Some of my fond memories of my epic trip to Iran include sprints over to my Aunt Fuzy’s house and spending a bunch of fun quality times there with a few of my favorite relatives.
Aunt Fuzy (isn’t that the cutest nickname?) is known for her refined elegance, wit and kind nature.
Khaleh Fuzy is also famous for her fabulous torshi — Persian pickles, that is!
Would you like the recipe and to see more pix? Sure you do!
Torshi (you may recall from earlier Torshi Persian pickle posts ) can be made with fruits and vegetables (raw and/or cooked) and fragrant herbs (fresh and/or dried) jazzed up with spices and preserved in vinegar and salt. Some types of torshi are ready to eat shortly after being prepared, while some require being aged (from as little as a few days to a pretty awesome type of garlic pickle ‘sir torshi‘ that’s supposed to age for exactly seven years) before they are prime for consumption.
A good torshi is a tangy, tasty, textured condiment that enhances the pleasure of the main dish. Iranians can’t get enough of torshi and Persian pickles belong to that category of classic accoutrements of a Persian meal – like yogurt and sabzi khordan — that one fondly expects to find when sitting down to a Persian meal, or alternatively, to be sad and sour to find a dinner table bereft of its presence.
Speaking of good torshi, Khaleh Fuzy makes many different kinds of excellent torshi, one better than the next, and each time, she makes a huge batch, as she’s in the habit of giving away numerous jars (sometimes big buckets) of it away to friends and family who count their blessing to be on the receiving list of this tasty bounty. When I was in Tehran last year I got to taste Khaleh Fuzzy’s torshi on a few delicious occasions. In particular, I greatly enjoyed kahelh Fuzy’s famous mixed-vegetable torshi (with the eggplant being the star ingredient) and the good news is this: I have its recipe for you, as directly narrated to me by my very own lovely khaleh.
I’ll get to the recipe in a jiffy but first, let me show you some behind the scenes pix:
[recipe title=”Khaleh Fuzy’s Famous & Fabulous Mixed Eggplant Torshi” servings=”many” difficulty=”lots of prep but easy”]
- seedless eggplants
- Jerusalem artichokes (sib zamini ye torshi)
- cauliflower (gol kalam گول کلم)
- white cabbage (kalam picheh کلم پیچه)
- jalapeno pepper (felfel sabz فلفل سبز) sweet or hot
- optional, that is if you can find it: tiny cucumbers, called cornichons or gherkins here
- taragon (tarkhoun ترخن)
- cilantro (geshniz گشنیز)
- parsley (jafari جعفری)
Use even amounts of the above.
Advieh (mixed spices)
- ground green cumin (zireh sabz زیره سبز))
- ground black cumin (zireh siyah زیره سیاه)
- ground coriander seeds (tokhm geshniz تخم گشنیز)
- nigella seeds (siyah dooneh سیاه دونه)
- golpar (ground golpar as well as golpar seeds)
Optional as may be impossible to find outside of Iran
- If you can find it (musir موسیر) which is a cross between shallots and garlic
- special advieh mix for torshi from Bazar ‘e Tajrish(optional and if at all possible!)
You will also need:
Note: Precise measurements not given as (per Khaleh Fuzzy) the proportions are flexible and a matter of personal taste. Do bear in mind that eggplants are the main attraction and ingredient, so if using a pound of eggplants, use just enough of the rest of the veggie ingredients to serve as an accentuating texture, color and flavor.
Start with the eggplant
Peel and slice (halgeh halgeh) eggplants then put in a big pot and add enough vinegar to cover. Also add a good bit of salt and turmeric. Bring this to a boil. Once boiling – continuing on medium to high heat – stir well until eggplant turns into a porridge texture. If there are some eggplant chunks remaining, that’s actually fine and good as it adds a nice bit of texture to the torshi. Remove from heat, cool and set aside till later.
Next, you prep plenty of fresh vegetables (sabzijat mofassal)
Cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, celery and Jersusalem artichokes (but not the Jalapeño peppers): these you (khord khord) chop into pieces. How small to chop? It’s up to you. Khaleh Fuzzy says she doesn’t like it either too big (doroosht) nor too fine. After chopping the veggies, you spread them on trays lined with paper towels and leave to dry completely. (Using a salad spinner beforehand may be a good idea. Khaleh Fuzzy herself uses the “chador shab” method, the closest translated approximation of which is spreading vegetables on a cheesecloth type of fabric overnight to insure the vegetables are bone dry.)
For our fragrant herbs we have: even amounts of tarragon, cilantro and parsley, a mixture that is called “sabzi ‘ye hafteh bijar”. Gently wash, trim, dry and chop these as well.
For the advieh (mixed spice): Khaleh Fuzzy likes to layer green and black cumin, coriander seeds, nigella seeds, golpar and moosir (aka Persian shallots) plus a special type of advieh sold in Tajrish bazar called “advieh ‘ye torshi” which obviously you will be hard pressed to find here but do look out for it if you ever get to the wonderful bazar of Tajrish in Tehran! (Note: Moosir or what is called Persian shallots and which is a hybrid of shallot and garlic is often sold dried, so you soak it overnight in cold water and then drain and dry moosir as much as possible before adding it to the torhsi.)
Khaleh Fuzzy says that the main spice (asl’e kari) in her torshi is golpar which she uses both the seed and ground powder. (If you’re unfamiliar with this very Persian spice, here’s the recent post on golpar.)
When your veggies and herbs and spices are all prepared and ready to go, it’s time to layer and assemble the torshi. In your container of choice (Kahleh Fuzzy uses a lidded bucket because she makes a huge amount, pick one that’s the best fit for the amount you’re preparing) commence by adding the eggplant porridge with plenty of salt and turmeric and pepper. Next add the chopped vegetables, then the fragrant herbs, and then the advieh (mixture of spices). Add enough vinegar to cover and plenty of salt and shake the container to make sure vinegar reaches the bottom of the jar and that the advieh is mixed well in the jar. Store in a cold place and every day (for 3 days) stir with a wooden spoon so that the fresh herbs that may have sunk to the bottom come back to the top. [Torshi needs plenty of salt (namak ‘e faravoon) because “vinegar eats the salt” Khaleh Fuzzy says.]
Khaleh Fuzy likes her torshi on the raw, crunchy side – so she likes to make the pickle and eat it by day 3. When stored longer than that, this torshi becomes softer and mealy in texture, which Khaleh Fuzzy doesn’t like at all but some people prefer. It’s a matter of choice.
Fill a couple of small serving bowls with the torshi and enjoy as a wonderful condiment with most types of Persian food, and it goes rather wonderfully with rich meaty dishes as well.
Re Jalapeno pepper: they can be done without but Khaleh Fuzy really likes them b/c they add heat and spice to torshi. Sometimes she uses hot jalapenos and sometimes she likes to use the sweet ones.
And thus concludes this sweet and definitely not sour post about my aunt’s famous mixed veggie Persian pickles.
Thank you lovely Khaleh Fuzy for your lovely recipe!
Gentle reader: make this; eat this with some yummy Persian food; and may it be:
noosh ‘e jaan!