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Rice-Herb Dumplings in Yogurt-Spinach Sauce

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Persian food is light and healthy. This traditional dish comes from northern Iran and makes use of an endless variety of ingredients and herbs. It's a new taste sensation every time!

Persian food is light and healthy. This traditional dish comes from northern Iran and makes use of an endless variety of ingredients and herbs. It's a new taste sensation every time!

1 cup (250 ml) short-grain or sticky brown rice
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped fresh herbs such as dill, tarragon, thyme, basil and parsley
1 free-range egg, beaten
1 cup (250 ml) natural yogurt
2 1/4 cup (560 ml) water
1 tsp (5 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp (15 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups (500 ml) fresh baby spinach chiffonade (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) chives, chopped
Pinch sea salt

Bring rice to a boil in two cups (500 ml) of salted water, reduce heat and simmer until water is fully absorbed. Turn off heat and stir in fresh chopped herbs of your choice. Let cool. Press the rice firmly together with your hands and shape into two-inch (five cm) balls. Dip each dumpling into the beaten egg until fully covered. Steam the dumplings lightly or place in a pot of boiling water. For a crunchy texture, heat dumplings in the oven.

In the meantime, gently heat yogurt, one-quarter cup (60 ml) water, lemon juice and olive oil in a saucepan until just warm. (don't overheat the yogurt or it will separate.) Blanch chopped spinach separately in a small pot of boiling salted water for 30 seconds. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Add spinach and chives to the yogurt mixture. Season with a pinch of salt.
Place dumplings in a deep serving dish, pour sauce over top and serve.

Source: alive #225, July 2001

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