Whilst travelling around Iran you are sure to come across a stunning variety of culinary delights. From traditional stew dishes to succulent kebabs and heart warming soups, each region has something to offer. The variance in ingredients and dishes is partly owed to the diverse climates which exist across the country, resulting in only the richest of ingredients that are used for cooking. Here is a breakdown of the top 11 must-try traditional dishes for you – Noosh-e-Jan! (bon appetite).

Dizi

Also known as ‘Abgoosht’, this meat and bean broth dish dates back hundreds of years. It is essentially a stew made up of lamb and chickpeas with a tomato base. It is usually served in a stone dish called a dizi – hence the name.

dizi

Ash Reshte

Another heart warming, traditional dish which is generally served in the winter is the soup dish Ash Reshte. Hearty and delicious, this soup is made from chickpeas, beans, noodles and plenty of herbs.

Ash reshteh

Kabab

If you’re heading out for dinner in an Iranian restaurant enjoyed by locals then the chances are you will be served kebabs and rice-Iranian style. Iranian style kebabs are known for being particularly succulent and tender, and come in several varieties including koobideh, barg, chenje and bakhtiari.

Kabab

Khoresht Gheimeh

Khoresht Gheimeh is a beef and split pea stew made with dried limes and cooked in a tomato base, usually served with fried potatoes on the top. In the month of Muharram, a holy month in the Iranian calendar this dish is cooked and served on the street to those in need.

Khoresht Gheimeh

Khoresht Gheimeh

Zereshk Polo Morgh

By far one of the prettiest Iranian dishes, Zereshk Polo Morgh is a rice dish usually made with saffron and barberries alongside a chicken and tomato stew. The barberries are a vibrant red and are sour to the taste, making the taste of this dish an interesting one.

Zereshk polo morgh

Zereshk polo morgh

Fesenjan

Fesenjan is an iconic dish dating back to the Achameinid Empire in 515 B.C. Made from walnuts, pomegranate paste and chicken or duck, it is common to spot it among the food often served at a wedding ceremony in Iran. At the ancient ruins of Persepolis, archaeologists discovered a tablet detailing the ingredients used to make Fesenjan, making it one of the oldest loved dishes.

Fesenjan

Fesenjan

Baghali polo

This rice dish is made with saffron, fava beans and green dill, and is usually served with lamb. A favourite in spring time, this is one of the most popular rice dishes in the country.

Baghali polo

Baghali polo

Tahdig

Tahdig is the golden crispy layer found at the bottom of the rice pot. It’s normally eaten as a side dish however there is never enough of it and tahdig often finds itself in the middle of most family rows!

tahdig

Ghormeh Sabzi

Made from lots of herbs, kidney beans and lamb, this dish is typically served with rice and is another very popular and must-try dish in Iran.

Ghormeh Sabzi

Kashke Bademjan

Usually eaten as a dip or side dish, Kashke Bademjan is made up of smoked aubergines and ‘Kashk‘ – a yoghurt whey used commonly in Iranian cooking. This dish is usually served with a delicious Iranian bread known as Lavash.

Kashke Bademjan

Saffron Ice-Cream and Faloode

One dessert dish worth trying out is Iranian saffron ice-cream and faloode. Faloode is also a cold dessert, consisting of rice noodles mixed in semi frozen rose water and sugar syrup, similar to a sorbet. Both of these can be found at ice cream shops around Iran and make a delightful afternoon snack in the hotter months of the year.

Faloode

Food tourism

Food tourism or “searching stomach” is a delicious experience of travel
Food tourism is one of the types of tourism that can play an important role in attracting tourists.This kind of tourism is related to the customs and culture of countries.It is attractive to visitors who travel from other countries of the world with different culture and also are ready to experience their culture and customs.Food tourism is currently generating $ 200 billion in revenue.

Important countries in food tourism
The main market for this tourism is in Europe and North America, and in Germany, England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, France, Scandinavia and the United States.The countries that compete with each other and are trying to get a good foothold on the market: Spain, France and Italy in Europe and Japan, India, and Thailand in Asia.

Food tourism, or as the Iranians say, “searching stomach” is a tourist style, which has been a tourist attraction for many years, and every year number of tourists travel with the aim of experiencing new flavors.

Iranian Food Scientists believe there are over 2,500 types of foods and 109 types of beverages and bread and sweets in Iran.Although the Iranian Cooking style is one of the three main schools of food alongside the Roman and Chinese cooking style and the vast geographical area of our country has caused to have a lot of food, but unfortunately, but, Unfortunately, the native foods of Iran are still unknown, and they do not know how Iranian ladies wonder in their kitchens.

Our country, with its diverse climates and subcultures, has the potential to become a destination for food tourists.Guilan province is one of the provinces that has been considered for this purpose from many years ago, and the province was introduced as the first destination for food tourism.

In fact, no matter your travel destination, You’re sure to have a wonderful, memorable and delicious local cuisine at your destination.Unfortunately, this important feature has not been considered and has not become a tourist attraction in Iran.

Travel anywhere in Iran You will find luscious food.Iran is known for its delicious and Varied foods.A lot has been said about traveling to Iran,But not about Iran’s food trip.
Seeing new attractions and places, getting to know each other’s ethnicities and customs, buying souvenirs, and at the top of all this, discovering new dishes and tasting them is definitely one of the most beautiful experiences of travel.
Especially for us, the Iranians who have more than 2,500 types of food in our culture.
Iranian food or Persian cuisine refers to traditional and modern delicacies from Iran. Situated between the Mediterranean Sea, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Indian subcontinent and Anatolia, Iranian cuisine offers a common history and ingredients with Mesopotamian cuisine and Mediterranean cuisine. Fresh green herbs are often used together with fruits such as plums, pomegranates, quinces, plums, apricot, and raisins.

