Hali Ghuroo – Sour plum stew with poached eggs

هلی قورو

With the arrival of spring, Iranians hit their local markets and eagerly look forward to finding unripe sour plums (Gojeh Sabz), unripe almonds (Chaghaleh Badom), and unripe sour grapes (Ghooreh). I find Iranians’ love of sour and unripe fruits to be incredibly unique and endearing.

Gojeh Sabz, Persian green unripe plums, are a seasonal delicacy loved by Iranians and showcased in many different forms in our cuisine. Harvested before they’re fully mature, they deliver a crispy crunch and a refreshing range of flavors.

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Om’let-e Gojeh Farangi – Tomato omelet

املت گوجه فرنگی

Want a quick, easy and yet flavorful meal, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner? Then Persian omelet is the answer! What we refer to as Om’let in Iran is essentially a simple, open faced omelet with very few ingredients but with a Persian twist.

Onions are slowly cooked into golden perfection before being further colored by the addition of turmeric powder. The optional addition of tomato paste and garlic ensures the flavors are enhanced. A few eggs are then cracked on top, and a touch of salt and pepper and a sprinkle of fresh herbs make this dish simply divine.

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Kuku Sabzi – Fresh herb and leek frittata

کوکو سبزی

Welcome to the world of herbs! Herbs play a significant role in Persian cuisine, whether they are served fresh as an appetizer with bread and cheese or cooked into Kuku or Khoresht.

Herbs are integrated into Persian dishes not only to brighten up the colors and bring a brilliant herbal taste, but also to create luscious and earthy sauces. Ghormeh sabzi, Saak, and Khoresht-e Karafs are good examples.

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Nargesi – Spinach, parsley and mint sauté with poached eggs

نرگسی

A peasant food, at its core! And let’s face it, I’d eat like a peasant any day when the dish tastes this rich and yummy, and is yet very simple, quick and inexpensive!

Nargesi’s origin is back in the Caspian Sea region of Iran, where produce and vegetables are abundant. Spinach is a cherished and prized leafy green that is not only eaten raw in salads, but also cooked in various stews. It is a common belief in Iran that spinach adds flavor and more importantly a certain level of viscosity to stews.

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Kuku Kadu Halva-ee – Butternut squash and walnut kuku patties

کوکو کدو حلوائی

With the arrival of fall, not only come Halloween, Thanksgiving (and my birthday), but also glorious squashes! I don’t know too many people who would pass on a well-prepared butternut squash dish.

Versatile in so many ways: you can eat squashes raw by shredding them into salads, fry them up, batter them like Tempura, roast them in the oven, or puree them and mash them like potatoes.

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Maast-o Museer – Yogurt with Persian shallots, garlic and mint

ماست و موسیر

This is another gem in the Persian yogurt series. Yogurt plays such a significant role in the cuisine and is always there to accompany a flavorful layered rice or well-seasoned stew.

The star of this yogurt dish is Museer, a Persian shallot. Museer is best described as a mix between an elephant garlic and a shallot and is packed with flavor, aroma, and pungency.

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Maast-o Khiar – Yogurt with dried mint, cucumber and raisins

ماست و خیار

Yogurt is no stranger to Persian cuisine, and is frankly a mandatory side item on the table. Each region of Iran offers its own unique version of a yogurt dish to accompany a Persian meal.

In the North by the Caspian Sea, the specialty is a garlic and shallot yogurt, which has an intoxicating quantity of Persian shallots mixed into thick and creamy yogurt.

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Soup-e Pesteh – Pistachio soup with barberries

سوپ پسته

Iran is the world’s largest producer of pistachios, so it’s no wonder that pistachios are mandatory at any Persian table for celebrations and offerings to guests.

Pistachios are roasted, salted, and typically flavored with various acidic ingredients that are a signature of the Iranian palate for sourness. They are often colored with saffron, another of Iran’s precious offerings to the world.

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Kuku Seeb-zamini – Potato Kuku

کوکو سیب زمینی

I am cuckoo for kuku! Come to think of it, all Iranians are cuckoo for kuku! So what exactly is kuku that has gotten a whole nation and an entire race of people to fall madly in love?

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Mirza Ghasemi – Smoked eggplant spread with poached eggs

میرزا قاسمی

When you think about it, just about every culture has its own version of an eggplant spread. Iran has no shortage of its own variety of eggplant dishes. As a matter of fact, it has been said that eggplants are the potatoes of Iran. Eggplants are so easy to love for their flavor, texture, and adaptability to the flavors you offer it – and for those exact reasons, it is also easy to dislike! Throughout my years of teaching cooking classes and engaging with students about eggplants, I have not come across any other vegetable that was so controversial!

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