Koulouri Thessalonikis or Greek Sesame Bread Rings (Κουλουρι Θεσσαλονικης)

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Hi everyone!

Today’s recipe is from Greece, the land of olives, souvlakis and tatzikis!…In Greece, ring-shaped breads like the one I’ve made are referred to as Koulouri (Κουλουρι) and Koulouri Thessalonikis (Κουλουρι Θεσσαλονικης) means koulouri of the city of Thessalonikis, Greece’s second largest city.

Koulouri is sold as a street food pretty much everywhere in Greece. Turkey has an almost identical bread, called “Simit”. I love the braided rings and their simple taste means you can add sweet or savoury toppings to it. Honey or jam for breakfast, or tuna and capsicum for lunch!

street koulouri

This is one of the simple breads to bake at home, the dough recipe is quite straightforward and to get the braided look, you just twist two strands of the dough together and then form a circle :D

To accompany your new Greek bread, here’s some amazing Greek music and dance!

Καλή όρεξη! (Pronounced Kalí óreksi, or bon Appetit in Greek :)  )

Ingredients: (Recipe from here)

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500g plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
2.5 teaspoons instant active dry yeast
300 ml lukewarm water
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons light olive oil
Sesame seeds, to garnish

Method:

1- In a large mixing bowl, add the flour and salt and mix throughly.

2- Pour water in a measuring jug, add yeast and sugar. Stir to dissolve completely.

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3- Add olive oil to the liquid mixture and stir to combine.

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4- Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and combine to a rough dough.

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photo 55- Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for 3-4 minutes, until the dough is not sticky anymore.

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6- Oil a large bowl and let the dough rest in the bowl, covered, for 1.5 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

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7- Turn out the dough on a floured surface and knock it back.

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8- Knead again for 30 seconds. Then, roll it out to a long cylinder, approximately 40 cm in size.

9- Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces.

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10- Roll out each piece to a thin cylinder and set aside.

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11- Twist each strand and join the ends together to form a circle like this:
(Tip: To get an even better twisted look, twist two, instead of one, strands of dough together and then join them together in a circle.)

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12- Put the breads on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, and let rise for 30 minutes.

13-Preheat the oven to 200 C.

14- Brush the top of breads with water and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of them.

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15- Bake in centre of the oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown.

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Enjoy!!

Other Koulouri’s around the world:

1- Koulouri for Breakfast: http://ifthechouxfits.com/2013/koulouri-breakfast/

2- Greek Simiti (Koulouri): http://mylittleexpatkitchen.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/the-greek-simiti-koulouri.html

3-  Koulouri with feta cheese, tomatoes and basil: http://thegoudalife.tumblr.com/post/80001670337/there-are-bagels-at-hand-montreal-style-bagels

4- Turkish Simit: http://www.giverecipe.com/1-simit-1-cheese-please.html

Reshteh Polo (Saffron Rice with Noodles, Sultanas and Walnuts)

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~~~~~ Happy Nowruz! ~~~~

 

What is Nowruz you ask?….. It’s a 3000-year old Persian celebration of spring, rebirth of nature, and hopes for a wonderful new year ahead. It literally means “a new day”. It’s celebrated in many countries in Asia and middle east , such as Iran, Tajikestan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan.

To welcome spring and the new year, families set up “Haft-Seen”, a table of at least seven items, whose name start with the letter “س” in Farsi language (pronounced same as letter “S” in English). Each of these items symbolises a unique wish for the new year. The staples of this beautiful table setting are:

1- Sabzeh: Meaning sprouts (of wheat, lentil or mung beans), symbolising rebirth
2- Sekkeh: Meaning coins, symbolising prosperity
3- Sa’at: Meaning clock, symbolising happy times
4- Somagh: Meaning Sumac, the spice,for the (colour of ) sunrise, symbolising renewal
5- Serkeh: Meaning vinegar, symbolising old-age and patience
6- Sib: Meaning apple, symbolising beauty
7- Sir: Meaning garlic, symbolising health

There are usually other (optional) items on the table as well such as:

– Sweets/pastries
– Candles
– Colored eggs
– Mirror
– Pomegranates
– Gold fish in its’s bowl
– Poetry book of Haafez or a religious book such as Qoran.

Nowruz_assemblage_part-B-796(A painting of Iranian family in Qajar period, sitting around “Haft-Seen” , waiting for “Saal-Tahvil”— By Mohammad Ali Dowlatshahi)

Another interesting point is that the arrival of the new year is celebrated at the exact astronomical moment of the change of the season from winter to spring. This means that the new year is not celebrated at 12:00 midnight, but at the exact second of the start of the new year! This exact second is called “Saal Tahvil” in Persian.

