Persian food on your travel to Iran
The best part of traveling around the world is probably the opportunity that one acquires in trying the food of other cultures. Cuisine of every county is the best illustrator of the spirit of the people of that particular country and the delicious Iranian (Persian) food is no exception. The taste of Iranian food is generally a mild taste; it is not too hot or too sweet. Sour and salty tastes in the Iranian dish is balanced and to the minimum. This characteristic is the indication of the spirit and the culture of kind Iranian. Moreover, cooking Iranian food is not an easy and quick job. It usually takes a lot of time to prepare a “well-cooked dish” as Persians would say.
In Persian cuisine, the ingredients should be mixed in a pot and put on a low flame until they reach a consistency in a slow pace. There are not a lot of food items that are served raw and as a side-dish on a Persian plate. So if you’re in a hurry you won’t be able to prepare delicious Iranian food.
Persian food is known as a healthy food. Various food items are used in preparing these dishes. The use of grains is distinctive in Persian cuisine. The use of raw vegetables as a side-dish is another characteristic of healthy Persian cuisine. We should also mention the colorful and tasteful spices that are a must in Persian cuisine; without the spice, our Persian food would not be complete.
If you are traveling to Iran and intend to buy Persian spices, you should search for these aromatic spices in the conventional Iranian Bazaars. Dairies such as dried whey, yoghurt and cheese have a significant place in Persian cuisine. By mixing theses dairies with different kinds of meat, a variety of 50 different Persian foods could be prepared. Stew is among the oldest Persian food and is prepared by mixing grains, vegetables and meat together. Persian stew has always been served with Persian bread, but in recent years stew was tried with Persian rice, and it made an incredible combination.
Rice found its place on Persian plates sooner than expected. The method for cooking rice by Iranians is one of the best and most delicious methods for cooking rice in the world. Persian rice is probably the most important feature of Persian culinary and it has even replaced stews throughout the time. Some forms of rice are mixed and cooked with meat, vegetables and grains which give you a wonderful taste; therefore there is no need to serve it with any kind of stew. The passengers have a chance to choose from and enjoy the various kinds of Persian rice presented.
Iranians love rice but what they truly enjoy eating is that portion of the rice adhering to the bottom of the pot called “Tah dig”. Due to the intense heat under the pot, this portion of the rice becomes crispy, brown and delicious and that is the reason people fight over a piece of Tahdig during mealtimes. Sometimes the cook puts slices of potato, bread, vegetable or yoghurt on the bottom of the pot and creates a far more delightful kind of “Tah dig”. While traveling to Iran and trying Persian cuisine, don’t forget to try “Tah dig”.
Persian rice goes well with Persian kebab. The most famous Persian dish is “chelo kebab” which consists of basmati rice, two skewers of kebabs, and grilled tomatoes, onions and butter on the side. The kebab is usually a minced meat kebab made from ground lamb or beef and grilled on skewers. Just like the stews, Persian kebabs also have a variety of different kinds such as kebab Koobideh (minced meat), Kebab Barg (lamb or beef fillets), kebab Sultani (one kebab koobideh and one kebab barg), Shish kebab and many more. These kebabs are usually served with a special spice called Sumac which has a sour and lemony flavor “chelo kebab” does not have a long history in Persian cuisine. About 150 years ago, when Nasser al-Din Shah of the Qajar dynasty travelled to the North-West region of Iran and had “chelo kebab” for the first time, he commanded that the dish be prepared and served in restaurants of Tehran. In this short time ”chelo kebab” has become Iran's national dish. Rice and kebab is one of the most delicious dishes of the Persian cuisine, so don't miss out on a chance to try it on your trip to Iran!
The oldest of the Iranian dishes besides soup (Ash/ pottage) is Dizi (a type of stew). We will describe Ash later. But Dizi is made of chickpeas, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, onions and lamb and it is eaten in a special manner. Dizi is cooked in vertical crocks of 15 cm height. After the Dizi is cooked, the liquid part of the stew is poured into a bowl and small pieces of bread are put in there to be soaked. This soaked bread is called Telit. The chickpeas, the meat and other materials are then mashed and mixed together in the crock. The dish is served with bread and eggplant tursu on the side. This dish is high in protein and calories and is a full meal. You can order Dizi in traditional restaurants in Iran.
Ash (pottage/ soup)
What is Ash? Ash is a traditional Persian food which comes in different varieties. Due to the vast geographical area of Iran, each region makes its own type of pottage, meaning each region has its own special cuisine. This diversity can be seen in all Iranian dishes like stews and rice, but it is most apparent in Ash. Ash is very similar to soup; the only difference is that very little or no meat is used in Ash. Grains, fresh vegetables and spices are used to replace the low amount of meat in Ash; this has made Ash the undisputed king of all Iranian dishes. Ash is also embellished with fried onions, died mint, garlic and dried whey. This combination makes Iranian Ash truly beautiful and appetizing. Even though rice and stew have their own special place on Iranian dinner tables, no Iranian can resist the great taste of the homemade Iranian Ash cooked by their mother and its wonderful smell in the house. Ash is an inexpensive and delicious food which everyone in every social class can prepare and enjoy. Ash is made during many rituals and ceremonies. One of the ceremonies known for its special kind of Ash is the good-bye ceremony. Good-bye ceremonies are organized after one leaves on a trip and that person's family prepare Ash Reshteh (a type of Ash) and distribute it among their family, friends and neighbors. This is a unique way for wishing the traveler a safe and wonderful trip. This dish might not be prepared for you who are COMING to Iran!
