A borani is a cold yoghurt-based dish from Iran. But that is a bit of a boring piece of info, right? Well, apparently, it has been said that Poorandokht, the daughter of the Sassanian Persian King Khosrow Paravaiz, loved cold yoghurt-based dishes. When she was proclaimed Queen, the name Poorani was given to yoghurt-based dishes. Later on Poorani turned into Borani. I so do like to believe this story :) I love spinach and how it melds so well with yoghurt. This creamy appetiser is lovely with some lavash (flatbread from Iran) or some crisped-up-in-the-oven whole wheat pita bread. The combination of spinach, garlic, thick & creamy yoghurt, walnuts and mint, begs for a Pinot Gris from Alsace. Promise. —shayma
Test Kitchen Notes
Don’t let a little blanching stop you from making this wonderful dip. While it’s true that blanching spinach is a pain in the neck, once the water comes to a boil, the whole process is over in a minute, and then you’re well on your way to bliss. Shayma smartly heats the blanched and chopped spinach in a little garlic-scented oil and then adds more fresh garlic to the creamy, tangy dip. Our tips: Don’t worry about squeezing the spinach in step 4, unless it looks particularly soppy. Do use whole milk Greek yogurt -– the low-fat stuff will be watery and joyless. Use a wide shallow dish so you have room to spread out the dip, making a broad landing pad for the oil, mint and walnuts. And reach for your best olive oil for sprinkling over top. – A&M —The Editors
packets baby (or regular) spinach, (6 oz packets)
clove garlic, minced and divided into two separate batches.
tbsp olive oil (not your best, but the type you use for sautéing)
small tubs very thick, drained yoghurt- I use Greek Yoghurt, 'Total Tage', (they come in a 5.3 oz tub).
dried mint for garnish (please do use dried vs. fresh mint, therein lies the beauty of this dish- the use of a woodsy, earthy dried herb)
handful crushed walnuts
your best olive oil
In This Recipe
Blanch your baby spinach.
Drain well, make sure to get all the liquid out. Chop fine.
Sauté 1/2 clove of garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil and add the baby spinach. Add a pinch of salt. Stir for a few minutes.
Remove from stove, allow to cool, then squeeze out any excess liquid.
In a bowl, add yoghurt, 1/2 clove of minced garlic, baby spinach and stir gently. Add salt to taste.
Transfer to the bowl you are serving it in (I use a shallow, round bowl) and sprinkle with dried mint, crushed walnuts and a lazy trail of olive oil.
Serve with lavash or whole wheat pita. And don't forget the Pinot Gris :)
Shayma Saadat is a cookery teacher, food writer, stylist and photographer who focuses on the food of her heritage - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, which she refers to as Silk Route cuisine. Shayma lives in Toronto with her husband and son. You can follow her culinary journey on Instagram @SpiceSpoon.