Persian Zucchini Stew is an elegant, flavorful, comforting and nutritious stew of pan seared chicken and roasted zucchini, cooked in a lemony tomato gravy seasoned with exotic spices.
KHORESHT KADOO AND PERSIAN STEWS
Khoresht Kadoo is a Persian Zucchini Stew. It is a classic recipe that ingeniously pairs roasted zucchini with seared chicken, just like many other amazing Persian recipes, such as this popular Zucchini Kuku (Persian Style Frittata).
In the recipe version below, I have made some minor tweaks, such as, adding cilantro, split chickpeas (“lapeh” in Persian) and chopped cayenne pepper. Although, it is entirely possible that there may indeed be regional variations of this stew, which use these ingredients that are very much integral to Persian cuisine. I picked the idea of adding some “lapeh” from other stews of this incredible cuisine.
Persian cuisine has a wide array of lip smacking stews, ranging from Ghormeh Sabzi (a tangy mouth watering herb stew), Fesenjan (a pomegranate walnut based stew), a variety of vegetable to even fruit based stews. I love making meat or chicken stews with lots of added vegetables: such as my Lamb stew with mushrooms and olives. They are so easy, tasty and when served with rice or bread, provide a complete meal.
HEALTH BENEFITS – PERSIAN ZUCCHINI STEW WITH CHICKEN
This Persian zucchini stew provides a good amount of protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, potassium and is low in carbohydrates. So it pairs well with a food that is rich in complex carbohydrates.
I have not skimped too much on the fat used in this recipe as it is required for the traditional preparation steps and taste. Although low fat recipes result in lower calories, fat in a meal provides for satiety, better absorption of fat soluble nutrients and moderates the quick rise of blood sugars from a meal. So it works well when it is served with plain rice or bread.
The split chickpeas (lapeh or chana dal) are a good source of protein and carbohydrates. And the protein quality is considered to be better than that of other pulses. These split chickpeas are a good source of B vitamins, beta carotene, some minerals and important plant sterols.
COOKING TIPS FOR ZUCCHINI STEW (KHORESHT KADOO)
Roasting of the vegetables and searing the chicken adds a lot of flavor to this Khoresht Kadoo. At the very minimum I would at least roast the vegetables.
The chana dal or lapeh (a kind of split chickpeas) used in this recipe are similar to split yellow peas but hold their shape better once cooked.
You may substitute the chicken with meat, fish, tofu or increase the amount of the split chickpeas.
Photography above: bijansviewfinder.com
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PERSIAN ZUCCHINI STEW (KHORESHT KADOO)
- 4 tablespoons chana dal (* split chickpeas - Bengal gram variety)
- 4 to 4 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb zucchini organic
- 1/2 lb eggplant organic
- 2 tomatoes * organic
- 2 lbs chicken (leg quarters or whole)
- 2 cups onion yellow, sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic large, grated
- 2 teaspoons advieh (Persian spice mix)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 ¼ cups crushed tomatoes *
- 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper (chopped, or jalapeno or serrano)
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron (ground and dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water)
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper ground
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lemon juice (or 1 tablespoon dry lemon powder, as per taste)
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (adjust per taste)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cilantro chopped
- 1/2 to 1 cup water
- Soak the chana dal in water.
- Preheat oven to 400 ºF.
- Scrub the surface of zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes using a vegetable brush. Rinse the vegetables and wipe dry. Cut the zucchini and eggplant into 3/4 inch slices. Quarter the tomatoes.
- Brush the vegetables lightly but evenly with about 2 ½ to 3 tablespoons olive oil.
- Place the vegetables on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or oiled aluminum foil.
- Bake until fork tender for about 25 minutes (time may vary with oven). Check at 20 minutes and adjust time accordingly. Set aside the roasted vegetables.
- Cut the chicken into 2 to 3 inch pieces. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet or Dutch oven at medium high setting. Sear the chicken pieces on both sides and set aside. Make sure the temperature is high enough to give a quick sear that browns the chicken surface, while the inside is still not cooked through.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil at medium setting in a cooking pot or Dutch oven. Add the sliced onion and sauté until golden brown.
- Then add grated garlic and sauté few minutes. Next add the advieh, turmeric, crushed tomatoes, chopped peppers, saffron water, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup water and stir it all together and let sizzle a little.
- Add the seared chicken pieces and stir. Drain the water from the soaked chana dal and add to the cooking pot.
- Raise the heat and when it starts to sizzle then lower the heat and allow it to simmer for about 30 minutes. Next add the roasted zucchini, eggplant and tomatoes and cook further for about 15 minutes until chicken is tender.
- Check in between and add some water as needed, making sure the stew consistency does not become too thin or runny, as the chicken and vegetables release some juices.
- Add the lemon juice, chopped cilantro and mix it in. Adjust the amount of salt, lemon juice and other seasoning as per taste. Allow to simmer at low heat setting for another 5 to 10 minutes.
- The stew consistency should be like thick tomato sauce and some of the oil would have separated out on the top. Garnish with some fresh cilantro if you prefer.
- The Persian Zucchini Stew (Khoresht Kadoo) can be served with rice, bread, pickles and yogurt.