Iranian Food

Major staples of Iranian food that are usually eaten with every meal include rice, various herbs, cheese, a variety of flat breads, and some type of meat (usually poultry, beef, lamb, or fish). Stew over rice is by far the most popular dish, and the constitution of these vary by region



Meatballs With Saffron Rice

This recipe I´m sharing today is one of my own favorites
Every time that I cook this meal I get positive feedback from friends and family and the great thing about it is that it´s so easy to make, takes little time and the ingredients are so easy to find
Recently I organized a food party at home with my friends of different nationalities and decided to represent Persian cuisine with this food served with saffron rice and Mast Khiyar as side dish
As expected I got many compliments again and everybody was in love
Some of them even took some for their lunch next day
So I decided to share this with you all. I also want to share with you a good news
Since in Persian cuisine saffron is an important ingredient I have been asked many times to recommend a good brand of saffron or to write a guide on how to find a high quality saffron brand
I usually did not answer these questions because I bought my consuming saffron directly from the farmers of saffron in fields of eastern Iran and I did not know about brands
But recently I tried some products from a company called Mehr Saffron and I loved their saffron
It is definitely one of my favorite brands of saffron now because of the amazing aroma and color that it gives to the food and also because of the elegant packaging
I recommend this brand to anyone who want to try Persian recipes with saffron in them.



Baghala Polo ba Mahiche (Rice with Broad Beans and Lamb Shank)

Baghali Polow ba Mahiche is one of the most popular dishes in Iran, and is usually served at parties such as wedding ceremonies
The combination of rice with dills and broad beans is called Baghali Polow, and the fork tender lamb shanks which is served beside the rice is called Mahiche
These two parts served together make a sublime taste. The origin of this food dates back to Safavid dynasty that ruled Iran from 1501 to 1722, and the kings were served with rice and lamb shanks
Nowadays it is a frequent dish among Iranian families, but still served and treated like a king’s food. For this recipe I suggest using lamb, but you can use lamb neck or ribs instead of shanks depending on your taste
The most important thing is that the meat should have bones with it
Yes! it does have an effect on the taste of the meat
Also, I suggest using fresh broad beans as it really counts for having a fresh and delicious rice.



Shole Zard (Saffron Rice Pudding)

The history of this beautiful traditional dessert goes back to several hundred years ago, when it was served only on special occasions like the Persian new year
Nowadays it´s a more common food in Iran, but still people tend to make it on special events and share it with friends or family
It might sound strange but in Iran it’s very common that some neighbor, that you may hardly know knocks on your door and gives you a big bowl of this delicious dessert
for free! This kind of free foods are called “Nazri“.



Khorake Loobia Sabz (Green Bean Stew)

In Persian cuisine there are plenty of dishes with beans such as Rice with Green Beans and Rice with Broad Beans, but one of the most popular one in Iran is Khorake Loobia Sabz or green bean stew
This stew is made with a mixture of beef, green beans, carrot, potato, onion and tomato paste. Green beans, also knows as french beans or snap beans, are tender edible pods which are a very rich source of vitamins and minerals
For this recipe I suggest selecting the beans that are free from brown spots, have a vibrant green color and snap when broken. Also in this recipe you can simply replace beef with lamb or chicken according to your taste and preference.



Shir Berenj (Rice Pudding)

Shir Berenj (Rice Pudding) Rice puddings are known in nearly every part of the world, but the recipes vary in different countries
In Iran it is served as a dessert, but some people may serve it as a light dinner too
Here is the recipe for the rice pudding which is most common in Iran, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan.



Leek Soup

Leek Soup Leek soup is very healthy and easy to cook
It’s not originally a Persian dish but it’s a soup that is very popular in Iran and fits the Persian taste buds very well
I changed the original recipe a bit to make it taste more like Persian soups
I call these changes Persianizing
There is also a category in this blog called Persianized where I’ll be posting more international recipes changed according to Persian



Ash Reshteh (Vegetable and Noodle Soup)

Ash Reshteh is a thick vegetable and noodle soup which is traditionally prepared to welcome the Persian New Year and noodles are believed to bring good fortune for the following year
There are many different kinds of Ash in Iran but Ash Reshteh is the most famous and popular one among all
It is mostly served with whey and sometimes with vinegar.



