Every morning, during breakfast, my mother begged my father and us three girls to tell her what to make for dinner. Several times, we all sat and made a calendar for her to follow so she would not need to ask every day. And, every dinner time, one or two of us were hoping for something else. It was never a winning battle for my mother. Looking back, we were so spoiled. She was the best home-cook we ever knew, but we still had our demands.
To fill the calendar, we each had seven spots to fill. Whatever dish I chose, mixed rice or khoresh/khorak (Persian stews), I specified it be with meatballs. Not only did I love the savory taste of each meatball but just loved round things (I still do), food or any object. In summer time, this green pea khorak was always on the list.
To cook this dish, unfortunately, I was unable to find fresh green peas. I was unable to find large, frozen peas either and settled for available frozen peas. This stew is called ‘green peas stew’ but only a few green peas are seen in the photo… they’re mostly hidden under. As you see, I also looked for tiny, round versions of the ingredients, such as marble potatoes and cherry tomatoes. I also had a little fun cutting carrots with formed vegetable cutters. However, if I knew how to make the carrots into small balls, I would have done so (I think I had seen carrots formed into balls in a store, but couldn’t remember where).
Khorak'e Nokhod-Farangi • خوراکه نخود فرنگی • Green Pea Stew
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
For the petite meatballs
• 230 g/ ½ lb lean ground beef (or lamb, turkey)
• ½ medium sized onion, grated
• 1/8 tsp turmeric
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1/16 tsp ground black pepper
• 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 1 cup hot water
• 1 bay-leaf
• 6 cloves garlic, with skin
• 180 g/ 6.5 oz low starch potatoes, peeled or not, cut into bite size
• 100 g/ 3.5 oz carrots, peeled and cut into bite size
• 2 small Anaheim peppers, or very mild variety (optional)
• 454 g/ 1 lb green peas, fresh preferred, otherwise frozen (not canned)
• 100 g/ 3.5 oz cherry tomatoes
For the seasoning
• ½ tsp chicken base
• 2 tsp tomato paste
• ½ tsp hot pepper paste
• 2 Tbsp verjuice or lemon or lime juice
• 2+ cups hot water
• 2 Tbsp caramelized onion or ½ medium onion, chopped and caramelized
• smidgen (1/32 tsp) ground saffron dissolved in 2 Tbsp hot water
• salt & pepper, if needed, to taste
◊ To prepare the meatballs: Prepare a large, non-stick pot with 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in it. Combine first 5 ingredients and knead well. Form meat mixture into 2cm/7/8″ balls. Place meatballs in prepared pot in one layer. Add garlic cloves and put bay-leaf on top. Put lid on and place pot on high-heat. When meatballs change color and release liquid, add hot water, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 25 minutes.
◊ Add potatoes, carrots, mild peppers (optional) and cook for 10 minutes.
◊ Meanwhile, in a small bowl, add the first 4 seasoning ingredients and dissolve well in 1 cup of hot water.
◊ If using frozen peas, briefly blanch them in salt water and drain to get rid of foam it creates.
◊ To the pot, add peas, tomatoes, seasoning mix, caramelized onion, saffron water, and hot water if needed, to just level with vegetables and meat. Increase heat, bring to a boil, lower heat to medium-low again and simmer for 5 minutes. Very carefully, taste the liquid from the pot… if needed, add salt and pepper to adjust to taste ( I did not need to).
◊ Dish out onto a deep, serving dish. It goes well with plain Persian rice/polo or with bread. Plain yogurt will be a great side.
Note: To avoid choking, please remove skins of garlic cloves before plating or tell diners to do so.
~ Noushe jan • نوش جان ~
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?