Kuku (Persian: کوکو), also spelled as kookoo, is an egg-based and often vegetarian Iranian dish made of whipped eggs folded in various ingredients. It is similar to the Italian frittata, the French quiche, the Arabian eggah, or an open-faced omelette, but it typically has less egg than a frittata, and it cooks for a shorter amount of time, over a low heat, before turned over or grilled briefly to set the top layer. It is served either hot or cold as a starter, side dish or a main course, and is accompanied with bread and either yogurt or salad. In parts of northern Iran, kuku might be used as a midday meal, and might be served with either plain cooked rice (kate) or bread.
|Course||Side dish, main course, or midday course|
|Place of origin||Iran|
|Associated national cuisine||Iranian cuisine|
|Variations||Herb kuku, potato kuku, eggplant kuku, roe kuku|
Cookbooks from Iran's Safavid and Qajar periods mention kuku with coriander as one of its ingredients. Qajar documents introduce it as a side dish. Herb kuku (kuku sabzi), which is the most popular type, is served traditionally at Nowruz, the Iranian New Year's Day, and also at Easter, which is celebrated by the Iranian Armenians.
The traditional preparation of kuku involves frying the ingredients in oil over a low heat and is accomplished with steaming in a closed space. Baking is also a popular method nowadays. An extra thickness is given to the dish by adding yeast. The ultimate result is a cake-like omelette that is usually served with bread, but it might rather be accompanied with rice, particularly in the northern Iranian province of Gilan, where the consummation of rice in general was traditionally preferred over bread.
Kuku is made with various ingredients and in a variety of styles, including herb kuku (kuku sabzi), potato kuku (kuku sibzamini), eggplant kuku (kuku-ye bādenjān, vereqā), roe kuku (ašbal kuku), and yogurt kuku (kuku-ye māst).
Herb kuku, or kuku sabzi in Persian, is the most common type of kuku. It is made of eggs and herbs such as leeks and parsley. Garlic, which is especially popular in the northern regions of Iran, is also used as an ingredient.
Eggplant kuku, known as kuku-ye bādenjān in Persian and vereqā in Gilaki, is made of mashed eggplant and eggs, together with other ingredients such as parsley, walnuts, onions, and barberries.
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