Category: Main Dishes

Young Green Almond Mutton Stew

It is nothing tastier than crunching on the spring green almonds in Spring.  If you were born and raised in Iran, your mouth waters as you are reading this text! It is absolutely the most delicious and freshest thing you can start off the season of rebirth!

However today, I did something different with my green almonds. I turned it into a stew made with lamb shank. The recipe was a great success. Simply make sure not to overcook the Green Almonds! A simple rule, in this case, is that it is better to serve undercook than overcooking. Remember, serve it Al Dente!




2 medium onions, minced and divided

3Tbsp vegetable oil

1 pound Mutton stew shanks, cleaned and cut

1 teaspoon saffron, ground

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/4tsp white pepper, ground

300g Young almonds, cleaned and stemmed

3 cups Chicken broth



In a skillet heat oil and sauté meat pieces until brown on all sides. Set aside. Sauté onion in on Tbsp oil until fragrant. Add pepper and turmeric and cook for 30seconds. Add the meat and two cups of chicken broth. Let cook on medium-low heat and cook for about 2 hours until tender. Add saffron.

Meanwhile, sauté the rest of the onion and green almonds until fragrant. Add one cup of chicken stock and cook until al dente.

Cook rice and mix 3Tbsp with ground saffron. Set aside.

At the end mix almonds with meat and cook for 15 minutes. Serve with saffron rice.





Saeed my husband is such a ready-for-any-trip person!! Once we arrived in Vancouver few weeks ago, he started looking into some sort of getaway place to spend few days away from home! It was like taking a vacation to rest from another vacation! So funny, but before I knew it, we were on the plane heading off to Varadero. Arrived around early evening when it was dark, when I say dark, I not only mean the sky was dark but the whole highway did not have any lamp and nowhere we could see. And when we got into the city, people just marginally lighted up their houses. It was a very strange feeling to see how different their lifestyle was from us, Canadians. At a certain place there was a gate that only tourists could pass and it was the entrance to where all the hotels were located.



If I am to describe Cuba in one word, that word would be authentic in nature and rustic in design. This country is full of natural landscapes where we found ourselves drown into each one for hours. We went to the Jeep Safari Tour which took us to the most beautiful scenery in the world.








While in Cuba, we went on a Safari trip and visited some of beautiful scenery, villages, and life of people. For lunch we went to a suburban farm operated by a Cuban family. They served black-bean rice,, vegetable soup, streamed pumpkin on the tables made out wood and the chair’s seats were made out of goat’s skin. It truly was an incredible place.
They served us coffee at an old Cuban house. Life at passing-by villages at its most simplest form. People are poor but houses are with a lot of character.






We also went to Havana another day. Here in this blog I just leave it to photos to describe what went on.

Just in short, people in Cuba drive cars of 50’s or so; very old and rustic. I pinched myself sometimes, because to me it was incredible how people managed those cars for so many years. Cars looked like the ones we can only see in stone-age movies!










cuba1This is the photo of a tree that had grown on the second floor of an old building, coming out right out of windows, searching for light.

I found this incredibly telling for how people of Cuba have searched pride in their lives in the past 60 years.



cuba32A man dressed like Che Guevara, acting like a fighter along with his fellow citizen.


cuba38Cubans just do anything to make a little bit of money. People are very educated but what government gives them, just makes enough to be alive. A lot of people by dressing up or playing a little trick and treat want to make as much as money they can from tourists.






CUBA35We visited Che Guevara’s home in Cuba. This location and its stories were fascinating. A man with a good intention but bad results.







cuba52This girl I saw in Havana was a very special one to me. She was painted in silver holding a silver rose. Passing-by tourists would stop by, took a photograph and put a little money in her little silver bag. The moment I saw her, my heart just melted. In a poor country where people have barely can make a living, for a woman, this is a loving way of making good and clean money. She seemed to be like a statue from distance but actually, she had very affectionate and telling eyes. I loved her so much.








Now, it comes to what we ate the most in Cuba!. The black bean and rice was basically what was served everyday in the resort and what we ate at the village on Safari. “The black bean and rice dish comes with an interesting title. Literally translated, Moros y Cristianos means Moors and Christians. It is presumed the dish gets its name from the time when the Moors occupied the Iberian Peninsula. The black beans represent the Moors and the white rice represents the Christians. In Cuba, the name of this dish refers to the mix of African and Spanish cultures. Vegetarians can make an entree of this soul-satisfying side” (


Here is my recipe for this satisfying and tasty dish.


