Collection of Deliciousness
Iranians are friendly, hospitable people who enjoy spending time together. In Iran, mealtime is seen as an opportunity for strengthening ties between family and kinsfolk. The cuisine of Iran is diverse, with each province featuring dishes, as well as culinary traditions and styles, distinct to their regions.
It includes a wide variety of foods ranging from Chelow Kabab (Barg, Kubideh, Jujeh, Shishlik, Soltani, Chenjeh), Khoresht (stew that is served with white Basmati or Iranian rice: Ghormeh Sabzi, Gheimeh, and others), Ash (a thick soup. examples: Ash -E- Reshteh, Ash-E Anar), Kuku (vegetable Omelets), Pollo (white rice alone or with the addition of meat and/or vegetables and herbs, including Lubia Pollo, Albalu Pollo, Sabzi Pollo, Zereshk Pollo, and others), and a diverse variety of salads, pastries, and drinks specific to different parts of Iran. The list of Persian recipes, appetizers, and desserts is extensive.
Herbs are frequently used along with fruits such as plums, pomegranates, quince, prunes, apricots, and raisins. The main Persian cuisines are combinations of rice with meat, chicken or fish, and some onion, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. To achieve a balanced taste, characteristic Persian flavorings such as saffron, dried limes, cinnamon, and parsley are mixed delicately and used in some special dishes.
The basic traditional Iranian breakfast (Sobhaneh in Persian Languages) consists of a variety of flatbreads (Nan-E Sangak, Nan-E Lavash, and others), butter, Tabrizi white cheese (Panir), Feta cheese, whipped heavy cream (Sarshīr, often sweetened), and a variety of fruit jams and spreads. Other popular traditional breakfasts (which require far more preparation) include Halim (wheat meal served plain or more commonly with shredded lamb or turkey – similar to Western oatmeal in some respects), Ash-E Mohshalah (thick soup). These latter breakfasts are typically regional specialties, and many cities and towns all across Iran feature their own distinct versions of these dishes.
both Ash-E Mohshalah and Halim are typically prepared the night before, to be served the next morning, and Halīm is usually only served at certain times of the year (Halim specialty restaurants are only open during those times), except in southern parts of Iran, where Halim is always present. Kaleh Pacheh is almost always only served from three in the morning until sometime after dawn, and specialty restaurants (serving only Kaleh Pacheh) are only open during those hours.
Lunch and Dinner
Traditional Persian cooking is done in stages, at times needing hours of preparation and attention. The outcome is a well-balanced mixture of herbs, meat, beans, dairy products, and vegetables. Major staples of Iranian food that are usually eaten with every meal include rice, various herbs (mint, basil, dill, parsley), cheese (feta or Persian Panir, derived from goat or sheep’s milk, and sometimes cow’s milk), a variety of flatbreads, and some type of meat (usually Poultry, Beef, Lamb, or Fish). Stew over rice is by far the most popular dish, and the constitutions vary by region.
Tea (Chai) is the drink of choice on nearly every occasion and is usually served with dried fruit, pastries, or sweets. you can usually find tea brewing throughout the day in most Iranian homes. Doogh, a yogurt drink, is also quite popular. One of the oldest recipes, which can trace its existence back to the time of the Persian empire, is Khoresht-E Fesenjan, consisting of duck or sometimes chicken in a rich pomegranate and-walnut sauce that yields a distinctive brown color, most often served with white rice.
Chelow kabab is a national dish of Iran. the meal is simple, consisting of steamed, saffron basmati, or Persian rice (Chelow) and Kabab, of which there are several distinct Persian varieties. This dish is served everywhere throughout Iran today but traditionally was most closely associated with the northern part of the country. it is served with the basic Iranian meal accompaniments, in addition to grilled tomatoes on the side of the rice, and butter on top of the rice. it is an old northern tradition (probably originating in Tehran) that a raw egg yolk should be placed on top of the rice as well, though this is strictly optional, and most restaurants will not serve the rice this way unless it is specifically requested. Somagh (powdered sumac) is also made available, and if desired, only a dash should be sprinkled upon the rice.
In the old bazaar tradition, the rice (which is covered with a tin lid) and accompaniments are served first, immediately followed by the Kababs, which are brought to the table by the waiter, who holds several skewers in his left hand, and a piece of flatbread (typically Nan-E Lavash) in his right. A skewer is placed directly on the rice and while holding the Kabab down on the rice with the bread, the skewer is quickly pulled out. with the two most common Kababs, Barg and Koobideh, two skewers are always served. in general, bazaar Kabab restaurants only serve these two varieties, though there are exceptions. the traditional beverage of choice to accompany Chelow kabab is Doogh, a Persian sour yogurt drink, flavored with salt and mint, and sometimes made with carbonated mineral water.
