This was in the summer of 2013 or 2014, I think it was in Las Vegas for Saveur Best Food Blog Awards when I first met Naz. This beautiful woman, dressed elegantly with her hair let loose, quiet but present. We were both nominated in the same category and that commonality broke the ice between us and then we hung out for the next two days, we were there, at the event and became good friends in the years that followed. Her love and curiosity for food, words and everything around her is so infectious. And I have to tell you, to know Naz is to love her.
Fast forward four years and nothing has changed in her. The same warm and curious person, standing quietly in the corner of a very loud room stuffed with people, 4 years back. Only that person has written a book now. That too a stunning one, just like her.
All the warm tones in the photographs with popping colors here and there, just like Naz’s personality. All the heartfelt stories in the book about her heritage, her history and her present are so gripping, you can very well curl up on a couch with this “cookbook” for a quiet afternoon read. But my two favorites were, her dedication to her lovely daughters in the beginning and the truth she has put in all her recipes. Apart from being proud of the work she has put forward with her book, I was blown away by the quality of it. A job very well done, Naz! You will go places with this one.
It was tough for me to pick one recipe from the book as all of them look stunning and sound so tempting. But since I had to pick one, I went with this Orange Masghati. It sounded (and proved to be delightful) and at the same time, simple enough for someone like me who is not a proficient Persian cook. So beyond this, I will let the author do the talking herself. But you have got to check out Naz’s cookbook, Bottom of the Pot which also happens to be the name of her food blog. This one’s a keeper for sure!
We are giving away a copy of Bottom of the Pot. All you have to do is, drop a comment below and let us know what is your favorite Persian recipe.
Entries open till Oct. 21st. 11:59pm only for US/Canada residents. On Oct. 22nd, a winner will be chosen randomly, who will receive a copy of Naz’s gorgeous memoir style cookbook.
This giveaway is closed. Winner has been announced. Thanks for participating!
Author’s Notes: Think of Masghati as a cross between Jell-O and panna cotta. It’s infinitely more refined that Jell-O, and it’s not as wobbly as panna cotta. This Orange Masghati is a riff on the more traditional rose- scented one. Play around and use any fruit juice you like (pomegranate juice is also very popular). Masghati is traditionally prepared with wheat starch, commonly used in Persian kitchens as thickener. Here, I’ve used cornstarch which is easier to find than wheat starch, and it works just as well. The amount of sugar you use depends on your taste buds and how sweet the orange juice is. Make Orange Masghati a few hours in advance, and serve chilled out of the fridge with a drizzle of raspberry sauce.
Orange Masghati is a riff on the more traditional rose- scented one. Play around and use any fruit juice you like (pomegranate juice is also very popular). Masghati is traditionally prepared with wheat starch, commonly used in Persian kitchens as thickener.
For the Masghati:
- Butter for greasing the dish
- 3 cups no-pulp orange juice divided
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons sugar or to taste; optional
- Chopped raw pistachios optional
For the Raspberry Sauce:
- 6 ounces raspberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup hot water
Lightly butter a rimmed 1-2 inch deep dish (a regular pie plate works well). Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the orange juice with the cornstarch. Stir until completely smooth, without any lumps, and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the rest of the orange juice (2 cups) and the sugar (if using) over medium- high heat, and bring to a simmer to dissolve the sugar.
Give the cornstarch slurry a final stir to combine, and add it to the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and start stirring immediately. Continue stirring until it starts to thicken and set, 5 minutes. Don't go anywhere during this process (the cornstarch sets quickly and can burn(. You'll know the mixture is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon. You don;t want it to get too thick as it will keep setting as it cools. Remove from the heat and immediately pour into the prepared dish and smooth over. Set aside to cool at room temperature, and place in the fridge, uncovered, for 6 to 8 hours to fully set and chill.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, set a few raspberries aside as garnish and place the rest along with the sugar and hot water in a blender. Blitz the raspberries until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl, and store in the fridge until ready to use.
To serve, you can either run a butter knife around the rim of the dish and invert the masghati onto a serving platter or serve directly from the dish. Serve cold, topped with pistachios, the reserved raspberries, and a light drizzle of the raspberry sauce.
MAKE AHEAD: Masghati is best prepared up to 1 day in advance. It will keep, covered, in the fridge up to 3 days.
I love Morgh Polow. The delicious layers of saffron rice and chicken with loads of nuts and garnish. Jujeh kababs pair well with this dish.
My mother used to make kuku sabsi, a kind of Persian herb frittata, with tiny red currants in it. It was such a homey delicious meal, and now I make it for my family as a hearty, earthy breakfast.
I love Persian food. I have friends from Iran, Amir and Golbahar and they always cook this Persian soup with chickpeas and noodles that is my favorite!
I’ve had only the berry pulao in Mumbai, must say I love it. That’s the only Persian dish I’ve had up until now.
i have yet to try persian food but kashk-e-bademjan (eggplantdip) sounds nice.
I LOVE Jujeh kabab. Would love to learn how to make this delish dish. Of course served with rice.
I’m almost 6 months pregnant so EVERY Persian dish is my favorite right because I crave the comfort food of my youth but with my mom far away in Europe (I’m in CA) and my limited Persian cooking skills its hard to satisfy those cravings…I’d love to be able to make Adas Polo with Raisins and Dates, Tahchin with Barberries and/or Baghali Polo…see what I mean by EVERYTHING 🙈🤤😋
I’ve never cooked a Persian dish before, but everything on her page looks delicious! I’d love to have to opportunity to learn a new favorite!
To pick one Persian dish is really hard! My favorite savory dish is zeresk polo. I love the buttery saffron chicken with the tangy barberies and slightly bitter orange peel. For sweet, it would be bamieh. It was always a special treat we had when visiting my uncle in California since in Iowa we don’t have any Persian bakeries. Thankfully, I learned how to make them at home and have impressed my dad! I really enjoy connecting with my heritage through cooking and am always looking to learn new dishes!
Cookbook and recipe look amazing! Haven’t tried much Persian food but would love to explore through this cookbook!
The closest I’ve ever come to tasting Persian cuisine is the rice my aunt makes. I think she had learned how to make it from a Persian friend in her University days. I would love to have this cookbook to expand my palate and gain new cooking skills.
I think I must have been Persian in my previous life. I naturally gravitate towards these flavours like rose, orange blossom and of course saffron.
My favorite shirin polow.
Wow this book looks gorgeous! I loved whatever little Persian food..I have had until. Love the flavors and the presentation! I once had this lentil soup called “Adasi” at a persian restaurant and it did wonders for me coz I was suffering from cold and was pregnant! So even though it is a simple recipe..it is very close to my heart! I’d love to try my hand at it someday. Another favorite is thei Zereshk Polow -rice made with chicken and a variety of nuts – mouthwatering!!
Love a vegan version of Imam bayaldi!! And the book looks amazing!! It must take soo much to write a book, especially if it talks about your culture & in a way is a reflection of yourself & your food!
You have recreated this dessert beautifully, Prerna 😊
Ghormeh Sabzi and saffron rice, yum yum!
I once had this delicious eggplant stuffed with lamb- it was amazing!!! Is that recipe in this book?