Potato and beetroot kuku
Kuku (also spelled kookoo) is a Persian frittata-style dish. It is often vegetarian and is made with beaten eggs and various herbs and / or vegetables folded in. The main difference between kuku and its western counterparts is the ratio of egg to vegetables, with kuku favouring the latter.
It is served either hot or cold as a starter, side dish or a main course, and is accompanied with bread or rice and either yogurt or salad.
The two most well known kuku recipes are Kuku Sabzi (made with herbs and barberries and / or walnuts); and Kuku Sibzamini (made with potatoes). We also have Kuku Kadoo (made with courgettes). Ultimately there are no hard and fast rules about what you should put in your kuku – I have made ones with curried mushrooms; kale and red pepper; bacon, cheese and tomatoes and the list goes on…
The traditional recipe is made using mashed potatoes, in some cases grated onion, turmeric, saffron, dried mint and egg. I have always loved Kuku Sibzamini but on a nutritional scale it is not the most nutrient dense dish you can cook for you and your family. To top it off, it is usually fried which can make it a little greasy.
The recipe below is my version of Kuku Sibzamini (potato kuku). To make this kuku a little more nutritionally balanced, I have added beetroot, garlic and feta to the recipe. The resulting kuku has a vibrant colour and delicious depth to the flavour. I have also varied the recipe by baking instead of frying the kuku.
The beauty of kuku is that you can make a batch one evening and have it as a quick lunch on your working days. It is a great addition to a mezze-style lunch or a sandwich filler. We eat our kuku sibzamini with a mint yoghurt, made by mixing a few teaspoons of mint sauce with Greek yoghurt; fresh herbs, salad and bread. The picture below is one of our kuku platters.
- 3 tbsp olive oil (1 tbsp for greasing the muffin tin and 2 tbsp for the kuku mixture)
- 500 to 600 g potatoes (peeled, boiled and mashed - use potatoes suitable for mashing such as Desiree or Maris Piper)
- 1 medium / large beetroot (boiled, peeled and grated with excess water squeezed out)
- 80 g feta or equivalent (crumbled or cut into small chunks)
- 1 small / medium onion (grated with excess liquid squeezed out)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 to 2 tsp dried mint
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 4 large free-range eggs
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (fan) / 180°C (conventional) / Gas Mark 4.
- Take a 12-hole muffin tin, grease (using 1 tbsp of olive oil) and line the holes with baking paper. Brush a little olive oil into each recess after lining and leave to one side until you are ready to use it.
- Mix all your ingredients for the kuku (mashed potato, grated beetroot, grated onion, crumbled feta, garlic, mint, turmeric, eggs, remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil, salt and pepper) in a mixing bowl.
- Take the muffin tin and spoon the mixture evenly between the 12 holes.
- Place in the oven for 25 mins. To check if the kuku are done, use a thin skewer / tip of a knife to check one by gently poking to the bottom. It should come out clean.
- Serve warm or cold with salad, dips and bread as part of a mezze-style meal.