Friday, March 13, 2009

Persian Herb Frittata (Kuku)

Next Saturday, March 21, marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the Persian new year. Nowruz/Navroz, or new day, is celebrated in Iran as well as parts of Central Asia, South Asia, China, Eastern Europe, Turkey, the Caucasus and by people who trace their origin to these parts of the world.

In Iran Nowruz is observed with spring cleaning, purchase of new clothes, haircuts and gift exchange. A table is set with seven auspicious symbols, known as haft-sin, including sprouts symbolizing rebirth, sweet pudding symbolizing affluence, dried fruit symbolizing love, garlic symbolizing health, apples symbolizing beauty and health, sumac berries symbolizing sunrise and vinegar symbolizing age and patience. Many other items may also be added including candles, books and decorated eggs. Families spend the twelve day celebration visiting friends and family and on the thirteenth day finish with a picnic. In the Ismaili tradition, which I grew up in, the event is marked communally in the mosque.

Kuku is commonly served during Nowruz since it incorporates herbs and eggs which symbolize fertility. Akin to a Persian frittata, kuku is traditionally flavoured with advieh (a spice mixture containing dried rose petals). This version uses items likely to be in your pantry.

Serves 8-12

1 cup scallions
1 cup packed spinach (about 3 ounces)
1 cup parsley
1 cup cilantro
1 cup fresh dill
16 eggs
3 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper, fresh ground
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 13x9 inch baking dish with parchment. Butter the bottom and sides of the dish.
2. Finely chop the first five ingredients and combine in a large bowl. You can use a food processor to save chopping time.
3. Beat eggs in a medium bowl and then add remaining eight ingredients. Mix well.
4. Add egg mixture to greens until thoroughly combined.
5. Pour into baking dish and bake for 45 minutes or until firm in the center.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Cupcake Porterhouse said...

I can't wait to try this! I have chickens and right now have a mad surplus of eggs, so the line "16 eggs" filled me with untold joy! Thank you for what looks to be another delicious dish!

Anonymous said...

oooooh, I love Kuku! I've made my own simplified version for years,
especially in the summer months when I grow my own parsley and herbs. Yay!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I make an Italian herb frittata with basil, rosemary, oregano, and sage, but I'd love to try your version. With all of those aromatic herbs, it must smell as wonderful as it tastes. I'm including it in my post on frittatas today. :)