Fresh crisp beetroot leaves make a great addition to a salad or a Persian herb platter (sabzi khordan), but they tend not to be valued in Australia. They’re generally chopped off the beets and thrown out, so they’re usually not in great condition; but it’s surprising what a good soak in a sink of cold water can reveal. Rather than waste those wilted beetroot leaves and stems next time you have a bunch of beetroot, try this deliciously easy Persian dip, beetroot leaf boorani (thanks to chef Tom Hunt for the inspiration). For a great start to the meal, pour a glass of Latta Rattlesnake Contact Blanc with this dip, a delicious full-bodied blend of riesling, viognier, sauv blanc and gewürz from Owen Latta in the Victorian Pyrenees. Scroll down to the FAQ below to discover more about Persian cuisine.
Serves 4 as a starter
In Sydney, buy sangak from Sangak Bakery in Guildford. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag and freeze asap. To use, remove from bag and remove plastic wrap, wrap in aluminium foil and place in a 180°C oven for about 10 minutes, until warmed through, cut in half to serve. Refrigerate any leftover wrapped in the foil and toast the next day.
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Boorani (sometimes written burani or borani) are Persian vegetable dips made with a tangy yoghurt base, they’re ideal for stimulating appetite and cutting through rich stews and other dishes.
Spinach is commonly used to make boorani and there’s a delicious eggplant version. I love the earthy flavour of this beetroot boorani, whether it's made using the roots or the leaves and stems.
Boorani is great as a side dish or with bread as part of a mazeh (Persia’s mezze).
Iran’s most iconic bread, sangak is traditionally made on a bed of hot pebbles, giving it a distinctive look and chewy texture.