 

Typical Persian main dishes are a combination of rice with meat, lamb, chicken or fish and some onion, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. To achieve a balanced taste, characteristic Persian flavors such as saffron, dried limes, cinnamon, and parsley are tenderly mixed and used in some special dishes.

Most Iranian cuisines are made up of a wide variety of herbs and aromatic herbs with all kinds of meat.These types of meat include domestic animals such as goats, sheep, birds, and fish species.This diversity of food is more related to the religious laws existing in Iran and Muslims.But this limitation has made Iranian food popular among other nations as well.
Iranian food or Persian cuisine refers to traditional and modern delicacies from Iran. Situated between the Mediterranean Sea, Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Indian subcontinent and Anatolia, Iranian cuisine offers a common history and ingredients with Mesopotamian cuisine and Mediterranean cuisine. Fresh green herbs are often used together with fruits such as plums, pomegranates, quinces, plums, apricots, and raisins.

Imagine a green landscape filled with rice fields, tea plantations, and olive groves. A country where you can walk the mountains in the thick mist of the morning and in the afternoon you can plant waterfalls on sun-drenched rocks. A country filled with golden apricots that taste like a honey, peaches so juicy, hardly notice the sweet juice that runs down the chin, and little black figs, firm and velvety to the touch, which with sticky Tack out stickiness while you tear it open. I enjoyed all these pleasures and more when I traveled through Iran in search of the secrets of Persian cuisine.

On your journey, you can cook and feast with Iranians of all walks of life who welcome you into their homes to share their favorite recipes.In a country, most often viewed through the narrow prism of its policy, the food is a wonderful vehicle for the discovery. A really good meal is something that everyone can relate to.

Those who are not familiar with the food culture in Iran may assume that these foods are very flammable or spicy.But it is, in fact, gentle and soothing, a poetic balance of subtle spices such as dried limes, saffron, and rosewater. Slow-cooked stews, known as khoresh, and elaborate rice dishes layered with herbs, vegetables, nuts and dried fruit are the bedrocks of Persian cuisine, creating a dazzling mosaic of scents, textures, and colors at the dining table

we start our journey from west of Iran Tabriz, the first capital of Safavid dynasty(1502–1736), a place of culinary connection for centuries, a trading crossroads connecting the Caucasus, the Middle East, and Europe.
Tabriz women are very well-known among Iranian people, who are well-versed and well-cooked.
There is a famous proverb in Iran that says ” marry women in Tabriz” it means that the girls and women of Tabriz are well known at Housekeeping and cooking.
Today, the bazaar is a Unesco world heritage site and nearby is one of the best places in town for preparing a different kind of spice, famous dried vegetables and other nuts for a unique Tabrizi food.
The famous food Kofte Tabrizi which is made by Rice, Meat, Split chickpea, and different kind of Spices and dried herbs and make as like as a small ball.
Continue your sightseeing tour in the city to reach the famous public Park: El Goli”.Around the park, you will be welcomed by a variety of street restaurants with a garden of tall trees and water like a paradise.In these beautiful gardens, you can enjoy a variety of traditional cuisine of Tabriz with the right price and quality.And for the last part of the party, enjoy the grilled corn on red fires, to have a memorable night in the capital of the Safavid kings.

We continue our journey to the south of Azarbaijan province and North of Iran, along with the green belt of northern Iran along the Caspian Sea the biggest lake in the world and also the most expensive black gold ” Kaviar”.
The cuisine of Gilan is as green as its landscapes, making it the best place in Iran for vegetarians. Aubergines and garlic appeared at every meal, alongside the mounds of fresh coriander, parsley, and dill that are used to create fragrant bases for stews and emerald-green kuku (a type of frittata).
You can walk in the hills and groves of this green land and talk to people to know their cookie codes.
Gilan is also home to one of Iran’s most famous dishes: fesenjoon, chicken poached in an earthy sweet-and-sour sauce of ground walnuts and pomegranates.of course one of the most famous vegetarian dish in Gillan is Mirza Ghasemi which is made by egg, yogurt,tomatoes and garlic that is served by all kind of dishes.

No trip to the region would be complete without sampling koloocheh, small pastries stuffed with ground walnuts, cinnamon, and cardamom which are the specialty of Fuman, or Lahijan With Iranian tea specializing in Lahijan.
Of course, it should be noted that the culinary culture in the three northern provinces of Iran is very close to each other.

In the continuation of our trip to Tehran, we will reach the capital of Iran’s political, cultural and economic life.
A modern city more than you think about.
Long, high-rise buildings, clean, and most importantly diverse restaurants, where you can find a variety of modern and international cuisine.
Tehran is filled with upscale restaurants serving dishes ranging from sushi and frozen yogurt to dizi, a lamb, chickpea and potato stew made to a centuries-old recipe, cooked in a clay pot for several hours until the meat is so tender it can be mashed into a paste with a fork.

One of the best areas at Tehran for food and nature simultaneously is Darband the Northen neighbor of Tehran at the foot of the Alborz mountains.Finish the night by relaxing on faded Persian carpets in one of the many small wooden pavilions up and down the road and join the locals in smoking some apple-flavoured shishas.
In central Iran, I visited saffron farms, rose water fortresses and pomegranate plantations and discovered the history and horticulture behind Iran’s most demanding ingredients. The pomegranate is indigenous to Iran, and in ancient Persian mythology, the heroic warrior Isfandiar is to eat his seeds and become invincible. Today pomegranates retain their almost mythical status and are revered as the favorite fruit of the nation. As well as being enjoyed on your own – their scarlet seeds with a pinch of Golpar, an earthy, citrus spice – injected – they are also salted, dried and boiled in molasses to be added to tasty dishes.

