True Moments, A Photo Series (2)

This round of “True Moments” is submitted by Dr. Sara Ansari, DPT, a friend and President of the Iranian American Medical Association (IAMA) Javaan.

They are actually not from Iran but taken more locally! Always nice to see pieces of our culture around different areas outside of Iran. There are brief descriptions under each.  Enjoy the moments.

Please submit any photos you would like to feature to thesaffronlife@gmail.com. 

Here it is..Recipe #1: Kotlet (Persian Cutlets)

Kotlet is easy to make, easy to eat and easy to serve. This is a great place to start.

Enjoy it!

Ingredients (Makes about 8 patties..depending on size)

  • 1/2 pound sirloin ground beef
  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 1/2 medium sized onion
  • 2 egg whites
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon of each saffron, cumin, turmeric
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper

Ok, you are ready! 

1. Place the meat in a bowl
2. Wash the onions and potatoes, then grate them into the bowl
3. Add the egg whites and spices, salt, pepper
4. Mix with hands (wear gloves, this gets messy!)
5. Scoop individually with your hands, roll each into a ball, then flatten. Oval shaped as you see in the picture
6. 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. 

7. Once all patties are placed on the pan, fry on low heat. Stay near! Flip them when seems crispy/darker a bit.
8. When done, place on a platter as seen above.

In the picture above, it is garnished with parsley and some lightly fried tomatoes in olive oil, with a little salt and pepper. I leave this part up to you!

AndNooshe Jan! (Farsi for Bon Appetit!) You can eat this plain as is, with some pita bread, with some rice… etc!

If you have any additions to this recipe/suggestions/comments, share it below!
Would love to know how it turns out!

A dash of this, A splash of that!

Why would a blog be called “TheSaffronLife” without any reference to food? Well, it wouldn’t.

So, yes I will be posting some recipes from time to time. But for now, let me address a few questions I am anticipating you will have.

First, are these my own recipes? No.. And trust me it’s really best this way. These are recipes I have been collecting from my mom over the past couple years. So if I have said in the past that “I am cooking” it probably has meant I am actually writing down the recipes while SHE cooks. I like to think I am more than half way there just by writing them down! ;) Also, side note, my parents are from Tabriz and simply put, I think we are awesome cooks. And when I say “we” again I reference my mom. If you have had any of her cooking.. you know it’s true. And if you haven’t had it yet, then you really should.

Second, what types of recipes will I be posting? For now, these will only be recipes on actual meals. Not desserts because there are just some secrets I can’t give away :)

Third, where are the images from? The images I post along with the recipes are going to be real images of our cooking, nothing fancy or edited. I wanted to capture the meal as it is, exactly how it is served as we have had it at my family’s house.

Lastly, how come some ingredients don’t have exact measurements? The beauty of getting recipes passed down from generations to generations (she got them from her grandmother) is that the exact measurements sometimes change and can be vague. Trust me I have tried. When I have asked Wait, exactly how much cardamom?” I get the answer you know, just a little… SIGH. So, I will do my best to put in exact amounts. But this is the beauty of it! These recipes have so many different ingredients, sometimes you just need to be flexible and try it out.

So first recipe coming soon, but here is a sneak peek of it to get you salivating.

Kotlet (Persian Cutlets)

A Tarof Moment: Does anyone REALLY want to pay…? Yes!

Two families are finishing up dinner.
Waiter/Waitress asks if there is anything else they need.
Both parties agree they are all set and ready for the check… 
And then IT begins.

All wallets are reached for, hands push other parties wallets away, feelings of pride arise, “I will pay” “No, I will, it’s ok” “No really..I will” all while the other tables turn to watch the show. Chaos has risen.

I have witnessed this “Tarof Moment” so many times that it barely phases me at this point. But when younger, I went through various stages of thought. There was the “my parents are fighting with my friends parents!” stage…to “my friends parents are fighting with MY parents!” stage  and then the “do either of these parents want to even pay??” stage.

Ultimately though, this behavior demonstrates our belief in hospitality and respect. This back and forth is very common in our culture and in various different circumstances. It is a custom to deny, and a custom to request.

Here is another good example below from this website “Chai & Conversation”

“A good example of tarof is that when you visit someone’s house, they must offer you something to eat or drink. Even if you are extremely thirsty or hungry, you must refuse the offer. They in turn must keep reinstating the offer, and indeed bring you food and drink, even if they are not prepared to give it to you.”

So back to the first example. The next time you are out to dinner with a group of Iranians, and especially if you would like to be invited again, just reach for your wallet.  :)

What other examples can you think of?  Let me know and stay tuned for more stories!

“Tarof” Moments…What does it really mean?

I have been asked by a few people to write about the one and only fabulous word (action? behavior?… I am not even sure).. TAROF.

There have been many times where I wish I could just explain what the word really means to someone non-Iranian… and it is such a struggle for me. Definition by example is the way to go. And even then, people seem confused but that is part of the fun!

So, I will be having a series of Tarof posts when I see/hear/witness aTarof Moment”

And side note…I did look it up just now to see if a definition exists for this.. It does! Click here for that.

The first one will be about.. the payment experience. I will stop there for now. Stay tuned!

Welcome!

So, what is this blog all about? I know what you are thinking: “This must be a blog about food, spices and recipes!” Actually, no, but maybe some of that will come later.

TheSaffronLife is a casual and fun place for you to read both about some of my experiences and those of others. It is a personal blog and a place to have a taste of our Iranian American culture. I will share stories, interesting resources, events, etc! I may even ask to share some stories about you…and you may always kindly deny if you prefer!

TheSaffronLife is your place to experience, engage and have FUN. (Read more on the next tab)

Do you have a topic idea? I would love to know… please submit on the “Contact” page.

Enjoy!

Shirin

Aftab Dance Group welcomes new members!

Last night, the Aftab Dance Group welcomed new members into their group.  We now have 16 members..wow, that’s a lot!  The group has some girls born in the US, some born in Iran,  some raised in Iran and now in US, etc etc. True Iranian Americans at its best!

Welcome to all the new members, thank you to the past members and I am excited to watch this group grow for many more years to come.

Aftab Dance Group

Looking forward to the next year!

Shajarian & the Shahnaz Ensemble in Boston

Last Thursday, my dad and I went to see Shajarian who came to Boston to kick off his US tour.  I had never seen him live but having parents from Iran and a dad who loves Iranian classical music, I had heard his music before. Here is a clip below from the concert.

So to be honest, classical Iranian music is not always my go-to music of choice. However, his voice is amazing and it was just so nice to see over 300 Iranians come together to watch this performance. Shajarian also played with a 15 person instrumental band, called the Shahnaz Ensemble named after Jalil Shahnaz, another very well known Tar player.

These events are great not only for the actual performance but also to bring together our community and welcome a well known artist from Iran.