Photos by 
Jessicarobyn Keyser
Jessicarobyn Keyser

Kookoo Sabzi Is Basically a Green Smoothie But Fried in Oil

by 
Orly Minazad
July 2, 2021

Any other grown ups finding themselves having to sneak greens in their meals like they’re 5 years old? No? Just me? 

It’s not so much “sneaking in” as it is finding ways to enjoy healthier meals when really just wanting to go to town on some pasta drenched in butter and parmesan cheese. Sometimes I'll have a fight with my kid to eat one carrot, meanwhile I'll be by the pantry devouring mini ice cream sandwiches as fast as I can before he discovers and shames me.

In my defense, my mom used to literally make us pita sandwiches smeared with butter and sprinkled with sugar so I didn't exactly grow up with the best habits, which is ironic because Persian food tends to be heavy on herbs, vegetables, and spices that have become all the rage in health food trends. (Pro tip: Go get a giant can of turmeric from a Persian or international grocery story. That tiny packet you’re getting as an impulse buy is not going to do you any favors and I’m not wholly convinced it’s real.)

Kookoo (or kuku) Sabzi is a fresh herb frittata (crustless quiche?) and is packed with herbs, onions, and eggs. It’s basically a green smoothie but fried in some oil. (Baby steps, you guys).

I know what you’re thinking. This looks easy enough to make. And sure, to most people, it is. But I’m not most people. I still look up instructions on how to boil corn on the cob. (You boil it and then you stop boiling it when it’s done, FYI.) 

I looked up some recipes online and consulted the Persian cookbooks I use to decorate our cabinet. But those versions were more complicated than what I wanted for an easy weeknight meal. (Why do they keep topping everything with pomegranates? I get it. It's pretty. But it's not practical). 

In the ultimate act of betrayal, I bought a pack of prepared greens in the frozen section at the Persian market where all the rejects go. 

It wasn’t good. Even I could tell.

No items found.

I sucked it up and consulted with both my mother and mother-in-law who have not measured anything for over 40 years and think “a bunch” of parsley and “a little bit” of salt are clear enough instructions. I took both their “recipes” and came up with an actual one I can refer to. The good thing about this recipe is that it’s really loosey goosey with exact ingredients. The main consensus is parsley and dill. After that, it’s whatever greens or herbs — spinach, lettuce, cilantro — are hanging out in your fridge.

Once you’re done, top it off with some full fat yogurt. Yes, full fat. The European whole milk yogurt is my preferred one because it's super creamy. Trader Joe’s brand is great and so is Strauss, but pretty much any will work. If you use low fat or — heaven forbid — non-fat yogurt I believe it is considered a hate crime, but you do you.

Kookoo Sabzi With Spinach For Dummies

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups chopped parsley (curly or Italian)

1/2 cup chopped dill

1 cup chopped Persian leek, or equal parts chopped leek and chopped scallions, or just chopped scallions

1/3 cup Fifth Season spinach or chopped Fenugreek

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp turmeric 

4 eggs 

1 -2 tbsps oil (I used avocado)

Note: Chop all herbs as small as you can but don’t place them in a food processor. They get really watery.

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Ingredients

1 1/2 cups chopped parsley (curly or Italian)

1/2 cup chopped dill

1 cup chopped Persian leek, or equal parts chopped leek and chopped scallions, or just chopped scallions

1/3 cup Fifth Season spinach or chopped Fenugreek

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp turmeric 

4 eggs 

1 -2 tbsps oil (I used avocado)

Note: Chop all herbs as small as you can but don’t place them in a food processor. They get really watery.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups chopped parsley (curly or Italian)

1/2 cup chopped dill

1 cup chopped Persian leek, or equal parts chopped leek and chopped scallions, or just chopped scallions

1/3 cup Fifth Season spinach or chopped Fenugreek

1 small onion, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp turmeric 

4 eggs 

1 -2 tbsps oil (I used avocado)

Note: Chop all herbs as small as you can but don’t place them in a food processor. They get really watery.

Directions

1. Heat up a pan with your oil of choice.

2. Add all herbs, onion and garlic to a medium bowl and mix well.

3. In a separate small bowl, add the flour, salt, pepper and turmeric, and give them a quick whisk.

4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the flour and spice mixture, then herb mixture, and mix well.

5. By now your pan should be nice and hot. Pour the batter into the pan. Cover and cook on low heat for 8-10 minutes. You can tell the first side is done if you see the edges are brown. 

6. Once that side is ready, flip it over. That’s the hardest part of this recipe, probably. One trick is to carefully slide the hot omelet onto a large plate, cover with the frying pan, and then slide your hand under the plate and flip it back into the hot pan. Good luck with whatever flipping method you choose! Return pan to heat.Give it another 5 minutes, but uncovered. 

7. To serve, cut it like you would a pizza in small triangles. Serve with plain yogurt or yogurt topped off with some dried mint.

About the Author

Orly Minazad

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