Persian Cutlets

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Today my little Chef Koochooloo and I were thinking of Madar, my grandmother
who used to make the most delicious Cutlets I ever tasted. The only other person
I knew whose Cutlets were as mouth watering was my aunt Azadeh, who has also
passed away. What better way to share their memory with my daughter than
cooking some Cutletsof our own? I was skeptical whether I could ever reach
the same level of success when it comes to taste, but I figured I could put
the recipe in the Chef Koochooloo template, and add our own flare to it. (Using Mickey Mouse Sandwich Cutters). Here is our recipe, hope you have as much fun as we did in making some delicious Kotlets.

Country we are exploring: Iran

Continent: Asia

National Language: Farsi

Fun Kid relevant Fact about Iran:

On the last Tuesday of each year, children in Iran celebrate the New Year by participating in the Festival of Fire (Chahar-Shanbeh Soori) and jumping over fire!

Bonfires are made in the streets and yards, representing Good thoughts, Good words, and Good deeds. Iranians believe that by jumping over fire, they will have enlightenment, good health and happiness throughout the coming year.

Did you know? 

Girls in Iran don’t always enjoy the same opportunities as boys, for instance, girls are not allowed to play soccer.
Action ideas: How would you feel if you had to live in a country where girls and boys did not have the same opportunities?

English Recipe Name: Persian Cutlets   

Name of dish in Farsi:  Kotlet

Serving Size: 4-6 people 
 

Ingredient spotlight:  Parsley  

Parsley

Parsley is a relative to celery and derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery”. Parsley helps protect you against Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Can you guess what is the most popular herb in the world?

Parsley is a relative to celery and derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery”. Parsley helps protect you against Rheumatoid Arthritis. (Disease that can cuase pain in your joints, speically in fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles).

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sirloin ground beef
  • 3 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 medium sized onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 table spoons finely chopped parsley
  • ½ cup of bread crumbs
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon of each saffron, cumin, turmeric

Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Big Chef Duties:

  • Cut the potatoes in half and place them in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add some salt, and cook until a fork easily goes through them
  • Place the potatoes in a bowl full of ice
  • Grate onion in a large bowl
  • Chop the parsley in small pieces

Let the Little Chef Perform their duties before proceeding with the following:

    • Put some olive oil on the pan and place the patties on the pan with some distance between each. (little trick here! Take a very small piece of the one of the patties and place on the pan, fry it a bit, then taste it to assess whether you need any more spices etc).
    • Once all kotlets are placed on the pan, fry on low heat. Stay near! Flip them when the kotlets seem crispy/darker a bit.

Little Chef Duties:

        • Peel the potatoes and mash them
        • Add the meat, bread crumbs, eggs and spices, salt, pepper to the bowl
        • Sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley
        • Mix with hands (you might want to wear gloves, this gets messy!)
        • Scoop individually with your hands and roll each into a ball, then flatten. (Iranians usually make oval shapes, but you can have fun with various geometric shapes, make squares, triangles, pentagons, etc.

Chef Koochooloo likes making Persian Cutlet using Disney’s Micky Mouse Icon Sandwich Cutter

Learn while you wait: (Introduce a Math, history or science related fact)

What kind of geometric shapes can you make Kotlets in? Try Diamonds, Hexagons, and Circles

Presentation

Garnish with parsley and some lightly fried tomatoes in olive oil, with a little salt and pepper. Of course Chef Koochooloo had some ideas of her own on how to present her Cutlets!

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As we say in Iran: “Nooshe Jaan!”  (enjoy your meal)

Persian Spiced Hot Chocolate

Name of Recipe in English: Persian-Spiced Dark Hot Chocolate

Name of the recipe in Farsi: Shir Cacaoo ba zafaran, hel, va darchin

Country of Origin: Persian-influenced fusion

Continent: Asia

Persian spiced hot chocolate

Why kids would love Iran: The bazaars, parks, and mouth-watering ice creams.

Why is this recipe special to me?

This is a recipe my good friend Venus created. Being a first generation Iranian, She has always felt a strong tug and pull between her Persian and American identity. That sentiment has translated over into all of her cooking, you’ll always find Venus crafting recipes strongly influenced by the concept of fusion. Chocolate isn’t as culturally popular in Iran as much as saffron, cardamom, and cinnamon is, so naturally, so Venus joined these flavors in holy beverage matrimony, and once I made this recipe for Delari, there was no turning back!

Why Big Chefs Care: This drink is unbelievably delicious as it is nutritious! Chocolate is a natural source of zinc, which is a trace mineral known to help stave off colds.  Saffron, our star ingredient, has a reputation for helping reduce the symptoms of asthma, loosening phlegm,  and preventing insomnia. It’s a panacea that pleases the body as much as the taste buds! Cinnamon, a widely popular spice, may help problems such as the common cold and loss of appetite (maybe because it’s so delicious!), while also aiding in the lowering of blood sugar in diabetics. And as we love chocolate, it doesn’t always leave us with the freshest smelling breath, fortunately, cardamom helps freshen and deodorize the breath while aiding in digestive processes.

Persian spiced

Why Little Chefs Care: This recipe will have the petit chefs developing a palate more refined than their contemporaries. Consuming this drink will get them ahead in the culinary game!

Ingredient spotlight Saffron comes from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus and is especially prized by Middle Eastern, Greek, and Spanish cultures. From the Spanish Paella to Persian rice pudding, saffron’s versatility makes appearances worldwide.

Ingredient spotlight
Saffron comes from the dried stigmas of the saffron crocus and is especially prized by Middle Eastern, Greek, and Spanish cultures. From the Spanish Paella to Persian rice pudding, saffron’s versatility makes appearances worldwide.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 TBSP cacao powder
  • 1 tsp of Ceylon cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground saffron
  • 3 cardamom pods, crushed or powdered
  • 1 TBSP of coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 4-5 TBSP of coconut milk or full fat cream
  • 8-10 oz of hot water

Little Chef Prep Work:

  • Measure out all of the ingredients.
  • Pour water in a kettle to boil (depending on the little Chef).
  • Help grind the spices (i.e. saffron and cardamom pods) in a mortar and pestle.

Cooking Instructions (Big Chef to judge which steps little Chef can help in)

  • Boil the water.
  • Grind the saffron and cardamom to a powder (it’s okay if the cardamom is gritty as it sinks to the bottom of the mug and acts as a breath freshener).
  • Place all of the dry ingredients into your favorite mug.
  • Once the water has come to a boil, pour a small amount (approximately 3-4 TBSP) into the mug and stir the dry mixture with the water until a thick paste is formed.
  • Add the rest of the water while stirring constantly, to ensure a lump-free consistency.
  • Let the drink cool down and enjoy!

As they say in Iran, “Nooshejoon!”

spiced chocolate

Now that you have made a delicious meal for your family, take a moment to see how you can help children from Iran get a better education:

http://www.keepchildreninschool.org