Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chelo Kebab

Persian Chelo Kebab

Grilling kebabs has been woven into Persian culinary culture for thousands of years. Persians love to cook and dine outside because of their hot climate. One of the most popular grilled dishes in Iran is Chelo Kebab. Skewers of lamb, veal, or beef are marinated in a mixture of yogurt, lemon juice, onion, garlic, salt, pepper and saffron for several days. The yogurt and lemon juice tenderize the meat as well as add a lovely rich flavour. As the kebab is grilled, it is basted with lime juice, saffron, and melted butter. This sauce keeps the meat moist and flavourful. The finished dish is then served with white rice, grilled tomatoes, raw egg and onion.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gift From the Sea

Essential to Japanese cuisine, seaweed was burned to extract salt in ancient times; but by the eighth century, the Japanese regarded seaweed as a healthy and tasty gift from the sea. Although there are over 50 varieties used, the following are the most commonly found in a Japanese kitchen:

Konbu - used most importantly to make broth. Also used to make tsukudani, a type of seaweed paste served on rice. Rich in iodine and minerals.

Nori - usually used to wrap sushi or onigiri (rice balls). Also used as a garnish sprinkled over rice. High protein and fibre content.

Wakame - most popular type of seaweed. Used in salads, soups and simmered dishes. High in calcium and minerals.

Hijiki - dried hijiki must be softened, lightly sauteed and then simmered with other ingredients to make a traditional side dish. Highly nutritious.

Kanten - curious ingredient similar to gelatin or aspic but made from a seaweed called Tengusa. Popular as a diet food. Kanten has no aroma or flavour so can be used in savoury or sweet foods. Mitsumame is most famous: fruit salad with cubes of jelly in syrup. (Fab photo: Akira Yamada)