This Herb Frittata aka Kuku Sabzi is served at Nowruz (Persian New Year) and oozes colour, character and fresh flavours. As this recipe is the quickest and easiest you’ll ever come across, you won’t be reserving it for just once a year.
Eggs! Versatile, good for you, and inexpensive, they appear on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus with great frequency. But when boiled, scrambled, and fried start to get a bit boring, go for GREEN.
This wildly exotic twist on a frittata is stunning to look upon and a rare treat to eat. It’s gorgeous green comes from herbs and it is ideal for using up that flailing collection you have in your salad drawer.
What is Kuku Sabzi?
Kuku Sabzi represents an important calendar event, Persian New Year. It coincides with the Spring Equinox, which indicates all things new, making the deeply significant Iranian dish synonymous with new beginnings. So it makes sense that one of the key ingredients is eggs.
This frittata is an ideal celebration centre-piece; pleasingly circular in shape and decorated with fruit and nuts. It lends itself perfectly to being cut, like a cake, into slices and shared with close family and friends during the festival meal.
Ingredients and variations
Reflecting the colours of the Iranian flag itself, the red, white and green, come naturally from the key ingredients; barberries (red), herbs (green) and the yoghurt on the side (white). As patriotic as it is symbolic.
This herb frittata or omelette, is more greens than eggs. As long as your greens are leafy and fresh, they can go in. My ingredients of choice are; coriander (cilantro) for that flowery taste, green onions or chives for a blast of tangy onion, basil for that fragrant touch of flavour and dill for a hint of liquorice.
Some recipes include spinach. Just be aware it can make the dish more watery which dilutes the flavours. Flat leaf parsley is also very common and gives an intense Mediterranean zest.
The tiny red barberry fruit are similar in flavour to unsweetened dried cranberries. Sour and tart, they pack a zingy punch, but aren’t easy to get hold of. Try dried cranberries, or like me, go for pomegranate seeds.
They’re equally flavoursome and offer a sparkling jewelled aesthetic to the dish. However, if none are available, that’s OK too. Your Kuku Sabzi would still do Ancient Persia proud.
Recipe tips and notes
- Yes, it should be very green! The herbs outweigh the eggs in this riff on a typical frittata. Just think of all that extra goodness!
- Don’t feel bound by specific herbs. I’ve stuck close to the original ingredients, but you can play with the proportions. If you prefer it, or have a big bunch of flat leaf parsley already, use it. Don’t like dill? Substitute for fennel or thyme. What’s important is that they are fresh and green.
- If you’re planning a Persian style feast, double up the recipe. Just make sure you have a big pan!
- Because they’re not commonly used in Western cuisine, barberries can be tricky to track down locally. If you want to adhere to tradition, Amazon can ship them to you. However, pomegranate seeds or cranberries might be more accessible.
- The walnuts gives good crunch and add texture, but of course leave them out completely if you’re allergy-conscious.
Leftovers and storage
Although you can freeze a frittata, on re-heating, the texture will become rubbery. I don’t advise it!
If you have a slice or two left over, cover tightly with cling film and they’ll keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can reheat for a hot snack, or use them cold to make an enviable Iranian sandwich to take to work.
Favourite Egg Recipes to Try:
- Chorizo Breakfast Hash with Eggs and Feta
- Easy French Omelette with Bacon, Potatoes and Zucchini
- Eggs Benedict with Easy Hollandaise Sauce
- Truffled Egg Soldiers
Persian Herb Frittata (Kuku Sabzi)
- 20g/1/3 cup fresh coriander(cilantro) chopped
- 20g/1/3 cup fresh dill chopped
- 10g/1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
- 20g/1/3 cup green onions green parts only, sliced
- 25g/3 tbsp breadcrumbs
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 eggs
- 4 walnut haves toasted and chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2-3 tbsp pomegranate seeds to serve optional
- Pick the herbs off their stocks and chop all the herbs as well as green onions. To a large bowl add the eggs, chopped herbs and green onions, turmeric, cumin, salt, breadcrumbs and chopped walnuts, whisk to combine.
- Heat the oil on a medium non-stick pan and empty the contents of the mixing bowl in, spread evenly and level the top, cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. In the last 3 minutes cover with a lid or a plate to ensure the eggs are cooked all the way through.
- Cut into 4 wedges and serve immediately with plain yogurt, pomegranate seeds and flatbread. It could also be enjoyed at room temperature.