Sunday, December 14, 2008

Product Review - TJ's Tom Yam Rice Snacks

it's been a month or so since i've been to Trader Joe's, and I was excited today to see all of the new GF items that they have in the store! They've always had them, but now the new products all have a little "g" for gluten free and a "v" for vegan. they just need one for the soy and i'm set ;)

among them, i quickly grabbed a "rice snack" called Tom Yam Rice Snacks. They're great little individually wrapped Thai snacks (10 to a bag). Flavored with lemongrass, kaffir lime, and chili, topped with cashews, they're definitely great if you like thai food!

oh. and did i mention they were only $1.69?

anyways, this little treat i give two thumbs up

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Food From Your Childhood - The 'Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free!' November Roundup

i am so happy to host this month's 'go ahead honey, it's gluten free!' i announced a little while ago that this month's theme would be: "Food from Your Childhood" - and oh my - people did not disappoint! we have a great roundup this month as always with nine tasty treats. the submissions allow you to take a step into some of our neighbors' homes from around the world to get a glimpse of some of their favorite dishes from back in the day. be sure to visit the individual sites for the full stories!

First up, we have Lauren from Daring to Thrive with our appetizer -

Lauren shared memories of tasty marinated 'Chinese Chicken Wings' that her mother used to make when she was a child. There were never any leftovers, and i can imagine why! (These are especially exciting for me because they're even soy free!) When you check out the recipe be sure to participate in Lauren's survey for her dissertation!

My gluten-free cousin Sholeh at Sliding Thoughts shared her recipe for Butternut Squash Soup.

This rich and creamy soup has some tasty additions to it that could warm you on those cold winter days!

Vittoria from Deliciously Gluten Free wanted to share a 'special occasion' meal from her childhood and that she did!

Presenting her gourmet skills, she recreated her great grandmother's Veal Scaloppini. This recipe replicated her early memories of home with reminders of working in the kitchen with her mother.

Kelly at The Spunky Coconut brought us a classic side dish with a totally new twist. Looking for a healthier, minimally processed gluten-free, casein-free version of the dish, she incorporated local organic green beans and onions, as well as homemade cashew milk for her Green Bean Casserole.

Like her mother did, she plans on making this dish every year. Green bean casserole has never sounded so good (look out Campbell's Soup!).

Sarah shared her Pumpkin Whoopee Pies with Cream Cheese Filling using the handy Google Documents application (good idea for anyone without a blog!)

These whoopee pies reminded Sarah of her days of eating Little Debbie's Oatmeal Creme Pies before going gluten free and were a big hit!

A truly creative dish from Nick the Peanut Butter Boy is his Peanut Butter Bird's Nest Cookies.

A vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free treat, Nick's mother used to make these treats for Easter. Bringing together the flavors of peanut butter and coconut, these easy to make treats remind Nick of his childhood.

Cheryl at Gluten Free Goodness reminisced of her grandpa who loved rice pudding when she made her Spiced Forbidden Rice Pudding:

Blending Chinese Black Rice with coconut milk and fragrant spices like cardamom, cinnamon, and a touch of ginger, this dish has a warm and comforting feel to it.

And now for the wonderful Naomi of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried, the creator of 'go ahead honey'...

Naomi took us back to her childhood with her secret delight of Magic Lemon Pudding. The airy sponge on top with the lemony creamy goodness below sounds irresistable. Without the flour, milk and sugar of her childhood, Naomi was able to recreate the magic to share the recipe with her own son - much like her own mother had with her.

Finally, here is my own submission at For the Love of Food! - my grandmother's Sweet Potato Pie.

This pie meant a lot to me growing up, as my grandmother taught it to me at a young age. I make it each year in her memory and is a favorite in my family on both sides. I love it for dessert or breakfast :)

So thank you to everyone for allowing us to have a glimpse into your childhoods and your homes... it is truly an inspiration how creative and diverse each of these dishes are!

***For information about next month's theme: "Foods that bring good fortune" - please visit Heather at Life Gluten Free who has posted more on the theme and the deadline.***

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sweet Potato Pie (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Naturally Sweetened)

well i have finally decided on my 'go ahead honey' submission for this month... it was a tough call, but i've decided it's actually going to be the first of a three part series of 'my childhood+home.'

