Kale and red pepper kuku with a pea, mint & feta dip
This recipe is pure summer on a plate! A light and easy meal – I often cook it the night before we want to eat it and store it in the fridge. It can be eaten warm or cold and it is a great way to get a hit of goodness into you.
Kuku (also spelled ‘kookoo’) is an egg-based, vegetarian dish from Iran made with beaten eggs, folding in various ingredients. It is similar to the Italian frittata, the French quiche or an open-faced omelette, but it typically has more vegetables than its Western counterparts. It is served either hot or cold as a starter, side dish or a main course, and is accompanied with bread and either yogurt, salad and / or rice. The two most well known kuku recipes are Kuku Sabzi (made with herbs and barberries and / or walnuts); and Kuku Sibzamini (made with potatoes). Ultimately, you can make kuku with any vegetables you like.
This kuku recipe materialised after an Oddbox delivery. Oddbox is a wonderful company that rescues surplus or imperfect vegetables and fruit, which would otherwise not make it to the shopper, and offers it by way of a home delivery subscription services. My medium-sized box of delights is delivered fortnightly. It’s a fantastic initiative that helps me to eat more vegetables and fruit, while helping to save our planet. It is also been great for challenging my recipe ideas as sometimes I can fall into the routine of buying the same ingredients and cooking the same recipes.
One of my Oddbox deliveries had some kale and red peppers, which lead me down the path of experimenting with the medium of kuku. Kale has become very popular in the UK due to the health benefits. Our supermarkets are always well-stocked with kale and red peppers, potatoes and red onions – the vegetables used to cook this dish. I use garlic, smoked paprika and chillies for the aromatic notes, which results in a smoky and gently warming feel to eating this even when eaten cold.
Traditionally kuku is fried and flipped over to brown on the other side, but I prefer to oven bake mine so the recipe below is geared towards baking but feel free to fry it if you prefer, either omelette-style or like fritters.
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 also a well-loved addition to a mezze-style meal or served with bowls filled with lots of antipasti (as pictured) in my family.
I have paired this kuku recipe with a pea, mint and feta dip, making the overall experience fresh, light and summery.
Summer Kuku served with a Pea and Mint Dip
- 2 tbsp olive oil (and a little to grease your tin)
- 200 g potatoes (diced into 1 cm cubes)
- 1 medium / large red onion (finely diced)
- 1 red pepper (medium diced)
- 75 g kale (removed from stalks, washed and roughly chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 tbsp tomatoe purée (dissolved in 100ml of water)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 small red chilli (minced)
- 6 large free range eggs (cracked and beaten in a bowl)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
Pea and mint dip
- 2 cups peas (frozen is fine - blanch them in boiling water before blending into the dip)
- 1 clove garlic
- 40 g feta
- 2 tbsp olive oil (plus extra to drizzle on top)
- 10 leaves fresh mint (plus extra to chop and garnish the dip with)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (fan) / 180°C (conventional) / Gas Mark 4.
- Take a cake tin (20 cm diameter) (preferably one without a loose base as the egg is likely to seep out unless you properly cover the gaps with baking paper). Grease and line the tin with baking paper. Place the tin in the oven to heat up.
- Take a frying pan, place on a medium / high heat and add 2 tbsp of oil.
- Add the potatoes and cook until the potatoes start to turn golden and little crispy.
- Add the peppers and onions and cook until they soften.
- Add the garlic, smoked paprika, chilli and stir until evenly distributed.
- Add the tomato purée and water to the mixture.
- Then add the kale and cook until wilted and the mixture has little or no liquid. then turn off the heat and let cool for 10 mins.
- Take the beaten egg mixture and add the vegetable mixture and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove the tin from the oven and pour the mixture in. Then place in the oven to cook for about 30 to 40 mins (or until a knife poked into the middle of the kuku comes out clean)
- To make the dip, blend all the dip ingredients in a food processor and pour into a serving bowl. Feel free to adjust seasoning and lemon juice to taste. Scatter a little finely chopped mint on top and drizzle with a little olive oil.
- Serve the kuku warm or cold with the dip, flatbreads and other antipasti type dishes or as part of a mezze-style meal.