Kookoo sabzi is my new favorite dish. It is a herbed spinach omelet, with much more spinach than omelet. The herbs give it a punch of flavor. When you serve it atop rice with lentils with the caramelized onion & raisin topping, cugurt (cucumber yogurt sauce), tomatoes and feta cheese, it is indescribably good. It is perfect blend of savory, sweet, and salty. This is a super healthy and budget-friendly meal that will be sure to impress guests. How often can you say that?
My friend, Chantel, introduced this dish to me when she took me to the Persian Garden Cafe , which is a vegetarian Persian restaurant in Phoenix. Yup, you heard me correctly. Usually, Persian food is associated with an array of grilled, marinated, skewered, and braised cornucopia of meats. I was skeptical, but Chantel asserted this was her absolute favorite restaurant. was immediately won with their mirza (eggplant) and kookoo (spinach) dish. Unfortunately, the restaurant is a bit far away from where we live, so I decided to learn how to make this dish on my own. After making this about a half dozen times now (the kid and the husband can’t get enough), with some trial and error, I have it down pat.
Spinach is no longer in season now, but you can easily substitute leaf lettuce as well. In fact, my On The Vine CSA box had a ton of what I needed for this recipe including: leaf lettuce, tomatoes, green onion, cucumber, and onions. I also used Circle Key Farm’s free range eggs from North Scottsdale Farmers Market.
You can find the spices in a Persian or Asian market or online:
- Don't get intimidated by the amount of components. The cugurt and caramelized onion and raising topping, and rice and lentils can be done ahead of time.
- You can substitute dark leaf lettuce for spinach.
- Be sure to wash the basmati rice several times with water, and soak for 30 minutes. This removes the starch, and prevents the rice from clumping.
- Prep Time : 20 minutes
- Cook Time : 45 minutes
- Yield : 4
- Kookoo Sabzi
- baby spinach - 5 cups, chopped
- cilantro - 1/3 cup, chopped
- italian parsley - 1/3 cup, chopped
- green onion - 3 stems, chopped
- eggs - 3 eggs
- tumeric - 1/4 tsp
- dill weed - 1 tsp
- fenugreek - 1 tsp
- salt - 1/2 tsp
- pepper - 1/4 tsp
- Cugurt (Cucumber Yogurt Sauce)
- Plain yogurt - 2 cups
- cucumber - 1, chopped
- dill weed, dried - 1 tsp
- mint, dried - 1 tsp
- Caramelized Onion & Raisin topping
- yellow onion - 1, diced
- olive oil - 1 T
- raw almonds, unsalted - 1/4 cup, chopped
- golden raisins - 1/4 cup
- saffron - 6 threads
- water - 1/4 cup
- Rice and Lentils
- basmati rice - 1 cup, rinsed
- water - 1 3/4 cups
- salt - 1 tsp
- olive oil - 1 T
- dill weed - 1/2 tsp
- lentils - 1/2 cup
- water - 1 cup
- roma tomato - 1, chopped
- feta cheese - 1/2 cup, crumbled
- Cugurt: start with combining yogurt, cucumber, and spices in a medium container and store in refrigerator.
- Caramelized onion & Raisin Topping: Put olive oil in saute pan over medium heat, and add diced onion. Allow diced onion to sweat over several minute, and lower the heat, stirring occasionally. Allow onions to caramelize over approximately 15 to 20 minutes. On the side, put 1/4 cup hot water in small cup, and add saffron. Set aside.
- Kookoo Sabzi: Combine spinach, green onion, cilantro, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Scramble eggs, and add tumeric, dill weed, fenugreek, salt, and pepper. Add egg mixture to spinach mixture, and set aside.
- Rice and Lentils: Bring 1 3/4 cup water to a boil in a medium pot, add rice, salt, and olive oil, and lower heat to lowest setting. Cook for 15 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 mintutes, then fluff with fork. For lentils, bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small pot. Add lentils, and cook for approximately 25-30 min. Mix rice and lentils together, and add salt to taste.
- Caramelized Onions & Raisin Topping: Remove onions from pan, add almonds to pan to toast for several minutes. Add onions back into pan with raisins, and cook for several minutes. Add 1/4 cup of saffron water, and cook for several minutes.
- Kookoo: Heat olive oil in large frying pan over medium heat. Add spinach mixture to pan, and gently push down into the pan. Cover for approximately 10 minutes, and flip. If you cannot flip entire omelet, cut into four wedges, and flip individually.
- Assembly: Cook for several minutes until cooked through, and put on plate. Serve on top of rice and lentils. Top with caramelized onion mixture, cugurt, then feta and tomatoes.