Potatoes (seeb-zamini, سیب زمینی ) are inarguably the most versatile vegetable and Persians utilise it in their cooking in every possible way. The literal translation of seeb-zamini is "apple of the earth"! The most common potato dish is potato frittata (kookoo-ye seeb-zamini) which serves as a quick comforting winter dinner and during summer kookoos make a great picnic lunch, similar to an amazing slice of cold bacon and egg pie soaked in tomato sauce! It is very interesting how cultures and cuisines have so many similarities on so many different levels.
The rise of food prices and the never ending financial crisis around the world are driving consumers to consume more and more vegetables, and interestingly enough, the food service sector followed suit. In many cafes, potato cakes of different variations make an appearance on food cabinets. Potatoes abundantly available year around, competitively priced and the reality is that no other vegetable can really compare with the humble potato.
Traditionally, kookoos are fried in a round skillet and sliced for serving. However, the same mixture can be fried in small patties or baked in the oven. This mixture is so versatile that any ingredient can be added to it e.g. tuna, spring onions, herbs, spices ... The photo below, is a jazzed up version of the same Persian Kookoo. I made it in a serving size portion, baked it in the oven for convenience and served it with sour cream and tomato relish.
3 Large Potatoes, boiled and mashed (skin removed)
2 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
1 small onion, grated
3-4 large eggs
1/2 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons herbs (dried or fresh) Mint and Parsley
1 Teaspoon Turmeric
Salt and Pepper to season
oil for frying
- In a large bowl, place all ingredients and mix to combine.
- Heat a 20cm round fry pan with a generous amount of cooking oil.
- Once hot, pour the mixture in and leave the heat on mid-high.
- Do not place a lid over the fry pan.
- Once the sides are golden, flip it and fry for a further 5 minutes.To bake it: Brush a baking dish with oil or butter and pour the mixture into the greased dish. Bake at 180C for around 30 minutes or until golden.To make small patties: fry tablespoon fulls of the mixture until edges are golden and flip it in the fry pan to fry the other side.Serve with a crisp green salad and yoghurt.