Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Accept me like spinach,
Cook me sweet or sour.
Whatever I am cooked with,
I reached You, I mixed with You.
Borani Esfanaj
Iranian Spinach Appetizer
Total time: 3-½ hours
Preparation time: ½ hour
Chilling: 3+ hours
4 lbs. fresh or 40 oz. frozen spinach
3 cups finely chopped onions
8 oz. (2 sticks) sweet butter
4 cups (1 quart) yogurt
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon or dried mint
2 tsp., freshly ground pepper
4 tbsp. finely chopped garlic

Stem the spinach, rinse it well, coarsely chop and set aside; or thaw frozen spinach and chop it. In a large pan, sauté the onions in butter until translucent. Add the spinach and, stirring constantly, cook for about 5 minutes, until it is thoroughly wilted. Turn off the heat.

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, salt, pepper, garlic, and cinnamon or mint, and mix well. Add the spinach and onion mixture and blend thoroughly. Allow to rest for several hours to allow the flavors to blend before serving cold or at room temperature.