Esfahan province and Esfahan, in particular, had been the capital of several government dynasties in Iran, such as Seljuqs, and the most important of them was the capital of the Safavid government.The city of Isfahan or known as “Half of the world” or The Museum City is one of the world’s most beautiful cities, an unforgettable international tourism destination popular all of over the world, an encyclopedia of Iranian and Islamic civilization.
In this beautiful city, besides visiting the most beautiful historical works of Iran from 2500 BC, you can enjoy the most delicious cuisine in the various restaurants in this city.One of the most famous foods in Isfahan is Buriani, which is made with lamb, tomato, onion, pepper, turmeric and other spices.The most famous restaurant in Isfahan is Shahrzad where you can eat the best dishes with a reasonable price.

The city of Shiraz is synonymous with verse, and with the roses that twist in the town’s well-known garden, Bagh-e Eram. Roses are indigenous to Iran and it was here that the petals were first refined into rosewater, more than 2,500 years back. Today, this is chiefly utilized as a part of treats, for example, faloodeh, a fragrant and reviving rosewater and lime sorbet with solidified vermicelli. The Hafez plant is one of the best places to test this nearby claim to fame and I was taken there by Shahin Hojabrafkan, a good looking and beguiling used auto businessperson. We sat neglecting Hafez’s sanctuary, pressing wedges of lime into our fragrant rosewater-mixed sorbets and watching a constant flow of Iranians pay respect to their most esteemed artist.

The last stop on your ventures is the southern port town of Bandar Abbas, on the Persian Gulf. Bandar, as it is known, is a town of burning daylight, warm blue waters and towering palms, and was at one time a critical post on the flavor course from India to Europe.
By appear differently in relation to whatever remains of Iranian cooking, the sustenance of this locale is an ambush on the faculties – an exciting blend of Persian, Indian and Arabian flavors. Tropical natural products, for example, mangos, pineapples, and guavas, are picked green and utilized for Indian-style pickles, and fish from the warm Persian Gulf is stewed, flame broiled as kebabs, or matured, dried and ground into powders and glues.
The best place to test the day’s catch is the fish showcase, where beefy men yell their arrangements of the day and ladies squat on the floor beside them, deftly shelling prawns. By the market, a line of fish eateries serve specialties including ghaleyehmaygoo – a prawn, new coriander and tamarind stew – and little hot fishcakes called kuku-ye mahi,
Voyagers in Iran are dependably met with warmth and cordiality: it is normal to be welcome to an Iranian home for supper after simply trading a couple of merriments. For those wishing to extend their culinary learning, or just appreciate a standout amongst the most complex cooking styles on the planet, Iran offers an abundance of culinary pleasures. The main test for most guests will be pressing into their pants toward the finish of the excursion.

 

Iranian cuisine offers a large variety of foodstuff, but not necessarily Iranian restaurants in general. In other words, people make and eat quite a range of different dishes at home. You can try them too particularly if you eat with them inside their homes. However, when they eat out and go to restaurants, many of them prefer grilled food that are not so easily made in apartments, meaning kebabs.

If you’re a vegetarian, then you have to be very patient, because there are not much choices in restaurants for you. Yet, you can always find some food and drinks in Iran for yourself by doing some little shopping and buying some of the world’s best nuts, dried fruits, fresh fruits, etc and have it with you during the trip.

 

Fruit Market at Tajrish Local Bazaar, North Tehran

Fruit Market at Tajrish Local Bazaar, North Tehran

Iranian Kebabs

The fact is Iranian kebabs are prepared differently compared to those in Turkey, etc. Iran grills its kebabs in form of  skewed meat. When you’re traveling in Iran for a few days, you already know the restaurants’ menus by heart:

  • Minced Kebab (Kubideh)
  • Beef/Lamb Kebab (Barg)
  • Chicken Kebab (Jujeh)
  • Mixed Kebab (Bakhtiary: combined beef & chicken)
  • Chelo (cooked rice)
  • etc.

and for drinks:

  • Coca Cola
  • Fanta
  • Dough
  • Non-Alcoholic Beer
  • etc.

In some restaurants, they may go further and offer Caucasian Kebab, Bulgarian Kebab, etc! This is the general menu for food and drinks in Iran. Of course, there are some Western-style restaurants in big cities offering large variety of other dishes as well.

Apart from that, some other dishes are usually available like mixed rice with herbs, vegetables, etc that comes with lamb shank, cooked chicken, etc.

Other Traditional Food Made at Home

Sometimes, stews are also on the menu. Make sure you try them as they don’t so often appear there. Most of the people make them at home. They are the traditional dishes that are very much well-liked by most of the people. They are always served with cooked rice.

Soups are mostly barley soup, but at times you may find noodle soup, mushroom soup, vegetable soup, etc.

Keep in mind that if you visit various parts of Iran, there could be local food and drinks served in their restaurants you might not find in other cities. So, make sure you go to some local restaurants to find them and try them. This is the case in places like north of Iran, south of Iran and generally the areas that are somehow far from the modern aspects of international food consumption.

One important point to remember is popular restaurants where the majority of the customers are local people could be safe places to eat. There are always general tips working in every country. For instance, if you see someone is offering foodstuff at the side of the street where passing cars produce lots of dust, you wouldn’t take the chance to try the local food. Or if the local authorities have announced that it will be safer to keep away from vegetable stuff like salads, etc, just follow the common sense.

