Country we are exploring:  Iran

Continent:  Asia

Capital:  Tehran

Population:  77.5 million

Official language(s):  Farsi

Suggestion for fun image:  Chef Koochooloo riding on a magic carpet on top of Isfahan Mosques

Fun fact:  On the last Tuesday of each year, children in Iran celebrate the New Year by participating in the Festival of Fire (Chahar-Shanbeh Soori) and jumping over fire!

Bonfires are made in the streets and yards, representing good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. Iranians believe that by jumping over fire, they will have enlightenment, good health and happiness throughout the coming year.

English recipe name:  Persian Herbed ball (Sugar-free beef)

Name of dish in native country:  Khoofteh

Type of dish:  Main dish

Recommended season or holiday:  New Year’s

Serving Size:  6-8 people

Ingredient spotlights:


Can you guess what is the most popular herb in the world? It’s parsley!

Parsley is a related to celery and derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery”. Parsley can help prevent rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that can cause pain in your joints, typically in fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles.


French chefs often refer to it as the ‘King of Herbs,’ and along with chervil, chives, and parsley, it’s one-quarter of the combination known as fines herbes in classic French cooking.

It has a unique, slightly sweet flavor similar to anise or licorice, with nuances of pepper and eucalyptus that make it a stand-alone in the herb world.”

Like many spices and herbs, this aromatic herb is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants that contribute to good health and disease prevention – giving it a high rank on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale.

Read more about this herb here!





Big Chef Duties:

  1. Refrigerate balls for 1 hour.
  2. To make the broth, heat the oil in a pan or soup kettle, add the onions and turmeric, and stir-fry over moderate heat until light brown, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil.
  4. Moisten your hands with cold water.
  5. Cover the pan and cook over moderately low heat, without stirring, for 45 minutes.
  6. Add the green peas and cook for 10 minutes more.
  7. The broth will reduce somewhat, the balls swell considerably due to the expansion of the rice.

Little Chef Duties:

  1. Mix all the meatball ingredients together and roll into balls, 2-1/2 inches in diameter, firmly packed.
  2. Add the tomatoes and salt to broth mixture and stir-fry for 2 minutes more.
  3. Take each herbed ball and roll it firmly; add the balls to the broth very carefully, one at a time, so that they do not not fall apart

Learn while you wait:

  • A clear drinking glass
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  1. Fill the glass about 3/4 full of water .
  2. Add about 5 drops of food coloring – I like red for the lava look.
  3. Slowly pour the vegetable oil into the glass. See how the oil floats on top – cool huh? It gets better.
  4. Now the fun part: Sprinkle the salt on top of the oil.
  5. Watch blobs of lava move up and down in your glass!

First of all, the oil floats on top of the water because it is lighter than the water. Since the salt is heavier than oil, it sinks down into the water and takes some oil with it, but then the salt dissolves and back up goes the oil!

Presentation:  Serve warm– with the meatballs in the broth.

Teach the kids how to say Bon Appetit in the language of this recipe:  Nooshe jan

Did you know?  Girls in Iran don’t always enjoy the same opportunities as boys. For instance, girls are not allowed to play soccer.

Conversation Igniters:  How would you feel if you had to live in a country where girls and boys did not have the same opportunities?

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