Persian cuisine consists of modern and traditional cooking methods.
The culinary methods and styles used in Iran are completely unique, though we can’t deny that our style has been influenced by our neighbor countries.
But we can say that we have also influenced our neighbors, no less if not more. These effects have helped improve both sides’ styles throughout history.
Unlike many countries, the dishes in Iran have fruits like pomegranates, quince, prunes, apricots and different sorts of fresh green herbs such as Ja’faree, Reyhaan, etc. alongside them as accompaniments.
Typical Persian main dishes are combinations of:
- rice along with meat, like lamb, chicken, or fish
- vegetables such as onions, garlic
- differing kinds of herbs, and nuts.
Another unique aspect of Iranian cuisine is the spices and additives. For example saffron, cinnamon, Fennel, clove, and so on.
These spices add characteristically particular tastes and flavors to the food that are mostly specific to Iranian dishes.
Pesian Cuisine: A National cuisine
Iranian cuisine is not limited to one or two sorts of food. Here are some of the more known styles:
- chelow kabab: this meal is rice served with barbequed meat: Koobide, Barg, joojeh, soltani, shishleek, chenjeh),
- khoresht: a sort of stew that is served with white Iranian rice: ghormeh sabzi, gheimeh, fesenjān, and others),
- aash: a thick soup. for example āsh-e anār, āsh-e sho’le ghalam kaar, āsh-e reshteh),
- kuku: a vegetable soufflé.
- polo: white rice served alone or with the addition of meat, vegetables and herbs, including loobia polo, albaloo polo, sabzi polo, zereshk polo, baghali polo, and others)
- a diverse variety of salads, pastries, and drinks specific to different parts of Iran.
There are three main methods that are used to cook rice in Iran:
This method is cooking rice by placing it in salt and water and then letting it boil for a time.
After that, the rice should be drained and then returned to the pot so that it can be steamed.
When it is done, the rice should have separated grains.
Due to the heat, a golden-brown crust of rice is made at the bottom of the pot.
This delicious crust is called Tah-deeg. The word Tah means “bottom” in Persian and Deeg means “pot”. so as you see, the word literally tells us what it is. Tah-deeg can also be made with thin slices of bread or potato slices placed under the rice.
Kateh is made by cooking rice until it absorbs all the water in the pot. This type of rice is a specialty of Guilan province.
You can see kateh served with many dishes in the cities of Guilan. Kateh is a soft mushy type of rice with the grains stuck to each other due to the heat.
Damy is a word in Iranian which means “steaming”.
The method of cooking Damy rice is pretty much the same as the one used for making Kateh. The difference however, is that you can cook this kind of rice with other ingredients (beans, grains, vegetable) mixed within it.
A very popular example would be “Addas Polo”. The main trick is to mix the rice with your ingredients and then turning the heat to an average or minimum level and letting the ingredients cook well.
After rice, the varieties in producing bread from wheat are the most popular in Iranian cuisine. There are approximately forty kinds of bread that are made with wheat. Also, bread is called “Naan”((نان in Persian.
As stated earlier, there are many kinds of wheat bread.
But there are four of them which are more known throughout the country:
This bread is thin and is usually in a round shape. This bread is the most known and the most bought bread in Iran.
This bread takes its origins from Turkish lands. In Iran, the most famous city for making this bread is Tabriz. Barbari is very thick and usually round or oval shaped.
This is a stone-baked bread. In old bakeries, when you purchase this kind of bread you can actually see small stones stuck to the bread.
Sangak is a triangle-shaped bread.
This bread is a lot like lavash, but it is a bit thicker. Also, the baking method is in a way that leaves small, round bumps on the bread.
This bread is also round.
Iranian cuisine also has a lot of special sweets and desserts. For example, the traditional Iranian ice cream is a very popular choice.
This ice cream is frozen and clotted cream. The cream is put between two slices of waffles.
Also, in Ramazan month, there are two iconic sweets specifically for the occasion: Zulbia and Bami-eh.
Iran also has a variety of drinks that are rarely found anywhere else:
Doogh is a very popular drink exclusive to Iranian cuisine. In basic words, Doogh is yoghurt mixed with water. Some people add roseflower and mint for added flavors.
Doogh is most served along with Chelo Kabab.
There are a few more drinks to be named: Sekanjebin, Aab anaar, etc.