Kükü is a Persian/Iranian dish similar to frittata. By comparison with frittata, kuku recipes use a smaller proportion of eggs to bind larger amounts of other ingredients, have spices instead of cheese and are cooked on a stove on low heat or baked in the oven. There are different types of kuku such as kuku sabzi (fresh herb kuku, the most popular, and today’s recipe), kuku sibzamini (potato kuku) or with other vegetables such as zucchini, kuku kadu sabz, or eggplants, kuku bademjan.
In my story, A Thing or Two, I have mentioned that my mother only cooked using stove tops and never used an oven. In her era, growing up in Iran or even in my era, growing up in Japan, no one owned ovens (only American expats). Think about it. There is no traditional Japanese dish which uses an oven. And, really, other than breads cooked in the fire pits, traditional Persian dishes were made on (burner) fire, and later, with availability of ovens and oven-safe dishes, cooking-steps were modified.
So, how were dishes made to give an oven cooked effect? I’ll tell you, but, do not attempt this at home… 🙂
I have seen this done many times… Everybody owned individual electric or gas burner(s). When we had company and a large amount of food was needed to be prepared, burners were placed outside of the kitchen and big pots and fry pans were used. Pots and pans had metal lids. Lids were put on and then, red-hot-burning, small charcoals were placed all over on the lids. Kuku was one of such dishes, being cooked both from the bottom and the top. It was too big/thick to be flipped. Speaking of culinary know-hows. Of course, children were cleared from the area.
On that note… here is another Persian favorite, made of fresh herbs.
This recipe has been featured on a magazine… check out → On The Press
Fresh Herb Kuku • Kuku Sabzi • کوکوسبزی
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
Note: Ingredients here are for authentic tasting kuku sabzi. Kuku may be made with any greens or vegetable of choice and be called, i.e. kuku kale, kuku chard, etc.
• 1 package frozen Kadbanou Sabzi Kuku (parsley, chives, cilantro, dill weed)
↓ or ↓
• 1 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped (jãáfãri جعفری )
• 1 cup garlic chives finely chopped (tareh تره )
• 1 cup cilantro/coriander leaves finely chopped (geshniz گشنیز )
• 1 cup dill weed finely chopped -or- 1 Tbsp dried (shevid شوید )
For the seasoning
• 2 cloves garlic crushed and minced extra finely
• ¾ tsp turmeric powder
• ¾ tsp salt
• ¼ tsp ground black pepper
• 5 large eggs
• 4 Tbsp oil divided
If using dried herbs, use ¼ in weight of what used for fresh. In a container that can be covered tightly (to keep smell from spreading), soak the dried-herbs in enough water (at-room-temperature), to almost cover the herbs. Let them soak from the day before (put it in the refrigerator). Check it a couple of times to add more water if needed, to reconstitute as much as possible, and also to avoid needing to drain too much of the liquid. Drain the liquid well, through a fine sieve before frying. Or, follow the instructions on the packaging, if any.
To prepare the herbs
◊ If using fresh herbs: After stripping, wash herbs thoroughly and drain them well (use salad spinner if needed). Put a few cuts to the herbs, and then use food processor to chop the herbs into small pieces (don’t purée them). Or, cut them in small pieces on the cutting board.
◊ ¹ If using fresh herbs, after chopping, put them in a large bowl.
. ² If using frozen Kadbanou Sabzi Kuku, don’t let it defrost. In a large bowl separate the herbs
…….by fork and fluff.
. ³ If using reconstituted herbs, drain well and put them in a large bowl.
◊ Sprinkle and add garlic, turmeric, salt, pepper and toss well. Add eggs and beat with the herbs briefly to mix. (The key is not to over beat the eggs.)
◊ In a 25cm/10″ non-stick fry-pan (with a lid), add 3 Tbsp oil and heat on high. (The key is for the pan and oil to be hot.)
◊ Pour the egg mixture into the pan and quickly with a wooden spoon, smooth and flatten the top. As the egg mixture harden at the sides of the pan, push them slightly inward toward the center to allow soft egg mixture to flow to the sides (2 minutes). Lower heat to medium-low (or depending on the stove, a tad higher) and put the lid on. When the egg mixture is somewhat set on the top/center…
♦ If you want the kuku to be in one piece, put a large plate over the fry-pan and flip. Add 1 Tbsp oil to the pan and with a wide spatula, slide the kuku back into the pan. Put the lid back on and cook the other side for 4 minutes and turn off the heat. Let it continue to cook in the pan with no heat under for 4 more minutes.
♦ Otherwise, with a spatula, cut the kuku into 6 wedges and flip the pieces. Put the lid back on and cook for 4 minutes and turn off the heat. Let it continue to cook in the pan with no heat under for 4 more minutes.
~ Noushe jan! • نوش جان ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?