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Something great happened. I passed the test you have to take to study primary school education.

As an established fact, when it comes to decisions, I suck elusively. I am literally not able to take a decision (which will mould my life to some extent) without having a guilty conscience. Even if everything turns out great, I will still go through what it would have been like if I had done it the other way. Always always always.

For a long time, I was sure that language is my thing. And in fact, it still is. I wanted to study English until about a month ago. As I did under no circumstances want to go into interpreting or translating, I saw my only way out in teaching. And it was not a bad way out, I thought it was a good decision. I feel so deeply grateful for some teachers I had in school, because they shaped parts of me. They shaped who I am today. And I wanted to achieve this same thing. I wanted to give students hope, a reason to learn in life, and I wanted to be there, in case they did not have somebody who was there for them at home. This time they go through is not fun. You go through so many changes, start to investigate the world around you a bit more, start realising that what is going on in this world is not sound, and you want to change something. And you don’t know how. You need someone who understands you, who accepts you and gives you hope that at some point, things will change. And you want to feel that with some support of this someone, you will be a tiny part of this change.

I wanted to be this someone.

I wanted to be this someone because I thought that there were too little of those someones. Yes. There are too little someones. The little issue there was was that I felt like this someone could be more effective if it was surrounded by small children who are shapeable. Who still need to learn so much. Having a someone during those years might be more important and crucial than after. Might. I actually don’t know, because when I compare my primary and secondary school time, I suppose I learnt more during the latter. (See, the doubts come in again) But I still think that primary school teachers have such a great responsibility. And though I am not a huge fan of having big responsibilities, I am absolutely willing to shoulder responsibility for those cuties instead of some rowdy not-so-cuties (It’s not about the cuties, by the way, it’s about their age). I still think that secondary school teacher is one of the most important jobs on this planet, but I feel like there are people who are more appropriate for this job.

So friends, in three years I will hopefully stand in front of a mob of children who want to learn something about the world. I am so excited about that.

The test was partly on the ridiculous side, because you had to do things like this or hopping and dribbling to the beat of this, sing two songs in front of a commission consisting of two people, remember random faces with random names and their telephone numbers, hobbies, relationship statuses and birthdays, and after 45 minutes answer questions like “What hobbies does the person who was born on October 22nd have?” I failed so much at this one.

But well, I guess I am in no way entitled to complain about anything, because I passed the test.

As you might have heard or experienced, Persian food is not necessarily the best-looking food. I am talking about this dish. Let’s face it. It does not look nice. But to be honest, I couldn’t care less about it, because it just tastes so good. 

Fessenjoon (or fessenjan) is one of my absolute favourites. I just forget about it all the time as my mum is not a huge fan of it and as a consequence never cooks it and my (Austrian!!) grandma doesn’t cook it that often. But when she does, I’m in heaven.

The recipe is hers (apart from little amendments), so all tribute goes to my amazing grandmother.

Vegan and vegetarian Fessenjan

Serves 3-4

for the rice

  • 480 g basmati rice (*Reyhani)
  • salt
  • olive oil

for the khoresh

  • 150 g walnuts (2 cups), or more if you like
  • 2 onions
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • about 400 ml water (2 cups)
  • 150 g pomegranate molasses (7-8 tbsp)
  • 3 tbsp brown (muscovado) sugar
  • salt
  • fresh pomegranate seeds to serve

Wash the rice in a sieve until the water is clear. Put the rice in a bowl with cold water and about 3 tbsp of salt and let it stand for about 30 minutes (some people let the rice soak overnight, but I personally found that the rice breaks more easily and the best results are achieved when soaked for no longer than two hours)

Iranian Stew made out of Pomegranate and Walnuts

Roast the walnuts for about 5 minutes in a pan on middle heat until their skin starts to colour. Finely grind them in a food processor and set aside.

Ground walnuts for Fesenjan

Chop the onions and add to the food processor to form a paste.

In a pot, heat some olive oil and add the onions. Add turmeric and cinnamon and fry for about 5 minutes on middle heat. Add hot water, molasses and walnuts and cook for about 30 minutes. You might have to adjust the quantity of molasses to your taste and according to the consistency of it (mine was more on the pureey side, and not very sour, so I added some lemon juice at the end.) If neccessary, add sugar and season with salt and some lemon juice, if you feel like it’s lacking sourness. You might also want to add some more water. Set aside.

For the rice, bring water to a boil in a large pot (this is important, as the rice needs space to “grow”). When the water boils, add the rice and about 4 tablespoons of salt (the water must be saltier than the rice should be) and let it simmer for 6 minutes. Once the rice is ready drain in a colander and give a quick rinse with cold water to stop additional cooking. Heat some olive oil in the pot you boiled the rice in and add the rice. Cook for 30-40 minutes on low heat. Flip on a tray.

Sprinkle the khoresh with fresh pomegranate seeds (and walnuts if you want) and serve with rice and mast-o-khiar.


Vegan Khoreshte Fessenjoon