If you ask anyone who has never tasted Persian food, most of them things that Persian dishes are heavily spiced just like Indian food. Truthfully, that’s not the case. Dishes from different countries always possess a distinctive taste, color, and even presentation. Persian cooking, unlike other dishes in the world, is made with a delicate balance of sweet and sour, hot and cold flavor.
Persian cuisine has their unique flavor. It uses similar ingredients from other dishes all over the world, yet adding spice to the recipe; transform it into something different. Persians used fruits, flowers, herbs, and ground roots to their dishes to create a delicate aroma and great flavors. Each spice in the Persian dish has a purpose and is necessary for maintaining a healthy mind, body, and soul.
Tasting Persian ingredients is like lifting a lid off a treasure box and discovering what’s inside of it. Here are the five ingredients that make Persian cuisine unique from other dishes out there.
In Persia, they call it limoo omani. Limoo omani or dried limes have an intense flavor. Just like other ordinary limes, it has bitter and sweet tastes which more intense because of the combination of juice and the rind.
Dried limes are good ingredients for soups and stews. Limoo omani can be eaten along with the dish, unlike bay leaves and cinnamon which are mostly discarded after cooking.
Green herbs also known as sabzi plays a significant role in Persian food. Sabzi is considered as the main ingredient and is commonly served during the Persian New Year. Herbs like dill, mint, parsley, cilantro, basil, chives, tarragon, and fenugreek are often present whenever there are important occasions that are being celebrated.
Rose Water and Rose Petals
Rose water and rose petals are popularly known in Persia as golab and barg-e gol. This ingredient is equivalent to vanilla extract that we often used to add sweet aroma in our food. Golab and barg-e gol are usually added as the flavor in baklava, rice pudding, cookies, and ice cream. Rose petals are a best savory flavor to rice, salads, and yogurt.
Saffron is a common ingredient in Persian cooking. It provides flavors to entrées, desserts, and rice with an amazing aroma. This component is quite expensive, yet a teaspoon of it can give aroma and unusual flavor to the whole dish. Saffron is a ground in a mortar and pestle before it is added as an ingredient to the recipe.