Cake Sharbati (Syrup Cake)

This moist and tender cake is a real tea-time treat
It makes a perfect dessert for a cup of steaming tea
The syrup is made with saffron and cardamom that give it a Persian taste and aroma
It´s a bit tricky to make this cake because it has a soft texture, and after pouring the syrup, it´s difficult to cut it into pieces
But don´t worry, because in this recipe I tried to cover all the tips and tricks that I know to make it ideally.



Börek

Börek is originally a Turkish invention dating back to Ottoman empire
However, like many other Turkish dishes such as Doner kebab, Pide and Iskender kebab, Börek is popular among Iranians too
The reason might be that flavors in Turkish cuisine bear a resemblance to Persian cuisine. Börek refers to any dish made with Yufka (filo) dough
Filo is a kind of very thin unleavened dough used for making pastries such as Baklava and Börek
The secret to making these stuffed pastries is to brush a mixture of beaten egg and oil over the top before baking
The top of the rolls are often sprinkled with sesame seeds.



Abgoosht (Lamb Chickpea Soup)

Abgoosht is one of the most traditional Iranian foods
It is also called Dizi, which refers to the traditional stone crock pots it is served in
Hundreds of years ago Abgoosht was made with lamb and chickpeas
However, later on when new foods such as potatoes and tomatoes were introduced to Iranian Cuisine, the recipe had some changes. Serving Abgoosht has a special custom
First the broth is poured in a bowl and served with small pieces of bread soaked in it
Then the remaining ingredients such as potatoes, beans, chickpeas and lamb are mashed up to a mashed-potato type consistency and served separately alongside with the broth.



Kookoo Sib Zamini (Potato Patties)

In Persian cuisine, Kookoo refers to any dish with fried vegetables and egg
Usually these dishes are quite simple and quick to make
Potato patties are a kind of kookoo that can be served as dinner, a light lunch or a picnic food
It´s mostly popular among kids thanks to its crispy and crunchy texture.



Eshkeneh (Persian Onion Soup)

Eshkeneh is a traditional Iranian soup originally from Khorasan province, But it’s popular all around Iran
There are various types of Eshkene, such as fenugreek, tomato Eshkene, and quince Eshkene
It’s a pleasant and quick soup, normally served with bread as an appetizer, dinner or a light lunch
It is also a vegetarian soup.



Salad Olivieh (Chicken, Potato & Egg salad)

Salad Olivier is known all over the world, it is also called Russian salad in some countries
It was originally created by the French Chef, M
Olivier, but claimed by the Russians as one of their dishes
In Iran they call it Salad Olivieh and the ingredients are rather different from the original recipe. This salad is delicious when served fresh but even better when it has been refrigerated for a few hours or even overnight.



Kaleh Joosh (Whey Soup)

Kaleh joosh is a quick and simple vegetarian soup enriched with calcium and protein
It is originally from Yazd and Khorasan provinces of Iran, But it’s known all around the country and in every region the recipe has slight changes. The main ingredients for this soup are walnut and Kashk (whey), which is a thick whitish liquid similar to sour cream
It is available as a liquid or in a dried form, which needs to be soaked and softened before it can be used in cooking
Kashk is traditionally produced from the leftovers of cheese-making process (more specifically, the milk used to make it) and is a byproduct of curdled milk (buttermilk)
It can be found in any Iranian or Middle Eastern grocery stores.



Falafel

Falafel is a vegetarian dish consisting of deep-fried balls or patties made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both
It is originally an Arabic (Egyptian) food and since 2% of Iranian population are Arabs, this food has found its way to Iran
Obviously the best Falafel in Iran is made in southern provinces which have significant population of Iranian-Arabs such as Bushehr and Khuzestan
The word Falafel is derived from the Arabic word falāfil, a plural of the word filfil, meaning “pepper.” Falafel was traditionally made with fava beans and continues to be made that way in Egypt and other Arab countries, but Iranian Falafel is made from chickpeas and is wildly popular all around the country as a form of fast food.



