Fresh Herb Kuku Recipe (2024)



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Cooking Notes

Leigh Ann Kingsbury

NYT food notes: the one social media tool where I actually enjoy reading the comments!


Fresh herb (sabzi) kuku is wonderful. You can get away with pretty much any mix of fresh herbs. A lot of Persian, and Indian, stores sell frozen bags of fresh herbs.

I had a great experience buying sabzi at a local market. After we packed the bag at the checkout, the counter was covered in a litter of green leaves. I apologised for making a mess.

The woman at the cash register looked at me very sternly. "It's not a mess. It's sabzi!"


I didn't want to buy rice flour to use just 1 T of it. Checking other kuku recipes, it seemed OK to use all-purpose unbleached white flour. Results were excellent.
Be sure not to chop the nuts too finely. The crunchy walnut pieces added an appealing texture. I toasted the walnuts first, and that enriched the flavor as well.
Cut in smaller squares, this dish would be a lovely hors d'oeuvre. Serve on matching squares of oven-toasted pita.


What a great story! When I chop herbs for Persian food, I seem to have little green bits all over my kitchen. Now, I will think, "It's not a mess. It's sabzi!" Thanks, that made me smile.

Melissa Clark

It would be too tart. Grape molasses is much sweeter and less acidic. But a sprinkle of sugar works well.


How about pomegranate molasses as a sub for the grape molasses?


I took another reviewer's suggestion that you can use just about any combination of herbs and raided my spring herb garden for oregano and chives, which I combined with some leftover store-bought cilantro. I was wary of the oregano-cilantro-chive combination, but it worked just fine. I will take advantage of this recipe again to make use whatever herb bounty my garden is producing. I used barberries, but I think dried cranberries would have been just as good for a fraction of the cost.

Priscilla Craig

The kuku had a wonderful taste. It was just perfect following the recipe exactly. I enjoyed the fragrance of the spices and the herbs while preparing them and then eating them. Lining the pan with parchment paper was a very good tip.

Julie R

I have made this in different incarnations for year - a great way to use all the greens I get from my CSA. It's always good even though I never measure anything. I have used beet greens, kale, chard, radish greens, etc., along with handfuls of herbs that can include mint. It can be made ahead and either warmed up or served cold for a picnic, and lasts well refrigerated. I am known as among some as Kuku Julie!


Only add 2 tbl of olive oil in the baking dish; there was lots of oil left over.


Light and incredibly flavorful dinner. We made sandwiches with pita and yogurt and had Bittman's Persian salad with it. Next time I will double the barberry topping, because I really enjoyed the contracting sweetness with the herby omelette.


I agree with the commenters who found it too salty. I would use 1/2 a tsp of salt next time. I cut some of the dill and added basil, replaced romaine with spinach, used 8 eggs and mixed a little EVOO into the mixture but nixed the 1/4 cup in the baking dish, wasn’t missed. I also baked in a square cast iron skillet, no parchment paper, and it came out great. I simmered the craisins in only one tbs of water and evoo with fig balsamic and hot honey. Served with labneh, delicious!


I used pomegranate instead of barberries- worked really well. This is a delicious recipe.

Gi Barton

The kuku that I produced with this recipe was delicious, but between the salt and baking powder, painfully salty. I thought I'd measured accurately but mine is the only such complaint posted here. Is the baking powder necessary? Won't the eggs rise on their own?

Renee Hoyos

Less salt, more walnuts and barberrys. Yum!


Can leftovers be frozen?


This was a winner! I skipped the barberries to make the recipe easier. It was delicious topped with Greek Yogurt and fresh cherry tomatoes for the pop of acid.

Bess Gallanis

Please forgive my manners, but it's only because I am so passionate about this recipe and others for Kukku: Fenugreek is not optional! Mail order from The Spice House in Evanston, IL. Yes, Kukku is labor intensive, but I am blessed with a husband who likes to chop the fresh herbs! Happy New Year!


I did an Instant Pot hack with this recipe, using Melissa Clark's frittata recipe from Dinner in an Instant as a guide. Note: you'll need a 7" porcelain soufflé dish for this. In brief, sauté the onions and garlic in olive oil in a pan. Mix all the other ingredients together in a big bowl and add the onion/garlic mixture after it has cooled. Follow Melissa's recipe from there. 15 minutes on high pressure with 5 minutes of natural release was good enough for me. Bilberry jam on top. Yum!


Very good, though I reduced the salt and it was still a bit salty. I didn’t quite have enough of the recipe’s herbs, so I added some mint and was very happy with that. The walnuts were great—definitely keep the pieces on the large side, and don’t stint on the amount. Btw, it makes more than six servings in my household, probably because of the amount of oil.


It looked like nowhere near enough egg when I put it in the pan, but turned out great! Used thai basil and assorted garden greens instead of parsley and lettuce, and pistachio instead of walnut. Should have sliced the greens smaller, but incredibly delicious anyway, even without barberry topping. Don't decrease the spices.


Oh, fun to read these pleasant posts. I’ve made kuku for 40 years. Never with these ingredients-walnuts, barberries, molasses! I’m looking forward to trying this new recipe.

Elise from Boulder

I made this using a home ground Persian Advieh blend, which is superb. It's a bit more complex than the spices listed. I added 1/4c barberries inside the Kuku as well as caramelized ones on the top. I caramelized in Grand Manier w/sugar and butter, which, was super yum. I used leeks instead of onions and spinach plus romaine. It is heavenly, though the chopping was a multi-day affair to prevent wrist fatigue. Well worth the effort. Topping with barberries and rose petals is a thing of beauty.


Delicious and easy, though a lot of herb chopping. Great thing to make at the height of the summer when the herb garden is exploding. Wouldn’t change a thing.

Anne Frisbie

Made twice. Once with rice flour/cornstarch, and once with potato starch. I thought the texture was better with the rice flour/cornstarch.


I worried that this would not be “authentic “, being baked instead of cooked on the stovetop. I was wrong; it was delicious, taking me back to memories of pre-revolution Iran, but with more complex flavors than my housekeeper’s cooking there. The mix of spices was particularly good and not too much. I used a slightly different mix of greens, for example spinach and kale instead of romaine, but basically followed the recipe. The candied cranberries were great too.


way too salty! besides that, the flavors are right. I didn't add the rice flour and it came out fine


This is a great kuku recipe. I loved the walnuts and the relatively large amount of barberries . Definitely added a tang.I felt like there was too much cinnamon and it overpowered the other spices. I had added about 1/2 of the recipe amount, and even then it was overpowering. Would perhaps only add 1/8 teaspoon next time.Getting the amount of fresh dill needed, here in Iowa in the winter, is not easy. Had to use mixture of fresh and dried.


Great way to salvage leftover herbs. Used a food processor for the chopping. Also opted for cast iron skillet without parchment paper, no issues. Wellspiced.


Absolutely delicious. I admit I was nervous of the amount of spices for only 6 eggs so did cut back a bit and cut back on the salt as well. It was fabulous. Came out perfectly and was so much more sophisticated and nuanced than the herby frittata I expected. I would make it the same way again which is to say exactly according to recipe but maybe not the full amount of spices. I’m sure with this being a traditional Persian dish some flexibility is permitted.

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Fresh Herb Kuku Recipe (2024)
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