Comfort Food Week: Zereshk Rice and Meat & Eggplant Stew

These Persian recipes came our way deliciously cooked by Jackie Ahdout. Growing up at Sinai Temple, Persian foods like tadig and kabob were something my family and I grew up with. So, even though they’re not our own culture, in a funny way, they are comfort foods for us. Plus, it’s impossible not to feel comforted by a hot stew. We love how healthy these particular comfort foods are.

Jackie also included a recipe for white rice (polo), below.


White Rice (polo) 

Ingredients: (4 servings)

Basmati rice, 500 grams
Cooking oil
Saffron, 1/2 teaspoon

Wash rice twice and soak it in salted warm water for 3-4 hours. Drain the
water. Pour fresh water in a large non-stick pot until it is half-full and bring
it to a boil. Add rice and one heaping tablespoon of salt and continue
boiling until rice slightly softens. Pour rice into a colander and wash it
gently with slightly warm water.
Pour 3 tablespoons of water and a few spoonfuls of cooking oil into the
pan and add the rice. Let it cook on a high heat for ten minutes. Pour a few
more spoonfuls of oil over rice. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for
about 20 minutes. If cooking time is increased, a delicious crispy layer of
rice (called ta-dig) will form at the bottom of the pan.
Once its ready serve it on a large platter. Mix the saffron with ½ cup hot
water. Add some rice to the saffron and add it to the rice for garnish.


Zereshk-polo (Berry Rice)

Ingredients: (4 Servings)

Basmati or long-grain rice, 500 grams (Cook and serve it on a platter)
Cooking oil
Dried Berries (assorted), four spoons (Zereshk, cranberries, currents)
Saffron, 1/2 teaspoon
Black pepper


Wash berries twice with cold water and drain the water. Add oil to the frying pan
(butter optional) and fry the berries over medium heat for about five minutes.

Pour saffron in a small bowl. Pour in 2-3 spoons of hot water and mix. Fill the bowl
with rice and mix well. Add saffron-rice and barberries to the rest of the rice and

Can be served with roasted chicken or stew. 


Eggplant Stew (Khorshte Bademjoon)

Ingredients: (6 servings)

Veal or beef, 400 grams
Small eggplants, 8
Medium onions, 2
Tomato paste, 2 table spoons
Cherry tomatoes, small basket
Fresh lime juice, 2 spoons or sour grapes, one cup
Cooking oil
Black pepper


Cut meat into small pieces and cook the meat with water in a large pan and bring
it to boil. Once it started boiling, drain and wash the meat. Peel onions and slice
thinly. Fry in oil until slightly golden. Add the meat to the onions and brown. Add
turmeric, salt, pepper and ½ cup sour grapes (optional). Bring 2-3 glasses of water
to a boil, and add to meat and onions and cook over medium heat for about one
hour. When meat is cooked, there should be about one glass of water left.

Fry the tomato paste in a frying pan over a medium heat, add cherry tomatoes and
a half cup sour grapes or limejuice. Add the mixture to the meat and let it simmer.

Peel eggplants and slice length-wise or cube to a thickness of 2”. Add salt on both
sides and let it sit for five to ten minutes in warm water. Wash the eggplants, pat
them dry and fry in oil on both sides over medium/low heat until golden. Once
the eggplants are ready, add them to the meat and let it simmer for another ten

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