Estamboli Polow (Persian Tomato Rice)

Estamboli Polow is a delicious combination of rice, beef, tomato paste and potatoes
Some say that its name is taken from the type of potatoes that were used in original recipe which were called Istanbuli
But you can use any other kind of potato and it will taste equally delicious. The recipe for Estamboli Polow varies from one region to another or even from one family to another
Some families make it with only rice and tomato, some add potatoes to it and some families add meat and green beans
In our family the kind with green beans and meat is called Loobia Polow and the one with potato is Estamboli Polow. The perfect side dishes to serve with Estamboli Polow are Mast Khiar (yogurt and cucumber dip) or pickles like Torshi Kalam (pickled red cabbage)



Mahi Shekam Por (Stuffed Fish)

Fish represents life, so fish dishes figure prominently at meals during Nowruz, the two-week Persian new year celebration that begins with spring
Most of the dishes served during Nowruz or Norooz holidays have herbs as a symbol of rebirth, or fish that represents life
There are other Norooz Specialty dishes such as Noodle Rice , Herb Omelette or Herb Rice with Fish that I have posted their recipes before. Mahi Shekam Por is originally from northern Iran, but its a popular dish all around the country
The stuffing is generally made with pomegranate paste, walnuts and herbs, but this recipe is a simpler version that makes an exceptionally delicious dish. Please check out all the delicious recipes on the bottom of the page that other Persian food bloggers have created to share for our Norouz 2015 Collaborative Posts!p>



Kotlet (Persian Cutlet)

Kotlet is a delicious Iranian version of ground meat patty
This is a kind of dish that can be served warm or cold, plain or with bread, at home or at a picnic
It is the kind of food that moms usually have to hide it while cooking, cause otherwise half of the patties will be eaten by the kids before serving them on the table. It is a labor intensive food since you have to spend the whole cooking time standing in front of the oven and taking care of the patties and flipping them over, but trust me it’s worth the effort
The best Kotlet would be the one which is golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft and flavorful inside.



Persian Chicken (Morgh)

This authentic and delicious dish is a typical Iranian recipe
It´s quite flavorful and thanks to saffron it has nice color and aroma
This dish is always served with a kind of rice
It can be Plain rice, jeweled rice (zereshk polow) or any other kind of rice
This recipe is only for making the chicken but I have added the recipe for jeweled rice before, for if you want to serve them together
Also in this recipe you do not have to use chicken thighs
You can use any other parts of the chicken based on your preference
Let´s get started!



Kashk-e Bademjan (Eggplant Dip)

If you are an eggplant lover, Persian cuisine can be a paradise for you
There are plenty of eggplant dishes and side dishes in Persian cuisine, and among them one of the most popular dish is Kashke Bademjan
The main ingredients of this dish are eggplants and Kashk which is a type of yogurt whey
In the process of making cheese, the remaining liquid after milk has been strained is called whey. Kashke Bademjan is often served with a special Persian bread called Lavash, but you can serve it with pita bread or crackers too.



Shredded Chicken with Barberry and Rice

In Persian cuisine there are some popular dishes of chicken with barberry rice such as Zereshk Polow served with Morgh (chicken) or Morasa Polow. This recipe I am sharing today is a mixture of shredded chicken mixed with barberry and saffron served on top of Persian rice
In fact it has the same main ingredients as Zereshk Polow, but it is much easier to cook and tastes delicious thanks to the generous amount of saffron in it
I have posted a detailed recipe for Persian rice before, so in this recipe I will only explain how to cook the shredded chicken mixture. Barberry is a common ingredient in Persian cuisine and it can be found at Middle Eastern markets
Since barberry has a sour taste, sugar is usually added to balance its taste, but it will not make the food sweet at all
However if you are interested in sweet foods, you can simply add more sugar, or if you prefer sour you can omit sugar from the ingredients.



Joojeh Kebab (Grilled Saffron Chicken)

Joojeh Kebab is a very popular dish in Iran
This kebab is usually served at parties such as wedding ceremonies
It is a food that is almost never eaten alone but with family or in a picnic
There are two ways of serving it: with Persian rice or with Persian bread
I´ll post the recipes for Persian rice and bread soon
Grilled tomatoes are always included beside this dish, but other optional components are grilled peppers and fresh lemons.



Khoresht Havij (Carrot Stew)

Khoresh or Khoresht is a generic term for stew dishes in Persian cuisine
There are multiple different stew dishes in Persian cuisine and they are typically served beside rice
The most popular Khoreshs are Gheymeh, Ghormeh Sabzi and Fesenjan (check their recipes and compare!). The recipe I am sharing here for the carrot stew is very similar to the Gheymeh one
The main difference is that in Gheymeh we use french fries for topping and in this stew we use carrots instead
You will also notice that the seasoning has slight differences.



