One of the joys of travelling is trying new and interesting food. But some cuisines are inherently non-vegetarian, which makes this much harder to do. This is somewhat true of Iranian food, as many of the dishes are meat-based. Thanks to a good friend, and some comprehensive Googling, my partner and I have come up with an interesting vegetarian menu. Along with a nice aromatic white wine, like a Gewürztraminer, this is a truly special and different meal. We’ve tried this on family and friends, who have liked it (or been too polite to say otherwise!). Here is our menu:
Mast-o-khiar: This is yoghurt with cucumber and dried mint. We usually use a variant of this recipe.
Lubia Polo: This is the bit that makes the dinner really special. It’s rice with green beans at the most basic level, but is certainly not an easy dish to make. It takes effort, but we’d like to think it pays off. We do it without the meat, and typically substitute the ‘advieh’ with ingredients that we have at home (cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cumin).
Mirza Ghassemi: This is the bit of the dinner that is from my friend. This one is a lot simpler than Lubia Polo, but requires some patience and slow cooking. The recipe below serves 4.
- 5 aubergines
- 6-7 tomatoes
- A clove of garlic (peeled)
- Salt to taste
- A spoon of olive oil
- Line the oven with foil and then put the aubergines in. You grill them (gas mark 4) till the skin turns dark.
- Take them out of the oven, cut the top of the aubergine, and peel off the burnt skin. Cut this into smaller pieces.
- While the eggplant is being grilled, boil 6 – 7 tomatoes. Once boiled, peel
off the skin. Blend the tomatoes to achieve a puree-like consistency.
- In a fresh pan, put the garlic in, with oil and salt. Once the garlic is cooked, add the tomatoes along with a little salt and water and let the mixture boil.
- Then add the aubergine, mash it into the mixture. Be careful to avoid this burning. It’s done when the eggplants turn colour (they become reddish) – approximately 20 minutes.