  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 2tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups of white rice
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 small bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2tablespoons tomato paste



Cook black beans in water for about 2 hours until cooked and set aside. You can skip this step by using one can of black beans.

Put garlic, pepper, cilantro, and onion in the food processor and puree.

In a medium pot, add olive oil and saute garlic and mixed puree for 2-3 minutes. Add salt, pepper, cumin, beans and tomato paste and mix.

Add 3 cups of white rice and 4 cups of vegetable broth. Mix and cook until the broth is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Then, cook on very low heat for another 20 minutes.

Serve this dish with kebabs or stew of your choice. It is easily paired with almost any other dishes.



Persian New Year’s Eve Dinner


Every year, all Persians eat a specialty dish that translates into Green’s Rice Pilaf. My family is no exception in celebrating this fantastic culture.

Herbs’ Rice Pilaf or so-called “Sabzi Polo” is a dish that we make with garlic and herbs cooked with rice in Persian rice pilaf preparation, called “Polo”. The herbs used in Sabzi Polo are minced coriander, parsley, dill, chives and green garlic stems (green onion), and fenugreek leaves; one portion of each will do.


Although celebrating Norouz is very old cultural event, eating fish and Herb’s Rice Pilaf is not that old.

A story I came across for eating fish in Notouz night, says that since the cities were faraway and getting food items from other places was hard, people would rely on dried fruits, preserves and food concentrates until the spring, they could catch fresh fish from the defrosted rivers. Eating fish was celebrated as it symbolized happiness and health. Iranians would thank God for all their blessings in the springtime thanksgiving night. I am not sure how true this story is and how it related (and I do not think it is that of an importance), but I know that this food is a traditional Persian food and it is delicious! Kiamehr was so excited to see a big fish that close for the first time, and he also loved the meat from fish kobab. He said, “I love you mommy for cooking the fish; hmmm, it is so yummy”.

I think that the most important aspects of food are the look and taste! I never asked my mama that, “why we eat fish at the New Year’s Eve!” All I always cared was the green look of Herb’s Rice Pilaf and how it tasted! The same way I choose to prepare and serve my fish to my children. I hope they too take the culture along with them and share it with all other distant friends and relatives.


Herbs’ Rice Pilaf (Sabzi polo)

600 gr Basmati or long-grain rice

1kilo herbs

2tablespoon vegetable oil

4tablespoon salt

First remove the stems from the herbs and wash thoroughly. Chop them finely and set aside. Wash rice with cold water three times and leave in water floating. Add 3tablespoon salt and let rest for at least one hour.

Fill 2/3 of a 3 liters pot with water. Put the pot over high heat and add one tablespoon salt until it boils. Drain the extra water from the rice and added it to the boiling water. When rice is half way cooked, the rice grains start to come to the surface of the boiling water. This is the time to remove it from the heat and drain in colander (a basket with small holes that rice does not pass through). Rinse rice with cold water to remove some of the salt. let drain completely.

Add oil to the same pot. Then layer rice and herbs, and gently mix with a fork. At this point you do not have to completely mix herbs and rice. It will mix when you serve it.

Place the pot over low-medium heat for 5 minutes until the pot feels hot to the touch. Place a clean cloth or a paper towel under the lid. Then lower the heat to low and brew for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove lid for the steam to escape and serve in a flat serving dish along with fish.


Fish Kobab with Sour Sauce

Market list

One medium whole fish, cleaned, rinsed, and dried

50 gr melted butter or olive oil

2 lemon, sliced

Salt and pepper, extra salt for massage

Market list for sour sauce

One medium onion, finely chopped

Three garlic cloves, minced

2tablespoon tamarind paste

2tablespoon pomegranate paste

2tablespoon cranberry

2tablespoon raisin

1tablespoon pistachio and almond rinds (to decorate)

2tablespoon walnut, crushed

1tablespoon butter or olive oil

1cup orange juice

How to prepare the fish

Massage the fish inside out with salt. Let rest for half an hour. Then rinse with cold water to remove extra salt and pat dry with paper towel.