Usually families gather around the “Haft-seen” table and just before the “Saal Tahvil”, they read a few poems of Haafez or a few verses from a religious book, such as Qoran, to bless the new year. After the “Saal Tahvil”, they hug and kiss, and exchange gifts, known as “Eidi”, and the celebration of spring starts with eating the many delicious dishes of the Persian cuisine!!

Nowruz-3(Children dancing in Nowruz celebrations in Kazakhistan)

Parents and especially, grandparents, usually give their kids and grandkids a sum of money as “Eidi”. Because of this, as a kid growing up with this wonderful tradition, I was always waiting to collect my precious Eidi’s as soon as “Saal-Tahvil” happened and planning what I’m gonna buy with them sometimes weeks in advance!

This is an added bonus as it is unusual for a younger member of the family to give “Eidi” to their parent, grandparent or any other senior in the family. So basically the younger you are the more “Eidi’s” you get! :D

In Nowruz, the most traditional food is “Sabzi Polo Mahi” or “Saffron Herb Rice with Fish”, but each family can cook a different dish depending on what they like. This year I decided to cook one of my favourite rice dishes called “Reshteh Polo” or “Saffron Rice with Noodles, Sultanas and Walnuts”.

You can have this tasty rice with grilled or stewed chicken or a meat stew, or even on its own because it has enough ingredients to fill you up easily :D

The special ingredient in this dish is the “Reshteh” or Persian noodles for adding to rice. There are other Persian noodles, which are white and thicker. They are usually added to soups only. You can find “Reshteh” for rice in your local Persian grocery store.

Don’t be intimated by the look or the difficult name of this dish, it’s really super easy to make!

So without further a due, I present to you my “Reshteh Polo”!!

Ingredients:

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-1 fistful of Persian Noodles (reshteh) for rice, broken into 5 cm lengths
-2 cups Basmati rice
-A pinch of Saffron, brewed (recipe here)
-A handful of walnuts, chopped
-A handful of sultanas
-1/2 teaspoon of salt
-1 teaspoon of cinnamon

-Cooked pieces of chicken or meat

 Directions:

1- Rinse the rice with cold water a few times until the water passed is clear.
2- Place the rice in a pot, and pour cold water on it to cover it completely. Add the salt and stir.
3- Bring the pot to boil, let simmer for ~10 minutes, until rice is cooked. You want it to be cooked and a bit ardent. Then, drain and set aside.

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4- Place the noodles in another pot of boiling water and let simmer for 3-5 minutes until al-dente.

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5- Drain the noodles, then mix through the rice.

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6- Separate three table spoons of rice, add the saffron to it, and set aside.

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7- In a frying pan, add the walnuts, sultanas, chicken/meat pieces, cinnamon and a bit of olive oil.

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8-  Keep string this mixture on medium heat for a few minutes until you can smell the aroma of the walnuts and cinnamon.
9- Now you have all the necessary elements of “Reshteh Polo”, just assemble as you like!

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Easiest way is to mix all of them together: saffron rice, noodle rice, and walnut-sultana mixture. Or, you can put the rice first in a dish and then decorate it with other elements as you wish.

Enjoy! (or Noosheh-Jaan in Farsi) :D

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Last but not least, I am a member of “Persian Food Bloggers”, a group of super-talented and creative Persian food bloggers who in celebration of Nowruz have all posted amazing recipes on their blog. Please have a look at their stunning dishes here:

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Barbari Bread (Persian Flat Bread)

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Hi everyone!

Today’s post is about one of the many wonderful breads I grew up eating. This bread is so popular people make long queues for it every morning in Iran! It’s so quick & easy to make it yourself at home, you just have to try it!

This bread is best eaten within to days of making it. If you rather keep it for longer, you can make it ahead of time and put it in freezer. Then, just defrost and toast it as you need. I loved how the wheat bran layer at the bottom of the bread gave an incredible biscuity aroma and taste to it and made the bread last longer.

Anything goes with this bread: cheese, jam, honey, or even as a sandwich bread for lunch! I ate mine with homemade sour cherry jam!  :D   What will also make this a true Persian breakfast, would be some Persian music of course, and one of my favourite oldies is the one by famous Persian singer, Andy, called “Persian Girl”.

   ♫♫♫♫♫♫   “Dokhtar Irooni (Persian Girl)” (Andy)    ♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫♫

The translation of lyrics to English is this:

دختر ایرونی 
Persian girl

اون قدو بالا رو ببین چی کرده
Look at her body, what a beautiful body she has!
چشمای زیبا رو ببین چی کرده
Look at her eyes, what gorgeous eyes she has!
ناز و ادا ها رو ببین چی کرده
Look at her gesture, what a charming gesture she has!
غنچه ی لبها رو ببین چی کرده
Look at her lips, what attractive lips she has!

