Naked Plate | Pomegranates & Roses: Kuku ashpal – Caviar Omelet

Little bit kuku anyone? Kuku sounds funny to my Finnish ears. Kuku means Persian omelet in Farsi language. I like seaweed caviar and omelets, instant love to Persian kuku recipe from my side. Doesn’t word Kuku sounds cute?

I discovered Ariana Bundy and her newly launched book of food memoires, Pomegranates and Roses last year at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. I fell in love to Persian cooking because of her book and her lovely personality. Dubai is packed with Persian cuisine offerings by Iranian restaurants in town, one tend to think Persian kitchen is all about kababs and rice. Nope, Ariana’s book makes you surprise you and your family with real Persian cooking.

I am not going to write a cookbook review here, I just want to share my love to Persian cooking. When I get any cookbook into my hands it has to have loads of pictures to get my attention and nice name does not harm either. Both criteria already fulfilled with Ariana’s book. I was flipping through Ariana’s Pomegranates and Roses Persian family recipes and bookmarked at once 5 recipes I can do anytime to enhance my own cooking and eating experience. My favorites are Booraniyeh Laboo – beetroot salad, Polo ba Taadig – rice with golden crust, Seer Torshi – pickled garlic, Kuku ashpal kutum – caviar omelet and Mast a Khiar – cold cucumber soup. Listen what are Arianas favorites. LINK to youtube video clip

Look at Ariana’s recipe Kuku Kutum Asphal, an omelet originally made from fish (kutum) roe. Isn’t that so easy and so kuku. I am not into fish roe, but can’t keep my hands off from seaweed caviar, so I tweaked the recipe slightly. Fish and seaweed roe is widely available in Dubai, my favorite brand is Abba Seafood, but I’ve seen some other brands on shelves in Dubai supermarkets.

Ariana’s recipe Omeletteh Ashpal:

3 spring onions or shallots or one small regular onion
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tbsp. butter
2 heaped tbsp of fish or seaweed roe for your liking
6 small organic eggs
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. garlic chives, chives, spring onion or dill finely chopped

Saute the onion in a frying pan with oil and butter until translucent and very soft.
Beat the eggs in a bowl and add turmeric and roe. Pour into the pan over the onion and cover the pan
and let omelette cook about 3 minutes on a very low heat. Flip over or just let it cook another
3 minutes flat with lid on. Sprinkle with the chopped herbs and enjoy with fresh bread for any meal.

For full story you just have to buy the book, it’s not just recipes it’s about family stories and
food and how they were made authentic way.

I have to mention that The Frying Pan in the pictures is my grandma Kerttu’s engagement gift over 70 years ago and it’s still going strong in my kitchen, 3rd generation heirloom pan. More about frying pan and other recipes with it waits for publishing.
I miss you Kerttu-mummo.


Naked Plate | Gizzi Erskine’s Crispy Tuna Rice hacked

Who does not need every now and then “skinny weeks and weekend feasts”? Gizzi Erskine totally saved my Taste of Dubai experience this year. I visited Taste of Dubai 2013 food festival on Saturday 16th. It was little bit disappointing to find out that some of the high end restaurants did same menu as last year. I then chose to try only new restaurants in ToD-festival. Except my loyal unconditional love for Ronda Locatelli, where I tasted “Burrata al cucchiaio zucca marinata e timo”, burrata cheese with marinated pumpkin and thyme. Simple and tasty, can be recreated at home.

Back to Gizzi, I sat in Kenwood cooking school and watched her teaching how to make sea bass cheviche. She was so energetic and I felt she is down to earth girl like myself. After the cooking session I had chance to meet her and get my new cooking pal, her cookbook, Skinny Weeks & Weekend Feasts signed.

When flipping the book through, I picked Crispy Tuna Rice recipe and complitely hacked it. Sorry Gizzi, but I had to, my next door supermarket does not stock all the Japanese ingredient, so I went and made my Nordic version of her Crispy Tuna Rice without tuna. I tuned quantities and ingredients to what I had easily on hand.

Crispy Salmon Rice recipe


100 gr of gravlax (cured salmon) (original recipe calls for sashimi fresh tuna loin)
2 tablespoon Abba Seaweed roe (original recipe calls for masago roe)
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp chilli puree (original recipe calls for Sriracha)
2 stalks of green onion, finely chopped
1-2 tbs normal mayonnaise with few drops of rice vinegar
(original recipe calls for Japanese Kewpie mayo)

for crispy rice
3/4 cup of sushi rice (makes ax. 14 small cakes)
1 1/2 cups of water
1/2 tsp salt (or sea salt)
1 tsp sugar (original recipe calls for golden caster sugar)
2 tsp rice vinegar
4 tbs butter for frying
1 green pepper thinly sliced (original recipe calls for jalopeno pepper)


Hand-chop the cured wild salmon, we call it gravlax, as finely as you can.
In mixing bowl, mix all gravlax ingredients together. Cover and let stand in fridge 1 hour to allow flavours to mix.

