This is my own take on a stew which is usually made with lamb or chicken. I wanted to have a meat-free dish for my family but one that still had Persian flavours. This stew felt like one that would respond well to being meat-free and my experiment turned out to be a total treat.
Khoresh Kadoo (courgette stew in Farsi) is a dish that tends to be reserved for family meals as opposed to our parties (mehmoonis). The reason, I suspect, is that Khoresh Bademjan (aubergine stew) is very similar but is considered to be the superior dish and worthy of guests – the poor humble courgette!
Well no longer sidelined, this recipe allows this stew to be centre stage as it cannot be compared to the regal aubergine stew. The main differences are, I have added chillies and substituted the meat for red lentils. The resulting dish still has the comforting savoury flavours of the traditional dish but with a glow of plant-based goodness and a burst of spice from the chillies.
In order to really enhance the flavours of this dish, I recommend frying the courgette before adding them to the stew (this can be done the day before to save time). For the health conscious, you can roast the courgette with a drizzle of oil in the oven on 180°C (fan) / 200°C (conventional) / Gas Mark 6 for about 20 minutes. Either way, the courgette can be prepared up to a few days in advance and refrigerated until you are ready to cook the stew.
This dish is best served with kateh (Persian easy cook sticky rice), chelow or, if you want to fully commit to the wholesome side of life, brown rice is also an excellent accompaniment.
6tbspvegetable oil (sounds punchy but most of it is used to fry the courgettes - see notes above re: oven roasting courgettes as an alternative)
1tspdried red chilli flakes
1/8tspsaffron(bloomed in 2 tbsp of water)
Juice from half a lemon
Salt and pepper(to season)
Chopped fresh mint(to garnish)
Take a large frying pan and pour 4 tbsps of oil into the pan. Place on a medium to high heat.
Halve the courgettes and then slice them about 2cm thick.
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the slices and fry the courgettes on each side until golden, and soft.
Remove the courgettes and put on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
Take a large casserole dish or saucepan with a lid (about 3.5 litres capacity) and place on a medium to high heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil, add the onion and fry until golden, stirring now and again.
Add the garlic, turmeric and chilli and stir. Add the tomato purée and stir in. Once it glistens add the red lentils and stir until evenly distributed.
Add the passata, 250 ml of the water, the bloomed saffron and fresh lemon juice. Stir and season to taste.
Once the the stew starts to boil add the remaining 250 ml of water and stir, lower the heat to allow the stew to slowly simmer. Let it simmer for 10 minutes. Add more water if the stew looks too thick.
Add your courgettes and gently submerge in the stew.
Scatter your halved tomatoes evenly across the stew, place the lid on the pan and simmer for no less than 45 mins. Once cooking time has finished and you are ready to serve, turn off the heat and garnish with chopped fresh mint and coriander.
Persian spicy sausage served with saffron roasties
I happened upon this dish while I was researching Iranian street food, trying to find the delicacies I had eaten during my travels around Iran in 2004. Now, being a British national, I love a sausage! Usually wrapped in puff pastry and from a good old fashioned bakery. So when this popped up during my investigations, I was delighted – an Iranian sausage dish that was spicy and quick to cook.
Sosis Bandari translated is sausage from the port or port-style sausage. ‘Sosis’ is the Persian word for sausage, and ‘Bandar’ means port. Apparently this dish was invented in one of the northern ports of Iran, called Bandar Anzali where the first sausages were introduced from Iran (probably from Turkey). However it became trendy among southern port residents, and the dish is now associated with Southern Iran. Iranians who live in the south of Iran mostly eat spicy and hot foods and this dish packs a punch due to their revisions to the original recipe.
There are a number of variations to the recipes with many including potatoes in the spicy mixture. It is commonly served in a baguette-style bread like the Iranian equivalent of a sausage and chip butty. My recipe extracts the potatoes and cooks them separately by making them into saffron flavour roasties to be eaten as a side dish and dipped into harrissa mayonnaise.
I love this dish as it is so easy to cook. The cooking time below is due to the roasted new potatoes but the sosis bandari part only takes about 20 minutes to cook and to be ready to stuff into a roll. I don’t bother removing my sausage from the pan and separately frying the onions and the peppers like other people do – I just chuck it all in for speed, less washing up and it further allows for the peppers and onion to retain a crunch.
The main reason the dish is quick to cook is down to the type of sausage used. I use sucuk – a Turkish sausage which is a dry, spicy and fermented sausage consisting of ground beef, garlic and other spices. They are encased in a red skin, which I peel off before cooking the sausage. You can buy these from most Middle-Eastern food shops. If you cannot source sucuk, then you can use any other type of sausages you want including vegetarian or vegan.
If you are using your local supermarket raw sausages then I recommend cooking them first (as per the instructions on their packet) before slicing them up and adding them to the recipe below – this will also extend the cooking time below. Sucuk can just be sliced and cooked with the rest of the ingredients as per steps below.
I serve this dish as a sandwich with a rustic roll, a side of saffron roasties, dill pickles and some fresh herbs (as always). A cousin of mine recently mooted adding cheese to the sandwich which would also be an excellent addition.
600gnew potatoes(halved – approx 150 grams per person)
Water to boil the potatoes
Salt and pepper(to taste)
For the Sosis Bandari
Approximately 300 grams of Sucuk Turkish sausages(remove outer skin / casing and slice diagonally) – see note above re: alternatives to sucuk
1/2tspdried red chilli flakes
1largered onion(finely sliced)
1yellow pepper(finely sliced)
1heaped tbsptomato purée
100gcherry tomatoes (halved)
Salt and pepper(to taste)
Fresh chopped parsley(to garnish)
For the Harrissa Mayonnaise
A squeeze of a fresh lime
Prepare your harrissa mayo by combining the mayo, harrissa paste and lime juice in a small bowl. Cover and place in the fridge until you are ready to serve the dish.
Take a saucepan and fill with water, add the halved new potatoes and saffron. Turn the heat to high and bring the potatoes to a boil. Boil the potatoes for approximately 8 to 10 minutes - you want them cooked through but not too soft as they will fall apart in the roasting stage.
While the potatoes are cooking in the saucepan, pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan) / 200°C (conventional) / Gas Mark 6.
Turn the stove off and drain your potatoes.
Take a baking tray and place the potatoes on it. Add the oil, salt and pepper and mix until the potatoes are evenly coated. Place the tray in the oven and roast the potatoes for 30 minutes or until crispy to your liking.
While the potatoes are roasting, take a frying pan (about 30 cm diameter) and place on a medium to high heat.
Add the sliced sausages to the pan, stirring them until they start to curl, then add the garlic.
Add the turmeric and chilli and stir until evenly distributed.
Add the sliced onions and pepper and stir until they start to soften.
Add the tomato purée and stir until evenly distributed.
Add your halved cherry tomatoes and stir.
Add the water and stir and lower the heat to let the sosis bandari cook further gently for about 5 minutes. Season to taste and scatter some chopped fresh parsley over the top.
Serving the dish
Turn the oven and stove off. Remove the potatoes from the oven and place them on a paper towel to soak up any excess fat.
Fill your rolls / baguettes with the sosis bandari (sliced gherkins or dill pickles and / or cheese can also be included in the sandwich).
Serve the sosis bandari sandwiches with a side of the roasties and some harrissa mayo to dip them in.