Persian foods

Traditional Iranian food which uses best Persian recipes is actually combining the savory of fresh herbs and spices like saffron, merges it with the sweet of pomegranate, barberry and cinnamon and tops it all off with a flourish of nuts, dried fruits and beans.

As a general description, food in Iran tends to be colorful, healthy and simple.

The result would be a recipe you really like to try, a taste profile which does not present one distinct flavor, but instead serves up layers that keep the taste buds guessing as to what is and what’s coming next

Iranian tradition requires that guests or visitors be served only the finest food available, and always in the most bountiful manner possible.

Whilst travelling around Iran you are sure to come across a stunning variety of culinary delights. From traditional stew dishes to succulent kebabs and heartwarming 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.

In this article, best Persian recipes accompanied with Iranian food picture will be provided for you. Moreover, there will be some notes for you to understand how to eat these Persian foods. So here is a breakdown of the top 10 must-try traditional dishes for you, Nusheh jân!

KEBAB

Let’s start with the first and best Persian recipes: “KEBAB!”

Kebab  is taken very seriously in Iran – so much so that a restaurant kebab menu alone may run a few pages and feature every style and cut of skewerable grill-worthy meat imaginable. 

The most famous and popular Kebab in Iran is Chelow kabab which is one of the best Persian recipes. It is an Iranian dish consisting of cooked rice (čelow) and one of the many varieties of Iranian kebab. It is considered as the “national dish” of Iran, and was probably created by the time of the Qajar dynasty.

Iranian Kebab is both a street food and picnic food of Iran. Walking around the cities, especially northern cities of Iran, you’ll find people cooking kebab just on the street. And also a picnic cannot be a real picnic without at least one type of kebab.

Chelow kabab is served with accompaniments such as butter, sumac powder, basil, onions, and grilled tomatoes. You can have your Kebab with both bread and cooked rice.

for more information you can also check Iranian kebab types!

INGREDIENTS TO COOK KEBAB:

onions, garlic cloves, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt and fresh black pepper, boneless leg of lamb (however it depends on the type of kebab you’d like to have),rice, butter, saffron, cilantro, lemon, tomato, potato and some other vegetables (optional)

The traditional beverage accompanied with chelow kebab is doogh, an Iranian yogurt-based drink, sometimes made of carbonated water.

 

After kebabs, stews are the most common dishes you’ll find on the menu at local restaurants in Iran. Most often, Iranian khoresht will feature some sort of vegetable blend (e.g., lentils, spinach, mixed vegetable, beans, tomato, or eggplant) with a bit of red or white meat thrown in. Khoresht is often served with rice.

Here are some most delicious and best Persian recipes for Khoreshts which you don’t want to miss:

KHORESHT-E FESENJAN

This iconic stew, an essential part of every Persian wedding menu. Khoresht-e Fesenjan traditionally made with duck, this dish also works well with chicken or lamb.

It is a relatively easy khoresht to make, but it must be cooked slowly to allow the flavors to develop in the sauce. Actually many best Persian recipes need just time to present you the perfect flavor. The consistency should be thick and creamy and the color almost black.

The distinctive flavor combines the nutty taste of ground walnuts with the sweet and sour flavor of pomegranate syrup. This delicious Iranian food will be served with cooked rice.

INGREDIENTS TO COOK FESENJAN:

Olive oil, chicken legs, white onion, walnuts, salt, pomegranate juice, cardamom (optional), sugar (optional)

KHORESHT-E GHORMEH SABZI

Ghormeh Sabzi – Persian Herb Stew is one of the most delicious stews in Persian cuisine. A mixture of fragrant herbs and spices makes this stew very special!

Khoresht-e ghormeh sabzi is full of herbs. A popular dish throughout Iran, this is a meal for both festive occasions and family meals. Recipes from different regions vary slightly.

The Azerbaijani version, for example, uses black-eyed beans instead of red kidney beans. Recipes in the south of the country add chili and garlic, while in Shiraz potatoes are sometimes used instead of beans.

INGREDIENTS TO COOK GHORME SABZI:

Herbs: parsley, cilantro, chives and fenugreek, Meat (Traditionally lamb chunks), Beans: Ghormeh sabzi can be made with 3 different types of beans: pinto beans, kidney beans or black eyed peas, Persian Dried Limes, and cooked rice.

Ghorme Sabzi is usually served with Shirazi Salad which includes chipped onions, cucumbers and tomatoes flavored by fresh lemon juice and some vegetables.

KHORESHT-E GHEIME

Khoresht -E Gheymeh, also called Gheymeh Polo (polo means rice) is a Beef and Split Pea Stew which is a very traditional and popular Iranian stew with saffron potatoes and is served with cooked rice.

Best Persian recipes usually have saffron as their key factor.

The word Gheymeh comes from how the meat is cut into small cubes in this recipe. Traditionally Gheymeh is made with lamb or beef.

INGREDIENTS TO COOK GHEYME:

Yellow split peas, onion, dried limes, leg of lamb, butter, vegetable oil, turmeric, Salt and black pepper, tomato paste, lemon juice, liquid saffron

DIZI

Dizi is an Iranian traditional dish and in my idea, any traveler coming to this country should have the chance to taste it, then you’ll find the magic of Persian cuisine; hot and fresh traditional bread and tasty side dishes with Dizi in addition to the nice atmosphere of a traditional restaurant (sonnati) will create a pleasing memory for you.

Dizi has quite a complicated eating process. First you drink the soup, which is a meaty tomato broth, usually by pouring it into a separate metal bowl and adding a whole lot of torn-up bread.

Once you have consumed all of the liquid, you mash up the solid ingredients (meat, potatoes, vegetables) with the provided masher, add some onions, mint or whatever else is provided for additional seasoning and spoon it up, perhaps with bread.

