The Persian cuisine features a great palette of tastes as wide as the range of cultures and customs that can be witnessed around the country. In this article, we will introduce some of the delicious Persian cuisine and dishes that tourists shall be able to experience when in Iran.
Iranians love their kebabs
The Iranian kebabs are globally known and travelers will definitely see and smell them everywhere they visit. Iranians look for any opportunity to enjoy their wide range of grilled kebabs. The most famous kebab is the “Kabab Koobideh” which is a minced lamb or beef kebab grilled on charcoal. Other famous kebabs that tourists will also enjoy is the chicken kebab known as “Joojeh Kabab” , a flat kebab named “Kabab-e-Barg” and large meat kebab pieces called “Chenjeh Kabab”. Other variations of kebabs are found and originated from various corners of Iran such as the sour kebab known as the northern Iranian “Kabab Torsh”, which is meat kebab pieces marinated in pomegranate paste, crushed garlic and crushed walnuts. The “Shandiz Shashlik” is also very famous and delicious dish, which includes juicy charcoal grilled meat ribs that originate from the Shandiz area near the city of Mashhad.
Persian stews that warm the heart
The Iranians enjoy their various stews especially if they are home cooked. Stews are an essential dish of the everyday Persian meals and have wide variations, Iranians call their stews as “Khoresht”. The most famous stews in the Iranian cuisine are “Qormeh Sabzi” which is a herb stew with meat and “Qeimeh” a stew consisting of meat and tomato sauce that is usually served with a mix of thin-cut French fries or long-cut eggplants. Another delicious and very richly flavored Iranian stew is called “Fesenjan”, this stew that originated from the north of Iran, mainly includes pomegranate paste and grounded walnuts. This dish is normally mixed with meat chunks, chicken or boneless fish.
A traditional and ancient Persian stew goes by the name of “Abgoosht”. This famous stew also known by the Iranians as “Dizi” is served in traditional stoneware crocks. Abgoosht is a mix of lamb, chickpeas, onions, potatoes, tomatoes mixed in with some grounded herbs and spices. These ingredients are slowly cooked for hours and then served; with Abgoosht also comes its own custom for eating. First pieces of bread are soaked in the broth and eaten with a spoon, after the broth has finished the remaining solids are then smashed and eaten separately, the mashed solid even has its own name called “Goosht koobideh” which literally means “mashed meat”.
No food is complete without rice
Iranians do not feel completely satisfied with their food if there is no rice served. Kebabs and stews are usually more enjoyed by the Iranians if served with rice. Rice also should not be served plain but with a slab of butter on top of it, this they call the “Chelo”. Therefore, if Iranians ask if “Chelo-Kebab” should be served, tourists can expect to get served a warm buttery rice alongside their juicy kebabs.
The Iranian cuisine also consists of other variations of rice mixed with herbs and served with rich chunks of meat such as “Sabzi Polo” and “Baghali Polo”. Tourists who enjoy exotic flavored food, will enjoy these dishes.
“Tahdig” is an Iranian phenomenon unlike no other. Rice is overcooked a bit so that the lowest layer of the rice (sometimes thin-cut potatoes or thin layers of traditional bread) are formed into a crunchy crust and served alongside the rice.
Appetizers are necessary for any grand Persian meal
Alongside any Persian meal, expect to be served with a wide range of appetizers featuring salads, pickles, fresh herbs and yogurt. Tourists will especially taste many of these appetizers such as the shallot yogurt, cucumber yogurt, spinach yogurt named “Borani” and “Shirazi Salad” which is a sour mix of chopped cucumbers, tomatoes and onions in lemon juice. Pickles are called “Torshi” in the Persian language and have a wide range. Olives also play an important role in the appetizer section and guests will enjoy the exotic flavored “Zeytoun Parvardeh” which consists of olives in a paste of pomegranate and walnuts.
Breakfast an important meal for Iranians
The Dairy product family play a vital role in the breakfast meal for any Iranian. Various cheeses, fresh cream and butter are essential in any Persian breakfast spread. Iranian alongside their famous black tea, enjoy being served fresh dairy products with their wide range of breads such as the “Lavash”, “Sang-gak” and “Barbari”.
Tourists traveling to Iran will be spoilt with the wide range of dishes and side dishes served throughout the country. Meat lovers will be in paradise in Iran as most Iranians love non-veg dishes. We encourage all travelers to try a little of everything as there is so much to enjoy in this vast cuisine.