As part of our IYKYK: Holiday Tradition Edition series, we went over to D’Ara’s house to hear stories of holidays past, which are normally packed-to-the-brim with extended family and loved ones. Big gatherings call for big tables full of food, and we’re lucky enough to share her recipe for kuku sabzi, a herb-forward egg dish that is as refreshing as it is lively. While many traditions may ebb and flow with time, good food and rest are ever-present reminders of the season...
How do you celebrate the holidays?
The holidays are usually spent with my dad’s family, like ALL of my dad’s family. Aunts, uncles, first, second, and third cousins, all my grandpas siblings that are still with us, their children and grandchildren. It’s always been a time for all of us to gather and celebrate together. I think the older I get, the more I’m called on to create my own traditions and my own ways of interpreting what this time means to me. I’m finding that it doesn’t matter where I am as long as I’m with people I love, that I feel safe with, that I can laugh with, and there’s got to be good food!
What kinds of foods make you think of the holidays?
Honestly it’s just a big Armenian spread. Different kebabs and meats and rice dishes. Lots of herbs, veggies, and cheeses. It’s kind of endless really!
What is a holiday tradition that’s unique to you / your family?
Something that we’ve always done for the younger ones in our family is Secret Santa. An older family member will take on the task of dressing up as Santa Claus and we all get called up and take turns getting our gifts and taking pictures. Somehow — even though I’m the oldest cousin — I’ve managed to still be included in this tradition. I’m just waiting for the year they try to age me out!
Do you have a holiday-related guilty pleasure?
Honestly, if I’m not travelling for the holidays, I love being a big homebody. The days between Christmas and new years are always so calm. Los Angeles completely clears out and quiets down for the holidays — I love it. Just being in cozy sweats, eating comfort food, and watching movies all day.
D’Ara’s Kuku Sabzi
YOU NEED2 bunches parsley
2 bunches cilantro
1 bunch spring onions
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 tbsp. butter
TO DO1. Finely chop the herbs and spring onions together.
2. Add to a mixing bowl and incorporate the eggs and seasonings until everything is well combined.
3. Melt the butter in your Always Pan on medium-low heat. Add the herb-egg mixture and cover it with the lid. Cook until the bottom is lightly browned.
4. Replace the lid with a large plate (or ideally, your Flipping Platter), securing it tightly to the pan. Then, confidently flip the kuku sabzi upside down, releasing it from the pan to the plate so that you can transfer it back to the pan and brown the other side.
5. Once it’s fully cooked, remove it from the pan back onto the plate to serve.
6. Slice into triangles and enjoy with ikra and hummus or wrapped in toasted lavash or sangak with more fresh herbs.