This Persian herb frittata (kuku sabzi) is bright and fresh in both color and flavor. Traditionally for Nowruz, it's also great as an appetizer, for a picnic or brunch.
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When I shared the Persian walnut cookies not too long ago, I mentioned I was planning to share other foods eaten for Nowruz. So here we are!
Kuku sabzi, Persian herb fritatta, is one of the most common dishes eaten during the festival. It may look very green and heavy, but it's anything but. It's easy to make, packed full of flavorful fresh herbs and also the perfect fit for today's healthy green Sunday Supper theme.
Why is kuku sabzi part of Nowruz?
Nowruz is a celebration of spring, and as a result, there is always some green on the table. It's often called Persian New Year but a number of countries celebrate it across the region and it's now internationally recognized.
Herbs are common in Persian cooking anyway and all the more so in many dishes for this festival to ensure plenty of green (other examples are Persian herb rice with fish, sabzi polow mahi, and dolmeh barge mo).
Persian "kukus" come in various forms but kuku sabzi is certainly the most popular. Being packed with herbs, and made with eggs that represent fertility, it's a natural fit for the Nowruz table.
What makes the dish special
This Persian herb frittata is easy to make, and doesn't have that many ingredients. Unlike any other frittatas/omelettes I know, there is baking powder in there to help it be lighter, and it definitely helps.
The only ingredient that can be a bit hard to find is barberries, but you can get them in a good spice shop, as well as online. You can skip them, but they add a wonderful burst of color as well as a slight sour sharpness that goes so well.
It's a flavor contrast that you see in a lot of Persian cooking (pomegranate is common too), and works wonderfully. Walnuts are common in many versions of this as well, but I have skipped them here - feel free to add if you prefer.
Tips for making a Persian herb fritatta
There are a lot of herbs in this so it does take a bit of time to chop them. If you have a mezzeluna this is the perfect time to get it out, otherwise I suggest using a large knife and hold the knife over the top, as in the picture above, to pivot as you cut.
Other than that, you simply whisk the eggs with the baking powder and seasoning, add the herbs and barberries, if using, then pour into the warm pan. You can cook it without turning over and simply covering, but I think it is both quicker and more even to turn using a plate.
This Persian herb frittata is bright and fresh in both color and flavor. While it's traditionally for Nowruz, it would be a great addition to any appetizer table, picnic or brunch. So gather your herbs and eggs and make one soon!
Try these other Persian and Middle Easter recipes:
- Persian-style yogurt marinated fish with cacik
- Tabbouleh salad
- Hummus with lamb (hummus kawarma)
- Persian sweet rice (shirin polow)
- Plus get more ideas in the Persian recipes and Middle Eastern recipes archives.
Kuku sabzi - Persian herb frittata
- ½ cup scallions/spring onions 44g, chopped, green part included
- ½ cup dill 18g, finely chopped
- ½ cup cilantro 22g, finely chopped
- ½ cup parsley 22g, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried barberries (zereshk) (optional)
- 3 eggs
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt or a little less, to taste
- ½ tablespoon olive oil for cooking
- Note - volume/weight of herbs is the chopped leaves, with the stems the weight is at least double so bear that in mind when buying herbs. The chopping also takes a bit of time, reflected in the prep time. While you are chopping the herbs, soak the barberries in water, if using.
- Once all the herbs are chopped, whisk together the eggs, baking powder, salt and pepper until well mixed. Stir in the chopped herbs and drained barberries.
- Warm the oil in an 8in/20cm skillet/frying pan. It should be warm, but you want the heat to be low. Pour the egg-herb mixture and flatten the top. Cover the pan and cook for a few minutes until you can see it has cooked at the sides and is set most of the way through. Loosen from the pan and cover the pan with a plate. Invert the pan so the frittata goes onto the plate then slide it off the plate, with what was the top now on the bottom. Cook another couple minutes until cooked through. Remove from the heat, cut and serve.
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