Vegan Khoresht-e Qaimeh

This is a guest post by the excellent Will McCallum
An Iranian stew called Khoresht-e Qaimeh with very strong flavours, I’ve adapted the traditional mutton and use aubergine chunks, the most meaty of vegetables, instead.
 Serves 6:
1 large onion – roughly chopped
2 mid-sized potatoes – chopped into small chip-like rectangles (0.5x2cm)
2 aubergines – chopped into largeish, mouthful sized chunks
2 cups red lentils – soaked and ready to cook
1 pint vegetarian stock
6 dried limes (available from most shops selling Middle Eastern/North Indian/Pakistani food)
5 cloves garlic – finely chopped
2 tbs turmeric
Mustard seeds
2 tbs cumin
Coriander (handful of fresh if you have it, otherwise about 2tbs of dried)
A few dried chillies – add to your own taste
Salt and pepper
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
2. Coat half the potato chips in oil, then salt and pepper to taste and stick in the oven – keep an eye on them and take them out when they go crispy and leave to one side
3. Fry the onion and garlic in oil until translucent, then add 1tbs turmeric, a load of mustard seeds, 1tbs cumin and the chillies – fry for about 2 more minutes.
4. Add the aubergine chunks and the other half of potato chips and fry with onions and spices for a couple of minutes
5. Add the lentils and toss with the vegetables and spices for about two minutes
6. Add the stock
7. Using a sharp knife poke a hole in each of the dried limes and then drop into the stew and stir
8. Leave to simmer for at least half an hour (as a general rule you could leave it as long as you want – do the rice in this time)
9. Add the rest of the spices and coriander – stir well and leave to simmer for 5 more minutes
10. Make a well in servings of rice, ladle out the stew into the well
11. As a topping – put the crispy potato chips and some fresh coriander on top of each serving
(Warning – eating the dried limes is an acquired taste – I like them in the stew for flavour but don’t enjoy eating them)
I won’t pretend that this recipe for tahdigh is my own – I wrote it down while watching my friend Sharareh cook.
For the rice (if you’re running short of time/patience just cook regular rice – this rice, with the crunch tahdigh is more for special occasions):
4 cups basmati rice
5tbs vegetable oil
Couple of pinches of saffron
1tsp turmeric
2tsp salt
1. Soak rice in 4 cups water (with a pinch of salt)
2. Drain and rinse rice
3. Put rice in pot – add 4 cups cold water, tbs oil and 1 tsp salt
4. Bring to boil and then boil for about 5 mins – or until the rice is about half cooked (nice and firm)
5. Drain and put to one side
6. In a deep skillet fry the rest of the oil with the saffron and turmeric, after about a minute – add one cup of the rice and coat with the spices – then continue to fry on a lowish heat for about 5 minutes so that it becomes a solid base
7. Add the remaining rice slowly and evenly across the base in the bottom of the pan, put the final rice closer to the centre in a mound-like shape – try not to break the solid base you’ve just made
8. Poke a couple of holes in the highest point of the rice
9. Sprinkle half a cup of rice over the rice
10. Before putting the lid on the pan – place a teatowel over the pan (hold it so that it doesn’t burn on the flame) – then place the lid on top of the tea towel – sealing the pan shut – apparently the teatowel helps create steam – fold the teatowel up onto the lid of the pan to make sure it doesn’t get burnt
11. Cook on a low heat for about 40 minutes (or until rice is done – though I don’t tend to lift the lid for fear of letting out all the steam)
12. Get a friend to hold a plate (that is larger than the pan) upside down over the top of the pan and then flip the pan over so you have a rice cake – the top is the solid golden base you made earlier)
13.  To serve – cut into wedges or let people break pieces off the crunchy bit.

About 101waystocookmushrooms

Here, Adam and Ali of write about the yummy stuff we're cooking. And eating. Mmmmm. (It won't all be mushrooms. The name is basically a lie).
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