Traveling to the northern part of Iran, specifically Gilan province, Mirza Ghasemi is one of the most popular dishes you hear about. It dates back to the Qajar period when Mohammad Ghasem Khan, the governor of Rasht (the capital of Gilan), made this food for the first time. So it was named after him, and gradually, went through across the country. This Iranian food is served as an appetizer or with Chelo (simple cooled rice).
It takes you a little time to prepare the ingredients and cook this Iranian appetizer. More importantly, it’s a healthy food mainly consisting of vegetables. What follows is the recipe for popular, time-saving, healthy Mirza Ghasemi.
Ingredients to cook Mirza Ghasemi:
- 6 medium eggplants, unpeeled
- 5 garlic cloves, grated or minced
- 2-3 medium tomatoes, grated or diced
- 2-3 eggs
- 1/3 cup Cooking oil
- 1 tsp. turmeric powder
- Salt and pepper powder
- Fresh parsley and mint leaves, for garnishing
Directions to prepare Mirza Ghasemi:
1. Wash the eggplants under cold water properly.
2. Grill the eggplants over hot coals, on stove, or in oven until the skin is charred and they get tender. Then let them cool down for a few minutes. Take the skin off and dice them. Set side.
3. In a pan, fry the prepared garlic with turmeric powder over medium heat until slightly golden. Then add the prepared eggplants and mix them.
- You can substitute oil with butter if you like the flavor.
4. Add the prepared tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and mix. Cover the pan and let the mixture simmer for about 15 minutes over medium heat. Stir a few times.
- If you like, remove the skin of tomatoes before dicing or grating. To make it easier, score an X at the bottom of each tomato and blanch them for about 1 minutes. This way, the peeling process can happen rather quickly and effortlessly.
- If you’re not satisfied with the color of your Mirza Ghasemi, add some tomato paste to your taste and continue heating for a few more minutes.
5. When the mixture is not watery anymore, it’s time for the eggs.
6. Crack the eggs into a bowl. Season them with salt and pepper, and whisk.
7. Add the prepared eggs to the pan. Stir until the eggs are cooked and well mixed with the eggplant and tomato. Then it’s ready to serve.
- You can crack the eggs directly on top, sprinkle some salt and pepper, and leave them whole. Or you can mix the egg whites with a knife gently and leave just the yolks intact. Anyway, in this case, cover the pan for a few more minutes to get the eggs cooked.
How to Serve This Iranian Apetizer:
Transfer the food into a bowl or onto a plate and use parsley and mint leaves to garnish. Then serve it with bread or rice. As an appetizer, it would be better to serve Mirza Ghasemi with bread. Sangak (an Iranian traditional bread) is the most preferred kind of bread to have with this Iranian appetizer.
Spoon a small amount of Mirza Ghasemi onto a piece of bread or the rice you have in your plate and enjoy your meal. Table vegetables, yogurt, green salad or Shirazi salad, and thinly sliced cucumbers are the common possible side dishes for this food. And as usual, yogurt is the most favored drink.
This traditional food is included in almost everyone’s list for tasting local foods while travelling to the north of Iran. It can be true about you, too, especially if you’re a vegetarian.