way (antioxidant central), eggs (nature’s wonder meal), and beef (hello iron and important amino acids!).
This dish is sort of like a frittata and sort of like a quiche, but the thing is, it’s really neither. It’s simply kuku. Funny how most Persian dishes are still kept so secret to the general public in the States. Probably because the best ones just can’t be found in restaurants, but only in our mother’s kitchens.
So here I am at 4 in the AM, exhausted but desperate to spread the food love.
And I hope you try it.
In case you’re looking for more Persian New Year dishes, click here for my Persian herbed rice and fish (sabzi polo baa maahi), and look below for some from my fellow food blogging friends!
Noushejaan! (nourishment to your soul!)
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- 1 Russet Potato, rinsed and cut in half
- 1 bunch Cilantro, rinsed and stems removed
- 1 bunch Parsley, rinsed and stems removed
- 1 bunch Green Onion, rinsed, root tips removed, and cut into thirds
- 1 pound Extra Lean Ground Beef
- 1 whole Onion, grated
- 3 ½ teaspoons Sea Salt, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons Black Pepper, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder, divided
- 10 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 5 cloves (or half a head) of Garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup dried Barberries (Zereshk), rinsed really well and checked for possible grains of sand
- 1 tablespoon Dried Mint
- 1 tablespoon Dried Dill
- ¼ teaspoon Saffron, ground and mixed into ¼ cup of hot water
- 1 tablespoon Cinnamon
- 9 Eggs
- Place potato in a pot of enough water to cover it and cook on high heat until fork-tender (about 15 minutes).
- While you’re waiting for potato to cook, finely chop cilantro, parsley, and green onion in a food processor. Set aside.
- Once potato is fork tender, drain water and rinse potatoes with cold water to reduce temperature.
- Peel the potato (it peel very easily after cooking) and mash it right in the same pot.
- In a large nonstick pan, combine beef, grated onion, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, and turmeric.
- Cook in the pan on med-high heat, mixing occasionally.
- As soon as the liquid released has evaporated, add two tablespoons olive oil, give it a mix for 10 seconds and remove pan from heat.
- Add beef mixture into pot with mashed potato and mash together until fully mashed and incorporated.
- Add in herbs, garlic, mint, dill, barberries, saffron-hot water mixture, cinnamon, 1 ½ teaspoons salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, and ½ teaspoon turmeric. Mix everything together.
- Crack in 9 eggs. Whisk with fork right on top of the mixture, then combine into the mixture.
- Over med-high heat, add 6 tablespoons olive oil or enough to fully coat the bottom of your pan that you cooked your beef in.
- Once pan and oil are hot, turn down to medium heat and add enough of the kuku mixture to amount to 1-inch thick when spread and leveled out with the back of a spoon/spatula. Cover with lid and turn heat to med-low. Adjust heat if needed to keep from burning.
- After 15-20 minutes, when the kuku has fully set and seared on one side, slice it into triangles or squares with a wooden spatula, and flip pieces over to sear the opposite sides. Add 1 or 2 tbsp oil to help sear the bottom. No need to cover with lid at this point. Serve after 10 minutes. Kuku can be eaten alone or with bread, fresh herbs, yogurt, or rice dishes.
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