Persian food to me has always been a heady mix of spices and textures, shrouded in mystery. So when I got the opportunity to attend a Persian Cooking class as part of the Good Food Month festivities, I absolutely leaped at the chance!
Maybe this is my chance to have some of that deliciousness in my home!
We were greeted with an aromatic Eggplant and Walnut dip made by owner Maryam.
This rich dip was creamy with yoghurt, and paired perfectly with warm flat Persian bread.
Maryam talked through her recipes with us, sharing a few stews, like Gheymeh and Fesenjoon, and introducing Kamy Shapoury to show us how to make Persian kebabs!
Kamy Shapoury – who has been featured on Food Safari – explained how he makes his famous koobideh and and answers all our eager questions. Koobideh is one of my favourite Persian dishes – lamb that has been triple minced is mixed with onion pulp, saffron oil and salt, before being threaded onto sword-like skewers.
Each kubideh is segmented into logmeh, which translates into “a bite”. The meat is shaped in a way so that the skewer is exposed, to encourage heat distribution.
The cooked product is a savoury, incredibly moreish series of bites that, when served with zereshk polow – saffron tinted rice mixed with barberries and butter – makes for a plate that I can’t stop hoeing into.
Besides koobideh, Kamy also showed us how to make Bargue. Thin slices of lamb backstop is seasoned only with onion juice, and threaded onto those same skewers, before being pounded with the back of a knife to join the pieces together without a visible seam.
And then it was time to eat the stews! Gheymeh – a lentil stewed with tomatoes – was served with the traditional fries over the top, and Fesenjoon, made with meaty duck and tart with pomegranate molasses, were served with heaping mountains of saffron rice.
Besides the comforting dishes, they also served up something I’d never seen before – raw almonds.
These naturally savoury fruits are incredibly juicy, with an astringent aftertaste, and was fantastic as a palate cleanser.
And to finish, scoops of saffron and pomegranate ice creams, sweetened with honey and topped with pistachio pashmak.
They very nicely handed out packs of Persian spice mix, barberries and dried roses to bring home at the end of the class. The food was hearty and delicious, and I really loved the feeling of hospitality that our hosts extended. Sure, it would have been nice to have a hands on cooking class – rather than a part demonstration, part talk-through – but really, how many cooking classes have that nowadays?
The only weird bit was that they were filming the class and kinda getting all up in our faces with cameras without telling us what they were doing? Not quite sure what was going on there, but I was so distracted by the food that I kind of shrugged it off on the day.
Still. If nothing else, EAT ALL THE KOOBIDEH.
Insatiable Munchies attended this class as guests of Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Month and the Persian Room.