3/20/12

Baghali Ghatogh

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: any cuisine with a specific name for crispy rice is A-OK with me. So when I read Saveur’s recent feature on the food of Iran, I knew I was going to make one of the recipes. At first, I thought I might go straight for the gold and make Shirin Polow, which is translated as Iranian Rice Pilaf, and which promised a “thick, crisp tah dig crust.” Which reminds me, shouldn’t there be an Iranian food truck called Tah Diggin’ It. Thoughts? At the very least, Matt should buy the URL.

Anyway, at the last minute, another dish, Baghali Ghatogh or Lima Beans with Eggs and Dill, caught my eye. I just loved the look of all that green spotted by the yellow egg yolks and threads of bright pinkish-red saffron. So, Baghali Ghatogh it was!
Before you get too invested in this gorgeous dish, here’s a question to consider: do you like dill? Because this recipe calls for four cups of the fresh herb, which is basically one large bunch of dill, which is a lot of dill. It also calls for soaking dried beans overnight, so plan ahead, friends. 
One last caveat before I talk about the rewards of making this dish: I think the recipe might be slightly flawed. Allow me to explain: it calls for 5 cups of water and then, after 1½ hours of cooking the beans in this 5 cups of water (amongst other things, namely dill), you are supposed to form 4 shallow wells in the bean mixture and then “crack an egg into each well.” Unfortunately, though, at this point, forming a well was made impossible by the fact that the mixture was way too watery. I cooked the beans for an extra half hour thinking they might absorb some of the extra liquid, but it just didn’t help. What did help was ladling out approximately 2¼ cups of liquid. After I did this, it was still more watery than I would have liked, but I was at least able to crack the eggs into the mixture without the eggs sinking down below the surface and losing them forever. Once the eggs cooked through and I turned off the heat, only then did the mixture really firm up and start to look like the photo in the magazine.
Speaking of magazine-quality photos, aren’t these photos beautiful? (Matt takes them so I believe I'm allowed to say that.) I would definitely make it again (sans about 2 cups water) just to revisit this pretty plate in front of me. I served it with Lavash bread and a simple version of Mast-o Khiar (Yogurt and Cucumber Dip). Just mix up some plain yogurt, peeled, seeded and diced cucumbers, a clove or two of minced garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. If you have mint, all the better!
Last but not least, it wouldn’t feel right to mention the cuisine of Iran without mentioning my dear friend Raena who most certainly introduced me to Mast-o Khiar and tah dig about ten years ago and whose father once sent me on a drive home from her house in Philadelphia to the gymnastics camp in the Poconos where I was working for the summer with a Ziploc freezer bag filled with the most delicious fruit I’d ever tasted in my life. I’m talking about fresh figs, Rainier cherries, apricots, strawberries, and a few pomegranates for good measure. It was heaven in a plastic bag. Also, as sidebar, I made the drive in pajama pants and a hooded sweatshirt and as it turned out, that really worried Raena’s dad. Ah, I miss parents!

p.s. Happy Persian New Year! (I just realized it was Persian New Year today. I could never be this timely on purpose.)

Baghali Ghatogh adapted from Saveur
6 tbsp. unsalted butter
½ tsp. ground turmeric
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups finely chopped dill
1 cup dried lima beans, soaked overnight, drained
¼ tsp. crushed saffron
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 eggs
Saffron threads, to garnish

Heat butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium heat. Add turmeric and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add 3 cups dill and the beans; cook until dill is slightly wilted, about 2 minutes. Add crushed saffron and 3 cups water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, until beans are tender, about 1½ hours. (Check in on it after an hour and see if it looks too dry. I don't think it will, but if it does, add more water.) Season with salt and pepper; stir in remaining dill. Using a spoon, form 4 shallow wells in bean mixture; crack an egg into each well. Cook until eggs are cooked over-easy, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with saffron before serving.
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40 comments:

Matthew said...

As Mare would say: I'll have some Baghali Ghatogh with my dill! (I'll be here all week)

Sara in America said...

I just GASPED and said to my friend, I COULD NOT LOVE THIS GIRL AND HER BLOG MORE. You just posted my favourite dish, from my region of Iran, on Persian New Year at that. Glad you liked it. It's traditionally eaten with rice and smoked fish on the side. Happy Nowrouz! xoxo

p.s. i was so happy about that Saveur feature. I have long been saying that Iranian food should be the new Indian food.

tannaz said...

um, as you know, this saveur spread has a special place in my heart for a few different reasons. so excited that you made this! and if you ever, ever, ever want to attempt persian rice (and tahdig, duh), let's do it together! i have amassed all the secrets from several different persian grannies (but especially, my mom), would love to share!! and norouz mobarak to you and matt!

Stacy said...

This looks delicious, and yes, the photographs ARE beautiful! Indeed, quite the amount of dill, but I think I might be up for it. Thanks for your take on this recipe! (Also, "The Land of Bread and Spice": could anything sound more appetizing and wondrous? I think not!)

Kimberley said...

I've had my eye on that Saveur spread too - I'm so happy that it's your starting point here. I am also a fan of crispy rice, but I always forget it's a thing! Because it so often seems like an accident. Sometimes I try to make it crispy in a frying pan. I've got a lot to learn.

Jessica said...

