25 Tasty Persian Foods You’ve GOT To Eat In Iran

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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.)

SEE ALSO: Iran Lookbook: The Glamorous Persian Empire

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1. Chai


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.

2. Salad Olivieh


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.

3. Kabab


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.

4. Kookoo Sabzi


If you love green eggs and, well, not ham but herbs. It’s typically devoured during Perisan New Year, and a tasty bite for vegetarians. Check out this recipe.

5. Doogh


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

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.

7. Kooloocheh


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

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.

10. Tahdig


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.

11. Dolmeh Felfel


Bell pepper filled with rice, ground meat, garlic, tomato paste, and herbs roll into this hunk of a savory treat! Find your recipe here.

12. Fesenjan


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.

13. Istar


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.

14. Gaz

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Nothing like waking up to fresh pistachio nougat … handmade with a whole lot of love! This is Persian style (softer texture than French and Italian nougat). Happy Naw Ruz everyone! Delicious! It's good to be Persian! Here is the recipe: 1- in a small sauce pan, bring to a gentle simmer 2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup water and 1 jar of glucose syrup (500g). 2- Once the temperature reaches 100C, in a stand mixer bowl beat 2 egg whites until stiff and set aside. 3- when the sugar syrup temperature reaches 120C, turn the mixer on. 4- slowly pour 1/4 of the hot syrup into the egg whites and let it mix until the meringue is glossy. This is how you would make Italian meringue. There's no need to measure exactly 1/4 cup (a visual check is sufficient). 5- return the sugar syrup back on the stove and keep simmering until it reaches 150C. The sugar syrup will turn slightly golden. 7- turn the stove off and microwave 1-1.5 cups of nuts of your choice on low heat for 1min or until the nuts are warm. You can add roasted nuts if you prefer but if you choose pistachios, do not roast them as they turn brown very quickly. 8-turn the mixer on and pour the hot syrup into the meringue. 9- keep mixing until it starts to thicken. At this stage, add 2-3 teaspoons of rose water if you prefer. 10- add the nuts and mix with a large spoon. Make sure the nuts are warm. 11-pour your nougat into a 20x20cm baking tin lined with baking paper and brushed with oil. Alternatively, you can pour onto rice paper. 12-allow to cool and cut into small pieces. 13- traditionally, Persians roll them in flour but you can wrap them in baking paper once you've cut them into small pieces. This will keep in an air tight container for a very very long time. #persianfood #Persian #persiangaz #nougatine #nougat #nouga #middleeast #middleeasternfood #middleeastern #norooz2016 #norooz #nawruz #nawruz2016 #happynorooz

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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.

15. Zereshk Polo


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.

16. Masghati Shirazi


Another signature dessert is masghati shirazi which is made from rose water, almonds, saffron, pistachios, almonds and cardamom. If you’ve got a sweet tooth…you’ll appreciate this recipe.

17. Ash e Reshteh


When Iran meets China! Ash e Reshteh is soup noodles with herbs, beans and spinach or beet leaves then partnered with mint oil and fried onions. Here’s a recipe.

18. Borani Esfanaaj

This is essentially Persian version of spinach dip, and who doesn’t love a good dip! This one combines spinach and walnuts with dense yogurt. Go grab that pita bread after completing this recipe!

19. Baghlava Yazdi

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.👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇👇 Good afternoon 😊☺ ✘Picture : #Baghlava #باقلوا Baklava (said and pronounced baghlava /baqlava in Farsi), is “Queen” of the sweets, star of festive tables, one item no one passes when offered and served, especially on Naw-Ruz! In case you were a hermit, baklava is a rich, sweet pastry made with layers of filo (traditionally with homemade dough) filled with chopped/ground nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. It is characteristic of the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and those of the western part of the Middle East. In Iran, baklava is cut and presented in smaller diamond/lozenge-shaped cuts (the smaller the more elegant) flavored with rosewater syrup. The cities of #Yazd and #Qazvin are especially famous for their baklava, which is widely distributed in #Iran. . 📷photo by : @mehnoosh_mah

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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.

20. Bademjan


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.

21. Jeweled Rice

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I got some gifts from Iran, Barrberies and saffron so I decided that the cooking lesson would be on the Iranian rice javaher polow , jeweled rice is a traditional dish for joyous celebrations weddings engagements .Jeweled rice named for its germstone colors. saffron makes gold, barbarities make rubies, pistachios make emeralds, to the combination of color texture flavored aromas is truly a cheerful feast for your eyes.photo edit@studio_sixteen #mykitchenslab #cookingclass #homemade #picoftheday #instafood #delicious #thefeedfeed #chefstotalk #occasion #jeweledrice #iran #iloveit #livelovesyria #pommegranate #barrberries #syria #مناسبات #yummyfood #foodprnshare #madewithlove #driedfruit #raisin #saffron #hautecuisine #gourmet#familycooking #persianfood #nomnomnom #foodgawker #like4like #

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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.

22. Faloodeh


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.


Wendy Hung


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)!

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