What Drinks Are Served in Iran

Drinks are usually in four categories:

  1. Soft drinks: There are Iranian brands offered like Zamzam. In addition, you can find Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, etc too.
  2. Non-Alcoholic drinks: They are either Iranian-made ones like Delster, Behnoush (flavored with apple, lemon, etc) or foreign-made ones like Bavaria, Hoffenberg, etc with similar flavors.
  3. Mineral water: They’re the water from Iranian springs bottled in an industrial process. You can hardly find any carbonated bottled water in Iran. They are not popular here.
  4. Yogurt drink (Dough): Certain Iranian factories make this traditional Iranian drink, which is a mixture of yogurt with water, salt, herbs, etc. Sometimes, they are carbonated too. The original version is made by villagers or nomads, which is a by-product of milk made in animal skin without mixing it with water.
If you’re drinking bottled water during your trip ion Iran, you may not want to drink any of those drinks mixed with ice as most of the time, ice is made from tap water.

What you should not expect to be served in Iran

You will be able to have only the type of meat that are approved by Islam like lamb, beef, chicken, turkey, quail, fish, prawn, shrimp, and lobster in some restaurants. You can never find pork, snake, frog, and other kinds of meat that are prohibited in Islam.

Alcoholic drinks like beer, wine, vodka, etc are not served in restaurants, hotels, etc. There’s a strong ban since the 1979 revolution in Iran against the production, possession and distribution of such drinks. It’s not worth trying to find it under any circumstances either.

Personal Rule of Thumb

Nobody knows it better than you if certain type of food could bring issues to your stomach or not. Are you susceptible to fat food? Why don’t you keep away from such food anywhere you are in the world?

If you already know your intestines are sensitive toward unknown bacteria, why should you insist on testing some new type of salad you’re attracted to? Isn’t it better just to look and learn about it instead of taking the risk and trying it?

Keeping away from personal risky eating habits will save your traveling time and that of your fellow travelers. You will not want to keep an entire group of travelers for waiting and worried about you as you’ve ended in a clinic for two days due to a mistake.

Iranian Foodstuff Are Healthy

I must admit that despite all the precautionary steps recommended above, Iranian food is quite healthy and safe. Hygienic measures are closely supervised by related authorities and eating out is very popular among the  people in Iran. In rare occasions, you may find some foodstuff dangerous to eat, etc. It’s just the common sense that dictates more caution for eating.

Just rest assured there are some very interesting and delicious Iranian food that you don’t want to miss when you visit Iran.

Food-in-Iranian-Restaurants

Food-in-Iranian-Restaurants

Photo Courtesy of Persian Food Page on Facebook

Food is part of each nation’s life and culture. You will find a variety of different local dishes in Iran when you travel across the country. As the climate is different in humid areas of the Caspian Sea, as it’s hot and arid in central deserts, as cold winter time up in the Zagros mountains creates extremely cold days and as hot summer days at Persian Gulf makes you feel over-heated, Iranian cuisine isn’t a simple one to define and present.

Western style restaurants in big cities like Tehran may offer a wider variety of food whereas you will discover there’s not the same diversity in the type of dishes at other restaurants while traveling in Iran. Of course, what I’m going to explain here is an overview of what you generally find in Iranian restaurants inside the country.

What’s out There in the Restaurants?

Typically, most of the restaurants present a menu including starters, main courses, deserts and drinks. The items in each one could be as below:

 

1) Starter in Iranian Restaurants’ Menus:

Salads in Iranian Restaurants

Written or not, Barley Soup is almost always there, but they cook it in different ways. Sometimes, they add tomatoes to it and sometimes they add milk. Tastes are also different depending on various spices they add to it. You would love to start your meal with one such dish specially if it’s a bit cold out there. Tomato soup, vermicelli-like soup, etc are also available in some places.

Season Salad or Cabbage Salad is another item in starter section of your Iranian food menus. It’s something they serve with some chef-made dressing, mostly rich in mayonnaise. Factory-made lime juice (tastes like everything but lime juice!) and sometimes olive oil are there with it as well. IF olive oil is available, you won’t expect a very nice-quality one.

Yogurt (with or without shallot) is another item at Iranian restaurants’ menus as starter. If they serve some dripped yogurt, I would recommend you not to miss it. As you know yogurt is a very helpful foodstuff to have in a foreign country as it prevent diarrhea. At the first days, as your intestines’ bacteria are different from the local people’s, you would want to order some yogurt rather than salad.

 

2) Main Course in Iranian Restaurants’ Menus:

Kebab in Iranian Restaurants

Kebab is the BIG thing in Iran, not because I love it (I’m a vegetarian!), but as it is the first word you hear from any restaurant waiters. “What have you got?”, you ask him. The answer is,”lamb kebab, chiken kebab, beef kebab, shish kebab, mixed kebab, etc”. Sometimes, they go further and offer dishes like Caucasian kebab, Greek kebab, etc. Don’t expect non-Halal types of meat like pork that Islam forbids for Muslims. They’re not available in Iranian restaurants.

Stew, if available, will be something you must have as they are less often serveed in Iranian restaurants. People usually make them and eat them at home. Instead, when they eat out, they’d rather some grilled food that’s not easy to make at apartments!

Rice is a main thing in Iranian cuisine. The cooked rice is called polo, which has got nothing to do with playing Polo! There are different combinations of rice with other ingredients that make Iranian dishes like:

  • Zereshk Polo: rice with saffron, barberries, and chicken.
  • Baqali Polo: rice with herbs, broad beans and lamb shank or chicken.
  • Sabzi Polo: rice with herbs and fish
  • Albaloo Polo: rice with sour cherries and chicken
  • Shirain Polo: rice with saffron, orange skin and chicken
  • Lubia Polo: rice with green beans and lamb pieces
  • Adas Polo: rice with lentils and lamb pieces
  • and some other ones.

Fish is another food served with or without rice. The types of fish available in Iranian restaurants in Iran are either from farms like trout fish (found in most of the restaurants) or from the bodies of water at the North (Caspian Sea) or South (Persian Gulf). The sturgeon isn’t something you could find everywhere, but if you happen to see it on the menu of a nice restaurants,  go for it! The large fish from the Persian gulf (fried or grilled) has got only a backbone and is delicious if cooked well.