The ubiquitous Persian Kabab is often served with both plain rice and a special (yellow cake) rice called Tah-Chin. it is believed that rice (Berenj in the Persian Language) was brought to Iran from southeast Asia or the Indian subcontinent in ancient times. Varieties of rice in Iran include Champa, Rasmi, Anbarbu, Mowlayi, Sadri, Khanjari, Shekari, Doody, and others. Basmati rice from India is very similar to these Persian varieties and is also readily available in Iran. traditionally, rice was most prevalent as a major staple item in northern Iran, while in the rest of the country bread was the dominant staple.
Methods of cooking rice
There are four primary methods of cooking rice in Iran:
Chelo: rice that is carefully prepared through soaking and parboiling, at which point the water is drained and the rice is steamed. this method results in exceptionally fluffy rice with the grains separated, and not sticky, and also results in a golden rice crust at the bottom of the pot called Tah – Dig (literally “bottom of the pot”) or Gahz-Makh in Azeri.
Bread or potatoes can be fried at the bottom of the pot for a more substantial.
Tah-Dig. Pollo: rice that is cooked in the same way as Chelo, with the exception that after draining the rice, other ingredients are added in layers or sections of the rice, and then steamed together.
Kateh: rice that is cooked until the water is absorbed. this is also the traditional dish of Gilan (described in detail below).
Damī: cooked almost the same as Kateh, except that the heat is reduced just before boiling and a towel is placed between the lid and the pot to prevent steam from escaping. Dami literally means “simmered.
There are certain accompaniments (Mokhalafat) which are essential to every Iranian meal at lunch (Nahar) and dinner (Sham), regardless of the region. These include, first and foremost, a plate of fresh herbs, called Sabzi (basil, coriander, cilantro, fenugreek, tarragon, Persian watercress or Shahi), a variety of flatbreads, called Nan or noon (Sangak, Lavash, Barbari), cheese (called Panir, a Persian variant of feta), sliced and peeled cucumbers, sliced tomatoes and onions, yogurt, and lemon juice. Persian gherkins (Khiyarshur) and pickles (Torshi) are also considered essential in most regions.
Unfortunately, this tradition of consuming a daily dose of high-fat cheese will raise cardiovascular disease risk. It is prudent for Iranians to replace the cheeses with walnuts, a hearty healthy food commonly eaten in Iran. tea (Chai) is served at breakfast. At other times it is served based on the region, usually many times throughout the day. For example, in the province of Khorasan, it is served immediately before and after lunch and dinner. The traditional methods of tea preparation and drinking differ between regions and peoples.
There are four major Iranian flatbreads:
Nan-E Barbari: thick and oval-shaped, also known as Tabrizi bread or Nan-E Tabrizi, for its origins in and links to the city of Tabriz.
Nan-E Lavash: Thin, crispy and round or oval, and is also the oldest (known bread in the Middle East and Central Asia.)
Nan-E Sangak: triangle-shaped bread that is stone-baked.
Nan-E Taftoon: Thin, but thicker than Lavash, soft and round.
Other bread includes:
Nan-e Shirmal: Made like Barbari, except with milk instead of water, in addition to a bit of sugar, and is eaten during breakfast or with tea.
Nan-e Ghandi: sweet bread made like Taftoon, and is eaten during breakfast or with tea.
Nan-e Gisu: a sweet Armenian bread, and also is eaten in the morning or with tea later in the day.
Nan-e Dushabi: bread made with grape syrup.
Nan-e Tiri: like Lavash.
Nan-e Tokhme-Ru: bread with sweet-smelling seeds on them.
Nan-e Khoshke-Shirin: sweet brittle bread baked in gentle heat.
Nan-e Khoshk-e Tanur: brittle bread baked in gentle heat.
Nan-e Kopoli: any kind of thick bread.
Fruits and Vegetables
Iran has terrific agriculture, so many fruits, and vegetables, especially what a lot of countries consider “exotic” are easier to come by. A bowl full of fruit is common on most Persian tables and dishes of vegetables and herbs are standard sides to most meals. Although many families do tend to stare at the plate of fruit on the table while sipping on tea and sugar rather than actually consuming the fruits and vegetables. unfortunately, many Iranians, especially those in the U.S., consume large amounts of white rice and meats, often red meat. Iran is one of the top date producers in the world; some of the most succulent dates come from there. For generations, Iranians have been eating various fruits, vegetables, and herbs for their health benefits that have only recently been discovered in other parts of the world.
For example, onions and garlic, pomegranate, and Sabzijat (various green herbs) are regular ingredients in many Persian dishes. while the climate of the Middle East is conducive to the growing of fruits, the orchards and vineyards of Iran produce fruits of legendary flavor and size. These are not only enjoyed fresh and ripe as desserts but are also imaginatively combined with meats and form unusual accompaniments to main dishes. when fresh fruits are not available, a large variety of excellent dried fruits such as dates, figs, apricots, and peaches are used instead.
