Ensure Queen Esther and her fellow Persian Jews feel at home!
I admit that I haven’t really done anything special for Purim menu dishes in the past…most of my Purim efforts go into baking those delicious cookies!
Last year when listening to the Megillah reading and all of the references to the King of Persia I thought about how much we really tend to overlook the Persian part of Purim. Esther didn’t just save Jews, she saved Persian Jews and so for this year I wanted to incorporate that spirit a little more.
Drinks: The Persian Greyhound
- 2 oz Dry Gin
- 1 oz Grapefruit Juice
- 1 oz Pomegranate Liqueur
- 1 Dash Ginger Liqueur
- 1 Dash Simple Syrup
Combine all ingredients with ice in a shaker. Shake well, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and enjoy!
(Vegan) Persian Eggplant Stew
From The Iron You; Serves 4
- 1 large eggplant, cut into large cubes
- 2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 large tomatoes (about 1 lb in total), peeled, seeded and chopped
- 4 tablespoons freshly chopped mint
(Optional; This step is in the directions but I’ve never found myself needing to soak my eggplant first) Fill a large bowl with cold water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and stir until it dissolves completely. Add eggplant cubes to the bowl of water and let sit for at least 20 minutes to draw out the bitterness. Drain the eggplant cubes and set aside.
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for about 6 minutes. Add garlic and spices and sauté for 1 minute. Add eggplant cubes and cook on high for 10 minutes, stirring every so often, until the eggplant starts to soften and begins to brown. Add chopped tomatoes, remaining teaspoon of salt, and reduce the heat to low.
Cover with a lid, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
At this point the eggplant should start to break down and the sauce thicken. If it looks dry add more water a couple of tablespoons at a time. If instead, the sauce is too thin, remove the lid and cook until it reaches the right consistency. Take a taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add 3 tablespoons of chopped mint and give a good stir. Sprinkle with remaining mint to garnish!
(Vegan & Gluten-free) Jeweled Turmeric Rice Cups
From Power Hungry; Serves 12
This recipe takes the longest to make, so start with the rice cups first. That way they can cool while you finish up with the other dishes.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 cup long grain brown rice (e.g., basmati)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3-1/3 cups water, divided
- 1 tablespoon whole psyllium husk
- ½ cup chopped almonds, pistachios
- ⅓ cup craisins or raisins, chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease or spray all 12 cups of a standard size muffin tin. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion; cook and stir for 5 to 6 minutes until softened. Add the rice, turmeric, salt, cinnamon, and pepper. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add 3 cups water to skillet; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 35 minutes until rice is tender.
Meanwhile, in a small cup, or bowl, stir together the psyllium and remaining ⅓ cup water. Let stand at least 5 minutes to thicken.
Uncover rice and fluff with a fork; stir in the psyllium mixture, nuts, craisins and parsley. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Divide rice evenly among prepared cups.
Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 21 minutes until tops of rice cups are golden brown at the edges and the surface feels slightly dry. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of each cup and remove rice cups, Serve warm or cool to room temperature.
Persian Shish Kabob
Adapted from Allrecipes; Serves 4
This recipe calls for beef, but you can easily substitute for chicken, tofu, and/or bell peppers if that is your preference.
- 2 pounds beef tenderloin
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 pinch ground black pepper
- 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
Preheat grill for high heat, or heat up your grill pan for the stove-top on medium high heat. Thread your meat (and/or veggies) on skewers, 6 to 8 pieces per skewer.
Lightly oil grate/grill pan, and place kebobs on grill/grill top. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes per side, 12 to 16 minutes in all.
(Vegan) Persian Pistachio & Saffron Ice Cream
To pair with your Hamantaschen of course! Prep this the night before to keep things easy.
From Green and Fries; 8-10 Servings
- 1 quart non-dairy vanilla ice cream
- 1 cup roasted pistachios
- A generous pinch of Saffron + warm water
- 1/4 cup Rose Water
- 1/2 tsp ground Cardamom
Allow the ice cream to thaw on the counter for a couple of minutes so it’s soft enough to mix with the rest of the ingredients.
Dissolve your saffron in a few tbsp of water to extract all the color and flavor. Pour the ice cream and the rest of your ingredients into a large bowl. Mix well. Transfer the mixture to a 9 x 13 pan or freezer safe glass Tupperware and freeze for at least a few hours (but I would really recommend overnight so that the ice cream is ready to go day-of). Scoop when ready to serve and enjoy!
Chag Purim Sameach!