so growing up in my household was an adventure, and food was and is a huge focus. and good food. for my last submission i posted a recipe for the slow cooked food challenge that was persian- from my mother's homeland of iran. this month i wanted to pay homage to my other half- my african-american side. the story goes something like this... when i was fairly young, i'm guessing around 8/10 years old, my grandmother took me on a grocery shopping adventure because she wanted to teach me how to make some of her dishes. she was known for her pies, rolls, corn pudding, fruit cake, caramel cake, and more - all from scratch. the idea of using a boxed mix was unheard of and something that i carried on. her north carolina roots taught her real southern baking without measuring, but rather an eye that she wanted me to learn by watching and doing alongside her. and learn i did- she wouldn't have it any other way. she was an incredibly strong and beautiful woman, mother to nine wonderful and unique children, and i remember her each thanksgiving when i make her sweet potato pie.

i felt the real challenge of making this pie would be recreating it in a way that was 'healthier' and suitable to my diet (no refined sugar, crisco in the crust, gluten, or dairy) while still capturing the rich and tasty elements of it. i warned my dad about these changes at thanksgiving, and he acknowledged that it might not taste as good. then after he took his first bite he smiled and told me that the taste was not sacrificed and it was still 'good.' :)

so anyways, the recipe is really not that complicated, and the taste can be as strong or simple as you like it, depending on the spices and sweetness of your sweet potatoes. to me, it's more of the memories that come with it and remembering how proud it made my grandmother that i learned her recipes, and how proud i felt to stand by her side.

Annie Mae's Sweet Potato Pie - Adapted

*note- this was my first time trying to measure the recipe, so it actually turned out as two and a half regular pies, or it could be two deep dish ones.

5 1/2 cups cooked sweet potatoes
2 eggs, beaten
5 Tbsp melted butter
3/4 cup honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar
3/4 cup coconut, almond, or hemp milk
1 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp mace
1.5 tsp saigon cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
6 Tbsp orange juice
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
optional: 1/4 cup sucanat or coconut sugar (if you want it sweeter)

Preheat oven to 375. Prepare your pie crusts. I used my crust recipe from my Apple Pie but used a stick of butter chopped up instead of the oil.

While still hot, peel and mash your sweet potatoes. Add the rest of your ingredients and mix with a stand mixer. Taste and adjust spices if you wish. If you're opposed to tasting raw egg, you can add everything except that, taste it, and then add the beaten eggs in. The flavor of your sweet potatoes will change the flavor of the pie, so i recommend organic sweet potatoes with a strong, bold, and sweet flavor.

Pour pie filling evenly into crusts and bake in oven for approximately 45 minutes-1 hour, depending on oven, etc.

Eat warm as dessert, cold for breakfast, with coconut milk ice-cream as a snack... ;)

PS--- Don't forget to get your submissions into me by December 5th!!!

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gluten Free Apple Pie and Apple Topped Steel Cut Oats

i actually came up with this recipe before i decided on the theme for this month's Go Ahead Honey, and felt conflicted... because i think apple pie really represents the american "home" and "childhood" aspect... however, it wasn't really my home, so i'm not going to have this as my submission :) i'm still trying to come up with something though.

anyways, we received a huge bag of apples from my in-laws who went to west virginia, so i was making apple everything for a while-- some recipes better than others (such as my undercooked apple cake which you shall not see here.) one of my favorite quick and easy apple recipes was a topping for my steel cut oats in the morning. i just put sliced apples with some cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and a dash of agave in a pan and simmered for a few minutes. i added some pecans sometimes as well. anyways, after cooking my oats i just topped it with the apple mix and it was fantastic.

moving on to better recipes, here is my apple pie one... i tried improving my crust from my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie by taking out the butter and subbing it with grapeseed oil instead. i leave that option open-- one stick of butter will work, grapeseed oil, or organic spectrum shortening. coconut oil will work as well, and i think would go well with apple (i used it in my blueberry pie) but you have to be open to a bit of a coconut flavor. if you do want to do the coconut but not have it overwhelm, i would recommend half coc. oil with half of something else (butter, oil, etc.). anyways, mine came out a bit oily to work with but perfect baked at 3/4 a cup, so i'm going to recommend 1/2-3/4 a cup and you can check your consistency because different gluten free flours work in different ways, and you can always add more sweet rice flour to firm it up. now on to the pie.

Apple Pie

(gluten free, dairy free, soy free, refined sugar free)


1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
5 Tbsp sweet rice flour (approximately 1/4 cup)
1.5 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1 tsp Saigon cinnamon
3 tsp honey/maple/agave
1 egg
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup cold water
1/2-3/4 cup grapeseed oil (or other mild oil, refrigerated works well)

-mix the flours together with a stand mixer. slowly add the oil in with the mixer running and mix until it is crumbled into pea-sized pieces.

-drop the egg and vinegar into the mixture while the mixer is running. once combined, drizzle the cold water into the mix a little at a time while the mixer is running. once it looks like dough, turn off the mixer.