Cook the rice according the instruction on bag. Cook the sugar, rice vinegar and salt
until sugar dissolves and stir into cooked rice. Rice will dry more when it cools.

Pack large tablespoon of cooked cooled rice into small block shapes. Flatten each with
oiled hands into tight packed blocks. Heat the butter in frying pan and fry each block on all sides until crisp and golden brown.

Place dollop of gravlax sashimi mix on top of the crispy rice blocks and decorate with slice of
slightly hot green pepper and seaweed caviar.

Does Dolphin Safe” Tuna ring any bells? I don’t want to spoil your tuna cravings, but at least you should read about sustainable “Dolphin Safe” Tuna. You can make a good choice.
I am not fresh tuna eater, but consume every now and then canned tuna. Sustainable fishing principals apply to both options, honestly I never thought about dolphins when opening tuna tins. I was glad to notice that my favorite label from Sweden, Abba Seafood, is listed on sustainable distributor list….phew!
Check yours here: Dolphin safe tuna

Thank you Gizzi Erskine for the inspiration and fresh exciting skinny recipes. Welcome to Dubai again. We have many foodie events here and I bet you got loads of new fans from hot and fancy Dubai.

From Dubai with Love!


Read about Taste of Dubai Food Festival
MyCustardPie – Taste of Dubai 2013

Naked Plate | Smoked Caviar and Rye Crisp bread – Finnish näkkileipä

We only ate smoked caviar and crisp breads when I was at school. Seriously one of the best snacks we enjoyed was smoked cod roe paste Kallen Mätitahna (Finnish) aka Kalles Kaviar (Swedish) or Kalle’s Caviar (English). It’s famous product in Finland, but all the credit goes to our dear neighbor Sweden, where this equally loved and hated paste is from. I would say it is the traditional food and brand, since year 1939 already. There are tons of recipes how to make wonderful tapas or cocktail food easily with smoked roe paste, but Kalle’s Caviar is best when squeezed directly from tube over a snip of rye crisp bread. Warning Kalle’s Kaviar is addictive.


I so appreciate Alex and Peter for their dedication and interest to study how much is one tube, you must open the link and see how they did it, way to go Peter and Alex!  Click here to see images

So, for a 190g tube of caviar, expect 16 servings, or enough to cover one 18 slice pack of crisp breads if you are not so lavish.

In Dubai Abba Seafood’s most squeezed tube is available at Carrefour’s and Hyper Panda. Why don’t you taste it?

This love story is not yet finished, as said Kalle’s caviar requires rye crisp bread, that inspired me to make first time in my life Finnish näkkileipä. I must say this crisp bread is now my daily bread, absolutely healthy and tasty.



Rye crispbread recipe

makes ax. 20 crispbreads
169 kcal per 100 g
• 2 tsp of dry yeast (or 25 g fresh yeast)
• 1 cup of warm water
• ½ teaspoon of salt
• about 2 cups of rye flour
• about ½ cup of wheat flour
• about ½ cup of sunflower seeds
• 1 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds (optional)

Baking Instructions
Add dry yeast to warm water or crumble the fresh yeast in warm water.
Mix all dry ingredients and add water with yeast little by little.
Knead the dough few minutes. The dough will be sticky. Let the dough rise about an hour.
Roll out or press the dough into very thin. Use the flour if the dough is too sticky.
Poke holes with fork on flat bread and bake in 220 C degree oven for about 8-10 min.

Tip! The dough was easy to roll directly on silicone or teflon baking sheet and lift it over baking tray and bake. Thus crisp bread is harder than store bought. Let it dry or after breads are cooled, keep them in moderate hot oven for few more minutes to be really crisp.

I calculated nutritional value of rye crisp bread at It is really one of the kind website (only in Finnish) where user can download recipes of their own to see the final dose of the carbon footprint. Each recipe is also displayed in the nutritional value and the GDA recommendations for daily food ration. The service directs users to eat ethically and ecologically, and preparing food that is good for health and environment.

How much is one tube
Kalle’s kaviar at Wikipedia