Kale Pache might be one of the most delicious and at the same time the weirdest Iranian dish. It even seems brutal at first sight. You will either love or hate this food, so it's a total black and white situation. Kale Pache is a cooked/boiled head, hooves and inner organs of a sheep. It is usually not cooked at home. Kale Pache is usually eaten for breakfast, so if u want to have Kale Pache you need to go to special restaurants that prepare Kale Pache which they usually serve with Sangak bread. Even though Kale Pache is usually served for breakfast, some restaurants do serve it in the evening and some high-end restaurants even have it on their main menu.
Next to herbs, which were described before, Iranians always have bread on their table. For those traveling to Iran, Persian bread tastes saltier than the toasts and breads that they are used to. Persian bread is not puffy. The dough is usually flattened using a rolling pin, it is then baked in traditional ovens. Amongst the different breads and their preparation methods, watching how Sangak bread is prepared could be fascinating for any tourist visiting Iran. Sangak bread may be the longest bread in the world. The dough for making the bread is put deep inside a stone oven and after a few minutes crispy, hot and weird looking Sangak bread comes out. With recent modernization of bakeries, Sangak bread is not baked in the traditional manner as much as before. Fortunately, there still exist a few traditional bakeries in different cities in Iran.
A drink that Iranians enjoy drinking with their meal is called Doogh. Doogh is sour tasting white liquid made of water and yoghurt. Salt, mint and dried spearmint should be added to the Doogh before drinking. Doogh is rich in fat and is also considered a product of milk. Recently, in the process of the industrial production, Doogh has lost its original quality and taste. If you like to try the original tasting Doogh you can ask the nomics to make you Doogh. Otherwise you can buy a bottle of industrial Doogh from any supermarket or restaurant in town. We also use Doogh in our cooking. We have a kind of Ash made with Doogh, and also another dish literally called ”water, Doogh, cucumber”. This food is made by adding grated cucumbers to Doogh.
Other than Doogh, Iran is a treasury of delicious and soothing drinks. Iranian distillate is the extract of all the cross-country wild herbs and fragrent flowers. Distillate is a colorless and fragrant liquid. You would really enjoy it after a hard working day if u add water, sugar syrup and ice to the liquid. Distillate has therapeutic effect as well and it’s very calming. Distillate is the extract of wild herbs growing on the central areas and foothills of Zagros Mountains.
You can also try the traditional Persian ice cream on your trip to Iran. Persian ice cream is different from the ice cream made in other countries. You can also order carrot juice combined with ice cream at Iranian ice cream shops. This special desert is a mixture of carrot juice and traditional Persian ice cream which gives you a wonderful taste you will never forget.
There are still many varieties of dishes that were not mentioned here such as fruit strips, Samanu, black kashk, veriety of Dolmas, Shirazi salad, veriety of Haleems and great smelling Persian sweets.
In Iran, meal time have an important role in Persian households. It’s the time the whole family gets together; it becomes a very warm and nurturing environment. It’s an Iranian tradition to eat your meal in a peaceful and quiet environment but the great tasting food prevents this from happening and you feel the need to talk about this amazing food you are consuming. Despite the invasion of other cultures, traditional Persian food remains the same and everyone is grateful for the meal they have and they count their blessings for the host.
Food is probably an important part of the culture and toward which people are bias and no one dares to mock the other nation’s cuisine; Iranians are no exception. To put your mind at ease, almost all the tourists who try Persian food tend to love it due to its mild taste. Thus, do not hesitate to try Persian cuisine because your trip will not be complete if you don’t try our food and you will most certainly enjoy the taste.
Different Persian stew:
Eggplant stew, Fesenjan stew, Ghormeh Sabzi stew, Celery stew, Bamiyeh stew, Plum stew, Eggplant and zucchini stew, Lentil stew, split pea and eggplant stew, Spear thistle stew, greengage stew, Prune stew, Chicken stew…
Different Persian rice
White rice, vicia faba rice, berberis rice, Dum Pukht, Tah Chin, Pataleh rice, Lentil rice, rice with vegetable leaves, sour cherry rice, cabbage rice, Kateh, Spanish rice, rice with beans, inlaid rice, vetch rice, Nargesi rice, rice with saffron, sweet rice and Tah Dig (crispy rice)
Different Persian Ash (Soup/ pottage)
Noodle soup, Kardeh soup, lemon juice soup, sour soup, rice soup, vegetable leaf soup, pomegranate soup, Tarhana soup, barley soup, cucumber soup, Doogh soup, turnip soup, hash soup, milk soup, yoghurt soup, zucchini soup, grain soup, sour soup, tomato soup and vetch soup.
Different Persian bread
Sangak, Barbari, Taftan, Galaj, oily and Tanok bread.
Different Persian kebab
Cutlet, shish kebab, kebab koubideh, fillet kebab, saffron kebab, fish kebab, ribs, kebab Bakhtiari, lamb kebab, kebab Bonab, made-in-pan kebab, chicken barbeque, kebab Hosseini, Kebab Sultani, Khoak, liver, heart, kidney and etc.
Other Persian food
Mirza ghassemi, Dolma, samosa, stuffed chicken, falafel, Kachi, Keledos, cutlet, vegetable omelet, eggplant and dries whey, eggplant haleem, plum stew, scrambled egg, brain, onion stew, Baghala ghatogh, biryani, yoghurt and spinach, rice pudding, Mashhadi Sholeh, lentiform stew, Kofta, stew, Abgusht, water, cucumber and Doogh, egg stew, haggis, dizi, kale pache, Shirazi salad, Akbar Jujeh and etc.