 

3) Desert in Iranian Restaurants’ Menus

Having a large variety of deserts cannot be seen at Iranian restaurants’ menus. People tend to have a cup of tea at home in Iran. When they eat out, they have deserts like:

  • Traditional Ice Cream
  • Tea
  • Instant Coffee

Let’s not forget that many of Iranian restaurants don’t even have the first two items, but some other ones (particularly in the hotels) have them. Now, go to some trendy restaurants and find a whole series of different desert dishes. What I’m trying to introduce here is just the general items on the restaurants when you’re traveling in Iran.

 

4) Drinks in Iranian Restaurants:

Tea in Iranian Restaurants

Local cola drink factories started to produce Iranian drinks in Iran after 1979 revolution. Today Zam Zam is exported to tens of countries. However, they are not the only soft drinks you may try.

Soda drinks like Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, etc can be found at the menus if you go to the restaurants a level higher. This could be a surprise as you may ask yourself, “what are they doing here?”

Yogurt drink, Dough, is a combination of yogurt, water, salt and sometimes some herbs. Some of them are fizzy too. It’s refreshing and something new to some people. You want to try it.

Bottled water is another drink, that you may want to carry with you almost everywhere you go specially during your trip in relatively hot weather. The carbonated version is rarely found in Iran. This is THE drink that I recommend you to have instead of the tap water during your visit to Iran. It’s becoming popular in Iran these days as well. 10 years ago, this was not the case.

Fast Food Restaurants in Iran

As this is some international concept that you could find almost everywhere in the world, I found nothing special about them to introduce here at this post. However, one point may be interesting to you: the international chains like King Burger, McDonald, etc are not found in Iran. Yet, you may find the same style in Iranian names. The items at menus of such restaurants are similar to those of the famous brands.

Places to Have Hot Drinks

Iranian Teahouses

 

Regarding the drinks, I should add that, likewise, Coffee Bean, Starbucks, etc are not present in Iran. The reason isn’t the non-popularity of coffee in Iran as recently young people have started going more and more to coffee shops asking for good coffee – real ones made with machines, not instant ones!

Tea Houses are the traditional shops where only black tea is served. Some people go to these places inside bazaars to smoke some water pipe afterward too.

Note: one traditional dish is also served in tea houses called “Dizi” or “Abgusht”. It’s a mixture of lamb, potatoes, beans, peas, spices, etc. To eat this dish, you cannot simply take fork and knife and begin. it requires a whole new post to explain. I may do that some day.

Iranian-Kabab-Koobideh

Iranian-Kabab-Koobideh

Iranian Kabab Koobideh on BBQ

Iranian kebab is one of the most favorite and well known Iranian traditional foods. Kebabs are made based on various recipes. That’s why you see a long list of them in Iranian restaurants’ menus. What you read here is how to grill Kabab Koobideh, which is the ground meat version of it.

There’s a whole range of various types of Kebabs grilled in Iran. People use their oven’s grill at home or a metal short-legged or long-legged barbeque to make this food outdoor on the gentle heat of fiery charcoal. Iranians have referred to Kebab in their literature for centuries. It’s even well known outside of Iran and has its own fans across the world.

Ingredients for Making Iranian Kebab:

  • 500 g ground lamb (flank)
  • 500 g ground beef (sirloin)
  • 2 medium onions, grated
  • 1 pinch saffron threads, crushed
  • ½ tsp. black pepper powder
  • Salt
  • Sumac

Directions to Grill Kabab Koobideh:

1. Put grated onion in a sieve and press it to release and discard the juice.

2. Put the crushed saffron in a cup and add two small ice cubes. Set it aside and let the ice cubes melt slowly.

3. Mix ground lamb and ground beef in a large bowl and knead them well. Then add grated onion, soaked saffron, black pepper powder, and salt. Mix them with the meat thoroughly into a smooth paste. When you’re done, cover the bowl with cellophane and refrigerate it for 2-3 hours.

4. Remove the bowl from the fridge and get ready to skewer the Iranian kebab. Take a bowl of cold water next to yourselves. Wet your hands in cold water. Take a handful of the mixture and make a ball. Place a wide metal skewer on it and start spreading the meat ball around the skewer. To do this, use your thumb and index finger. Continue with the rest of mixture and skewers.

Notes:

  • Use a little bit more pressure at both ends of your meat spreads. It helps the meat to stick more securely to the skewers while grilling.
  • Leave a few inches from the tip and handle of the skewers free for grilling.
  • The mixture should be about ½ inch thick around the skewers.
  • Put the prepared skewers on a tray with raised sides to avoid meat touching the surface and refrigerate them for a while.

5. Arrange the prepared kebabs on a grill. To avoid the meat falling off the skewers on the heat, start turning the skewers right away in order that you’ve arranged them. Do it for a few minutes until both sides of the kebabs start grilling at the same time. After that you can let one side grill completely and then turn it to the other side.

Note:

It’s necessary to follow this instruction. If you wait for one side to get grilled completely while the other side is raw and then start turning it, the meat can’t stick to the skewers and falls apart.

6. Place the grilled Kabab Koobideh between two sheets of bread and pull out the skewers. It’s time to enjoy your home made Iranian Kebab!

Notable Tips to Make Kabab Koobideh

  • Grind your meats two or three times. The more you grind it, the smoother and stickier paste you will have.
  • Don’t add turmeric to your mixture ever! It spoils the taste.
  • If your skewers are new, you’d better put them on heat for a while and then start using them after getting cold. Otherwise, it would be probable that the meat fall off the skewers.
  • Your mixture for this kind of kebab have to be made up of lamb only or a mix of beef and lamb. It’s not possible to use just beef because it’s not fatty enough.

