Saturday, August 13, 2011

Four Easy Summer Recipes (Vietnam, India, Russia and Persia)



        I discovered the following four recipes in June and thought I should post them here, despite the fact that none of them photograph particularly well.  The green-yellow of cabbage and the green of the beans, combined with the white-yellow of the eggs, all of which must taste delicious and also look inviting at the table (especially if served with garnishes of parsley or cilantro), simply do not present the most enticing online images.  That is why (and also because they are ingredients in the final recipe, the chilled Persian yogurt soup), I have crowned this post with the gorgeous sumac photo and footed it with rose petals.  

        No matter.  I think each of these vegetarian recipes seem perfect for this part of summer.

       The first two recipes come from a 1971 book called Cooking The Fast Wok Way by Jacqueline Heriteau, a French-born print and radio journalist who lives with her family in the U.S.  Cooking The Fast Wok Way is an early pan-Oriental survey and must have been one of the first American market volumes dedicated to the then-burgeoning popularity of the Chinese wok in contemporary Western kitchens. From today's point of view, some of Ms. Heriteau's introductory material seems like odd time-capsule stuff, but the recipes look uniformly easy and good and they are written in a positive, encouraging and collaborative spirit and style.

       The second two recipes are included in the June 2011 issue of Food and Wine magazine.  The green bean dish is found in an excellent article about summer "dacha cooking" in Russia.  I found the yogurt soup in a piece on Persian cooking, a subject and cuisine I'd like to explore further because I've never met a Persian dish I didn't like. I also find Persian food a little bit otherworldly, like a lot of my favorite Persian art, which was my field of concentration in art history graduate school a long time ago.


        Delicious when you can get young, tender cabbage.  Use only leafy portions, omit the hard core.

2 tbsp. oil
1 small green cabbage
1 tsp. oyster or fish sauce
4 eggs
Juice 1 lemon
1/8 tsp. red pepper (cayenne)

1.  Measure oil, shred cabbage, omitting core.  Place with all other ingredients close to the stove in the order listed.

2.  Set wok over medium-high heat for 30 seconds, swirl in the oil, count to 30, add cabbage shreds and stir-fry until bright green and wilting, about 5 minutes.  Stir in oyster sauce, mix well, then add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing in gently to combine with cabbage shreds.  When eggs are set, but before they become dry and hard, sprinkle with lemon juice, turn them over and sprinkle with pepper.  Serve at once and offer salt at the table. 

Serves 2 or 4, more if several dishes are offered.


Hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes and mushrooms in a creamy sauce based on yogurt.  Takes about 1 hour.  Nice Sunday supper with plain boiled rice.  

¼ cup oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 slices fresh ginger, minced, or 1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tbsp. minced parsley
1 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. curry powder
3 tomatoes, quartered
8 oz. plain yogurt
¼ lb. mushroom, chopped
6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled, halved
2 tbsp. plain lemon juice

1.  Place the ingredients by the stove in the order listed.

2.  Set wok over medium heat, stir in oil, count to 30, add onions and ginger, stir-fry until onions are golden, 3 to 4 minutes.  Lower heat.   Add parsley, turmeric, curry, and simmer uncovered 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add tomatoes, simmer 8 minutes.  Add yogurt and mushrooms, mix  well, simmer 15 minutes.  Add egg halves, simmer 3 minutes.  Just before you review the dish, add lemon juice and stir minute.  Serve with salt.  

Serves 4-6


Chef Dimitry Leonov's Georgian dish, called lobio (bean dish), is typically served cool, but with its buttery scrambled eggs and tender green beans, it's equally delicious hot. It's great as part of a family-style menu and also makes an unusually tasty, light main course.


1 pound green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup chopped cilantro, plus small sprigs for garnish
2 tbsp. chopped walnuts
1 garlic clove, minced.
1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 small red chile, seeded and minced
1/2 tsp. dill seeds  


In a large saucepain of boiling water, cook the green beans until tender, 6 minutes.  Drain and let cool.  Transfer to a bowl.  

In a large non-stick skillet, melt the butter in the oil.  Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring until softened, about 6 minutes.  Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper.  Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the eggs are scrambled, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs to the beans.   

Stir the chopped cilantro, walnuts, garlic, jalapeno, red chile and dill seeds.  Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro sprigs before serving.   

Make Ahead 

The green lobio can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours.



1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dried rose petals, crushed (optional)(see Note)
2 cups 2 percent plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups ice water
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup seedless cucumber, peeled and finely diced (1 cup)
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
1/4 cup finely chopped dill
1/4 cup finely chopped chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Ground sumac for garnish (optional)(see Note)  


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes.  Let cool, then finely chop.

Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the walnuts in a pie plate and toast for about 10 minutes. Let cool, then finely chop.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, cover the rose petals with cold water and let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain the petals and squeeze dry.  

In a large bowl, whisk the yogurt with the ice water.  Stir in the cucumber, mint, dill, chives, walnuts and rose petals and season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate until very cold, about 1 hour. Serve the soup in shallow bowls, sprinkled with sumac..  

Active Time: 30 minutes; Total Time: 1 hr. 30 minutes; Servings: 6


Find dried rose petals at specialty food stores or

Find sumac at specialty food stores or

Dried Rose Petals


  1. The beautiful sumac photo in your header could have been used to make sumac lemonade and the rose petals in the footer photo could have been used to flavor any number of desserts thus rounding our your meal.

  2. Thanks very much. Your note lifted my southeastern Pennsylvania blackout spirits considerably and I will be, as they say, on the case. I'm glad you enjoyed the sumac photo. It knocked me out also. Curtis