It tastes delicious, whether you go through that whole process or just eat it as a soup.

INGREDIENTS TO COOK DIZI:

Lamb (shank, shoulder, or short ribs), chickpeas, white beans, large onion, roughly, garlic cloves (optional), turmeric powder, dried lime, medium tomatoes, tomato paste, sour grapes (optional), Salt, black pepper powder, and lime juice, Other vegetables

ASH -E RESHTE

Ash –E reshteh is a type of āsh (Iranian thick soup) featuring reshteh (thin noodles), kashk (a whey-like, fermented dairy product), commonly made in Iran and Azerbaijan. It is one of the best Persian recipes you should definitely try!

There are more than 50 types of thick soup (āsh) in Iranian cooking, but this one is probably the most popular.

Ash Reshteh is also commonly cooked on the thirteenth day of the New Year called Sizdeh Be Dar. It’s best when it’s shared with many others. Don’t ask me why, it just feels right when Ash Reshteh is eaten with more than five people. Trust me, some food is better when served to a large crowd. This Persian noodle soup is usually served in a large bowl and everyone will take as much as they want.

INGREDIENTS TO COOK ASH:

Onions, cloves of garlic, minced, chickpeas, red beans, lentils, turmeric, fresh parsley, fresh cilantro, fresh mint, fresh chives or scallions, baby spinach, reshteh (noodles), flour, Garnish, dried mint, kashk, whey ( sour cream can be substituted for kashk)

CHICKEN TAHCHIN (SAFFRON CAKE)

Let’s introduce another Persian rice dish that everyone loves because it’s so unique!

Tahchin is a combination of two words: Tah+Chin. “Tah” means bottom and “chin” means arrange.

This Persian savory saffron cake is a delicious dish that is very different from other Persian dishes as the rice is actually very sticky and has a cake texture instead of being all fluffy. The golden color of this saffron rice cake is because of bloomed saffron which makes it so aromatic and full of flavor.

You’ll have rice just like pieces of cakes which are full of chicken and other flavored ingredients.

INGREDIENTS TO COOK CHIKEN TAHCHIN:

Long grain rice, yogurt, eggs, bloomed saffron and vegetable oil, chicken and barberries, salt and black pepper

KOOFTE TABRIZI

This traditional dish is one of the specialties in Iranian cuisine. As the name reveals, this Iranian dish is originated in Tabriz, the capital of East Azerbaijan province, northwest of Iran. Many best Persian recipes come from this area.

What makes Koofte Tabrizi one of a kind among all other Iranian foods is not just the ingredients but the way it gets prepared and cooked.

This recipe may take you much time but the outcome is so delicious that you’ll admit it’s worth trying.

INGREDIENTS TO COOK KOOFTEH TABRIZI:

Veal, onion, yellow split peas, rice, half-cooked, potato, egg, chives, parsley, dried tarragon, dried mint leaves, saffron powder, Salt, turmeric powder, hot and black pepper powder, yellow prunes, barberry, walnut, vegetable oil, tomato paste, turmeric powder

Koofte is actually an Iranian meatball recipe from the city of Tabriz and its juice which is served in a separate dish with shredded Sangak or Lavash bread before the main course.

MIRZA GHASEMI

Mirza Ghasemi is a tasty vegetarian dish which hails from the Northern Iranian Caspian region.

This extremely easy dish is made with roasted skewered eggplant which is seasoned with garlic, tomato, turmeric, oil or butter, and salt. The seasoned eggplant is then turned with eggs. The whole thing is then mixed and served with bread or rice.

Mirza Ghasemi is another dish to watch out for. It is surely one of the best Persian recipes especially for vegetarians traveling in Iran.

You can have it both with bread and rice and it can also be served as appetizer.

Mohammad Ghasem Khan was a great chef and he created the dish when he was on duty in Saint Petersburg, introducing it in his native Gilan in 1860 when he returned home, where it became a widely popular dish.

INGREDIENTS TO COOK MIRZA GHASEMI:

Olive oil, garlic, turmeric, eggplants and tomatoes, eggs.

SABZI POLO MAAHI (HERB RICE AND FISH)

Last but not least of best Persian recipes is Sabzi Polo (herb rice) and Maahi (fish) which is traditionally served for the Persian New Year named Norooz. In fact, it is a Persian holiday food.

Persian New Year is celebrated every year to signify the beginning of spring and most of the dishes served during Norooz holidays have herbs as a symbol of rebirth, and fish that represents life.

Sabzi Polo Maahi can be prepared with a variety of different fishes. In the north of Iran the go-to fish for this dish is maahi sefid (white fish) which can only be found in the Caspian Sea. But in other regions across Iran people use other fishes like Kafaal, Kapour, Aazaad, Halvaa, Rashgoo, and many more. Of course the fish should be fresh.

The fish is fried and traditionally served with rice and herbs, bergamot oranges (naarenj), and pickled garlic (sir torshi).

INGREDIENTS TO COOK SABZI POLO MAAHI

Fresh fish, rice, oranges or lemons, pickled garlic, fresh garlic, rice, Dill, parsley, coriander, garlic chives, fenugreek, stem leek (optional), vegetable oil, turmeric, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, saffron, salt

These were just 10 of so many delicious Iranian food which you would absolutely like to have a taste. Just the beginning! There are so many dishes like Kale pache, Zereshk polo with Chicken, Baghali Polo, Morasa Polo, Baghali Ghatogh, Gheyme Nesar, etc which worth mentioning! So don’t hesitate and ask any question you have.

We would like to know your ideas about these foods, which one (if one) is your favorite? Which do you want to try soon? Share your ideas and we’ll read all your comments.

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