How to Serve Kabab Koobideh

 

Iranian-Kabab-Koobideh

Iranian-Kabab-Koobideh

 

 

Kabab Koobideh is best served as such!

Every culture has got its own way of serving food. Iranian gastronomy is no exception. They have two ways to serve this dish:

  • Serve it on a platter with sheets of Lavash or Sangak bread (Iranian traditional breads). Each person can take a kebab on their plates, cut it to small pieces, wrap it in a piece of bread, and eat it.
  • Serve it with rice. That’s what Iranians call Chellow kabab. You’ll need a spoon and fork to eat it. In Iran, it’s almost served with a small stick of butter on the side which gets melted slowly by the heat of your dish. You can spread it over the rice or kebabs based on your taste.

Note:

Most of the people use a spoon and a fork to even cut the Kabab Koobideh, not a knife, but you can ask for it if you’re in a restaurant and it’s not already placed in front of you.
You can decorate the kebabs with some sumac and most commonly used table vegetables, parsley and basil. For Iranians, the most favorite side dish with this food is grilled tomato. But there can be some others like Yogurt, table vegetables, lemon (to squeeze it and spread the juice on kebabs), or raw onion (chopped into pieces).

The most favorite beverage with Iranian kebab or Chelow kabab is Doogh (Iranian yogurt drink) seasoned by dried mint powder or some other local herbs.
If you’re in Iran, no matter in which city or area, you can have this food in your menu. So, don’t be in doubt, order it! And if enjoyable, I’m sure it will be, try this recipe to repeat this amazing taste experience for yourselves and share it with your family or friends at home.

 

ghormeh-sabzi-dish

ghormeh-sabzi-dish

A dish of Ghormeh Sabzi Stew

Among all Iranian dishes, there are a few ones experiencing no major changes throughout their history. Ghormeh Sabzi is one of them which is a particular favorite of almost every Iranian.

Hundred years ago, it was prepared and cooked in almost the same way as today by Nomads. The meat would be provided from their sheep and prepared by animal fats and oils. The herbs would be collected from mountains and plains, and soar grapes or lemon juice would be used for flavoring.

Ingredients for Cooking Ghormeh Sabzi:

  • 2 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 cup finely chopped chives
  • 1 cup finely chopped dill leaves
  • 1 cup finely chopped spinach (when not available, use chard’s leaves instead)
  • 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tbsp. dried, crushed fenugreek leaves
  • ½ cup red kidney beans, pre-soaked over night
  • 500 g stew meat (lamb)
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 4-5 Dried limes
  • Cooking oil
  • Salt and hot pepper powder

Directions to cook Ghormeh Sabzi:

1- Mix the prepared herbs. Fry them over medium heat with 2 tablespoon oil in a nonstick pan for about 10 minutes.

2- Add dried, crushed fenugreek leaves to the pan. Continue heating just for 5 minutes, and then set the pan aside.

Note:

  • The amount of fenugreek leaves and the time of heating have to be less than the other herbs, otherwise, it gives a bitter taste to your stew.

3- In a stewpot, fry finely chopped onion with 2 tablespoon oil over medium heat until golden.

4- Add turmeric powder and fry for a few more minutes.

5- Add the meat and increase heat a little bit. Stir until the meat cubes get brown.

Notes:

  • Some people use chicken or ostrich meat rather than lamb.
  • You can also use bone-in meat.

6- Add pre-soaked beans, fried herbs, and 3 cups of boiling water. Increase heat for the mixture to start boiling. Then, reduce heat to medium, and let it simmer gently for about 3 hours with the lid on.

Note:

  • If you need to add some more water before the end of cooking time, use boiling water.

7- At the last 30 minutes, add salt, hot pepper powder, and dried limes.

Note:

  • In Iran, dried lime is called “Limoo Amani”. It’s available in two varieties, black and yellow. Black dried limes are better to be used in Ghormeh Sabzi. Before adding them to the mixture, pierce them with a fork to give its sour flavor to your stew while simmering.
  • You have to add salt and dried limes when meat and beans are tender, otherwise they don’t get cooked properly, and it will take much more time for the stew to get ready.
  • You can substitute dried limes with lemon juice, or use both together if you like it to taste sourer.

8- Get the lid off and check the stew. If you can see a thin layer of oil floating on the top, it’s ready to serve.

Different areas and slight differences in cooking Ghormeh Sabzi

The followings are some minor manipulations usually done in the recipe of this Iranian dish:

  • Northern Iran: without fenugreek leaves, and using rose coco beans rather than red kidney beans.
  • Southern Iran: larger amount of cilantro, and sometimes adding tomato paste to the mixture of herbs and meat.
  • Fars province: adding medium diced potato to the mixture at the last hour of cooking process.
  • Azeris: They don’t fry the herbs, use black eyed peas rather than red kidney beans, and add tomato paste to the mixture of herbs and meat.

How to serve Ghormeh Sabzi Stew

This stew is served with rice, in a big bowl or small ones for each person. Everyone should take a spoonful of the stew, put it on their rice and take a mouthful of both in a spoon with the help of a fork until finishing with their meal. The most common side dishes with Ghormeh Sabzi are Doogh (Iranian yogurt drink) and Shirazi salad (a kind of cucumber and tomato salad flavored with sour grape juice or lemon juice).

This Iranian dish is even one of the favorites of visitors who come to Iran from all over the world. If you try it once, you’ll be one of the fans, too.

khoresht-Gheimeh

khoresht-Gheimeh

A Plate of Khoresht Gheimeh, Iranian Stew

It’s one of the most popular foods in Iranian gastronomy. A reason for the popularity of Khoresht Gheimeh is that, in most religious occasions and ceremonies in Iran, it’s one of the most common dishes cooked and distributed as a votive food. “Khoresht” is the Persian equivalent for “stew”.

