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The Hampstead Kitchen Recipes: Booraniyeh Esfenaj

by in Lifestyle on 25th October, 2019

Welcome to our new series with Saima Khan at The Hampstead Kitchen. Saima has cooked for the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and The Obamas. Her signature cuisines include Mediterranean (mainly Spanish, Italian & Greek), Scandinavian, Nordic dishes, to plates from the Middle East and Persia. Saima will be joining us on Amaliah over the next few months with recipe ideas for dinner parties, busy weeks and lazy days.

Booraniyeh Esfenaj aka The Obama Dip – Caramelised Onions & Spinach swirled in thick yogurt

This is such a simple dip, but so versatile. It’s got its nicknamed when we served this at The White House for the former president and his wife. We were called by their chef for the recipe, and I am told this is made in there home at least once a week.

We have cooked this for so many clients and add this dip to our Mediterranean menu as its goes really well with most dishes. Its a hit with everyone. Great as a mezze dip, or an accompaniment with chicken, lamb, fish and lamb. I also add a dollop to a warm ratatouille soup too.

Booraniyeh is usually made with yogurt mixed with a single cooked vegetable, be it spinach beetroot, courgette or Aubergine. This recipe is for the spinach version, and keeps quite well in air tight container for 3 days.

Sometime it the most simplest dishes that make the greatest impact, we hope you enjoy making this for your guests too.


  • 1 small white onions
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 600g of fresh spinach
  • 500g greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin – freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Half a bunch of fresh dill chopped coarsely
  • Dried rose petals & dill to garnish
  • Drizzle of virgin olive oil


  1. Steam the spinach for 2 minutes, leave to drain and cool
  2. Meanwhile sauté the onions in a frying pan, until translucent
  3. Add the minced garlic towards at the end of frying the onions to infuse just for 30 seconds or so
  4. Add the onions & garlic into the yogurt, add the salt, cumin and mix well
  5. Ensure all the water from the spinach is squeezed out and chop roughly.
  6. Add the spinach into the yogurt, add the chopped dill, mix well
  7. Put into a dish and add a tiny drizzle of olive oil
  8. Sprinkle rose petals or chopped dill

Serve with warm bread, preferably Lavaash bread, which you can get from most local Middle Eastern grocery stores in London.

The Hampstead Kitchen

The Hampstead Kitchen

Saima Khan is the founder of The Hampstead Kitchen, an experiential private dining concept in which she assumes the role of Executive Chef, curating unforgettable events serving delicious food to bring people together. Having travelled extensively around the world, Saima shares different tastes, textures, and colours at her events, which are all cascaded in the middle of a huge dining table upon big and small plates. It is her way of re-creating some of her fondest memories of people sitting around, eating and socialising. The Hampstead Kitchen has now evolved into a strong philanthropic entity that reflects Saima’s core beliefs of interfaith connectivity and global cultural outlook.