Kookoo Sabzi II – Persian Herb Kookoo (an encore presentation)


One of the earliest posts on Fig & Quince was a recipe for kookoo Sabzi, a very popular type of Persian kookoo that is enjoyed year round and is also among the traditional foods served during Noroozthe Persian New Year’s 2 weeks long celebration — because it is green and thus symbolizes growth, renewal and spring.

What exactly is a kookoo? As I wrote earlier, I like to imagine kookoo as the precocious love child of a quiche and a soufflé. The Zelig of egg dishes: because it bears a semblance of resemblance to a frittata, fritter, omelette or even a pancake!

But ultimately and in a nutshell, kookoo refers to a genre of Persian food made with whipped eggs which then are folded in with various ingredients. In Iranian cuisine, we have garlic kookoo, eggplant kookoo (one of my favorites – yum), green bean kookoo, potato kookoo (delicious with candied turnips), meat kookoo, cauliflower kookoo, and a bunch more besides. Variations abound! Kookoos can be served as an appetizer, a side dish, or a light meal. Since they travel well, most versions of kookoo are also quite popular as picnic fare.

A good kookoo sabzi is a thing of beauty: fluffy, fragrant, hearty yet light, filled with nutrition, and absolutely delicious! The contrasting play of the tangy berberries and crunchy earthy walnuts in a bite of fluffy herb-infused kookoo sabzi, when partaken with yogurt and some bread, is poised to delight even a persnickety palette. [Fun Fact: Kookoo sabzi was one of dishes served at the 2012 White House Passover dinner.]

Recently I had occasion to avail myself of the goodness of this lovely kookoo and it occurred to me to repeat the recipe for those of you who may have missed it earlier – because it’s just too good a recipe to miss tasting and having in your repertoire, and because as Doctor Seuss said: “If you never did eat kookoo you should. These kookoo things are fun and fun is good.”

Let’s not just sing Kookoo sabzi’s praise – let’s get cooking and make some!

  • 2 cups (washed, trimmed, dried, chopped) parsley
  • 1 cup (washed, trimmed, dried, chopped) cilantro (aka coriander leaves)
  • 1 cup (washed, trimmed, dried, chopped) finely chopped chives (or scallions)
  • 2 leaves of crispy lettuce chopped (optional: lightens up the batter’s color)
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint + 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (can substitute 1 teaspoon of dried fenugreek for mint/tarragon)
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder – allow it to soak in a bit of water so that it bubbles
  • 5 eggs – left to reach room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon (soaked for 5 minutes, rinsed, and dried) barberries plus extra for optional garnish
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped plus some extra for optional garnish
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

  1. In a skillet, sautee chopped herbs in 2 tablespoons of sizzling cooking oil of your choice for a few minutes (approximately 5 minutes) until the herb mixture reduces in bulk and takes on a soft and pliant texture. Let cool completely. (This step is called “taft dadan eh sabzi” in Farsi and the goal is to rid the herbs of any excess moisture to prevent a soggy kookoo and get a fluffy and thick one instead.)
  2. Crack eggs in a big bowl; add flour, salt and pepper; and beat lightly with a fork. Add chopped sauteed fresh herbs, dried mint & dried tarragon (or dried fenugreek), dried dill, chopped walnuts, barberries, baking powder, turmeric, and the sauteed herbs. Mix well.
  3. Heat at least 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a big skillet. Once the oil is sufficiently hot (i.e, a dollop of the mixture puffs up when dropped into the pot) pour the into skillet and lightly press the top with a spatula or spoon to evenly spread out the mixture. Cook covered (ideally with a glass lid so you can see the batter) for 10-12 minutes on medium low heat until the batter is cooked on its bottom side. Cut kookoo into 4 wedges (with the edge of a spatula) and flip each wedge over to cook the other side. (Add more oil at this point if necessary.) Continue to cook – uncovered this time – on medium heat for approximately 5-7 more minutes until the batter is evenly cooked throughout. [ Alternative method: Instead of frying the batter on the stove top, you can bake it in the oven. To do so: preheat the oven to 350 °F, pour the kookoo batter into an oiled heatproof dish, and bake uncovered for 20- 25 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the kookoo to loosen, cut into wedges or square pieces and invert onto a serving dish to serve.]
  4. For the garnish: heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil till hot in a small skille, then gently saute berberries and sugar (or skip sugar if you prefer a tangy accent as we do) for just (and no longer than) one minute. Sprinkle barberries over the kookoo when it’s ready to serve. You may also sautee some walnuts as well for the garnish if you wish.
  5. Once the Kuku is nicely cooked, place on a serving platter, garnish with sauteed barberries and walnuts, and serve.