Preheat the oven broil (grill) to 375 Fahrenheit. Place a piece of parchment paper over the oven roasting rack net, and place the fish over the paper (placing fish over the net helps the heat to circulate, thus, fish cooks more evenly). Season fish’s inside and out with salt and pepper. Insert the lemon slices inside the cavity and massage the butter and put inside the oven for 20-25 minutes to cook. Half way through the cooking, slowly, return the fish so both sides cook evenly.

Meanwhile, sauté onion and garlic in a non-metal or coated saucepan for 5-7 minutes. Add turmeric and pepper and sauté for another minute. At this stage pour in all other ingredients and let simmer for 15 minutes or until it thickens. Decorate with pistachio and almonds and serve with fish.



Shepherd’s Pie for Dinner at Home Sweet Home

shepherd'spieeShepherd’s Pie

I receive so much love that words can not describe my feelings for all of you, my friends in instagram and my blogs. I do nothing but sharing moments I love in my life. However, what you return is way more valuable. I am blessed to be surrounded by good people like you! Thank you so much for supporting me and bringing me hope. In this blog I have a little yummy dinner I make more often these days!

In a long winter night, what can I ask for, which is better than a quick and easy comfort food? This family favorite of sauteed ground meat topped with buttery mashed potato crust and sprinkled bread crumbs is just too good not to be shared. If you are a vegetarian, you can easily substitute meat with cooked chickpeas and lentil. When dinner is served at the table while everybody follow the mama and the dish with food, I call it Home Sweet Home!

shepherd's pie2

shepherd's pie3

Market List

Vegetable oil
2onions, chopped
500g ground lamb or beef ( lamb is preferred)
1cup vegetable broth
2tbsp tomato paste
2celery stems, finely chopped
2medium carrots, finely chopped
1tbsp parsley, chopped, some extra to garnish
1cup frozen or conserved green peas
1cup fresh or frozen corn
1kilo russet potatoes, peeled and cut into big chunks
5tbsp butter
1/2cup milk
Salt and pepper
1tbsp flour
100g cherry tomatoes, to place on the top of pie
2tbsp bread crumbs to sprinkle over the top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Set potatoes in water and salt and cook for 15 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onion, and then add carrots, celery, and meat. Cook for 10 minutes until golden. Add vegetable broth tomato paste, corn, flour, and parsley. Simmer for five minutes. Add the end, pour in green peas and remove from heat.

Pour the mixture into a baking dish, 3 inches deep and set aside.
Drain the water and mash potatoes with butter and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and place cherry tomatoes on the top to add colour and texture to the final look of the dish. Make few hole with fork for the steam to escape. Cook the pie for 45 minutes in the hot oven until golden.

shepherd's pie6

If you like, sprinkle bread crumbs half way through the baking.
Serve hot with some fresh garden salad and fresh bread.

shepherd's pie5

Classic Chicken Roast


Sometimes it is just good to have a classic chicken with not much of add on flavors and spices. You could serve this chicken with bread, sauce, and any vegetables. If you like to make your own home made chicken sandwiches- of any sort- you can refrigerate the roasted chicken in the fridge for few days or even freeze it. My suggestion to you is that just buy good quality free range or organic chicken. Believe it or not, the quality of ingredients does have a big impact on what comes out of the oven.

Market List

a whole chicken, washed and pad dried

2 tbsp butter, softened or olive oil

salt and pepper

2 celery branches, cut coarsely

2 medium carrots cut coarsely

1 medium onion, cut into wedges

2 garlic cloves

1 cup of water or vegetable broth

1 tbsp flour

How to make it

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Make sure that the chicken is at room temperature. Leave it out of the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Season the chicken cavity with salt and pepper. Fill it with 1/3 of carrot, celery, onion, and garlic. Close the chicken cavity and tighten up the legs with cooking string. attach the wings with two toothpicks or wood skewers cut in half. Mix soft butter with a pinch of salt and rub it all over the chicken skin.

Pile the rest of the chopped vegetables on a baking dish. Add the water. This prevents the vegetables from drying out in the oven and creates a juicier chicken roast. Place the chicken to rest over the bed of vegetables. I just put two fresh rosemary branches I had at home. You do not have to add it or add other herbs if you have them handy.


