10 Typical Iranian Foods Famous for their Saffron

10 Typical Iranian Foods Famous for their Saffron

Just as Iran’s long and tumultuous past is also tumultuous, the origins of Iranian food are also very complex. The Persian Empire stretched as far as India for more than 2,000 years and since then Iranian cuisine and culture have been heavily influenced by the various countries that once colonized it, such as Greece, Arabia, Rome, Russia, and Turkey.

Iranian specialties offer a savory mix of fresh herbs and spices such as saffron, a mix of the sweetness of pomegranate, barberry, and cinnamon, and topped with nuts, dried fruits, and seeds. The result is layers of different flavors. What does Iranian food look like? Come on, check the list below!

  1. Dizi or Abgoosht

If you are interested in the traditions of Iranian cuisine, this one dish is the right alternative for you. The whole process of making this dish and even the way it is served represents the national tradition of this country which dates back hundreds of years.

Dizi or abghoost is a dish of broth with chickpeas and meat as the basic ingredients. In addition, this Iranian food is also added with other ingredients, namely onions, potatoes, tomatoes, and beans. Put all these ingredients in a saucepan and add a little water.

The presentation of this food consists of two stages. First, the gravy is strained and is served as a soup with added small pieces of bread, called tilit. In the second step, where the remaining ingredients are ground together and eaten with fresh herbs or pickles.

  1. Nails

Kuku is an umbrella term for most Iranian dishes that are similar to a thick omelet. This dish, which is usually fried, is dominated by vegetables, although some variants sometimes use meat.

Some of the most popular variants are Kuku sabzi, which is made from chopped eggs and various spices, with a potato base.

Nail dishes are a staple in Iranian cuisine. This dish is often served on special occasions, but can also be made as a simple daily menu.

This food is easy to adjust to the tastes and desires of the maker. This dish can be eaten cold or hot, as a quick snack, appetizer, or light main course.

  1. Fesenjan (Fesenjoon)

Fesenjan is a stew consisting of crushed walnuts and pomegranate juice and added meat of choice. Chicken is the most common choice. This Iranian food has various variations in each region. To the north, there is sour and savory fesenjan, while slightly sweeter versions can be found elsewhere.

It takes a long time to make fesenjan. That is why in Iran this dish is usually only made during holidays and on special occasions. This dish cannot be found on the daily menu in most restaurants in Iran, so to taste it you may have to ask for it to be specially prepared.

The good news is that apart from Iran, you can find this dish elsewhere because fesenjan is one of the most famous and popular Iranian dishes. Fesenjan is a staple in Iranian restaurants around the world.

  1. Chelo Kebabs

Chelo, which means plain rice and kebab, is a must-try dish for anyone who wants to taste Persian cuisine. There are various types of protein choices in chelo. There is koobedeh, which is ground beef mixed with chopped shallots and seasoned with salt and pepper.

There is also Bargh, which is a thinly sliced ‚Äč‚Äčlamb fillet. The meat is often marinated overnight in lemon juice and onions. There is also chenjeh, which is a lamb fillet that is marinated, cut into cubes, then grilled. Don’t miss the joojeh, which is chicken that is marinated and then smeared with butter and turmeric.

All the food was cooked on the grill until tender, juicy, and produces a delicious taste. Chelo kebab will be accompanied by grilled tomatoes. Some also add sumac (a red condiment made from dried berries) and a spoonful of butter to mix into the rice.

  1. Tahchin

Tahchin, an Iranian specialty, is famous for its delicious savory rice. This food resembles a cake or casserole. Tahchin is made from pre-cooked rice seasoned with saffron and layered in a skillet, then grilled. After baking, this rice casserole is then turned over and sliced.

Usually, this dish tastes enriched by the addition of meat or vegetables that are placed layered between rice. However, tahchin can also be baked without any additional filling. Throughout Iran, there are many variants of tahchin which can be found in many traditional Iranian restaurants as well as in popular markets. With their unique shape and yellow color, this dish has an unusual appearance and can be decorated with red barberry or pistachio.

Among Iranians, tahchin is one of the favorite dishes and is generally served on special and formal occasions. This food is commonly eaten as a main dish and is usually served with yogurt.

  1. Kashke Bademjan

This flavorful Iranian appetizer is made from grilled or oven-baked eggplant and kashk, a fermented product usually made from yogurt and whey.

The main ingredient is mashed until it becomes creamy and topped with stir-fried onions, garlic, various spices such as saffron or mint, and sometimes peanuts.

This Iranian specialty is garnished with chopped walnuts, mint and caramelized onions, and a dash of kashk. Kashke bademjan can be eaten as an appetizer, dip, and sometimes as a main dish. This food is best eaten with lavash bread that is still warm.

  1. Sabzi Khordan

Iranian food will not be complete without sabzi khordan, or herbs that can be consumed. Sabzi khordan can contain mint, basil, tarragon, and cilantro in addition to scallions, walnuts, radishes, feta cheese, and Iranian nan (flat bread).

To eat it, simply tear a piece of flatbread and then on top add a little seasoning and cheese and other decorations in it, then fold it like a sandwich. This fresh and dried green dish is eaten daily in Iran.

During Norooz, the Zoroastrian new year that celebrates rebirth and renewal, one of the menus is a dish made with green herbs that represent new life. This dish includes rice with herbs, an herb omelet, and a herb platter.

  1. Gheimeh

Different from most other Iranian stews which generally contain large pieces of meat, this Iranian specialty is made from small pieces of lamb.

In addition to using lamb, you can also use beef. Gheimeh is the name for a way of cutting meat into small pieces.

This delicious stew combines lamb, or it can be beef, tomato sauce, chickpeas, and various spices like saffron and cinnamon. The result is a rich, flavorful soup.

In Different regions of Iran, this dish has its variations. Two very popular ones are gheimeh sibzamini, which is served topped with crispy potato chips. Another one is gheimeh bademjan, which replaces potato chips with fried eggplant.

  1. Kufteh Tabriz

Iran has a menu of meatballs or meatballs called kufteh Tabrizi. These are stuffed meatballs or large stuffed meatballs usually made using ground beef or lamb, rice, yellow peas, and a variety of fresh herbs and spices.

This meatball filling is mostly nuts and dried fruit, and sometimes a whole hard-boiled egg. The name of this food describes the place of origin of this dish, namely the city of Tabriz. In the past, Tabriz meatballs were so large that a whole young chicken was used as a filling.

Now, this food rarely appears in its original form. Most are now the size of an orange or grapefruit. Usually, these meatballs are made for special occasions and served with an accompanying sauce and a sprinkling of cinnamon and saffron.

  1. Tahdig

Tahdig is a traditional rice dish from Iran. The name tahdig means the bottom of the pot. This refers to the crispy layer of dry rice that sits at the bottom of the pan.

Usually, this dish is made using basmati rice, salt, and ghee or oil, while saffron and turmeric are added for a touch of color and delicious taste. This Iranian specialty is made by putting extra ghee or oil in a frying pan so that the bottom layer of the rice is fried.

Meanwhile, the layer of rice on top is steamed. There is a tahdig version that uses lavash bread, potato wedges, or yogurt placed at the bottom of the pan. This food can be served as is, but can also be served as a side dish to stews and other main dishes.

The 10 typical Iranian foods above are additional culinary references that you must try if you claim to be a foodie. Iranian food can never be separated from saffron, one of the most expensive spices in the world.

The ingredients used in Iranian food are not just meat. There are also vegetables such as sabzi khordan which contains edible herbs. Are you curious about the taste of foods that use saffron? How good is it, huh?