Note re chopping herbs:

For best results and to prevent a soggy kookoo, allow herbs to dry completely after being washed and rinsed. Once herbs are absolutely dry, chop on a wooden board with a sharp knife.

kookoo sabzi is good either hot or cold, and makes for a tasty lunch or dinner, either as a light entree. or a side dish, or an appetizer. It is customary to serve kookoo sabzi with yogurt and bread and sabzi khordan (platter of fresh herbs.)

“Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.” Dr. Seuss

Make it, enjoy it, and noosheh jan, we say!

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Comments (50)

  • apuginthekitchen 11 years ago Reply

    Yes I love Kookoo sabzi, one of my all time favorites, so easy to make and so delicious. I love to eat either torshi or a simple cucumber tomato salad and warm pita or flatbread with my kookoo and a big glass of icy cold doogh!!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    In some ways, you are full on Persian! I mean, you drink doogh! 😉

    thebestdressup 11 years ago

    ciao! i just have to have kookoo. often, i make a very simple frittata with feta and dill, when not much else is in the fridge. kookoo will be a wonderful option…walnuts must make this so delicious. i am stocking on the ingredients. great post.

  • Chelsea 11 years ago Reply

    This sounds delicious and light and lovely, like a good spring supper! I do have a question, though. Since you are using so many gorgeous fresh herbs, why use dried mint? Why not fresh? Availability? The minimal amount? Just curious!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Good question! You totally could use fresh mint but my mom uses dried mint for convenience – as do many others – as it is a staple ingredient in a Persian pantry and will all the washing and chopping of fresh herbs that this recipe requires, it’s just a shortcut that won’t compromise taste or flavor.

  • az 11 years ago Reply

    I <3 Sabzi Kuku! It's my fave. I peek in at every post and love your blog. I don't comment much and haven't been blogging since I am back to work but wanted you to know how much I appreciate the little reminders of my heritage. 🙂

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Thank you so much for the wonderful pat on the back. I needed it! Also, agreed, kuku sabzi is the best. It’s amazing how nuanced and sophisticated the flavor and the texture of it is. Our people did know how to cook! zendeh bad Iran!

  • polianthus 11 years ago Reply

    oh I love this so much but making it myself has never really figured in the equation, I had it at persian friends home, made from scratch using fresh herbs chopped by hand, and really that fresh herb taste with the thick egg is so delicious that I havent had the heart to try at home. Also needs so much work until the herbs are ready. Shame no persian friends ex-us!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Hi, thank you for your comment and oh yes, all the chopping by hand is a bit of work. Keep your eyes peeled for some Persians! We are all over the place! 😉

  • Mary Frances 11 years ago Reply

    This looks absolutely wonderful! The color is amazing!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Sometimes it turns very dark green but I like this paler green color as well.

  • The Healthy Epicurean 11 years ago Reply

    This sounds wonderful – I love the ‘precocious love child’ description!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    hee hee!

  • Susan Edelman 11 years ago Reply

    Beautiful! Fun is good! I loved learning about this!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Thank you Susan. It’s a good recipe to have at one’s disposal for when the mood strikes.

  • Gather and Graze 11 years ago Reply

    What a quirky name for a dish – LOVE it! Always so curious and happy to learn about new dishes such as this one Azita. In fact I’m always in complete awe of the recipes you share, along with the culture and history behind them. Your Kookoo Sabzi looks delicious!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    You always say the nicest things Margot! Don’t stop! 😉 & agree kookoo (also spealled kuku) is a funny name – even in Farsi (because “ko” means where? so it kind of sounds like you’re saying: “where?” “where?”)

  • Oh sooooo yummy, Kukuu sabzi, never had it barberries though. Just yesterday I had Ash reshtee with Khask of course, such a delight.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    You did?? Lucky you! And with kashk, at that. Noosheh jaan! I usually make do with yogurt. Did you make it yourself?

  • I have never seen any dish like this. So flavorful and beautiful. Interesting that you can use tarragon in place of the fenugreek. Lovely photos and recipes – as always.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Thank you so much Shanna!

  • Ahila 11 years ago Reply

    Lovely! I had been recently trying to find the name and recipe for a dish I had once when lunching with an Iranian family many years ago. It was a delicious fluffy egg dish with spinach and nuts in it. I finally found the name, I guess.

