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Spinach, turmeric and golden raisin dip (Borani-e esfenaj)

Borani is a Persian appetizer, or dip, and is an essential dish on any table. The dish has limitless variations from plain spiced yoghurt, to eggplant, pumpkin, occasionally kofte, and this simple spinach version. It is found all across the old Ottoman empire, with versions and variations in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and all the way east to Afghanistan. The essentials for the dish are yoghurt and a cooked vegetable with mild spices and herbs.

This very simple-to-make version with spinach is lovely and light. The spinach must be just blanched to maintain some texture and bright colour. The raisins add a lovely pop of sweetness that offsets the sourness of the yoghurt and the spices are mild. I like to serve this on a crudité platter with vegetables, but traditionally it is served with bread like pita or lavash. This dip is super healthy, it uses yoghurt instead of the heavy cream or mayo-based dips, and contains nutritious vegetables, perfect for those New Year's resolutions.

Greg and Lucy Malouf have travelled across the Middle East extensively, publishing several specialized cookbooks along their journey. This cookbook is one of my favourites, a thick volume filled with amazing recipes, like this one, and photographs. This cookbook will make you want to get out to the closest Mediterranean store (or on Amazon) and order a pantry full of new ingredients for this cuisine. I have cooked a few, definitely not enough, recipes from this book and each are spectacular. I need to complete the collection of their cookbooks, oh I wish I had a larger cookbook budget. This book is for those who are looking for spectacular Middle Eastern cuisine

For more delicious recipes from this cookbook click here.



Ingredients:

2 bunches of spinach leaves

2 tablespoons raisins

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

2 shallots, finely diced

1 cup Greek yoghurt

Salt, to taste

1//2 teaspoon pepper

A squeeze of lime juice


To serve:

Any combination of the following

Carrot sticks

Zucchini sticks

Broccoli florets

Celery sticks

Cauliflower

Beetroots

Radishes

Pita, lavash or other bread



Wash the spinach well well and blanch for 1 minute in hot water. Cool immediately in cold water to stop the cooking process. Do not overcook the spinach or it will turn a drab grey and lose its bright green colour.


Squeeze out as much water from the spinach as possible and chop it finely.


Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small frying pan and sautè the shallots till soft and translucent, about 1 minute. add the raisins and cook for 30 seconds. Add the turmeric and give the ingredients a quick turn. take off the heat and allow to cool.


Mix the sautèed shallot mix and spinach well with all the other ingredients—taste for salt.


Serve in a bowl surrounded by vegetable sticks as a crudité platter.

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