Posted by: samandal | February 26, 2010

Kashkúl: Beggar’s Bowl, Beggar’s Banquet

Ayyám-i-Há, the Days of Há

We would like to thank our dear friends Mání and A‘zam for their wonderful culinary contributions and generous assistance.

Ásh-i Sabzí

125 g (½ cup) beans                                                                                          125 g (½ cup) chickpeas                                                                                    125 g (½ cup) lentils                                                                                             3 large onions                                                                                                     30 ml (1 oz) extra-virgin olive oil                                                                        500 g (16 oz) beef or lamb                                                                                  2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) chili powder                                                                         2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) cinnamon                                                                            2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) cumin                                                                                 2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) curry powder                                                                       2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) paprika                                                                               2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) salt                                                                                     2.5 ml (½ teaspoon) turmeric                                                                            1.25 ml (¼ teaspoon) black pepper                                                                    1.25 ml (¼ teaspoon) red pepper                                                                           2 l (3½ pt) water                                                                                               125 g (½ cup) basmati or sadri rice                                                                     500 g (2 cups) cilantro, coriander, dill, mint, parsley, spinach, spring-onion ends

Wash and soak the beans, chickpeas and lentils overnight, then drain them.

Peel and chop the onions, then fry them gently in the oil until they obtain a golden color.

Cut the meat into small pieces and fry it with the onions until it is nearly cooked.

Add the water, beans, chickpeas, lentils, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, paprika, salt, turmeric, black pepper and red pepper, and cook over a low heat for one hour.

Wash the rice and add it to the ásh, then cook it for another half an hour until the rice is done.

Wash the cilantro, coriander, dill, mint, parsley, spinach and spring-onion ends (discard the stalks of the herbs and spinach), then chop them finely.

Add them to the ásh and cook them for another fifteen minutes, stirring frequently.

Add more water if necessary to reach the desired consistency.

Garnish the ásh, if you like, with a swirl of yoghurt and sprigs of cilantro in each bowl.

Improvise as you wish—for example, you may prefer to use dried herbs (which you will need to soak for half an hour before use), or canned beans, chickpeas and lentils, rinsed and drained.

Serve with lavash or pita bread.

Serves 4 to 6.

“My love is in thee, know it, that thou mayest find Me near unto thee.”      (Bahá’u’lláh: Arabic Hidden Word, number 10)

Date Halva

750 g (3 cups) fresh dates, chopped                                                                    750 g (3 cups) walnuts, chopped                                                                            2 lemon rinds, very finely grated                                                                        pine nuts, to garnish (optional)

Knead the dates and the walnuts together with the lemon rinds, then press this into a slab tin.

Cut it into squares and decorate each square with a pine nut (if desired), then serve.

Makes about 20 pieces.

Nosh-i ján! (May it nourish your soul!)