In Praise of Red Food
“You were never an easy child,” my mother always says, whenever I eye a new dish in front of me with suspicion, “you always refused to eat anything that was healthy for you, pretending that you were choking on it…and you still do it sometimes!”
Of course, my mother exaggerates a little; I really don’t choke on anything anymore. Well unless I’m in a hurry and try to gulp down the whole dish in one attempt!
But if I want to be 100% honest (it is Norouz after all, and the time calls for sincerity) I still put green foods on the very bottom of my favorites list. Which is ironic, seeing how I just love Ghormeh Sabzi and this Iranian stew couldn’t get any greener even if it wanted to! But regardless of my carefully selected “green foods” checklist, my eyes still go all wide with fondness and pure hunger when it comes to “red foods”.
What are red foods you ask? They are those delicious-looking and mouth-watering dishes that are flavoured up with tomato paste and fresh tomatoes, or what we Iranians call “Gojeh Farangi”.
Dishes like Gheimeh with Potato, Gheimeh Badenjan, Loubia Polo and Makaroni (basically the old Italian pasta with meatballs with a little Persian twist to it); these were all my childhood best friends.
But my BFF, well, that’s a whole different story.
You see, when my mother says that I was a difficult child, she’s not only pointing out to the “colour” of the food I would look away from, but the ingredients that I would wrinkle my nose at and run away.
Red meats were among those ingredients. And it seems that I was always a child with paradoxes since my BFF in the food category has an interesting name in Farsi, which literally means “meat juice” in English; and not just any kind of meat, but “red meat”!
Abgoosht, also called “Dizi” when the dish is served in traditional stone crocks, can be considered one of Iran’s sweethearts.
This delicious dish is prepared with lamb, chickpeas, white beans, onions, tomatoes, potatoes and dried lime; with a generous splash of turmeric, salt and pepper you will experience “happy hour” minus the alcohol. Add in fresh basils and “Torshi”, and voila, you might have just started your route to Persianization!
The method of preparing this dish is actually quite easy. You basically put all of the needed ingredients in a pot, pour water on top of it and let them cook together for hours!
Us Iranians, ever-punctual people, know how to cook for the soul and spend as little time as we can over the stove!
Just click on this link and let Marzieh guide you to master the art of cooking “Dizi”.