Persian cooking is one of the more widely spread and fascinating cuisines in the world.
Although there are plenty of restaurants that specialize in this cuisine in all parts of the globe, you will, quite understandably, still get only the best, most authentic and delectable Persian dishes and traditional Iranian drinks when you visit Iran.
If you will be coming to Iran soon, here are the top 10 dishes you should try during your holiday in this beautiful and culturally rich country:
1. Chelow Kabab
Kebab is the most popular type of Persian food. This dish takes it roots from the country’s national dish – chelow kabab.
This traditional Iranian dish consists of steamed Persian rice with saffron and grilled lamb or beef koobideh kabab. It is also served with grilled tomatoes and butter placed on top of the rice.
For a more authentic dish, request for sumac and sprinkle some on your kebab.
Many Iranians start their day with haleem, a hearty wheat porridge dish.
This breakfast dish combines wheat, minced meat (usually goat, mutton, or lamb), barley, lentils, and spices. This is then slow cooked for seven to eight hours. Cinnamon is then added which makes this porridge the perfect savory and sweet dish.
3. Asheh Reshteh
More commonly known as ash, this is Iran’s best comfort dish.
Asheh reshteh is a thick vegetable and noodle soup. It is made up of thin noodles, beans, chickpeas, and a variety of herbs. The soup is then topped with fried onions, garlic, a mint mixture, and liquid kashk or whey.
This dish was traditionally prepared to welcome the Persian New Year since the noodles are believed to bring good fortune for the following year.
4. Ghormeh Sabzi
If you are looking for a hearty stew, you have to try ghormeh sabzi.
This is a Persian herb stew loaded with various flavorful herbs including cilantro, chives, fenugreek, and parsley. These are cooked together with red kidney beans and slow-cooked beef or lamb.
This dish is typically paired with steamed white rice.
5. Khoresh Bademjan
Khoresh bademjan is a traditional Iranian dish enjoyed by eggplant lovers.
This stew is made of fried skinned eggplants, lamb or beef, tomatoes, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron, or other similar mild spices. Sour grape juice or sun-dried limes are then added to introduce a hint of acid in the dish and make it even more flavorful.
6. Khoresh-e Fesenjan
Also known simply as fesenjan, this is one of Iran’s oldest dishes.
Fesenjan is an Iranian stew made with duck or chicken.
Balls of ground meat or chunks of lamb are also sometimes used. The stew is then flavored with pomegranate paste and ground walnuts. This dish is best enjoyed served with Iranian white or yellow rice.
Iran’s version of baked rice cake consists of rice, yogurt, and saffron. Some versions have chicken, fish, meat, and vegetables folded in the first layer.
Tahchin is typically composed of two layers: the tahdig, which is the bottom crispy part that holds the meat, saffron, and other ingredients. This layer is considered by many to be the tastiest part of the dish. The second top layer is simply made up of white rice.
If you want to try some traditional Iranian bread, you won’t go wrong with trying sangak.
Sangak is a leavened whole wheat bread baked in a dome-shaped oven with a surface made up of stones and pebbles.
When you buy this bread at an Iranian bakery, you can choose between the regular bread which has no toppings and the pricier one which has poppy or sesame seeds.
9. Bastani Sonnati
Bastani sonnati is Iran’s most popular and traditional ice cream flavor.
The ice cream is made with rose water, vanilla, and pistachio and infused with saffron. The combination of flavors makes it the perfect sweet, refreshing treat perfect for a hot day. Its elegant taste makes it an excellent dessert to cap off a delicious meal.
10. Shirini Nargili
Lastly, if you’re still craving for dessert, satisfy your sweet tooth with shirini nargili – Iran’s version of coconut macaroons.
The macaroons are light, yet they have a soft and chewy texture. They have an amazing coconut flavor which won’t overwhelm your taste buds. You can enjoy these macaroons as a snack or a dessert.
Whatever your goal is for visiting Iran; for a holiday, for immersing in its amazing history and culture, or to go shopping for truly unique fashion accessories, don’t forget to spend time exploring its fascinating and rich food scene.
Hamid Habibollah is Head of Content and Social Media at Snapptrip, a full-service travel booking company based in Tehran, Iran with a mission to empower customers’ choices in booking their whole travel online. Hamid is an experienced content marketer with a demonstrated history of working in the internet industry and a passion for new media.