The modern nation of Iran traces its roots to ancient Persia, and is home to a rich history and culture that contains many links to the past. Iranian cuisine is also influenced by this history, contains many exciting dishes, and is known for its delicate and refined use of spices.
Meals in Iran are traditionally accompanied by tea (known in Iran as “chai”). Tea is in fact served throughout the day, with breakfast, and both before and after lunch and dinner. As well tea, sides plates (known as “mokhalafat”) are also used to enhance meals, and indeed a considered essential.
Popular Iran main dishes include:
* Chelo Kabab – Lamb, marinated and then cooked over a charcoal grill. Chelo kebab is traditionally served over rice.
* Fesenjan – This is a sweet and sour stew. It contains chicken or duck, with pomegranate and walnuts.
* Abgousht – This is a beef and vegetable stew.
* Shirin Polo – A traditional Iranian wedding dish, Shirin Polo is rice with slivered almonds, orange peels and pistachio nuts.
Many Iranian dishes are served with rice. The rice can actually be prepared in a huge variety of different ways, however the most famous method is known as “chelow”. Chelow rice is prepared by partially boiling and then steaming the rice, which results in a fluffy texture with a gold crust at the bottom of the cooking pot.
Some of the side plates (“mokhalafat”) that you may encouter, include:
* Naan – Flat unleavened bread.
* Panir – Panir is Iranian cheese, and is somewhat reminiscent of feta.
* Khiyarshur – Pickles.
* Torshi – Relishes.
* Sabzi – Sabzi is a plate containing a variety of mixed fresh herbs. The herbs typically include basil, cilantro, coriander, fenugreek, tarragon and Iranian watercress.