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.