Pan Fried Chicken and Molded Rice

I believe that a considerable part of a meal’s flavor is determined by how it is presented
As you might have seen, most of the rice dishes on my blog are molded in different shapes
Since I posted the recipe for Persian rice, I have been receiving many comments asking about how to mold the rice into a certain shape
So at the end of this recipe I will explain the simple technique for it.



Baghali Pokhte (Cooked Fava Beans)

Baghali Pokhte or cooked fava (broad) beans is a very popular snack in Iran and there are many street vendors who sell it
It is an easy to prepare snack high in protein and fiber and also low in fat
Cooked fava beans are usually served with vinegar, salt and angelica powder
There are two ways of cooking it: You can either remove the pods and cook the beans without removing their shell or waxy outer coating, or you can simply cook the pods and when the pods are soft shell the beans
In this recipe you can see both methods. When choosing fava beans select green and smooth pods
If the beans are over-bulging underneath the pods, that means they are older and probably bitter.



Persian Halva

Persian Halva is a sweet dense paste made of flour and butter, mixed with a syrup of sugar, saffron, rosewater and cardamom that gives it a pleasant taste and smell
Halva is originally an Arabic dessert literally meaning “sweet”, but it has found its way to many Asian and north African countries, and in every region it is prepared and served differently
In Iran it is usually served at funerals or during Ramadan(fasting) month, garnished with shredded coconut or slivered almonds.



Tahchin (Layered Saffron Rice & Chicken)

Tahchin is a popular Iranian rice dish of saffron-infused rice layered with a kind of meat (or vegetable), yogurt and eggs
There are different kinds of Tahchins based on the ingredient which is layered with rice
The most popular Tahchin among Iranians is made with shredded chicken, and the other kinds such as beef, spinach or eggplant Tahchin are not widely known. The word Tahchin literally means “placed at the bottom” and refers to the rice layer placed at the bottom of the dish, which results in a crunchy outer crust.



Khoresh Karafs (Celery Stew)

The word Khoresh or Khoresht is a generic term for stew dishes in Persian cuisine
There are multiple different stew dishes in Iran and the most popular ones are Gheymeh, Ghormeh Sabzi and Fesenjan
Khoreshs are usually served with Persian rice which I have posted its cooking method before in a detailed recipe. Khoresh Karafs is a healthy and flavorful food made with stew meat, celery, mint, parsley, kidney beans and pomegranate paste
There is another way of cooking it which does not need kidney beans and pomegranate paste, but prunes are added instead
This recipe is for the first method, since I have tested both ways and noticed that with beans it usually turns out more delicious. When buying celery choose ones that look crisp and snap easily when pulled apart
It should be relatively tight and compact and not have stalks that splay out
The leaves should be pale to bright green in color and free from yellow or brown patches. Celery stew needs 2-3 hours of slow cooking to have the best consistency and flavor, but if you use a fast cooker, it will be ready in 1 hour.



Kabab Koobideh Morgh (Ground Chicken Kebab)

Kabab Koobideh Morgh is a kind of pan kebab made with a mixture of ground chicken, ground onion and saffron
Pan kebabs are very easy and quick to make since you do not need any skewering or grilling
The only thing you need to do is to spread the kebab mixture across a pan, give it some time, and expect a kebab just as delicious as the grilled ones
Another popular kind of pan kebab that I have shared its recipe before (Kabab Tabei), is made with ground beef instead of chicken and is a more typical dish among Iranians. Like any other kind of kebab, you can serve this food with either Persian Rice, or bread
Matching side dishes to serve with ground chicken kebab are Mast Khiar (yogurt and cucumber dip) or pickles like Torshi Kalam (pickled red cabbage).



Khoresh Bademjan (Persian Eggplant Stew)

There are plenty of eggplant dishes and side dishes in Persian cuisine such as Eggplant Dip (Kashke Bademjan) or Stuffed Eggplant, but one of the most popular one in Iran is Khoresh Bademjan or eggplant stew
This stew is made with fried eggplants and beef meatballs in a tomato based sauce
Eggplant stew is usually served over Persian rice or with a special Persian bread called Lavash, but you can serve it with pita bread or crackers too.



