Thursday, April 12, 2012

A taste of Iran: Flower water Roulade

In a small cupboard above the oven in one kitchen in Kuwait hides an old ripped notebook worth showing in a national treasure museum. It is a notebook that my mom kept since the days she got married. In it there are lots of delicious valuable hand written recipes and a few poems that my young mom once wrote. She collected those recipes 25 years ago, when she was just like me, a young women in expat with a husband to feed. My worst fear is for this notebook to be lost, because my mom, like any mom for that matter, always loses things. So my plan for when I go back this summer is to make many copies of that little precious notebook.

This recipe comes from that notebook. A recipe of a persian dessert my mom had from her Iranian friend when they both lived in the U.S.

It is very easy yet exotic, elegant, rich and light at the same time. And if you've ever been to Iran, like I have over many summers, all those memories of the Haram (shrine)..the breezy weather...the small shops on the streets selling everything from Bastani to beautiful rugs...boys playing soccer between the blocks, al those will come to mind at the first bite .


4 egg yolks
4 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar plus 1/3 cup
1 cup all purpose flower
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cup whipping cream
4 Tbs flower water
3 Tbs powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
Crushed pistachios for decoration (optional)

- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Generously grease, or spray witha nonstick spray a 10x15 shallow depth cooking pan. Line with parchment paper and grease/spray the parchment paper as well.
- In a medium bowl, mix together egg whites, 1/2 cup sugar, flower, baking powder and baking soda with  an electric mixer until well combined.
- In another small bowl mix egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar.
- Slowly fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites mixture with a spatula or a spoon.
- Slowly pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and make sure the batter is even across the surface (you can do that with a spoon or gently tapping the baking dish).
- Bake the cake in the middle rack for 10-15 minutes, until puffy and golden.
- Let the cake rest on the counter for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, spread a kitchen towel with powdered sugar to transfer the cake on once cooled.
- Transfer cake on the prepared kitchen towel. Slowly with both hands, roll the cake from the short side nearest to you using the kitchen towel (don't worry it won't break easily).
- Once you have the cake rolled , transfer to a big dish , cover and let it cool in the fridge for 1 hour (to take the shape of a roll).
- For the filing, combine the whipping cream, flower water and powdered sugar.  Whip cream with a hand or electrical mixer until doubles in volume and almost stiff.
- After the cake has cooled, gently unroll and fill with about three quarters of the mixer. Reroll the cake with the filling (it should easily get back to its shape) and cover the outside with the remaining whipped cream. 
- Garnish with pistachios. Serve cold. 

how i like it:  This recipe may sound complicated, but trust me, it is easier than you think. It is a little time consuming though, but it is very well worth it. Plus you are going to be admired by all your friends thinking you are a very talented cook to produce such an elegant dessert :)
This cake has a very strong egg smell once it comes from the oven. If you dislike the egg smell then you might want to add a drop or two of vanilla to the batter. For me, I like to keep the recipe as it was handed to me. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Oven Roasted Chicken: My Version

I am sure there are many..many recipes for over roasted chicken, as many as there are people in this planet. Because it just might be the easiest dish you can make. You put your chicken in the pan along with some spices and/or vegetables , an hour later..voilà have dinner, and only one dish to clean.

This is just one that my mom makes all the time. It has very few ingredients , but a very strong delicious taste. It has saffron and turmeric which give that authentic persian/middle eastern cuisine flavor.

I make this whenever I am in hurry and I need to get lots of things done. Because, as I said earlier, you can just pop it in the oven and forget about it.

Next time you plan dinner, plan for making this and you won't be disappointed. And don't be turned down by the not so attractive picture. We were reading to have dinner, and my camera's battery were dying so I had to make it quick.

Download Recipe Card


1 whole chicken (2 lb.) with skin , cut into large pieces
1 cup carrots , cut into large cubes
1 cup potatoes, cut into large cubes
salt and pepper
1/4 tsp saffron dissolved into 1/4 cup hot water
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp turmeric
1 Tbs olive oil

* Preheat oven to 420 F
* Lay carrots and potatoes into the bottom of an oven pan. Season with salt and pepper.
* Wash and pat dry chicken pieces. Season with salt and pepper and place over the vegetables.
* Combine saffron water , lemon, turmeric and olive oil. Mix well.
* Pour over chicken and vegetables. With your hands, make sure the mixture reaches all the parts of the                   chicken.
* Cover pan with foil and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
* Remove foil and let the chicken roast for another 10 minutes for browning.
* If more browning is desired , turn on broiler for 3-5 minutes, or until desired browning is reached.

how i like it:  I have found that making roasted chicken or any kind of casserole in ceramic or stoneware dishes taste much better than when making it in the usual glass (pyrex) bakeware. This dish, having iranian / Persian flavor,  will go really good with basmati rice, Mast-oKhiar and Salad Shirazi. Enjoy!