تو دلربایی بهتری
You are the most attractive one
تو مهربونی اولی
You are the kindest one
دلش که با وفا تری
In love, you are the loyal one
بهش بگو صد آفرین
Say Bravo for her

ازش بپرس کجاییه مال کدوم دیاره
Ask her where is she from
میون خوشگلا تکه چون و چرا نداره
She is the most beautiful one, nothing left to say

دختر ایرونی مثل گله چه رنگ و رویی داره
Persian girl is like a flower, what a scent and color she has!
نگو کی از کی بهتره هر گل یه بویی داره
Don’t say which one is better, each one has its own grace

دختر تهرون و نگو می خوام براش بمیرم
I would die for the girl from *Tehran
با یک نگاه آشناش به دام اون اسیرم
With her familiar stare, she would capture my heart
دختر گیلان و ببین لباش گل اناره
Look at the girl from *Gilan, her lips burn like fire
از سر تا پای ناز اون عشق و صفا می باره
She is the symbol of love and loyalty

این دلبر و تن نازه حتما ماله شیرازه
She is the mistress and the coquettish, she must be from *Shiraz
خوشگل خوزستانه زاده ی آبادانه
She is the most beautiful girl in *Khouzestan, she is from *Abadan
چه خوش سر و زبونه دختر اصفهونه
She is chatty and friendly, she is from *Esfehan
ازش وفا می ریزه اون دختر تبریزه
She is the loyal one, she is from *Tabriz

شاهزاده ی غصه هام ای پسر ایرونی
You are the prince of my dreams, hey Persian boy
پناه قلب منی قدر من و می دونی
You are the one who cares for my heart and appreciates me
تویی تو بهترین من عشق تو در کمین من
You are the best for me, your love has haunted me
تو یار ایرونی من زاده ی سرزمین من
You, my Persian lover, who was born in my motherland
—————————-
*They are some provinces or cities in Iran.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now back to baking! Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

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3 1/3 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
Wheat Bran
Sesame and poppy seeds, as required

Method:

1. Add the yeast to 1 1/4 cup warm water, stir and set aside.

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2. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.

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3. Now add the yeast mixture and combine to form a rough dough.

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4. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until you have smooth dough.

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5. Put the dough in an oiled bowl and let rise for an hour or until it is doubled in size.

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6. Meanwhile, combine 3 tablespoons of warm water with 1 tablespoon of flour in a bowl.

7. Preheat the oven to 168 C.

8. Transfer the dough back to the floured surface, punch back to let the air out and then divide to two equal portions.

9. Form each part of the dough to a flat oval shape, approximately 25-30 cm in length.

10. Line the baking tray with baking paper and cover it with the wheat bran.

11. Transfer the doughs to the baking tray.

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12. Brush the surface of the doughs with water, then sprinkle either sesame or poppy seeds on top.

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13. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden.

Enjoy!!~~~~ :)

bread recipe

 

 

Rosca de Reyes (Mexican Three Kings Bread)

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Hello everyone!

Do you know what “Three Kings Day” is?….It’s the day which is celebrated on Januray 6th each year. In Christian faith, on this day three wise men (magi) who were known to be noble kings, priests or astrologers in search of truth, followed the North star and brought three gifts for baby Jesus to celebrate his birth.

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In Latin America, children write letters to the magi asking for gifts and then leave their shoes out of the house on the night before January 6th, hoping to receive gifts from the kings on the day. On this day, families bake “Rosca de Reyes” and children dress up as the magi and parade around their neighbourhoods.

kids-crown

The Rosca de Reyes is a sweet bread with cinnamon-almond filling. The wreath-shaped bread is made to resemble a crown, with the glace fruit on top of it representing the jewels of the crown. You can put candied orange and lemon peels on top, as well as glace cherries. I chose to use only candied citrus peels, because the glace cherries I found in my local supermarket were just full of artificial colours and preservatives, which I rather not eat to be honest :D

The wonderful smell of citrus, almonds and cinnamon fills the house when the bread is baking is in the oven, so if you’re after something different to bake this holiday season, give this a go! Your family and guests will ask for seconds ;)

