Iran was known as Persia. It is situated on a bridge that connects the Middle East and the Far East. Iranian cooking has a lot of common with Middle Eastern cooking where the lamb, yoghurt, and poultry are popular and wheat is staple. Most Iranian dishes have distinctly sour flavors which are often achieved through lemon, pomegranate or sour oranges.
The eating habits and the products from the ancient Rome, Greece, Mediterranean, and Asian cultures have been influenced by this cuisine. Iranian cuisine has borrowed spices, recipes, and styles from India. Many dishes are shared by both Turks and Iranians which make it hard to identify who originally discovered and created the dish.
There is a vast spectrum of food aside from common dish like Kebab and outré grilled lamb’s testicles. There’s caviar, pickle, and smoked fish in the north; falafel, hot and sour shrimp, and samosas in the south; flatbread and rosewater-scented ice cream served across the country.
Most of the classic Persian favorites are served on most Persian-American restaurant menus.
Here’s a short list of the 10 Iranian recipes which you’ll definitely love!
Fesenjan or Pomegranate Walnut Stew
Pomegranate walnut stew has become a popular menu for any wedding celebration. This iconic stew has ground walnuts, pomegranate paste with onions which are slowly simmered to create a thick sauce. Saffron and cinnamon are sometimes added and a pinch of sugar to create a balance taste. In the 515 B.C., walnuts, poultry, and pomegranate serve as the key ingredients in Fesenjan. Archeologists also discovered some stone tablets where pantry staples of early Iranians are inscribed.
Bademjan or Eggplant and Tomato Stew
Bademjan dish is composed of red-gold color tomatoes cooked with turmeric with oil on the top. This is a prized characteristic in Persian cooking where the stew has been cooked on a longer time for the oil to rise up. A tang of tomatoes, lemon juice or unripe grapes adds to the savory of the cuisine. Bademjan is also cooked with onions, lamb, tomatoes, and seasoning. Like other Persian stews, Bademjan is meant to be eaten over rice with a fork.
Baghali Polo or Rice with Dill and Fava Beans
Iranian cuisine has a very unique way of preparing their dishes. Baghali Polo for example is prepared with butter and saffron known as chelo. This dish is cooked with an ingredient called Polo which is made of herbs, nuts, beans, vegetables, dried fruit, meat, and noodles. Baghali Polo is the centerpiece of the meal and particularly good to cook in spring with fava beans, green dill, and chunks of lamb.
Zereshk Polo or Barberry Rice
What you don’t know about Persian recipes will surprise you. Iranians love sour flavors with cranberries and barberries. Zereshk is a classic rice dish with red berries which dried and dehydrated before cooking. The rice is cooked with butter to soften the berries. Quince, rhubarb, green plums, sour oranges, lemons, limes, dried limes, sour cherries, tamarind, sumac and pomegranate are ingredients used in Persian cooking to make food tasty and colorful.
Gormeh Sabzi or Green Herb Stew
Gormeh Sabzi is made of herbs, kidney beans deep green gormeh sabzi, and lamb to satisfy the Persian flavor obsession. This stew is sour and dried with limes, and limoo omani in Farsi. The limes are added to put an extra intense and sour yet bittersweet taste to the stew. Other ingredient is fenugreek leaves which may taste unfamiliar to the westerners.
Persian cuisine varies from area to area and there are several cookbooks which are published in different languages to make the cuisine available internationally. Rice is the major ingredient and is cooked differently from Indian or oriental rice. Most recipes are even used for major ceremonies and rituals.