I love the look of this dish and the sound of Raena's Dad.
-Jess

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...

Dill + beans + eggs + Persian food are all my favorite things together at once. Now I'm even madder that I missed the last issue of Saveur! G.d. it!

(Have you ever had/made albaloo polow? My favorite of the Persian pilafs!)

Andrea said...

This looks delicious!

Tim said...

I want to know more about how this literally caught your eye. Sounds scary.
(beautiful pics, Matt! and Amelia, I just nominated you all over those Saveur awards- cuz u r The Best)

amelia said...

hahahahahhaahaaaaa! Sorry for the wild laughter, but my eye was recently impaled by a magazine photo, so I'm a little loopy from the pain meds!

also, thank YOU, TIM! Need I tell you that Matt & I recently did the same with L&D??

amelia said...

awwww, thanks, Sara!! For the info, too. Would love to pair this with rice and smoked fish next time. Happy Nowrouz, indeed!!

amelia said...

Tannaz! Let's get this rice-making on the books, damnit! :) :)

Sara in America said...

btw, "tah diggin' it" is brilliant.

tori said...

Those photos are sublime. And have you considered a side business in coming up with names for food trucks? You're SERIOUSLY good at it.

Anonymous said...

I love everything about this post. Happy Nowrouz!

Anne Zimmerman said...

Sean won't eat separate eggs, but maybe this is perfect for a solo (or girls) dinner?

Janae said...

I love this dish! I'm (half) Persian, and my mom made a version of this all the time when I was growing up (minus the eggs). Yours looks beautiful! I had to laugh when I read the story about your friend's dad sending you home with fruit. Just last weekend my dad sent me home with two ziplock bags of fruit... I defy anyone to leave a Persian house empty handed :)

Happy New Year!

Heather Taylor said...

ahhhh that is so pretty! seriously. good job Matthew B.

Sarah said...

Mmm I like! Thanks for introducing us non-Persians to something new! I had a similar reaction as Sara in America in that I, too, thought, "Amelia rocks and I want to make this right nowww!"

la domestique said...

Yes, the photos are fantastic- love the beautiful colors in this post! I was inspired by Saveur's feature on the food of Iran too, and can't wait to revisit the article after seeing this. I'm also totally behind you on the Iranian food truck name.

Colleen said...

This looks delicious and the pictures (as always) are beautiful! I have never tried the Iranian food but this looks like a fantastic jumping off point.

sg said...

this looks (i especially love the colors in the last image) and sounds so friggin delicious! thanks for all the prep and recipe tips!

the actor's diet said...

bookmarked!

Mary Anne said...

whaa?? i would say that? here's something i've said and i'll say it again: Dill is the most underrated herb on the planet!

Mary Anne said...

yessss Raena's dad!!!

Mary Anne said...

aaahhhh, this post was the best!! as i always say, dill is the most underrated herb, and i was already won over by this post by the time i got to the cucumber and yogurt dip. when i read that, i was thinking, "I remember Raena making a dip like this", then it turns out that's what YOU were thinking too, and then all the Raena/dad/college memories came flooding back, and THEN, just when i thought it couldn't get any better, i read all the awesome comments! EFF YEAH ALL THINGS PERSIAN!!

Matthew said...

I can see you saying the first one.

Kara said...

These pictures are so beautiful and dill is the best herb ever ever.

I have a dill story, btw. Add it to The List!

Whitney Nožisková said...

this looks *divine*

i can add nothing more! xo

(except that i will def be making it!)

Javelin Warrior said...

Wow, I've never wanted lima beans and eggs at the same time together before! This is amazing and such beautiful photos... I am featuring this post in today's Friday Food Fetish roundup (with a link-back and attribution), but please let me know if you have any objections. It's a pleasure following your creations…

Milena - juegos de vestir said...

that is rich ... especially now that it's time for lunch here ...
this blog made ​​me hungry ...
very good recipe
thank you very much for sharing it with us ..
greetings ..

joanna said...

this looks like the bomb diggity x 100. i could seriously eat this every week. gorgeous photos~

sara said...

the photos look amazing (leave it to me to notice them before the food). also, i love dill. this recipe is right up my alley.

Eileen said...

Why yes, I do indeed like dill!

That looks WONDERFUL. It's definitely going on the list.

Jan said...

I hope this tastes as great as it looks...and it looks great.

Trevor Sis Boom said...

Noruz mobarak! I am blessed with a Persian mother in law who has made me all of these dishes for our weekly visits. Baghali Ghatogh is a favorite but I've never made it myself. Great job!

Fahad Khan said...

Baghali Ghatogh looks delicious!Appears to be a filling,hearty meal to me!The pictures are very beautiful,they all are,but the one on top and the one with butter,turmeric and garlic in skillet are the prettiest!:-)
Mast-o Khiar is very similar to the Greek Tzatziki,isn't it?
I am going to bookmark/note this down!Thank you for sharing!:-)

Leila Manoochehry said...

it looks AWESOME and I am sure it taste delicious.

johnjoshua said...

Hi
it looks greenly and delightful..i think it will be the best side dish those love chapattis or Naan..Love it..

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Khloe said...

We used half dill, half spinach and added a pinch of fresh mint to the mix - the balance was beautiful.





Khloe@Simplement D Liche