This is another gem in the Persian yogurt series. Yogurt plays such a significant role in the cuisine, either with flatbreads or to accompany a flavorful layered rice or well-seasoned stew.
Mention the word Laboo – beets in Farsi – to Iranians, and you will observe smiles widen and twinkles appear in eyes!
Laboo is one of the original street foods in Iran. All through the cities, particularly in fall and winter, you will notice wooden carts (Gari) producing magnificent white clouds of steam and an intoxicating aroma of cooked beets. The sight is paired with the vendors’ announcements advertising their merchandise: “Laboo….Laboo…Laboo daagh (hot beets).”
The vendors present the cooked beets stacked high, secured and held in place by piercing them with skewers. Upon ordering, the vendor will cut up as many pieces you desire, toss them in a cooked beet syrup, and serve them wrapped in newspaper.
Eating hot steamy Laboo while trying to not burn your mouth is another Persian national sport!
- 2 medium beets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4-5 cups water
- 32 ounces whole fat yogurt
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 4 sprigs fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds, optional
- In a large sauce pan, cook the beets with salt and water for 60-90 minutes on medium heat, covered. Once cooked, remove from the heat and set aside.
- Once cooled, peel the beets and dice them into small 1/2 inch pieces. Alternatively, you can grate the beets.
- Toss the beets with red wine vinegar and set aside.
- Place the yogurt in a serving bowl and gently blend the beets into the yogurt. I prefer my yogurt to remain mostly white with bright red beet pieces, so I am careful not to over mix.
- Garnish the yogurt with mint leaves and nigella seeds.
- Serve with Persian flat breads.