Persian Breakfast Omelette

I was very blessed growing up. Not only was my mother a terrific cook but my father was also a culinary genius. Although he did not cook very often, when he did it was always something truly delicious. Since Father’s Day was this past Sunday, I thought that there was no better time to feature one of my favourite dishes that my father prepares – his renowned breakfast omelette with golden fried onions, tomatoes and aromatic spices.

One of the things I miss most about living at my parents house is this Persian omelette. My father would often make this on weekend mornings and I have to admit that no matter how many times I try to re-create it, it will never be as delicious as my fathers.

In this following recipe I have beaten the eggs but you can also just crack the eggs straight in the pan (as my father normally does) and cook the eggs intact.

Persian Breakfast Omelette
(Serves 2)

2 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced
2 small tomatoes (or one large), diced
3/4 tsp turmeric
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp ground saffron dissolved in 2 tsp hot water

Heat oil over medium-high heat (closer to medium than high) in a non-stick frying pan. When hot, add onions and fry (stirring occasionally) for about  8-10 minutes or until soft, golden and starting to brown. If they start to brown too quickly turn down the heat slightly. Add the turmeric and fry for another 30 seconds.

Add the diced tomatoes and fry for about five minutes or until the tomatoes have softened.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Turn the heat down to medium and pour eggs over tomato and onion mixture in frying pan. Stir slightly once with a wooden spoon so the egg mixes with the tomato and onion. Cover, turn heat down to medium-low and let  cook for about 5-10 minutes until eggs are just set.

OR

Crack the eggs right into the pan over the onion and tomato mixture and cook the eggs till whites are cooked and yolks are cooked to your desired doneness.

Pour the saffron water over the omelette. Serve with toasted bread, pita or barbarry bread. Enjoy!

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Shole Zard (Persian Saffron Rice Pudding)

A couple of weeks ago I received a recipe request for Shole Zard. This delicious Persian dessert is pure nostalgia for me. It reminds me of my dear maternal grandmother who made the best Shole Zard in the world. Every time I taste this sweet saffron rice pudding I think of her.

Growing up we didn’t eat dessert often.  According to my mother there was no better dessert in the world than fruit. Oh mother, I would beg to differ…..I would take a slice of chocolate cake, apple pie, a bowl of ice cream, a chocolate chip cookie over a pear any day!!! But unlike my Canadian friends who had dessert every night after dinner, dessert for us was only saved for special occasions and holidays. That’s why it was such a special treat when my grandmother would make Shole Zard. My brother and I would devour bowls of it whenever we got the chance!

Like traditional rice pudding, Shole Zard is creamy and sweet, but the saffron and touch of rosewater add an elegant sophistication and the almonds add texture and crunch. The perfect ending to a Persian meal.

Shole Zard
(Serves 6-8)

1 cup arborio rice (or other short/medium grain rice)
7 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3 tbsp butter (or non-hydrogenated margarine)
1/2 tsp ground saffron dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water
2 tbsp rosewater

Wash the rice four times.  To do this put the rice in large bowl, cover with cold water and agitate with your hands. Drain the water and repeat.

Put the rice and 6 cups of water in a large oven proof pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water is boiling, turn the heat down to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You will notice that foam will form on top of the water while simmering. Skim the foam off.

Taste the rice and make sure it’s cooked. Add one more cup of water, the sugar and slivered almonds. Simmer for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally (if it’s too thick add another 1/2 cup water).

Add the butter, the saffron water and the rosewater. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

Take the rice pudding off the heat. Put the lid on and transfer to a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes (or until desired thickness). The below picture shows the thickness I like……I like it thick but still to have a bit of creamy liquid.

Stir well and pour into serving dishes. You may put it in one big dish or individual servings. Let cool and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If you wish, decorate with cinnamon, slivered almonds and chopped pistachios. Enjoy!