   ~~~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~~~     
  ~~~~~~~~~~~
WISH YOU A WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR AHEAD :)  ~~~~~~~~~~
 ~~~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~~~   ~~~~~~~~~~~

  ♫♫♫   “Mis Deseos-Feliz Navidad” (Michael Buble Duet With Thalia)    

Ingredients: 

Ingredients

Dough:
1 3/4 cup plain flour
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup Light olive oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds
Zest of two oranges
Olive oil for brushing

Topping:
Candied orange and lemon peel (homemade is the best, here’s an easy recipe)
Flaked almonds

Recipe:

1. Heat the milk on the stove or in the microwave.
2. Place the sugar, yeast,salt and oil in a large bowl and pour the hot milk over it. Stir to combine.
Milk3. Add the eggs and whisk so that sugar is dissolved completely.
Eggs4. Add the flour one cup at a time, mixing in between to form a rough dough.
Dough15. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth.
Dough 26. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and let rise in a warm draft-free place to rise for 1hr 30 minutes.
DDough7. Punch the dough to deflate it and then flatten the dough to a rectangular shape (approximately 30 cm x 20 cm).
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8. Brush the inside area of the rectangle with olive oil, leaving 1cm on the sides.
9. Mix the sugar, cinnamon, sand zest in a small bowl and then sprinkle on the dough.
Sugar110. Add the chopped almonds.
Dough411. Starting from one of the long edges, start rolling the dough slowly. When you reach the other end, pinch the ends so they stick completely.
12. Place the dough on a baking sheet, lined with baking paper.
13. Place a small bowl in middle of the wreath so that the bread keeps its shape when baked.
Sheet114. Preheat the oven to 180C.
15. Brush the top of the bread with beaten egg and decorate with candied fruit and flaked almonds.
Sheet216. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. If it starts browning too quickly, cover it with foil after the first 15 minutes.
ENJOY!~~~~~~BP2

Jeweled Rice (Morasa Polow)


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Hello Everyone & Happy Mehregan!

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Have you heard of Mehregan? It’s the Persian Festival of Autumn, celebrating harvest season in ancient Persia. From almost 4th century BC, this day has been celebrated by Persians, and Zorostrians in particular to give thanks to God for being given food entering the cold months of the year. You could say it’s similar to Thanksgiving in the West. This was the tradition in ancient times. Nowadays, the tradition is still followed. Persians set colorful tables and all the family members gather around the table at lunch time and pray and eat together. Like almost all Persian festivals, this day is filled with dance, music, food and laughter!

This year I’ve joined a group of 27 awesome Persian bloggers to celebrate this festival. We all have posted Persian recipes on our blog simultaneously now, so please check them out as well, they all are a true inspiration to me:

Ahu Eats    All Kinds of Yum    Bottom of the Pot     Café Leilee  Della Cucina Povera      Fae’s Twist and Tango    Family Spice    Fig and Quince  Honest and Tasty       Lab Noon            Lucid Food         Marjan Kamali   My Caldron     My Persian Kitchen     Noghlemey             Persian Spice          Sabzi Blog                Simi’s Kitchen             The Saffron Tales    The Salty Pear          Spice Spoon             The Unmanly Chef       Turmeric and Saffron     Veggiestan     West of Persia          Zozo Baking                 Coco in the Kitchen

Today’s recipe is called “Morasa Polow” which literally means “Jeweled Rice“.  And I think by looking at it you can see why! It’s full of colourful ingredients which adorn the plain white basmati rice. This is one of the most beautiful dishes of the Persian cuisine and whoever has tried it, has fallen in love it! So I encourage you to definitely give this dish a go, you won’t regret it!

Noosheh Jan (=Bon Apetite)!! :)

Ingredients:

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2.5 cups plain white Basmati rice
1 white onion
1 double skinless chicken breast
1 teaspoon Curry powder
1 teapsoon Black pepper
Pinch of Salt
1/2 cup Blanched almonds
1/2 cup Blanched pistachios
1 cup Barberries
1/2 cup Rasins
1 cup Boiled sweetened orange peel, cut into strips
2 teaspoons Saffron, soaked in boiling water
Olive oil, for frying

Method:

1. Saute the onion in a pan, then add the chicken pieces with the curry powder, salt and pepper.

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2. Cook the chicken until completely cooked through.

3. Rinse the rice a few times with cold water then add it to a pan with enough water to cover it completely and a pinch of salt. Let it boil on medium heat until it is al dente.

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4. Drain the rice with cold water. Separate 1/3 of it in a bowl and add the saffron mixture to it. Mix well.

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5. Fry the barberries in a pan for 3 minutes.

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6. Fry the raisins in a pan for 3 minutes.

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7. Now is assembly time! Put the chicken pieces in the bottom of your chosen dish.

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8. Add white rice on top to completely cover it. Then decorate the top of the rice with the rest of the ingredients, in whatever shape you desire.

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