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Persian Cuisine continued...

“Food is central to the lives of Iranians in different ways: medicinal, cultural, philosophical, and historical”

Ariana Bundy the author of “Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes.”

Sekanjebeen

SEKANJEBEEN
SWEET SHARP MINT AND VINEGAR SYRUP

This delicate clear thick syrup is pure sweetness and fresh mint. Sharhzad Dowlatshahi, who was married to my mother’s cousin, Behzad Mohit, gave me the recipe. She used to tie her beautiful Andie MacDowell-style hair up and set the table with bottles waiting to be filled, while the syrup bubbled away on the stove. Her whole house smelled heavenly for days.

 

You can dilute it like a cordial to drink, and she also served it in summer for dipping lettuce leaves in. The contrast between the cool lettuce hearts and the thick liquid is fabulous – it makes a good party dish. Her daughters and I would sit with a tray in front of us in the shaded garden, dipping and chatting away about food. They eventually became serious foodies, opening a series of popular trendy restaurants around northern Tehran serving Asian, French and Californian dishes.

 

675g (1lb 6oz) 3 cups caster sugar
600ml (1 pint) 22⁄3 cups
white wine vinegar or white grape vinegar about 50 fresh mint leaves

Boil the sugar with 2 litres (3½ pints) 8 cups of water in a saucepan. Let it bubble away for about 10 minutes over a medium heat, making sure to stir it once in a while.

Add the vinegar and boil for another 10–15 minutes until the liquid thickens and a syrup forms. Add the mint leaves and boil for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool before straining and bottling in sterilised bottles. Store in a cool dark place.

TIP: Try grating a small unpeeled cucumber in each glass before adding the syrup, water and ice cubes for a refreshing summer drink.

Recipes and images excerpted with permission from Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes (Simon & Schuster) by Ariana Bundy. Image copyright Lisa Linder.

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