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    This has got to be what you had Ahila – I can’t think of another dish that bears a closer proximate resemblance. So the question is: are you going to roll up your sleeves and make it? 😉

    Ahila 11 years ago

    Yes, I have already bookmarked it. 🙂 I will be making it during one of the days my sister visits as those at home have stopped eating eggs for quite some time.

  • The Novice Gardener 11 years ago Reply

    Mmm…I want kookoo sabzi! If it’s good enough for the White House, it would be amazing for my house! XOXO

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    I know, right? I found that kind of random and fun at the same time

  • Johnny Hepburn 11 years ago Reply

    This is probably going to be similar to the comment I may have left on your other post. There’s a recipe on my HD called something like herb eggeh…just checked the spelling. Anyway, I’ve been meaning to make that for years! Still haven’t. Must make more of an effort…

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    make the herb eggeh Johnny! the time is now!

  • lizzygoodthings 11 years ago Reply

    This sounds fresh and delicious, Azita. Happy new year to you!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    It’s one of those things that’s good in the brrrr cold of winter here and would also be lovely in your awesome warm summer. Maybe you’ll give it a try?

  • laurasmess 11 years ago Reply

    I just love the name ‘kookoo’, I know it’s traditional but it still makes me smile! As always, yours looks gorgeous. Love that deep green goodness, the golden exterior, the delicious spices. Yum. I need to make one of these as soon as possible, I have so many recipes on your site that I still want to try… it’s my mission for this year! xx

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Ha, just responded re the funny name of the dish to Margot and agree it’s a quirky name even in Farsi because “ko” means “where?” so it kind of sounds like you’re saying: “where?” “where?” when you say kookoo
    love whenever you visit Laura!

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 11 years ago Reply

    Yum, Yum, Yum! I say kuku, you say kookoo, tomato, tomato… :D))) is on my to do list. But would I be able to pull it like you? Your kookoo looks thick and fabulous! One more Yum! 😛

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    Are you kidding? In your masterful hands, dear Fae, I can only imagine the heights kookoo will soar. & now you’ve put that song into my head so let’s go and have “some tea for two” 😉 xo

  • tastytreats13 11 years ago Reply

    This sounds really very delicious! Yum!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    It’s kind of good, I must say!

  • gypsymoonsilverspoon 11 years ago Reply

    A precocious love child indeed. An omelette made of dreams. What a beautifully coloured dish, and intriguing combination of spices. I’m enticed to say the least

  • I enjoyed reading the background of the recipe and your memories of it! It looks like a very flavorful and well-executed dish. I can’t think of one of the ingredients that I don’t like. Plus, it looks to be vegetarian. Have a great day – Shanna

  • mycookinglifebypatty 11 years ago Reply

    Wow! Lately we are very into food you can pick up and eat without utensils. This looks great and so versatile.

  • […] Kookoo Sabzi II – Persian Herb Kookoo (an encore presentation) […]

  • Francesca 11 years ago Reply

    The Zelig of egg dishes! Great definition, Azita! A great concept in just a few words. Yes, I can see the resemblance to frittata but your dish is so much more. I love it and the combination of spices sounds divine! 🙂

  • I have never heard of kookoo before – the whipped eggswith the spinach, barberries and walnuts and spices sounds fantastic – and the fact that it is good hot or cold is a bonus!

    Fig & Quince 11 years ago Reply

    with bread and yogurt: it verily sings in your mouth! 🙂

  • Maninas 11 years ago Reply

    This looks fantastic!
    & happy new year to you, too 🙂

  • Amanda 10 years ago Reply

    Oh my goodness. I missed this post. Beautiful. I’m glad you redid it so I could see. What a great recipe. Love the fresh herbs. I think the Jerusalem cookbook has a similar recipe that I’d been eyeing. This is great. The turmeric probably gives it a really earthy flavor.

  • […] already sung the praise of kookoo on 3 separate former occasions (Kookoo sabzi, kookoo sibzamini, kookoo Sabzi II) and since we already spent a bit of time casting an admiring glance at the role quince has played […]

  • revolutionarypie 10 years ago Reply

    I also missed this but definitely want to try making it (emphasis on the word “try”) — it looks spectacular!

  • gas safety 10 years ago Reply

    I wish that people would realise how dangerous gas boilers can
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  • […] twice already posted the recipe for Kuku ‘ye Sabzi (a type of fresh herb Persian frittata) and here I go posting it thrice! Overkill perhaps? I hope […]

  • Sounds amazing! 🙂 It would be perfect for our #InheritanceRecipes as well.

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