Green Bean Frittata
Kuku (also spelled kookoo) is an Iranian 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 potatoes, feta and beetroot; curried mushrooms; kale and red pepper; bacon, cheese and tomatoes and the list goes on…
This Kuku recipe hails from Tabriz, a city in northwestern Iran, serving as the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. It is the fifth most populous city in Iran and the largest economic hub and metropolitan area in northwest Iran. The population is overwhelmingly Azerbaijani who speak the Azerbaijani language, though Persian is spoken by residents as a second language.
This dish is a gorgeous addition to the summer catalogue of recipes as it is light and easy to prepare. some variations of this recipe include potatoes but the version I prefer is with caramelised onions and sliced green beans as set out in the recipe below.
Kuku Loobia Sabz
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 medium red onion (finely sliced)
- 4 garlic cloves (minced or crushed)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 250 g green beans (sliced)
- 1.5 tsp Advieh (persian mixed spice)
- 1/3 cup saffron water (bloom 1/8 tsp of ground saffron in the water)
- Juice of half a lime
- 20 g fresh coriander plus a bit extra for garnishing the kuku before serving (finely chopped)
- 50 g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 8 large eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan) / 180°C (conventional) / Gas mark 4.
- Place a non-stick skillet or frying pan which can be placed in an oven on medium / high heat on the stove (size of pan anything between approx 10" and 12" i.e. 25 to 30 cm).
- Add 2 tbsp oil and heat until it glistens. Then add finely sliced onion and cook until golden and caramelised. Stir in garlic, turmeric and advieh.
- Add sliced green beans, the lime juice and saffron water and stir until the beans have wilted and the liquid has cooked off. Lower the heat if required.
- Stir in the freshly chopped coriander. Turn off the heat while you prepare the egg mixture.
- Add flour and baking powder to a bowl. Crack in one egg and whisk until all the flour is incorporated and no flour lumps remain. Then add remaining eggs, the salt and pepper and whisk. Pour in the bean mixture and stir until fully incoprated with the egg mixture.
- Turn the heat to medium / high on the stove. Place the skillet on the heat and add 1 tbsp of oil. Pour the kuku mixture in and tip the pan gently side to side to make sure it is evenly distributed across the pan. Heat on the stove for approximately 3 minutes. Then place in the preheated oven and bake for a further 20 to 25 mins. To check the kuku is done, use a thin skewer and gently poke the middle of the kuku. It should come out clean.
- Remove the kuku from the pan and serve with a sprinkle of freshly chopped coriander alongside a salad, flatbread and yoghurt-style dip and / or mezze-style dishes. Kuku can be served hot, warm or cold. Leftover kuku is a great sandwich filler too!