Persian cuisine is the traditional and modern style of cooking in Iran.
Typical Persian main dishes are combinations of rice with meat, such as lamb, chicken, or fish, and vegetables such as onions, various herbs, different pickles and nuts. There’s a vast spectrum of foods: caviar, smoked fish in the north; samosas, falafel and hot and sour shrimp in the south.
So you can even discover and enjoy the pleasant smell of food before tasting. Visit to Iran yields a stunning variety of culinary delights.
The following is the list of must-eat food you get familiar:
- Chelow kebab
Chelow kebab is one of the most popular and national dish of Iran Kebabs have more variety than you might think. First, there’s koobideh, ground meat seasoned with minced onion, salt and pepper. This kind of kebab is specially served with grilled tomatoes on the side of the rice, and butter on top of the rice. Somagh (powdered sumac) can be sprinkled on the rice. It sounds simple, but the taste is sublime. This is probably the most beloved dish in Iran.
There is kebab-e barg, thinly sliced lamb or beef, flavored with lemon juice and onion and basted with saffron and butter. If you’re lucky, you’ll find jigar, lamb liver kebab, garnished with fresh basil leaves and a wedge of lemon.
There are a ton of different varieties where the meat is spiced differently (turmeric for kabab koobideh, saffron for kabab barg) and it’s usually accompanied by doogh (see below!) or a soda.
- Joojeh Kabab (Persian Grilled Saffron Chicken)
You get surprised with a typical Iranian food, Joojeh kebab. Chicken kebab, known as joojeh, is traditionally made from a whole chicken, bones and all, for more flavor (although sometimes made from skinless chicken breast), marinated in lemon and onion, and butter. It is a moist, tender and delicious Persian grilled chicken dish. Saffron is in most cases the star ingredient in preparing this dish, and it adds both a depth of flavour and a lovely colour to the chicken.
The joojeh kebab is served with rice or bread. It goes well with yoghurt-herbs sauce and different sorts of salad (potato, cucumber, tomato etc).
Yeah, most Iranian eat this meal when they get out doors. They begin grilling some Joojeh Kabab to satisfy every appetite.
- Shirazi Kalam polo
Shirazi Kalam polo is a type of local delicious mixed rice especially cooked in Shiraz. Kalam means cabbage and polo is rice in Persian. The meat used in different recipes varies from small bite size cubed meat to small meatballs, as well as ground meat. Eating Kalam Polo with meatballs is one of the most must-try.
Enjoy Kalam Polo with a side of Salad Shirazi, Sabzi Khordan (fresh herbs), or torshi (pickled vegetable).
Dizi is one the most traditional dish in Iran. It dates back to hundreds of years ago when Iranians made this food called Dizi. The reason for such naming is that people traditionally cooked and served it in small stone dishes called Dizi. It’s actually the name of the container. Iranian traditional restaurants still use these stone dishes for this food. Iranians also call this traditional Persian dish Abgoosht, which literally means “meat broth”.
Meat and beans are the major ingredients of Dizi, but in some areas locals may add different things to the recipe based on their tastes. For example, in northern parts of Iran, garlic, and in Kerman province, people may add caraway for seasoning.
This traditional Persian dish has to be served hot, otherwise, you spoil its taste. The other point is that you should serve the broth and the paste in separate dishes – the broth in a bowl with crumbled tarragon leaves sprinkled on the top, and the paste on a plate garnished with fresh mint leaves. It would be better to eat with traditional breads such as Sangak.
It’s really worth to shot.
- Fesenjan (Pomegranate Walnut Stew)
This iconic stew, an essential part of every Persian wedding menu, pairs tart pomegranate with chicken or duck. Ground walnuts, pomegranate paste and onions are slowly simmered to make a thick sauce. Sometimes saffron and cinnamon are added, and maybe a pinch of sugar to balance the acid. It is served with rice. You wouldn’t regret if you try it.
- Gormeh Sabzi (Green Herb Stew)
Made from herbs, kidney beans and lamb, deep green gormeh sabzi satisfies two Persian flavor obsessions: it’s sour and full of herbs. The stew is seasoned with dried limes, limoo omani in Farsi. These limes are extra intense and sour, with a bittersweet taste that gives the stew a unique flavor. The other constant in gormeh sabzi is fenugreek leaves, a taste unfamiliar to most westerners. Other herbs include parsley, coriander and scallions.
Iran’s most widely eaten stew, this lumpy green dish is always going to be on the table of any Persian dinner party, while everyone debates whether Iranian National Team striker Reza Ghoochannejhad is overrated.
- Tahdig (Crunchy Fried Rice)
Tahdig is the soul food of Persian cooking. It’s the crisp, golden layer of fried rice at the bottom of the rice pot, and it tastes like a combination of popcorn and potato chips, but with the delicate flavor of basmati ice. (Tahdig is usually not printed on the menu, so you may have to ask for it.) At Iranian family gatherings, there are always plenty of leftovers, but the one dish that disappears completely is tahdig. It’s eaten as a side dish, and it’s forgivable to pick it up and eat it with your fingers. This bottom crispy layer that’s slightly burnt and has soaked up much of the caramelized saffron. We know you would enjoy it.
- Sabzi Khordan (Herb and Cheese Plate)
No Persian meal is complete without a dish of sabzi khordan, or edible herbs. The plate can include mint, tarragon, basil and cilantro, alongside scallions, radishes, walnuts, feta cheese and Iranian flatbread. Fresh and dried green herbs are eaten daily in Iran.