Iranian dishes excel at making people who have never tried them fall in love at the first bite. The unique combination of spices and flavorings with a wide range of vegetables, herbs, fruit, grains, nuts, meat and most importantly rice only needs the wand of Iranian cuisine to perform magic and leave an explosion of unforgettable tastes in the mouth. The delectable smell, delicious look and perfectly pleasant taste make it almost impossible to resist them. To share the gastronomic delights of Iran, IFP has decided to file a series of mouth-watering recipes for Iranian dishes.
Dizi is a traditional, nutritious Iranian dish which looks like a soup served in two stages. Traditionally, small pieces of flat bread are mixed and eaten with the broth in the first stage. You can skip this part if you don’t like it. Other ingredients are later mashed and served with side dishes of pickles, fresh herbs [garden cress, wild leek, basil, squaw mint, scallion and radish], Doogh [a savory yoghurt-based beverage], raw onions and most importantly freshly-baked flat bread.
In Persian, Dizi refers to clay or stone pots in which the dish is cooked and served. In fact, in Iran, the dish is still served in small crocks in traditional restaurants where customers are provided with a masher to crush the meat and other ingredients after separating the solid part from the broth, known as Abgoosht.
1. 750 grams lamb shank/shoulder of lamb on the bone [Don’t remove the fat from the meat; the meat used should be fatty.]
2. 100 grams chickpeas – Rinse and soak them for 24 hours
3. 100 grams navy beans – Rinse and soak them for 24 hours
4. Six small potatoes
5. Six small tomatoes – chop them into pieces
6. Two large onions which should be peeled and sliced.
7. Two heaped tablespoons tomato paste
10. Salt, ground black pepper and turmeric to taste
How to cook Dizi
1. Fry the onions in a frying pan with ground black pepper and a liberal amount of turmeric until they turn golden brown.
2. Add in tomato pieces and fry them lightly for a few minutes. Put the chickpeas and navy beans in the pot and sauté them.
3. Cut the meat into bite-size pieces, add them to other ingredients in the pot and fry them until browned on all sides. [You can use a pressure cooker to let the dish cook by the pressure of hot steam over a low heat. To have a tasty final dish, you need to give the dish enough time to be cooked gently.]
4. Tomato paste should be fried with the mixture until it turns deep red; stir it frequently to prevent it from burning.
5. Pour 10 to 12 cups of water into the pot and bring it to a boil. Then, turn down the heat to let it simmer. The pot should be tightly covered, so if you don’t use a pressure cooker, opt for a pot with a close-fitting lid.
6. Wash the potatoes well, but do not peel them [the skin prevents them from falling apart in the pot; they should be peeled later before being mashed]. By the time the meat and the grains are tender and cooked, add salt – toward the end of cooking to stop meat from toughening and prolonging the cooking time – and the potatoes to the pot.
7. When the potatoes are cooked, drain the broth and pour them into serving bowls. If you want to mash the solid part before serving, do not forget to remove the bones.