In some areas of Iran, there are slight differences in the recipe of this Persian food. But they all have the basic ingredients (yellow split peas, dried lime, and French fries) in common. However, the following is the main and most common recipe for Khoresht Gheimeh.

Ingredients of Khoresht Gheimeh:

  • 500 g stew meat (lamb or veal)
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cup yellow split peas, pre-soaked for a about 1-2 hours
  • 4 medium sized potato, cut into long thin strips
  • 4 dried limes
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • Cooking oil
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • Salt and hot pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp. crushed saffron threads (optional)
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon powder (optional)

Directions to Cook Khoresht Gheimeh:

1. Put the crushed saffron in a cup and add one small ice cube. Set it aside and let the ice cube melt slowly.

2. Drain the pre-soaked peas and put them in a pot. Add about 3 cups of water and put the pot over high heat. When the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to medium and let the peas simmer with the lid on to get nearly undercooked. Then, remove the pot from heat, drain the peas, and set them aside.

Note:

  • Cover the pot with the lid loosely to keep it from boiling over.

3. In a stewpot, fry finely chopped onions with 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat until slightly golden.

4. Add turmeric powder and fry for a few more minutes.

5. Add the meat and increase heat a little bit. Stir until the meat cubes get brown.

Note:

  • You can substitute lamb or veal with turkey. But it’ll take more time to get ready and cooked.

6. Add the prepared peas and saffron to the meat. Mix them and continue heating.

7. After about 3-4 minutes, add 3 cups of boiling water to the mixture and stir a bit. Increase heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat to medium and let your stew simmer gently with the lid on for about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Notes:

  • In case you need to add some more water before the end of the cooking time, use boiling water.
  • While the stew is simmering, you have enough time to make the French fries needed for garnishing.

8. Take a frying pan. Put the sliced potatoes into it. Add about 2 tablespoons of oil. Fry them over medium heat until they are golden and crispy. Then, add a little bit salt, stir for a few seconds, and set the pan aside.

Note:

  • Instead of homemade French fries, you can use packaged French fries.

9. At the last 30 minutes of simmering, add salt, hot pepper powder, tomato paste, and dried limes. (salt and pepper to your taste)

Notes:

  • If you heat the tomato paste with one tablespoon of oil for a few minutes in a frying pan before adding, it’ll give the stew a better color.
  • Before adding dried limes, pierce them with a fork. This way, the sour flavor of the lime penetrates your stew while simmering.
  • You have to add salt and dried limes when the meat and peas are tender. Otherwise, they don’t get cooked properly, and will take much more time to get ready. Also, if the stew simmer for a long time with dried limes in it, its taste will turn bitter.
  • You can substitute dried limes with lemon juice, or use both together if you like your Khoresht Gheimeh to taste sourer.

10. Add the cinnamon powder at the last 15 minutes if you like its flavor.

Note:

  • It’ll give a dark color to your food if you add it sooner.

11. After the intended time, get the lid off and check the Persian food you’ve cooked. If you can see a thin layer of oil floating on the top and it’s got the desired consistency (which resembles that of a spaghetti sauce), it’s ready to serve.

How to Serve Khoresht Gheimeh:

This stew is served with rice like other Iranian stews. You can serve it in a big bowl for all or in small ones for each person. Use the French fries to garnish the bowls.

To eat this savory Persian food, take a spoonful of the stew, put it on your rice, and take a mouthful of both using a spoon. A fork can be used to help taking the mixture of stew and rice in the spoon.

Common side dishes to have with your meal can be table vegetables, green salad, yogurt, or various kinds of pickles. And the most favorite drink served with this food is Doogh (Iranian yogurt drink seasoned by dried mint powder or some other local herbs).

You’ll be pleased with the taste of this Persian food, especially the one you yourselves have made it.

Dolmeh-Barg-e-Mo

Dolmeh-Barg-e-Mo

A Dish of Dolmeh Barg-e Mo

As many of you may have heard the name of this Iranian dish, I must say that Dolmeh Barg-e Mo is one of the Iranian traditional foods originally cooked among Azari people in West Azerbaijan. It’s cooked in almost every area of Iran, but with some slight differences specific to each area. It has a special position among favorite summer dishes for Iranians.

What you’ll see here is a sample of Iranian recipe for what’s called Dolma worldwide.

Ingredients of Dolmeh Barg-e Mo

  • 500 g medium-size grape leaves
  • 2 cup ground beef (500 g)
  • 2 large onion, chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • 2.5 – 3 cup undercooked yellow split peas
  • 2 – 2.5 cup a combination of dried chives and savory (dried tarragon, basil, dill, parsley or mint could be substituted)
  • 2 cup rice, soaked
  • Salt, hot pepper powder, turmeric powder
  • 4 – 5 tbsp. sour dripped yogurt
  • 1 cup dried barberry, for decoration

Directions to Make Dolmeh Barg-e Mo:

I know preparing and cooking Dolmeh Barg-e Mo is rather time consuming, like some other Iranian traditional foods, but I promise you’ll enjoy the taste of your handiwork. So, let’s do that:

1. Wash the leaves with cool water. Take a pot, fill 2/3 of it with water, and heat the water to boil. Then, put the leaves gently into the boiling water. After 3 minutes, rinse them in a basket and let them get cold.

2. Wash the rice with warm water. Take another pot of boiling water and add the rice to it. Simmer for about 15 minutes (the exact estimated time depends on the kind of rice used).

Option: You can add one teaspoon of turmeric powder to the boiling water while simmering in order for the rice to get a little colored.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan. Add ground beef, 2/3 of chopped onion, and enough turmeric powder. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat.

