Monday, 29 April 2013

Random Recipe - Koresht-e-Gheimeh Khalal baby!

Or 'Barberry and Almond Casserole'.
Oh yes - once more Dom's Random Recipes at Belleau Kitchen pulled a corker of randomness out of the bag for me!  This month we were tasked with using his all singing all dancing (ok, not really but he's working on it) random number generator to pick our books with.  I then followed his lead and used it to pick the page too and I ended up with the above from the rather sumptuous Veggiestan.  This was a gift from my Ma two birthdays back and I'm ashamed to admit that although I have pored lovingly over it's velvet trimmed exterior (yes, really) and it's beautifully photographed recipes on the inside I had yet to cook from it.
So - a casserole with barberrys in (what are they?) and almonds and - oh yes - dried limes.  'Cos I always have a bag of those handy eh??!  Luckily our local Indian (plus rest of the world) food shop Heera came up trumps and I was soon kitted out with the necessary items.
I had never heard of Barberrys before but a quick google told me they're an incredibly good for you
superfood which used to be cultivated here and in Europe but fell out of favour as they carried a wheat virus.  They're a traditional Persian / Iranian ingredient but you must treat them correctly.  (Articles I saw on line neglected to mention this bit.)  Veggiestan told me that they contain barbs (as per the name) so soak them in water for 15 mins first and the barbs and any grit will sink out.  Squeeze the berries out then use.  It also advised against eating them raw.
This was an easy recipe to make although I did wonder at the instruction to serve it with brown rice as it already included a fair amount of potato.  Once I'd tasted it half way through cooking though I realised it had the sort of intense flavour hit that needs soaking up with something like that.  I served ours with fairly authentic bulgar wheat instead as it was too late to do brown rice at that point.  Otherwise I stuck faithfully to the recipe and served with plain yogurt and fresh herbs (coriander) on top and some fairly inauthentic asparagus and tenderstem calabrese.  :-)
Verdict - both the Chap and I liked this although I wouldn't say we're straining at the bit to make it again immediately.  (From a food miles point of view it is not a good one - barberrys from Iran, dried limes from Egypt...)  It was fairly sharp - the potatoes soaked up the lime flavour a lot and the barberrys aren't overly sweet though they definitely added a fruitier edge to the flavour; more noticeable if you had some in the sauce without any spud.  I liked it with a fair bit of yogurt stirred through as I found that took the edge off the sharpness a little and I enjoyed it more like that.  So - a random win overall and certainly something I'm extremely unlikely to have tried had it not been for good old RR throwing it out at me.  I live in dread look forward to seeing what next month brings...  ;-)


  1. always one swooping in at the last second but with this stunner of a dish you're more than forgiven... shame you weren't mad for it as it does look lovely and a lot of work... and totally un-pronouncable too, which is always good for a laugh!... thanks so much for entering x

    1. Every blog challenge I do I'm in at (or after) the last second! :-D Thanks for letting me get away with it though. x

  2. Isn't Berberis the bush of the Barberry?

    1. I think so yes - I'm guessing it's a different strain that no longer carries the virus but that in the intervening period the fruit has fallen out of use here. That's my best guess anyway!


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