Kuku sabzi (Persian omelette with fresh herbs & barberries)

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There are many kinds of “kuku” (or koukou) in Persian cuisine: it’s a kind of spicy vegetarian patty with fresh herbs and eggs, and other ingredients that vary (potatoes, lentils, etc.).

Kuku sabzi is a popular Persian dish that is traditionally prepared to celebrate the Persian New Year (Nowruz), which takes place in spring.

Similar to a tortilla (Spanish omelette), the flavours of this dish are very typical of Persian cuisine, with the tartness of barberry, the freshness of herbs, and the spices that… spice it up.

This is a very easy recipe, which you can serve as a tapas / appetizer, as a main course with a salad or soup, or take with you on a picnic. Cut into large square pieces, or cut into slices like in a cake…

If you like this recipe, you will probably also like sabzi-polo, Iranian-style rice cooked with a mixture of fresh herbs.

You may also want to try potato kuku, also known as kuku sibzamini.

Nooshé-jân!

Kuku sabzi (persian omelette with fresh herbs & barberries)

Servings 4
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 100 g parsley sprigs
  • 100 g coriander sprigs
  • 50 g dill sprigs
  • 2 to 3 spring onions
  • 80 g walnut kernels
  • 4-5 tbsp barberry also known as zereshk – replace them with dried cranberries if you cannot find them
  • 2 tbsp yoghurt such as Greek yoghurt or sheep’s milk yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 to 2 tbsp flour optional
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic optional
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

  • Rince the fresh herbs, cut off the damaged ends of the stems and dry them with a clean cloth.
  • With a large knife, finely chop the parsley, coriander and dill (chop the parsley, coriander and dill several times).
  • Then chop the onions and some of the “green”, as well as the garlic if you use it.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Coarsely crush the walnut kernels.
  • In a bowl, beat the eggs vigorously to obtain a frothy mixture. Then add the yoghurt, baking powder, oil and possibly flour and mix again with a whisk.
  • Then add the spices and continue mixing.
  • Finally, add the herbs, barberries and nuts and mix with a spoon or spatula to distribute them well.
  • Pour the mixture into a buttered or oiled cake tin (or a tin covered with baking paper). You can use a larger or smaller pan depending on the thickness you wish to obtain.
  • Bake in the oven for about twenty minutes. Check the cooking with the blade of a knife: it should come out clean when you prick the centre of the “omelette”.
  • Enjoy hot, warm or cold!

Notes

You can also cook the kuku sabzi in a pan, like an omelette. To do this, heat a generous drizzle of olive oil in a pan over medium heat, pour in the mixture, and cook for about ten minutes until the omelette is firm enough to turn it over, then continue cooking for another ten minutes on the second side. Check the cooking with the tip of a knife.
 
You can also caramelise yellow onions and add them to the mixture. In other versions of this recipe, you will also find leek. You can indeed add some chopped leek that you will cook in a pan before (with some onions for instance !).
 
The version of kuku sabzi presented above is the “Caspian” version of this recipe, which has many variations. In the Kerman region, kuku sabzi is prepared with pistachios instead of walnuts, and does not contain parsley. Also delicious!
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: Persian

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