4. Remove the pan from the heat. Add rice, dried vegetables, undercooked yellow split peas, salt, pepper powder, and sour strained yogurt. Mix them thoroughly.

5. Pour a tablespoon of the vegetable oil into a pot and fill the bottom of it with some grape leaves.

6. Now it’s time to stuff your grape leaves. Take a leaf. Put about a tablespoon of the prepared mixture in the middle, and wrap it. Put each piece you made in the pot upside down not to get unwrapped. Continue the process with the rest of the leaves and layer the wraps in the pot.

7. Add 2 cups of water to the pot and spread 3 tablespoon of vegetable oil on the wraps. Then, put the pot over medium-high heat.

Notes:

  • Instead of water, you can dilute one cup of pomegranate molasses with 1/2 cup of water and spread it on the warps and then spread the oil. But note that if you want to do this, you should omit dripped yogurt from the ingredients because it spoils pomegranate taste. This version of recipe is my own favorite and I suggest you give it a try.
  • To prevent the wraps from getting unwrapped while cooking, place a ceramics plate upside down on the wraps and then put the pot over heat.

8. When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat. Let the wraps be cooked slowly for about 2 hours.

9. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan. Add the remaining 1/3 of chopped onion and fry it. Then, add barberry and mix them on heat for about 5 minute. Put this mixture away for decoration.

How to Serve Dolmeh Barg-e Mo

Serve this food on a platter. Use the mixture of fried onion and barberry to decorate the platter. It’s typically a hot served meal but you can have it cold as well.

Dolmeh Barg-e Mo is a kind of finger food, so there is no need to knife or fork. But if it helps, you can use a spoon. The leaves can be eaten and you don’t need to separate them. As a side dish you can have green salad, pickles, or yogurt. I hope you enjoy this Iranian traditional food.

khoresht-fesenjan-persian-dish

khoresht-fesenjan-persian-dish

A plate of rice and khoresht Fesenjan, which Iranians serve with more rice

It’s one of the ancient Persian foods dating back to Sassanid era. As part of a tradition, Khoresht Fesenjan was cooked in Nowruz ceremonies to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring. This stew is one of the traditional Persian dishes cooked throughout Iran, but it’s originally from Mazandaran province, central north of the country.

In hunting seasons, fall and winter, people in northern parts of Iran sometimes use the meat of hunted birds like duck or goose for this food. At other times, and also most commonly, chicken or turkey is used. People prefer Khoresht Fesenjan more during cold seasons.

Ingredients of Khoresht Fesenjan:

  • 500 g chicken thigh or ground veal
  • 1 big onion, finely chopped
  • 400 g walnut
  • 1 tbsp. flour (to thicken the stew)
  • 1 cup pomegranate molasses (sour, sweet, or sour-sweet; to your taste)
  • 3 tbsp. sugar (optional)
  • Cooking oil
  • ½ tsp. turmeric powder
  • Salt

Directions to Cook Khoresht Fesenjan:

1. Fry finely chopped onions with two tablespoons oil over medium heat until slightly golden.

2. Add turmeric powder and stir for just a few more minutes.

3. Add chicken and continue heating until the meat pieces get golden brown on all sides. Then set them aside.

Notes:

  • You can cut chicken into medium size pieces.
  • If you wish, bone-in chicken can be used instead.
  • If you want substitute chicken with ground veal, there’s no need to fry the onions separately. Mix the veal, onions, turmeric powder, and salt (to your taste) thoroughly. Then, make medium size meat balls, fry them until brown, and set them aside.

4. Toast the flour in a pot over low heat until slightly brown. Remove it from heat and let it cool down.

Note:

  • While toasting, stir the flour constantly, otherwise it burns quickly. And don’t make it too brown because it’ll give a bitter taste to your food.

5. Toast the walnuts in a pan for about 2 minutes. Then, let them cool down.

6. Get the toasted walnuts medium or finely chopped in a food processor.

Note:

  • You can substitute about ¼ of walnuts with pistachio or almond.

7. Add about 3 cups cold water gradually to the toasted flour and stir simultaneously. In this way, you prevent forming lumps.

8. Add chopped toasted walnuts. Put the pot over high heat and bring it to a boil. Meanwhile, stir the mixture constantly and watch it not to boil over.

9. Add the prepared chicken or meat balls and stir a bit. Then, let the stew simmer gently for about 2 hours over low heat with the lid on. Stir approximately every 30 minutes to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Note:

  • Put the lid on loosely to prevent boiling over.

Note:

  • You better cook this Persian dish gently over low heat to let the walnuts give off their oil. That’s the only oil needed for this food.

10. At the last 20 minutes, add pomegranate molasses, sugar, and salt (to the taste). Stir for a few minutes and then let it continue simmering.

Notes:

  • You can substitute sugar with palm or grape syrup.
  • Adding sugar or the amount of it depends on how sour or sweet you prefer your Khoresht Fesenjan to be. So, adjust it to the taste. The amount of pomegranate molasses can also be decreased or increased a little bit if you wish.

11. Take a look at the stew. If it’s as thick as a spaghetti sauce, the meat is tender, and you can see a thin layer of oil floating on the top, your food is ready to serve.

Note:

  • If the meat is tender but the mixture does not have the desired thickness, remove the meat from the stew and then continue heating for a few more minutes. Before serving, you can add the meat again.

How to Serve Khoresht Fesenjan:

This Persian dish is served with rice. Have the stew in a bowl and, if available, garnish it with pomegranate seeds. Table vegetables and green salad are more common to have beside this Persian dish. And to drink, Doogh (Iranian yogurt drink) can be the best option.

This Iranian traditional food has a lot of fans, but more specifically, it can be one of your choices if you have a sweet tooth.