Khoresh Bamieh (Iranian Okra Stew)

The word Khoresh or Khoresht is a generic term for stew dishes in Persian cuisine
There are multiple different stew dishes in Iran and the most popular ones are Gheymeh, Ghormeh Sabzi and Fesenjan (check their recipes and compare!)
Khoreshs are usually served with Persian rice which I have posted its cooking method before in a detailed recipe. Khoresh Bamieh is a common stew dish in many middle eastern regions
In Iran it is traditionally from southern provinces
This recipe is for the Persian version of Khoresh Bamieh which is a spicy stew of meat and okra
Okra, also known as “lady’s finger”, or “bamia” is one of the popular nutritious vegetables of North-East African origin. Okra usually has a sliminess when its seed pods are cooked which causes many people to dislike it, but there are some simple tricks to minimize or avoid it while cooking
When washing the okra pods do not pierce or cut them into pieces; Also by stirring them gently before adding them to the stew you can notably minimize the sliminess
Also make sure not to overcook the okra, usually 20-30 minutes of cooking is completely enough. If you’re using fresh okra, it’s better to buy small okra pods since they’re more tender
Make sure to clean the okra beforehand and trim only the stem ends, but again be careful not to pierce or cut all way though the pods.



Chelow (Persian Rice)

Rice is the most commonly eaten food in Iran
There are two main kinds of rice that have a vast number of varieties in Iranian cuisine: Polow and Chelow
Polow consists of vegetables or meat cooked and mixed with rice that makes delicious and popular dishes such as Loobia Polow (Rice with Green Beans) and Adas Polow (Lentil Rice), whereas Chelow is a plain rice that is steamed and served beside different kinds of kebabs and stews such as Joojeh Kebab, Gheimeh, Ghorme Sabzi and Fesenjan. Rice preparation is like an art in Iran and unlike the majority of countries it is not only boiled, but also steamed and topped with saffron
In this recipe I have tried to cover all the tips and tricks you need to know for making a perfect Persian rice, which is a white fluffy rice with the grains well separated and not stuck to each other.



Macaroni (Persian Spaghetti)

In Iran, we call all types of pasta, Macaroni! It can be spaghetti, fusilli, penne, farfalle, or any other type of pasta, for us they are all Macaroni in different shapes! For example, farfalle is called butterfly macaroni and fusilli is called spiral macaroni. Also, we treat pasta like rice! To prepare it we go through the same procedures as we do to prepare rice which means that pasta is not only simmered in boiling water, but also steamed after being cooked
Another thing is that the sauce prepared for different kinds of pasta is always the same
It is a mix of meat, onions, bell pepper, mushroom and tomato paste which makes it quite similar to Bolognese sauce. It might sound weird to steam pasta or cover the bottom of the pot with potatoes (as you will see in the recipe), but at the end you will love the awesome taste of macaroni and crispy potatoes, I guarantee that.



Tupak-e Khorma (Date Balls)

These delicious date balls are an easy and quick snack that need no baking and are perfect to keep you going throughout the day
They are quite healthy and nutritious thanks to the nuts and dates used in the recipe, and still super sweet without even adding any sugar! Although dates are approximately 50% sugar, eating dates does not have an effect on blood glucose levels like refined sugar. To garnish these date energy balls I used walnuts, pistachio, coconut and dried rose petals, but feel free to replace them with any other nuts you prefer or you have in home.



Sabzi Polow Mahi (Herb Rice with Fish)

Sabzi Polow (herb rice) and Mahi (fish) is traditionally served for the Persian new year Norooz
Persian New Year is celebrated every year to signify the beginning of spring and most of the dishes served during Norooz holidays have herbs as a symbol of rebirth, and fish that represents life. There are other Norooz Specialty dishes such as Noodle Rice , Herb Omelette or Stuffed Fish that I have posted their recipes before
But yesterday one of my dear Instagram followers Hasti asked me for a recipe for Sabzi Polow Mahi, and since there is only one week until Norooz I thought it is the best time to do it. The fish used in this recipe is Tilapia, but you can choose any other fish that you prefer and can be found easily where you live
Also there are four different herbs used in this recipe, but if you are living in a country where it is not easy to find them all, just like where I live, you can leave them out and use only dill
If you decide so, then keep in mind that you should increase the amount of dill from 1/4 cup to 1 cup
Preferred side dishes for this food are fresh herbs and pickles like Lime pickle or Red Cabbage pickle that i have explained before. There might be various recipes for making this dish, but in this one, thanks to the saffron and lemon juice that is added at the end, the fish tastes incredible and won’t have any unpleasant smell.



