Persian cuisine can be found across central Asia and the Middle East. It’s not geographically limited to its neighboring countries. Just like the food which we can find in the eastern cultures, Persian cuisine is also based on the “Hot & Cold” idea but, should not be confused as spicy or not spicy. It’s about the notion whether the food creates a sort of energy or would have a cooling effect in our body.
Persian food is rich in history and backstory that tells the tale of conquerors, explorers, and merchants who created a mark on Persian cuisine.
The Influence of Other Cultures to Persian Cuisine
For so many years, Persian food has been influenced by other cultures. The cultural stew of influences from other cultures can be traced back to China and India. China has been a trade partner of Iran along the Silk Road. India, on the other hand, was a dominion of the pre-Islamic Persian Empires.
The spread of fruits and veggies such apple and eggplant started from Persia. The West have benefited from this which also became a part of their cuisine. Several fruits and vegetables have made its way to Iran from the Western countries. Persian cuisines are a combination of ingredients coming from the different parts of the world. Persians have learned to adopt these ingredients and have initially created dishes out of it.
Examining the major components of Persian Cuisine
Bread has become a staple food of the Persian diet. The first Westernized bread came from Russia to the Northern area of Iran, where bread was used for sandwiches. In Iran, bread is eaten with cheese, a variety of feta cheese.
Way back in the history, Iran has two ways of preparing bread. It was cooked under the ashes and buried or uncovered. During the pre-Islamic Iran era, the bread is used to sacrifice at the tomb or shrine to a belief that it will provide nourishment to the souls on their journey to the afterlife. Bread during that time was considered as a sacred thing for humans.
In the modern era, bread is cooked in tanoor which is a cone-shaped clay oven. The process of cooking starts from placing the bread on the inner walls of the oven. For villages that cannot afford the tanoors, they cook the bread on the ashes of the fire.
4 Types of Bread in the Urban Areas
The Importance of Rice Persian Cuisine
In the 16th century, rice was being prepared in the royal Safavid court. The practice of making khoresh and eating them with rice has become popular in the court. This method of making these dishes is said to be influenced by the surrounding Central Asian cultures. The influences and culinary styles would usually go to Persian filter and came out slightly with an angle towards the Persian palette.
Iran has a rich history which spans a thousand years. And just like any great mystery novels, their cuisines are full of complicated backstory with twists and turns.