Once you try this truly delicious food from the north of Iran, you won’t be able to resist eating more.
Iranian dishes excel at making people who have never tried them fall in love at the first bite. The unique combination of spices and flavourings come from a wide range of vegetables, herbs, fruits, grains, nuts, meats, and most importantly, rice. They only need the magic of Iranian culinary know-how to whip up an explosion of unforgettable tastes in the mouth. Their delectable smells, delicious look and perfect tastes make them almost impossible to resist. IFP brings you another recipe, for Mirza Qassemi, in its ongoing series on Persian food.
Mirza Qassemi is a dish which is local to the north of Iran. Its natural, organic ingredients and its truly delicious smell and taste have made this veggie dish immensely popular with people across the country. At first glance, it might look like a bit like an omelet, but the two are incomparable when it comes to taste. If you are a big fan of aubergines and garlic, you should definitely give it a try.
1. 400 grams smoked aubergine – In the past, the aubergines would be grilled over red-hot coals until their skin turned crispy and their inside was soft, cooked right through the middle. Such a method would give a smoky smell to the aubergines. Nowadays, however, they are usually grilled over a gas burner or on a barbecue. Sometimes, while grilling, the eggplant skin blackens and turns crispy, while the flesh is still hard and uncooked. To help the heat find its way to the centre, pierce the aubergine with a fork before grilling it. Keep turning them over on the cooktop or the open flame to avoid burning them. Put them to one and let them cool off. Then remove the skin completely. Make sure you do not miss any skin. Blackened skin will make the dish look and taste bad.
2. 200 grams diced tomatoes
3. Two heaped tablespoons of grated garlic – If you especially like garlic, you can use more.
4. Four eggs
5. Salt, ground black pepper and turmeric to taste
How to cook Mirza Qassemi
1. Pour oil into a frying pan and sauté the grated garlic with turmeric, black pepper and salt over a medium heat. Garlic tends to get burnt very quickly, so you need to stir it frequently. As soon as it turns golden, you should tip in the diced tomatoes and fry them until they are soft and cooked.
2. Chop the smoked aubergine and remove any hard parts and seeds. Strain the excess liquid coming out of the chopped aubergine through a fine sieve. You can purée the chopped aubergine with a hand blender or in a food processor. Afterwards, add them to the pan and fry them into the mix.
3. When the smoked eggplant purée is gently fried, make four holes in the mixture to make space for the eggs. Crack the eggs into the pan, but do not stir them before the whites are set. After that, you can either cut the solidified eggs into small parts and stir them through the rest of the mixture, or place the mixture on a platter and garnish it with the four sunny-side-up eggs. The dish is served with Iranian rice or bread.
Bon Appétit! (Nush-e Jaan! in Persian)