Under the Shadow is the story of Shideh (Narges Rashidi, brilliant) and her daughter Dorsa who become haunted by a djinn. It’s currently on Netflix, I enjoyed it a lot and suggest checking it out!
As a 2016 mother-child horror movie, it’s comparable to The Babadook, but whereas Amelia in the Babadook is haunted by her internal grief, the djinn that haunts the collected, ambitious, and modern Shideh seems to compound the ways she’s already being suffocated in her everyday life – ways there are no shortage of in 1980s Iran. Her dreams of becoming a doctor have been crushed, she and her neighbors live almost casually with the daily threat of missiles, and the morality police are more concerned with how she’s scandalously uncovered when she bolts outside in fear than by her and her child’s safety.
Add to that the folkloric element of the tricky and unnerving djinn, who seems to target Shideh’s deepest insecurities. I cried hot tears as it takes the form of her husband telling her what a horrible mother she is, and almost applauded its pettiness as it destroys the only thing that seems to relieve her frustration: her beloved Jane Fonda workout video. So 80s. So culturally forbidden.
Shideh doesn’t seem like a character that cares much about cooking, but at one point in the film, she’s seen in the kitchen chopping what looks like zucchini and potato, and then sweeps it into a pot. I took this as opportunity to try kuku kadoo, sort of an Iranian frittata which uses those ingredients. It’s a portable dish that works at all temps, so it’s good to take either to the apartment basement during an attack or as a road snack while on the run from supernatural forces.
Adapted from the defunct Lucky Peach
- olive oil
- 12 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 pound zucchini, grated and squeezed of moisture
- 3/4 pounds potatoes, parboiled, cooled, and grated
- 1 bunch green onions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- 1 handful parsley, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- black pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400°. Line a baking pan with parchment and grease with olive oil.
With a spatula, combine eggs, zucchini, potatoes, green onions, yogurt, flour, baking powder, slat, parsley, garlic, tumeric, and black pepper. Spread into the baking dish an dback for 35 minutes, until top is golden. Check that it’s cooked through by inserting a knife into the center, should come out clean.
Cool, remove from dish and slice into squares to serve.