Potato kookoo (Kookoo-ye-sabzamini)
Updated: Mar 5
A kookoo (also spelt kuku) is a very traditional Persian egg-based dish, their version of a frittata. These dishes are ever present in any Persian spread, filled with herbs or other vegetables, including this version with mashed potatoes. The magic of this dish is that they are not too "eggy", there is just enough egg to hold the filler ingredient together. It is common throughout old Persia, Iran to Afghanistan and as far east as Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
This dish is beautifully subtle and delicate. The potatoes are scented with saffron and the bright yellow kookoos pop with colour on the plate. Although the dish can be served with the hot yoghurt sauce, I chose to serve them alone so the delicate flavours were not drowned out.
In addition, I decided to bake them in a mini-muffin pan, rather than fry them. This allowed me to present my guests with a well-shaped kookoo that made for the perfect appetizer. The kookoos cooked perfectly and puffed up beautifully. Serve immediately, or they tend to deflate.
This is a beautiful book packed with most of the well-known Persian recipes. The instructions are simple and you are guaranteed to fall in love with the tahdig once you master this art. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a great starter book on Persian cuisine. For more recipes from this cookbook click here.
1 lb potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
A generous pinch of saffron threads
Salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon pepper
For the sauce (optional)
1 cup Greek yoghurt
Salt, to taste
Hot sauce of choice
Parsley, to garnish
Make the hot sauce by mixing in all the ingredients. Set aside in the fridge till you are ready to serve.
Mix the mashed potatoes with 3 eggs, saffron, salt, turmeric and pepper. Mix well, hands is best, till well incorporated. You should have the consistency of heavy cream, if not add another egg and fold in. Allow it to sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour so the saffron has time to impart its wonderful flavour and aroma.
Heat the oven to 375 F.
I made these in a mini-muffin tray. Spray the muffin tray with some olive oil. Add a dollop of the mix to each hole, coming up about 3/4 way to the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes till browned on top and the muffins are puffy. Serve immediately with the hot yoghurt dip, if desired.
Alternatively, heat a pan with the oil. Add the mix, 2 tablespoons at a time for small patties, or 1/2 cup for larger pancake-sized patties. Fry till well browned on both sides. Serve immediately with the hot yoghurt dip, if desired.