Haleem (Wheat and Meat Porridge)

Haleem or Halim is a thick, delicious and high calorie porridge popular in the middle east and central Asia for centuries
It is also known for some other names such as Harees/Hareesa, Keshkek, Kichara or Daleem
The origin of Haleem is not definite
But, it is a star of Arabian, Turkish, Persian, Pakistani, Bengali and Indian cuisine
Even though the recipe slightly changes from one region to another, it always includes wheat and meat
People use different forms of meat (lamb, beef, turkey or chicken breast) to cook it. This recipe that I am sharing here is the Persian Haleem, that is typically served for breakfast or during Ramadan month
This dish is slow cooked for some hours which results in a paste like consistency.



Loobia Polo (Rice with Green Beans)

Rice is the most commonly eaten food in Iran
There are two methods of cooking rice in Iranian cuisine: Polow and Chelow
Polow consists of different kinds of vegetables or meat cooked and mixed with rice, such as Loobia Polow (Rice with Green Beans) and Adas Polow (Lentil Rice), whereas Chelow is plain rice that is steamed and served beside different kinds of kebabs and stews such as Joojeh Kebab, Gheimeh, Ghorme Sabzi and Fesenjan. Loobia Polow is a dish made up of a mixture of beef, green beans, onion and tomato paste layered with cooked white rice.



(Khiar Shoor) Pickled Cucumber

Pickled Cucumber is a known ingredient all around the world and like many other kinds of pickle is popular among Iranians, as a side dish or an ingredient in some foods like Olivie Salad
I have tried different kinds of pickled cucumbers since living out of Iran and, they had a hint of sweetness in them that didn’t satisfy me as the Persian pickles did
So I found out this recipe that I could make Khiarshoor (literally meaning salty cucumbers) easily and they were ready to serve just after 30 days.



Fesenjan (Walnut Pomegranate Stew)

Fesenjan or Fesenjoon is one of those dishes that the first time you see it, you may not really like how it looks, but believe me it´s so delicious that once you try it, you will fall in love with the taste and fragrance
It´s not easy to describe its sublime taste but the best I can say is that it has a sweet-sour taste and you can adjust it based on what you prefer
If you mostly like sweet foods then you simply add more sugar, and if you like it sour then more pomegranate paste
If you follow this recipe, the stew will be somewhere in the middle, like half sweet – half sour.



Gol Gav Zaban (Borage Tea)

Gol-gav-zaban (Borage) is a herb that originally grows in Iran and a few Mediterranean countries of west Asia, and its dried blue and purple flowers are brewed the same way you brew tea leaves
The flower has a sweet honey-like taste and is one of the few truly blue-colored edible substances. In Iran people make this tea to relieve colds, flu, bronchitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and kidney inflammation
It is believed to be warm in nature and alleviates symptoms that are caused by using food that is cold in nature such as cucumber and fish.



Gheymeh (Yellow Split Peas Stew)

The word Gheymeh, literally refers to any meat that is cut into cubes, that is why some people call any stew with cubed meat inside it as Gheymeh. There are various types of this stew in Iran, but this recipe is for the classic Gheymeh, that is garnished with french fries and served with white rice. Also, in some religious occasions such as Ashoora, some people prepare it in big amounts and distribute it for free among people as a vow (Nazri).



Kadoo Shekampor (Stuffed Zucchini)

The origin of stuffed vegetables is unknown, although the Turks and Greeks claim possession. Originally, they were served in palace kitchens to the wealthy and ruling class. Nowadays, there are various recipes for stuffed zucchini, but this one is an Iranian version of it.



Kabab Tabei (Pan Kebab)

Kabab Tabei or Kabab deegi is a perfect dish for you, if you love kebabs and yet you don´t want to use a grill, or you don´t have one. This dish is quick to make but at the same time tastes just as delicious as the grilled versions of kebab.