-separate the dough into two balls and put each on a piece of parchment paper. place another piece on top of each ball and gently smoosh them down into disks. wrap the paper around them and refrigerate over night. remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before using. if you can't refrigerate over night, a couple of hours will do as well.

Apple Pie Filling:

4 cups chopped or sliced apples (approximately-- i used sliced ones i made with an apple peeler/corer/slicer (Apple Peeler)
1 tsp saigon cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp vanilla or one vanilla bean
3/4 cup honey, maple syrup or agave
1/4 cup starch (tapioca, arrowroot, or corn)

-preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. mix all of the ingredients in a bowl except for the starch. remove some of the liquid from the apple mixture and add it to the starch to 'melt' it down. mix the starch liquid into the apples and let it all sit while you prepare your crusts.

-roll out one pie crust and fit in dish. if it falls apart, simply press together again-- gluten free crust is good like that. pour the apple filling mix in and spread evenly.

-the second crust is trickier if it falls apart. i like to slide it off of the parchment paper by peeling away the paper as you slide it on (sounds confusing, but it's not that bad). if it does fall apart, you can still try to reattach it. if not, there needs to be steam holes/slits, so just let the cracks be the holes in the crust. if it did survive, make a pretty hole in the top or slits in the middle. ** if you want a shiny crust, you can brush the crust with egg white here. i left this one alone but have done it in the past.

(pie before cooking - without steam holes)

-bake the pie in the oven for 20 minutes at 400F, then lower to 350 for another 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. i know it's difficult, but let it cool for a while-- it helps the liquid inside solidify and is worth the wait :)

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free! - November's Theme

I am quite excited to announce that I will be hosting the November 'Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free' roundup...

If you're not familiar, Go Ahead Honey was started by Naomi of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Each month, a theme is chosen by the host and exciting and delicious gluten-free submissions are posted. Past themes have included breakfast, one pot meals, raw food, and more. I recently contributed my first submission to the slow food theme for September HERE.

So after much thought, I am pleased to announce that this month's theme will be: "Food from Your Childhood." To further elaborate, I was trying to come up with a theme that would capture winter, home, and comfort food... This could mean many different things to different people, but to me the idea of home kept reoccurring. So take some time and think about what food makes you feel at home, gives you that nostalgic feeling, or makes you warm and fuzzy :) It might just be from another person's home as well-- for instance, a childhood trip to grandma's house. Other examples can be a holiday recipe, a family tradition, tasty warm drink, or something your mom clipped out of the newspaper or from the back of a box like mine did. Naturally gluten-free, or one you've adapted. I love the creativity that everyone shares with the Go Ahead Honey themes and can't wait to see what everyone posts!

Please send your gluten-free submissions to me by December 5th. You can email me a picture of your dish as well as a link to your recipe at: nooshins [at] gmail [dot] com. I will post the roundup shortly thereafter! Pin It Now!

Friday, October 31, 2008

celebrating one year... !

before october ends, i just wanted to take a moment to note that my one year gluten-free blogging anniversary just passed...

it has been an incredible year, with many ups and downs, adjustments, and more importantly-- lots of good food :) i started this blog pretty suddenly - most likely as a way to cope with my health and the changes i was making (for the better), and it has become a great way for me to not only keep track of my own recipes, but to be connected to others in a way i never thought would be possible.

so a BIG thank you to the blogging community for being an incredible support in what was has definitely been the biggest adjustment of my life. i know i have gained incredible amounts of information from other people that i would not have been able to, had it not been for these wonderful individuals. each person takes time out of their own busy lives to share their own experiences from daily life, recipes, and more. of course most of the blogs i follow are listed under my links and i recommend them all, especially if facing issues with food or looking for a healthier way of living. i know many people read this blog from all around the world (thank you Google Analytics) so please continue to leave your comments, questions, etc... and to all of my non-gf friends, thank you as well for all of your support! it really means the world to me.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

apricot and apple stew over lentils

i honestly was not sure what to call this one... "apricot-date stew, "tagine", "curry," "mix of what i had in the fridge," etc....

anyways, my husband is a big fan of fruit cooked in food. me- not so much. but as marriage serves the purpose of growing, i suppose my taste buds have expanded to include such dishes.

so i made this the other night as a little gift for him but ended up liking it a lot myself as well, and of course- it was simple to make which always makes me happy.

one more thing- i used chicken, but this would be great without it as well. can also add in chickpeas.

so here we are:

1 cup lentils
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper


1 onion, sliced
1 lb chicken breast, cubed
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper or chili flakes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp saffron in 1/8 cup hot water
3 chopped organic carrots
1 apple, sliced and chopped
8 dried apricots, quartered
2-3 dates
1 stalk celery
3 Tbsp olive oil
1/8-1/4 cup water or broth


-Wash and pick over the lentils thoroughly- you don't want any crunchy rocks in your food.
-Cook according to your package (i believe i used 2 cups water for the one cup of lentils, and cooked for approximately 20 minutes). Check to taste that they are done when all of the water has evaporated.
-Mix in salt and pepper when they are cooked.

