My approach to skincare has a lot to do with my approach to food. Modern interpretations of traditional recipes, experimental at times but always simple and nutritious. I make my skincare in the same place I cook our family meals, in our kitchen which often resembles a laboratory. It all goes back to the simple rule that what goes on the body should be as good as what goes in the body. That . . . and the body craves comfort.
Every culture has its comfort foods, and Persian Jews are no exception. I grew up with this meal served on Friday nights, “Shab-e-Shabbat” or Shabbat eve. It has become my family’s favorite meal when we celebrate Shabbat at home. It’s not a party dish, so when Persian Jewish families get together, it’s rarely served. Large family gatherings call for a “Sofreh” or spread of many delicious and complicated dishes that take days to prepare and many hands to serve; a labor of love. What is wonderful about Ab Goosht-e-Morgh, loosely translated as chicken soup/meal, is it’s easy preparation, simple, few ingredients and satisfying taste.
I start with a whole organic kosher chicken. I wish I could find pastured kosher chickens, but that’s the subject of another post. To that I add a small chopped onion, a teaspoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of salt (kosher chickens are salted which also makes them tender) and 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper. Cover the chicken with water in a stock pot, bring to a boil and then simmer for 3 or 4 hours. In the meantime cook 1/2 cup of chickpeas that have soaked in salt water overnight. In the last hour, add the chickpeas to the chicken pot. Skim off some of the broth into a small saucepan and add 3 or 4 dried key limes (limoo amani) and allow that to simmer until the meal is ready. This will become a sour concentrate that adds a dash of flavor to the meal.
Rice is served with just about every Persian meal, and is probably responsible for the high number of Type 2 Diabetes cases amongst Persians, so we use it sparingly as a “garnish”. The traditional method is to soak well rinsed rice overnight in salted water, drain the water and then cook. There are several ways to cook rice. I make the simplest called “kateh” or rice that is cooked and steamed in the same water. Two cup of rice soaked and drained are added to 3 cups of water. Some oil and salt are added. Bring the rice to a boil then allow it to simmer until the kernals show. Cover with a toweled lid. That allows the rice to steam and become fluffy. Cook on low during this phase.
When serving this dish, it is customary to include raw onion that is eaten with each bite of food. None of us care about onion breath because we all partake! I like to separate the broth from the chicken so that there are 2 courses, but the way to eat this meal is like a congee with rice, soup, chicken and chickpeas all together. It is a warming meal on cold autumn nights, especially if one is feeling a cold coming on.
This post is part of the Fight Back Friday series on Food Renegade: