Of course, everything comes with saffron, pistachios and rose water.
Persian food is beyond delicious and may I add, such eye candies (no pun intended.) Of course, everything comes with saffron, pistachios and rose water. But whether a dish is savory or sweet, each reflects upon Iran’s lengthy history and the colorful and glitzy Persian Empire (Note: even saffron rock candy which comes with chai tea looks like serious bling.) Enjoy every bite, and try to make your own by following our recommended recipes! As the Iranians say before meals: Bismillahi wa barakatillah (In the name of Allah and with the blessings of Allah.)
If you love black tea and a saffron lollipop of rock candy on the side, then you’ll love having a lot of chai tea in Iran. Not only does it taste delicious, it can also heal various minor health issues. Brew your very own by following this recipe.
Here’s the Persian version of chicken + eggs + potato salad all in one. Meaning, it contains good ol’ mayonnaise, peas and carrots. Salad Olivieh is typically eaten at picnics either alone, as a spread on bread or squished inside a hefty sandwich. Make your own here.
There are tons of options when it comes to kababs in Iran, and to no one’s surprise, it’s usually spiced with saffron. Here’s a recipe and a breakdown:
Koobideh – Ground meat simply topped with minced onion, salt and pepper.
Kabab-e barg – Thin slices of lamb/beef seasoned with lemon juice, onions, saffron and butter.
Joojeh – Chicken kabab marinated in onion, lemon, saffron and butter.
Jigar – Lamb liver kabab spiced with basil leaves and lemon.
It’s just like yogurt and mint smoothie, but it ain’t sweet. It’s delish for those who love a tarty flavor and it pairs well with the density of kabab and rice. Check out an easy recipe here.
6. Baghali Polo
This staple in Perisian cuisine is rice with dill and lima beans, which oozes fantastic flavor when the season is right. Of course, the rice is mixed with saffron and typically served with juicy and tender lamb on a bone. Follow this recipe.
From the city of Shiraz, Kooloocheh is a delightful dessert stuffed with walnut and cinnamon inside. Make your own with this recipe.
8. Gormeh Sabzi
Seasoned with dried limes, gormeh sabzi is a soiree of green herbs, though stew-style. Horray for kidney beans, parsley, coriander, scallions, and lamb; the taste is sour and a bit aggressive. Nonetheless, fantastic over a spread of rice! Try it yourself with the recipe here.
9. Dolmeh Bargeh Mo
You probably loved them in Greece or other Middle Eastern countries. But the Persian ones are made from cabbage or grape leaves and filled with ground beef and rice. In some other cultures, you’ll see them in spring roll shapes or rectangular. But the ones you’ll see in Iran are square and super yummy! Follow the recipe here.
Crunchy fried rice!! This is one of the best dishes in Persian cuisine because it’s such a fun and crispy take on the ordinary basmati rice. Eat it with a fork, or with your hands, have fun with it! Check out this recipe.
Bell pepper filled with rice, ground meat, garlic, tomato paste, and herbs roll into this hunk of a savory treat! Find your recipe here.
The mama bear of Persian food is fesenjan: pomegranate with chicken or duck, then simmer with walnuts, onions. The history of this dish comes from 515 BC, during Persepolis – the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire. Here’s an outstanding recipe.
Although there was evidence of beer drinking during the Persian Empire, since 1979’s Iranian Revolution, alcohol has been banned under Islamic law. Hence you’ll find non-alcoholic beers in public areas while illegal alcoholic beers have been smuggled into Iran. Istar is all over the country’s restaurants, they’re non-alcoholic malt-based beverages that come in different flavors.
A popular dessert during celebrations is gaz. They’re from Isfahan, another prosperous city in Iran. These little darlings are basically nougats with pistachios. Chewy, sticky, sweet and nutty! DIVINE and addictive. Follow this recipe.
This is berry-tastic if you love acidity accompanied with savory chicken. The iconic zereshk polo dish is buttery rice adorned with cranberries and barberries. Many will multiply the sourness to the dish by adding: plums, rhubarb, oranges, lemons, lime, pomegranate, tamarind, sumac…and more. Here’s a recipe.
Rose water is a big deal in Persian cuisine, especially when it comes to local pastries. Although you’ll see baghlavas in various countries throughout the Middle East, the Persian ones are diamond-shaped and taste drier because it skips the honey and goes straight to pistachios, almonds and cardomom. Follow this recipe.
Imagine a tarty stew with a lot of acidity from tomatoes and lemon juice. Then, add fried eggplants with lamb, onions, tomatoes and seasoning. Glaze the hefty stew over rice, this makes a great family dish on any occasion. Make your own with this recipe.
A dish that’s easy on the eyes with nuts and dried fruits as decorations over a hill of rice. The party of ingredients include: saffron, almonds, pistachios, orange peel, carrots, barberries and more. This is a staple dish during special festivities. Follow this #instanom recipe.
These aren’t snow cones, but Persian sorbet made of thin vermicelli noodles frozen with corn starch, rose water, lime juice, and pistachios. Apparently, this is one of the oldest desserts in the world! Here’s the recipe!
23. Saffron Ice Cream
It’s actually really, really good. Smells like perfume, and tastes like flowers in the air with hints of honey.
What’s your favorite Persian food? Share with us in the comments.
As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and Russia because they were all so different! St. Bart's was pretty amazing too (wink)!