Put the chicken in the preheated oven. Cook chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you choose an extra large chicken, more than 2 kilos, increase the time to 1 hour and half.

15 minutes before you take the chicken out of the oven, baste it with some melted butter and honey mix. This gives your chicken a shiny and crispy look that anyone would die for!

Take the chicken out of the oven and cover with foil. Let rest for 20 minutes so it is ready for carving.

Meanwhile, make gravy if you desire. Empty the juice under the chicken into a saucepan. Sieve the vegetables, pressing down to get all the juice out and add it into the saucepan. Sauté a tablespoon of flour with a tablespoon of butter in a small skillet for five minutes. Add it slowly into the juice, stirring constantly over medium heat to achieve desired thickness. The best ratio of juice to flour is one cup to one tablespoon. This ratio gives you perfect smooth and consistent gravy that accompanies your chicken.


Baked Fish Fillets in a Bag!


I can call the Monday of last week a fish day! I bought some white fish fillet. The first thing came to me for cooking my fish was poaching it! I used thyme, oregano and spices to diffuse all the flavor into the fish and added as little as oil possible. Poaching is a great way of preparing fish and poultry because meat stays pretty moist with a little juice from vegetables that is so delicious and tasty.
This dish is not only delicious, but also makes zero mess in the kitchen during preparation and after serving. If you make this dish, you don’t have to wash plates! This makes this food a great pick if you are out of time or if you have friends coming over for a night gathering. What else you can ask for? You have a delicious meal ready in minutes, yet hours of fun and laughter!

300 gr fish fillet, cut into two pieces
1Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, washed
1small red onion, cut into wedges
1 large zucchini, sliced
2 tsp fresh or dry thyme
4 fresh garlic cloves, skinned
2Tbsp lime juice or red wine vinegar
2tsp spice mix: garlic powder, paprika, crushed black pepper, dill seed, and coriander powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 pieces of parchment paper, cut into 40 by 40 cm


Warm up the oven to 450 F.
Combine spice mix with olive oil in a small bowl and rub the fillets into the spice on both sides.
Fold the paper in half crosswise. Open the papers and place the fish fillets beside the fold-line. Arrange zucchini, cherry tomatoes, herbs,and garlic at the top of the fish. Drizzle lime juice over the mix. Fold each paper and crimp the edges to seal each pocket.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Serve hot with warm bread.
Note: if parchment paper is not available, you can use aluminum foils instead.


Sun-dried Tomato Spaghetti


Spaghetti’s popularity is out of question. This dish has passed geographical boundaries of its origins and has become an international food favorite. It is easy-to-cook-, versatile, nutritious, and most importantly inexpensive. It is best if you keep extra packages of pasta in your pantry. It comes handy when time is short and you would like to eat healthy and fresh fast.


  • Sauce
  • 2tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely sliced
  • ½lb extra lean ground beef (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can (1L) diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried basil and parsley to season

 Cooking Directions

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook until golden. Add the garlic and meat and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in all diced and sun-dried tomatoes, sugar, and red wine vinegar. Season the sauce with parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring water into a boil in a large saucepan. Add two tablespoons salt. Cook the spaghetti as package directions. Remember count the spaghetti cooking time from the time water comes back to boil. When the spaghetti is ready, drain off the water. Toss with a drizzle of olive oil. Set aside.

When the sauce is ready, add the sauce to the pasta in a warm serving dish. Toss well with forks until pasta is completely coated in the sauce.


Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time 15-20 minutes

This dish serves 4-6 people




Mandhi is a classic Arabic dish that is very easy to prepare. Mandhi might seem to have very special ingredients. However, it is good to know that this dish has nothing special and out-of-ordinary ingredients. The only thing that makes this dish taste and look different is because the rice is made with the remaining meat stock. This method of preparing rice locks the taste of meat and rice together and gives this its own unique taste and character.


 8 Lamb muscle

1kilo basmati rice, washed

 3tbsp Mandhi spice; see *1

2 large onions, chopped

1liter vegetable stock, prepared

Cooking Instructions

Dissolve 2 tbsp. Mandhi spice in 1 cup of water and apply it to meat. Place meat and half the chopped onions in a pot, and add one-liter vegetable stock. Cook on low heat for 2-21/2 until tender.

