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Archive for the ‘Kurdish Cuisine’ Category

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Arum, called Kari in Kurdish is one food that may never have come into being.   You see the Arum plant is actually a poisonous plant.

This is a wild plant that grows during the winter months in shady and damp places. All parts of this plant are poisonous because of high levels of calcium oxalate crystals. If swallowed the calcium oxalate crystals penetrate and irritate cells which leads to the swelling and constriction of the throat, difficulty breathing and even death. This may not sound like an ideal plant to eat but that is exactly what some ethnic groups do, most notably the Bedouins, local Arabs and Kurds of the area.

One person recalls on their blog how they learned the art of gathering and cooking Kari:

When I first became interested in Kurdish cooking and their many kubba dumplings I naturally went to my grandmother because she was wise in the world of kubba. She told me of all the different kinds of kubba she used to make including one intriguing one called kubba kardi (made from the poisonous Arum plant).

“How do you make this kubba?”, I asked but she waved me away and said,
“Don’t mess with it, the leaves are poison! You have to learn from someone experienced.”
Being a city girl my grandmother didn’t have access to the plant. So I called my Aunt and she said,
“Keep away from it! You will poison yourself! Who ever heard of an American making kubba kardi?”

When I first started cooking it as an American cooking Kurdish food, I was unaware of the poisonous nature of this plant.  A couple times I remember tasting the cooking leaves and having my tongue tingle.  I quickly learned the art of cooking Kari. And it is one of my favorite Kurdish foods.  When the Aunties overseas ask me what I would like them to send me my reply is always “Send me some Kari please!” 🙂

Kari (Arum Stew)

Ingredients:

3-5 lbs Beef/Sheep bones with meat, cut up

2 Tbsp salt (1/2 Tbsp later added)

3 Cups Dried Arum

*8 cups cold water to soak Arum in

10 cups water

3 Tbsp Tahini

2 tsp Citric Acid

1 16oz can of Garbanzo Beans (drained)

Directions:

  1. Take 3 cups dried arum, soak in 8 cups cold water for 2-3 hours (If using fresh Arum, double the amount of Arum and cut up)

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  1. Add bones to pressure cooker…add 1 tbsp salt…rub into meat/bones. Drain Arum and add to pressure cooker. Add 1 tbsp salt and mix. Then add 3 Tbsp Tahini and 10 cups water.

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  1. Close pressure cooker and heat on high till steaming. Then reduce heat to medium. Cook for 1 hour (if meat not tender cook for some additional time)
  2. Add 2 tsp Citric Acid and ½ Tbsp salt (taste for salt/sour balance, if needed add a cup of water)
  3. Add Garbanzo beans and let simmer for 5-10mins more.

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Best served with plain rice, bread, or Arum Rice.

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