**To make saffron:
grind your saffron with a mortar and pestle. add boiled water to it and let sit for approx. five minutes.


-Saute you onions in the olive oil until golden but not overcooked.
-Add all your spices except for the saffron and stir for a few seconds. Add chicken and cook until halfway done.
-Add chopped carrots, apple, and celery.
-Cook for a few minutes then add your apricots, dates, and prepared saffron.**
-Add water or broth and let simmer on low for approximately 10-15 more minutes depending on if your chicken is cooked and how much water is left in the pan. if too dry, add more liquid. Taste, add more seasoning if needed.
-Serve over the lentils and enjoy!

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Monday, October 20, 2008

gluten, dairy, and soy free pesto pizza with sun dried tomatoes

"but what do you do about pizza?!?!?!!"
-almost everyone.

although i never ate pizza that often, i am definitely a fan of a good quality fresh and tasty slice of pizza. and yes, i do miss it. i had finally come up with a gluten free dairy free pizza that i liked, but it used soy cheese (which i still think is a great cheese if you can eat soy). after i found out i had a soy intolerance as well, that eliminated most alternative cheeses except for this one cheese: Galaxy Nutritional Foods Rice Vegan- Soy and Casein Free Cheese Slices. There are three different types (american, pepper jack, and chedder, but only in slice form). If you are only dairy free, they have a variety of lactose and soy free cheeses. I avoid casein, so i can only have the sf/cf slices. Anyways, they don't melt very well, so they were out for pizza.

so anyways, i'm all for making everything from scratch, as i tend to do, but i'm really finding that i need to buy a few prepared things to not make myself starve and go crazy waiting for food to be ready. so i bought some frozen pizza crusts on a whim the other day at my new favorite grocery store. they are kinnikinnick foods 7" pizza crusts. to me they resemble a greek style gyro bread if you just heat them up, but they make a lovely pizza crust. it's hard to describle, but what i liked most about it was the flour texture on the outside that is like bread made on a well dusted board, similar to regular pizza crust. i think this is due to the sweet rice flour that's added to the dough when rollng it out.

so this is what i did for my simple and super fast and tasty pizza:

1. made some pesto (unfortunately these measurements are all approximate because i was just throwing them all in):
-approx 1.5 cups packed organic basil, 1 cup packed cilantro, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1/4 cup cashews, 3 Tbsp chopped garlic, 1/4 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 4 Tbsp good tasting olive oil
-throw the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor and mix. gradually add the olive oil until well blended. taste, adjust flavors to your taste and go!
*i usually make a lot of pesto then store it in a container with extra olive oil on top which can later be used for pasta, eggs, etc.
*the nutritional yeast adds a bit of a cheesy flavor that's a great sub for parmesan

2. lightly oiled the top of the crust with olive oil.

3. spread pesto on top

4. spread toppings on (for my first one i used sun dried tomatoes and all natural cilantro chicken sausage from trader joe's (pictured above). for my second one i used sun dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers (pictured below). i also sprinkled soem crushed red peppers on top.

5. put in oven at 400 degrees for approximately 10 minutes (check periodically depending on your oven).

kind of silly to even give a recipe, but it was a great assurance that good pizza can be enjoyed even without all of the dairy, gluten, etc... (and quickly!)

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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

carrot muffins

carrot muffins/cake has of course been done numerous different ways... when coming up with this recipe, i was trying to mix flours and flavor in a way that would give me a lot of protein, fiber, and other vitamins along with the natural sweetness of the carrots. so this recipe can of course have a number of substitutions depending on your taste, and i continue to play around with it depending on my mood. it's a favorite of my niece and nephew, so is definitely kid friendly :)

Carrot Muffins

1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup Teff Flour

1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
*1/4-1/3 cup almond meal (if you like a more nutty flavor)
1 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt (i use Celtic Sea Salt)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon (i use saigon cinnamon-fairly strong)
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
*(you can also sub 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice for all of the spices)
1/2 cup-3/4 cup agave nectar -0r- 1/2 cup agave+1/4 cup Sucanat (depending on how sweet you want it)
2 TBSP blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
2 eggs (or egg substitution)
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup hempmilk, rice milk, or almond milk
1/4 cup water
1 cup grated carrots (i use 2 organic carrots)
*if you like them sweeter you can add pineapple or another juice
*if you like nuts, they would be a great addition as well. i've also added cocoa nibs too.