Remove meat from the stock. Set aside. Add hot water to the remaining stock to make 5 cups.

Add rice to the 4 cups of meat stock. Cook for about 20 minutes on medium-low heat until ready as desired.

In a skillet, melt butter and sauté lamb muscles on both sides and place in the serving dish. Sauté chopped onion in the remaining butter until golden.

Add 2 cups of saved stock to the sautéed onion and cook for 5 minutes. Pour over muscles.

Serve warm with rice and enjoy.

 *1 Here is how you can prepare your own homemade Mandhi spice. Simply mix 1tsp of each: garlic powder, turmeric, black pepper, ground coriander, cinnamon, saffron (optional) and lime powder or lime juice.


Japanese Style Teriyaki Chicken

Japanese Style Chicken Teriyaki
This dish is quick, healthy, and irresistibly delicious. I made this dish when two of my friends came over for dinner without planning. The total preparation and cooking time was no longer than hals an hour!
The sweet taste of teriyaki sauce, grilled chicken, and aroma of sesame oil are just too good to be described in words. I think this is a must-try-at-home recipe!


2 medium onion, coarsely sliced
2 broccoli heads, cut into florets
700g boneless chicken legs
1 large zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
6 cups jasmine or sushi rice
1 1/2 chicken teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoon sesame or vegetable oil
2 tablespoon sesame seeds to garnish


Cooking Instructions

In a saucepan, bring teriyaki sauce into boil over low heat. Set aside and keep warm.


 Mean while, in a pot, add 8 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt to the rice and cook until fully cooked.

Preheat grill pan. Brush the chicken pieces with a little of the sesame or vegetable oil, place on the pan, and cook for 15 minutes (8 minutes each side), until golden brown on each side. Grill onions in the same pan for few minutes until golden grilled.

Heat the sesame oil in a preheated wok or heavy-base skillet sauté the zucchini for 3 minutes. Set aside. Then, sauté the broccoli for 3 minutes and add 2 tablespoon of soy sauce. Cover and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

Serve chicken and vegetables over the rice in individual bowls. Top with hot teriyaki sauce. Garnish sesame seeds.

This dish serves 6-7 people.



Thai Duck Red Curry

Duck Thai Red Curry is one of the yummiest dishes at my home. Whenever I like to treat everyone with a tasty food and pineapples are in season, I grab a fresh one, chop it up into big chunks and prepare this meal in less than an hour. This is also a great dish if you have a group of friends over for dinner. I cooked it once in my party and everyone was in love with this dish. The sweetness of pineapple, the basil flavor, and the creamy sauce make this dish irresistible! 

This is one of the yummiest dishes at my home. Whenever I like to treat everyone with a tasty food and pineapples are in season, I grab a fresh one, chop it up into big chunks and prepare this meal in less than an hour. 

If you did not have boneless duck breast, use boneless chicken thighs. I guarantee that it as yummy as the duck, though slightly different.



  • 3 cups jasmine rice, uncooked
  • 4.5 cups water
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50 g ginger, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 400 g coconut milk
  • 400 g duck, skinless boneless cut into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1/5 cups pineapple, cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 2/3 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 5 bay leaves
  • Sesame oil (preferable) or vegetable oil
  • Fresh basil leaves, to garnish
  • A pinch of salt

Cooking Instructions 

Mix the rice with water and cook for 20 minutes, until fully cooked.

Heat teaspoon oil in a preheated wok or large heavy-base skillet. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 1 minute and set aside. Add the half the duck meat into the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Sauté the other half. Transfer duck and ginger-garlic mix into a pot.  

Heat a teaspoon oil to the skillet and sauté red curry paste for one minute. Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, bay leaves and sugar. Stir for two minutes until consistent and creamy. Transfer to the pot and mix with duck. Cook for 5 minutes on low heat.

Stir the cherry tomatoes, and pineapple chunks, and basil leaves into the curry and cook for 2 minutes.

Transfer the curry to large serving bowl and garnish with basil leaves for extra flavor. Serve with rice. 




This dish serves 4-6 people.