This is spring in a bowl.
Sorry not sorry, this is the prettiest bowl in the entire world.
It makes me happy just looking at it / knowing I have more in the fridge at home.
This Borani Esfanaaj (spinach yogurt dip) is my second yogurt based dish this month. And I’m not mad about it. This was is decidedly thicker than Mast-o-Khiar, but you can use it in a lot of similar ways.
I’ve been eating this with:
The flavors are a little different here too.
You’ve got dried mint and walnuts, which I’m noticing are used a lot in Iranian cuisine. If you don’t like mint, I suggest just trying this and making up your mind because the fried mint oil is not the same flavor as fresh mint. It’s a little less mint-y than the fresh stuff.
You can tell I’m getting good at this food writing thing ya?
I’ve seen variations of this dish with a higher spinach-to-yogurt ratio. I even reduced the amount of yogurt from the original recipe. You could go even heavier on the spinach if you wanted to.
Spring onions are starting to pop up in my grocery store and I’ve been buying as many as I can. Garlic scapes would be an A+ choice in this dish if you can get your hands on them.
Walnuts? Yogurt? Garlic? Onions? Spinach?
Everything about this Borani Esfanaaj is fresh and healthy. I’ll just invite myself to continue eating it the rest of this week.
Adapted from Bon Appetit
Borani Esfanaaj (spinach yogurt dip)
Preheat your oven to 350F.
Take your spinach and start to wilt this in a big pan on the stove. You’ll start by adding a half cup of water and a few handfuls of spinach to a pan (this will seem like a lot but it wilts quickly). Cook this on medium heat and add the rest of the spinach as it starts to wilt.
Once wilted (6-8 minutes), you’ll add this to a strainer and run very cold water over the spinach. This stops the cooking process and keeps the color bright green.
You’ll squeeze as much water out as you can, chop the spinach, and add it to a big bowl.
On a cookie sheet, lay out the walnuts and toast in the oven for 6-8 minutes until fragrant. Remove, cool and finely chop.
Then, get 2 Tbsp of olive oil warm on the stove in a pan. You’ll chop your spring onion and saute this for about 5 minutes. You want this translucent but not brown/crispy. Add your sliced garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the onion and garlic to the spinach.
Add your yogurt, lemon juice, half your walnuts and salt/pepper to the spinach mixture. Mix to combine.
In the same pan you used for the onions, heat up your remaining 4 Tbsp of oil. Get this warm on the stove over medium heat. Add your dried mint and remove from heat. Swirl a few times to infuse the oil.
Spread out the yogurt sauce in a bowl or plate. Drizzle the mint oil and sprinkle the remaining walnut pieces over everything.