Baastermeh, also known as Baastermeh-Pilau, is a delicious local food of the northern Iranian Golestan Province and usually cooked by Turkmens.
Baastermeh, a popular Turkmen food, has been around since the distant past and is cooked and served in parties and ceremonies. One of the features of the food is that it is made with pomegranates, potatoes, onions and fish, which give it a unique taste. Turkmens usually use sturgeon to cook Baastermeh.
Pomegranate: One deseeded pomegranate
Olive oil: 2 spoonfuls
Crushed coriander seeds: 1 teaspoonful
Turmeric: 1 teaspoonful
Salt and pepper: as much as necessary
Liquid saffron: 2 spoonfuls
Leave the rice in a mixture of water and salt for several hours.
Clean the fish and cut it into pieces as big or small as you wish. Mix the olive oil, coriander seeds, salt, pepper, turmeric and saffron to make a special sauce. Lie the fish in it for several minutes.
Boil the rice in a casserole before draining it.
Pick a casserole, put it on the flame and put some oil in it. Wait until the oil gets hot. Put potato slices inside. Lay onion slices, pieces of fish and pomegranate seeds on the potato slices respectively. Then add rice, put the lid on, and turn up the heat. When vapour begins to come out of the casserole, add melted butter to the rice and turn down the heat. Put the casserole lid back on and let the food cook on low temperature for 30 to 60 minutes.
After Baastermeh is ready, remove the lid, put a bigger dish on the casserole and turn the casserole upside down.
Turkmens usually make Baastermeh in as many small dishes as there are people to be served. When the food is ready, they turn the dishes upside down onto plates.
If sturgeon is not available, you may use any other boneless types of fish.
If you are using sour pomegranates, you can add some sugar to the pomegranate seeds to make its taste better.