Torshi limoo (Lime Pickle)

The small, round and bright green limes are originally from south west Asia. In Persian cuisine, dried limes are used in plenty of dishes. Here is a recipe for fresh lime pickles with a vibrant taste that make a perfect side dish for most Persian dishes specially the ones with beef.



Torshi Kalam (Pickled Red Cabbage)

This colorful pickle is easy to prepare and makes a perfect side dish to variety of foods, specially meat dishes. Unlike other pickles, it does not need couple of days to be ready to serve. You can serve it right after preparing.



Jaghoor Baghoor (Lamb’s Liver)

Jaghoor Baghoor is Iranian-style sautéed liver dish usually made with sheep liver, but beef liver should work too. The secret to making the liver actually taste good is to use turmeric spices to mask the liver’s strong smell and taste. This delicious dish is quick to make but at the same time good enough to serve to guests. Lamb’s liver needs a very brief cooking to be tender.



Mast Khiar (Yogurt & Cucumber Dip)

Mast khiar or masto khiar is a delicious yet easy dip that goes well with almost anything. It´is served as a side dish for many stews, kebabs and rice dishes. But it also makes a wonderful appetizer or a light snack. With mint, cucumbers and yogurt it makes a perfect summer dish that takes only a few minutes to make.



Reshteh Polow (Rice with Noodles)

Reshteh Polow is one of the two main dishes that are traditionally served in the evening of the Persian new year (Norooz). It is believed that by eating Reshte Polow on new year, you can grab hold of your destiny for the coming year. This dish is originally from Azerbaijan province of Iran and is quite easy to cook. You can find reshteh noodles or toasted noodles at most Middle Eastern markets. It is a thin, flat pasta that kind of resembles cappellini or fettuccine.



Adas Polow (Lentil Rice)

Rice is the most commonly eaten food in Iran. There are two main kinds of rice that have a vast number of varieties in Iranian cuisine: Polow and Chelow. Polow consists of vegetables or meat cooked and mixed with rice that makes delicious and popular dishes such as Loobia Polow (Rice with Green Beans) and Adas Polow (Lentil Rice), whereas Chelow is a plain rice that is steamed and served beside different kinds of kebabs and stews such as Joojeh Kebab, Gheimeh, Ghorme Sabzi andFesenjan. Adas Plow is a delicious combination of rice layered with lentils and a topping with raisins, ground beef and onions. However, some people prepare the topping without adding the ground beef and serve it as a vegetarian dish.



Ghorme Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew)

Ghorme sabzi is considered the Iranian national dish. The history of this stew goes back to at least 500 to 1,000 years and the recipe hasn’t changed since then. Many Persian dishes like Kebab or Dizi were cooked in a different way 100 years ago, because back then new foods such as potatoes and tomatoes were not yet introduced to Iranian Cuisine. Considering that, Ghorme sabzi is the most original Persian dish, and at the same time it has been modernized so well that nowadays you can even find Ghorme sabzi Pizza in Iran.



Chay (Persian Tea)

Tea found its way to Persia from India through the Silk Road and soon became Iran´s national drink. Iranians have one of the highest per capita rates of tea consumption in the world and from old times every street has had a Châikhâne (Tea House). Tea houses are still an important social place in Iran. For Iranians drinking tea is like a ritual. Every morning, after each meal or following an afternoon nap. Also, most meetings, formal occasions or family gatherings will begin with the offering of tea. Traditionally you need a Samovar to brew tea. Samovar is a metal container used to heat and boil water and, is originally from Russia. But, it´s not necessary to have it, because with a kettle and a teapot you can brew a tea as good and aromatic.





Zereshk Polow (Barberry Rice)

Zereshk Polow is also know as “jeweled rice” because of the red barberries in it. Barberry is a common ingredient in Persian cuisine and it can be found at Middle Eastern markets. Since barberry has a sour taste some people add sugar to it to balance the taste, but if you are a fan of sour foods then you might want to skip that step. This food is almost always served with Persian Chicken.



Kookoo sabzi (Persian Herb Omelette)

Kookoo sabzi is an aromatic omelette that is served on the first day of spring and Persian new year. It is the most popular Kookoo in Iran, a vegetarian dish filled with variety of herbs and greens.