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease muffin pans
-Whisk the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
-In your mixer bowl, mix your eggs, agave, water, milk, oil, molasses, and vanilla until incorporated.
-Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.
-Add grated carrots to the batter and stir in by hand. - do not overmix! (i shred mine in the food processor in a matter of seconds) if your batter is too thick, add a little more water.
-Fill your muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for about 15 minutes. ** the oven in our new place is a bit off with temperature, so i would say bake for 10, check them, and then every five minutes after check again, because each oven time will vary.

-cool on a wire rack

You can eat these as is, or you can also ice them with this wonderful coconut cream frosting made with agave from Elana's Pantry.

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

khoresh-e-ghaymeh lapeh (persian split pea stew)

i must say that my original reason for posting this recipe is because it was nice to finally measure the ingredients for this recipe... gheymeh, ghaymeh, however you would like to spell it is a persian stew that is usually served on top of rice. it's a savory and flavorful stew, yet fairly simple in its ingredients. this is based on my mother's recipe, who is quite against measuring anything in the kitchen and is a phenomenal cook, so we'll call this a collaborative effort. i'm hoping to preserve more of her wonderful recipes as time goes on...

anyways, this is also my submission for September's 'Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten Free!' challenge, who's theme this month is "slow food." it's hosted by the lovely naomi of straight into bed cake free and dried. now this 'stew' can be cooked as slow and as long as you want it! i cooked mine for about an hour and a half, but it can be longer or shorter-- the flavors really set in nicely when it's cooked a long time on low, blending the tomato with the rich spices.

the only ingredient in this dish that may be a bit harder to find is dried persian limes (pictured above.) most middle eastern grocery stores should have it though. if not, i'm sure the wonderful internet could supply some :) if you don't have them, plain lime juice can be added, but the flavor is just not as intense. you don't have to eat them when serving the dish, but i love them.

Khoresh-e-Ghaymeh Lapeh (Persian Split Pea Stew)

1 cup yellow split peas
1 lb stew beef, cut into small pieces (mine was about 2 1/4 cup chopped)
3 medium onions, chopped
6 Tbsp oil (olive, grapeseed)
5 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 28 oz can Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil (i used Muir Glen)
2 tsp Turmeric
3 tsp Cinnamon (less if you don't like it that strong)
2 tsp Sea Salt
1.5 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Oregano
3 Dried Limes

Note: this recipe uses three pots/pans (trust me, it's worth the dishes). i refer to them as 'small pot' (for the peas) 'stew pot' (for everything) and 'saute pan' (a frying pan with sides and a lid-for cooking the meat).

1. First rinse your split peas and set to cook in 4 cups of water over medium heat in your small pot. The cooking time will honestly depend on the type of peas-- it really does make a difference. I think mine cooked in about 15 minutes, but watch it and check after 10, then 5, etc. etc. If they overcook they will turn to mush and will be a sad sight. They should be al dente, or almost soft. Don't add salt, or they won't cook! While they're cooking, skim the foam off and discard.

2. Boil hot water. Wash your dried limes and stab a few holes in them. Pour the hot water over your limes in a bowl and cover to let them soak and soften.

3. Meanwhile, while your peas are cooking, cook your chopped onions in 3 Tbsp of your oil in your large stew pot until golden but not overdone. Remove 1/3 of them and place in your saute pan where you will cook the meat.

4. With the other 2/3 of your onion still in the stew pot, add the can of crushed tomatoes as well as the tomato past to the onions. stir well. add a tsp of turmeric to the sauce. if your tomato sauce is unsalted, add some salt. bring the sauce to boil while you move on to the next step- the meat.

5. For the meat: While your sauce is simmering, heat the saute pan you just put the 1/3 of onions along with the other 3 Tbsp of oil. Add the spices (cinnamon, salt, pepper, oregano, turmeric) and beef. After a minute or two, add the limes (not the water) and cook until the meat is almost thoroughly cooked.

6. Add the meat and split peas to the sauce and stir well. turn the heat down to low and let simmer covered for an hour to two hours. taste periodically to see if you want to add any more salt, pepper, etc... it can get fairly thick depending on a variety of factors. if it's too thick for your taste you can add some water. i sometimes add some of the lime water that the limes were soaking in for some more flavor. While your stew is cooking, make your rice- persians use basmati, i made brown rice, so whatever you like.


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