Growing up, I didn’t really have a lot of experiences with grandparents. Both of my parents lost their fathers in childhood, and my father’s mother died soon after I was born. My sole living grandparent was my mother’s mother, and she lived in Iran. What I do remember are the two times in my life she spent a bit of time in the States — once when I was a toddler and again when I was in middle school. While I didn’t really get to know my grandmother very well, I feel lucky for having even those few short months. Memories of grandparents are one of the universal human experiences, I think, and if I did not even the few that I have I am sure I would feel the loss keenly.
One of the memories many people have of their grandparents, usually grandmothers, are of them in the kitchen. I have quite a few of these. I remember early mornings, at the crack of dawn, my grandmother would awaken and heat up a cup of milk in a copper pot on the stove. She would have this and some barbary bread for breakfast. I remember she made us kuku sibzameni, a sort of potato torta, for dinner whenever she came to visit. At the time I felt like we ate the same thing for dinner every night when she was with us, but today I feel nostalgic for the smells and flavors of this dinner.
This morning I was feeling particularly nostalgic, but it was breakfast time and I wasn’t in the mood to fire up the oven. So I experimented, and came up with a Kuku Sibzameni Breakfast Scramble. Enjoy it with some toasted barbary bread and a cup of hot tea or coffee, and spend a little time remembering your grandmother. I can think of no better breakfast (except maybe noon, panir, gerdu and sabzi).
Off to the Kitchen
The ingredients for this dish are simple and cheap. This is perhaps why my grandmother frequently made this dish. Having always been of humble means, she was the definition of cost-conscious.
Quite simply, the dish is made up of potatoes, onions, and carrots — ingredients everyone has on hand. When making kuku one would shred these ingredients. Since I was making a breakfast scramble, I diced them very finely. Now I’ll admit I didn’t really measure these ingredients. Being inspired by my grandmother, I cooked like my grandmother. However there are some proportions that make this combination particularly pleasant — 2 parts potato to one part onion and one part carrot. So, something like 2 medium potatoes, half a medium onion and one carrot would work just fine.
Next, put a little oil in a pan on high heat and add the vegetables, stirring as they cook.
Now for some spices. I’ve kept this simple…
a little coarse sea salt (about 1/4-1/2 tsp) and a pinch or two of ground cumin.
Mmmm. The cumin alone makes this smell lovely and taste even better. Just toss them on the vegetables in the pot and continue cooking everything until they are soft but still have just a little bit of bite to them
Now for the egg. Beat about 4 or 5 eggs (about 2 per person) really well and pour over the vegetables.
Now stir, stir, stir, scrambling the eggs with the vegetables until they are all very well incorporated and just cooked.
And there you have it. A simple, quick, easy, homey and delicious breakfast, inspired by my grandmother.