Dishes and spices of the Iranian cuisine

September 24, 2019

Discover Iranian cuisine, its spices and traditional dishes. Iranian cuisine is delicious and influenced by different cultures, and is also a fundamental pillar of Iranian life.

Iranian typical biryiani

Iranian cuisine is rich in tradition and contaminations which make it unique and special. In Iran cooking also stands for hospitality, eating together is one of the most important moments of the social life.

Hot and cold dishes

Cooking in Iran has the millenial influence of the theory of the "hot" (garm) and "cold" (sard) dishes. Every lunch or dinner must include elements from both categories.

Even if this diet has no strong scientific foundations, it's based on simple principles that aim at creating light but nutrient dishes, ideal both for the hot deserts as well as for the challenging mountains.

Before getting to the main courses you usually get some tea or a yoghurt based drink with mint, salt or dryed fruit. This same yoghurt can sometimes be mixed with water (also sparkling) and it's very refreshing, usually served also during the meal.

Yoghurt with mint, Iranian dish
Yoghurt with mint.

The spices of Persia

Iranian cuisine makes a large use of spices. Among them the most famous is surely saffron, the most expensive and the one more linked to the territory, The best varieties come from the province of Khorasan, in the north.

There are many more particular spices, which probably you wouldn't have the chance to try in any other country.

Among these we can surely name the dried rose petals (gole sorkh), that are crushed as powder. These are petals from a special kind of rose, that grows only in some regions of Iran and that is also used as jams.

Another common spice in Iran, but almost unknown anywhere else, is sumac, with a very strong and acid taste, like lemon, it is largely used in dishes with meat or rice.

Saffron from Iran

Iran's bread tradition

Flatbread is always present in Iranian meals with all its different versions. The cooking method as well as the ingredients change in the four main types of bread in Iran ("naan" in farsi):

  • Sangak
  • Barbari
  • Taftoon
  • Lavash

It's not rare to find small bakeries even in the biggest cities, don't miss the chance to try some awesome bread just pulled from the oven!

"Shirazi" salad

Shirazi salad is one of the most famous Iranian dishes with imitations in many countries in the Middle East, the Mediterranean and Asia.

These are the ingredients:

  • Cucumber
  • Tomato
  • Red onion
  • Cilantro

The seasoning is a mix of black pepper, lemon zest, lime juice and olive oil.

Shirazi salad from Iran
Shirazi salad.

Iran in a dish, Kobob and rice

Few recipes are more traditional than Kabob, the flavour will guide you in the city and will lead you to one of the small stalls where you'll be able to taste this amazing dish (you'll be able to find it also in the classic restaurants).

The dish is made from minced lamb or beef, with spices and minced onions, mixed and grilled around small spits. Usually it's served with some saffron flavoured rice with dried fruit, one of the other pillars of the Persian cuisine.

Iranian typical kebab
Iranian traditional kebab.

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