The list of fruits includes fresh dates and fresh figs.
Many citrus fruits, apricots, peaches, sweet and sour cherries, apples, plums, pears, pomegranates, and many varieties of grapes and melons. while the eggplant (aubergine) is “the potato of Iran”, Iranians are fond of fresh green salads dressed with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a little garlic. Vegetables such as pumpkin, spinach, green beans, broad beans, courgettes, varieties of squashes, and carrots are commonly used in rice and meat dishes. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and spring onions often accompany a meal. A small sweet variety of cucumber is popularly served as a fruit. The term “Dolmeh” is used to describe any vegetable or fruit stuffed with a rice or rice-and meat mixture: vine leaves, cabbage leaves, spinach, eggplant, sweet peppers, tomatoes, even apples, and quince.
To underline both the skill and imagination of Iranian cookery, a few examples of the main ingredients in Iranian specialties would include duck, pomegranates and walnuts; lamb, prunes and cinnamon; spinach, orange, and garlic; and chicken and sliced peaches sauteed ed in onions and butter, seasoned with cinnamon and lemon juice. The above are only a few examples of the combinations of meats and vegetables, or meats and fruits plus unusual seasonings that may go into “Chelo Khoresh”, the favorite Iranian dish that is served at least once daily. This dish of crusty baked rice is topped by one of the sauces listed or one of the dozens more limited only by price and availability of ingredients.
Drinks and Dessert
The traditional drink accompanying Iranian dishes is called Dugh. Dugh is a combination of yogurt, water (or soda), and dried mint. However, many domestic soda beverages such as Zam Zam Cola and its competition Parsi cola are widely consumed with meals. Both coca-cola and Pepsi cola have officially licensed bottling plants in Mashad, with their products not subject to U.S. sanctions against Iran, likely due to the licensing deals being worth less than economic investment limits under the sanctions. Other drinks are several types of specially prepared sherbets called Sharbat and Khak Sheer. one favorite is Ab – Havij, alternately called Havij Bastani, carrot juice made into an ice cream float and garnished with cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices. There are also drinks that aren’t served with meals.
These are Sheer Moz (banana milkshake), Ab Talebi (cantaloupe juice), and Ab Hendevaneh (watermelon juice). These drinks are commonly made in stands or kiosks in streets on summer days and on hiking trails. Ab Anar (pomegranate juice) is also popular and has recently (2007) become popular in North America, specifically for its supposed health benefits including its high anti-oxidant levels (much higher than green tea).
Although firm scientific evidence demonstrates that the touted health benefits of pomegranate are yet unproven and largely a marketing tactic by one u.S. company in particular. There are many dessert dishes, ranging from Bastani-ye Za’farani (Persian ice Cream with saffron, also called Bastani-e Akbar Mashti, later on, called Gol-o Bol Bol as well) to the Faludeh, a sort of frozen sorbet, made with thin starch noodles and rose water. Persian Ice cream is flavored with saffron, rosewater, and chunks of heavy cream. There are also many types of sweets. The sweets divide into two categories: “ Shirini tar” (lit. moist sweets) and “ Shirini Khoshk” (lit. dry sweets). the first category consists of French-inspired pastries with heavy whole milk whipped cream, glazed fruit toppings, tarts, custard-filled eclairs, and a variety of cakes.
Some have an Iranian twist, such as the addition of pistachio, saffron, and walnuts. The second category consists of more traditional sweets: Shirini-Ye- Berenji (a type of rice cookie), Shirini-ye Nokhodchi (clover-shaped, chickpea cookies), Kolucheh (a large cookie usually with a walnut or fig filling), Shirini-Ye- Keshmeshi (raisin and saffron cookies), Shirini-Ye Yazdi (muffins or cupcakes, originated in the city of Yazd), nan-e Kulukhi (a kind of large and thick cookie similar to clod inside without any filling), and more. Three others—that is, Zulbia, Bamieh, and Gush-e- Fīl are very popular. Bamieh is an oval-shaped sweet dough piece, deep-fried and then covered with syrup (traditionally with honey). Zulbia is the same sort of dough, also deep-fried, but it is poured into the oil so that it twirls, then covered with the same syrup (or honey).
It has become popular in other parts of the world and is known as funnel cake in North America, and Jalebi in India. Gush-e Fīl (lit. elephant’s ear) is also deep-fried dough, fried in the shape of a flat elephant’s ear, and then covered with sugar powder. Of course, no discussion of Persian desserts would be complete without one of the classics, Halv Ardeh (Tehrani for Halva Ardeh, with Halva, an Arabic loan word meaning ‘sweet’ and Arde, Persian for Arabic Tahini. Halva comes in various qualities and varieties, from mainly sugar, to sesame seed extract, which is known as tahini in the west (the aforementioned Persian Ardeh), with Pestach, and Iran produces some of the best.