Potato & Walnut Kookoo with Candied Turnips

March 5, 2013

Author Notes: Kookoo (also spelled KuKu) refers to a genre of egg-based Persian food. Think: love child of a quiche and a soufflé. Kookoo also bears a semblance of resemblance to a frittata, fritter, omelette or even a pancake. Let’s cut to the chase and call kookoo the Zelig of egg-based dishes.

There are many different types of kookoo - each region of Iran in particular has its own specialty - and it is one of those dishes that is whipped out when guests arrive unexpectedly and you have to present them with something delicious with whatever meagre ingredients you might have at hand.

The potato kookoo's recipe is how my mother make hers, which I revised just a little by modifying the measurements ever so slightly. I also added walnuts because I like to have a bit of crunchy texture to contrast with the overall fluffy density of the standard-issue potato kookoo.

In Iran, kookoo - typically a lunch fare - may be served in a number of ways. Either with a platter of fresh herbs and bread and feta cheese; or with bread and yogurt; or, with torshi (pickles.) Some types of kookoo, such as the potato kookoo, can also be paired with something sweet. Thus the candied turnips: they have a very mellow yet distinctly sweet taste that brightens up the comforting but one-note taste of the potato kookoo and the soft yet chewy texture of the candied turnips is wonderful with the fluffy kookoo. Add some bread and you have a humble yet veritable feast.

I calculate that the cost of all ingredients, including the turnips and honey, but excluding saffron to be below the $7 mark. Saffron may sound extravagant for what is billed as a "cheap feast" but the recipe literally calls for the tiniest amount of it (like the tip of a teaspoon) so that the amount of saffron actually used in the recipe does not cost very much at all.
Fig and Quince

Serves: 2

Ingredients

Potato & Walnut Kookoo

  • 2 medium-sized potatos
  • 3 eggs (allowed to reach room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (chopped into small bits)
  • pinches saffron (dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • salt & pepper to taste, and olive oil

Candied Turnips

  • 2 medium-sized turnips
  • 3-4 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup hot water
In This Recipe

Directions

Potato & Walnut Kookoo

  1. Wash but do not peel potatoes. Cook in boiling water till very soft. Allow to cool, then peel and grate potatoes into a bowl. (Do not mash the potatoes). Add ground walnuts.
  2. Crack eggs in a separate bowl, season with salt and pepper, and add the baking powder and dissolved saffron. Stir with a fork just a couple of times to mix it a little bit. n a separate bowl crack eggs, add salt and pepper and dissolved saffron. stir with a fork just a couple of times to mix a bit. Don't whip.
  3. Pour egg mixture over the potato and walnut mixture. Using a fork, stir gently to mix. Continue till ingredients seem to have mixed well.
  4. In a lidded frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil till sizzling hot. Test when a droplet of batter puffs up if dropped into the pan, then pour entire batter into the pan. Using a spatula, press to evenly spread the batter across the pan. Lower heat to medium and with the lid ajar, cook cook for 10-12 minutes or until the bottom of the batter has cooked and congealed and is golden and crisp but not burnt.
  5. Using the edge of a spatula, cut batter into 4 wedges and flip each wedge over. Cover again with lid ajar and cook for another 10-12 minutes till the other side is nicely cooked and crisped as well.
  6. Serve with candied turnips (or yogurt, or feta cheese and fresh herbs) and bread. Best served hot, but can always re-heat as well. It is pretty palatable at room temperature as well. (Potato kookoo is rather perishable and can be refrigerated for only up to two days, max.)

Candied Turnips

  1. Peel turnips and dice into 1/2 -1" cubes. (That is one way. My preferred method is to wash but not peel turnips, cut off the lid, and dig out hazelnut-sized scoops out of the turnip. I used my metal measuring spoon to scoop the pieces. You can use a melon-baller type of tool..)
  2. In a small frying pan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Add turnips and saute for a minute or so till each piece gets a bit of color, but do not brown them. (Instead of stirring with a spoon, shake the pan to move turnips around as you saute them.)
  3. Add 1 cup of hot water to the pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat a bit and gently boil for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the honey in, and simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes or longer - until the syrup has thickened and is mostly absorbed the turnips.

More Great Recipes:
Egg|Honey|Potato|Saffron|Turnip|Vegetable|Walnut|One-Pot Wonders|5 Ingredients or Fewer|Make Ahead|Spring|Winter

Reviews (9) Questions (0)

9 Reviews

linzarella March 17, 2013
Just made the candied turnips from this recipe, and wow, they are amazing.
 
Author Comment
Fig A. March 17, 2013
Hi! Thank you for letting me know! Turnips were an acquired taste for me (an understatement!) but now a winter staple. The candied version was the happy happenstance result of making a honeypot turnip for medicinal purposes and not wanting left-overs to go to waste. I love the texture and the flavor is weird, but in an awesome let-me-eat-some-more way. I'm so happy to hear that you made the turnips and you liked them!
 
LE B. March 15, 2013
Ha! Congrats Fig!I am pyched for you.btw, on my Recipes pg., check out my intro to my Seven Jewel Coffee Blondies!
 
LE B. March 6, 2013
fig, now i've looked at your recipe page. The more I see of Persian food, the more I am convinced it is some of the world's healthiest. just lovely. We have a few Persian restaurants here in Boston; one, Lala Rokh, is very good. I do urge you to also enter the kookoo sabzi in this contest. It is very impressive.
 
Author Comment
Fig A. March 6, 2013
I'm partial to Persian Food, so I concur heartily with your verdict! Thank you for checking the recipe and with your encouragement, I think I will enter kookoo sabzi in the context. Do let me know if you try it. Like yourself, I'd welcome a candid crit.
 
LE B. March 6, 2013
i forgot to ask, when would you typically eat this at home- breakfast?snack? what would typically accompany it (bread, rice, yoghurt...?) Kudos and thx!
 
Author Comment
Fig A. March 6, 2013
Typically this is a daytime fare - like for lunch or a picnic. But it can also show up as an appetizer at a dinner party.
 
LE B. March 5, 2013
This is a fascinating and so unUsual recipe! I love to see recipes like these on 52.Is this typically served with other than the candied turnips?(sorry but i just can't stand turnips, sugar or no.) Yoghurt? chopped parsley? barberries? herbs or spices?thx again!
 
Author Comment
Fig A. March 6, 2013
Yogurt and bread and a plate of "sabzi khordan" (a platter of fresh herbs plus radishes) is a very traditional accompaniment. Or, with bread and something tangy/sour like "torshi", or pickles. Can't go wrong either way.