Khoresh Bij Bij – Caspian Sea stew with poached eggs

خورش بیج بیج

Bij Bij is not only a fun name for a dish, it is also a staple for Caspian Sea folks. People from Iran’s Mazandaran Province call this dish “Vavishka” (clearly a name that originated in Russia), but in Tehran those who know of it call it Bij Bij. It is a comfort dish, made with ground meat, caramelized onions and spices, all cooked in a rich tomato sauce, and with eggs poached right in the middle. An all-round simple and flavorful dish that can be prepared in about an hour, with very little effort.

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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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Kashk – Persian whey sauce

کشک

Kashk is a full-fat yogurt that is cooked with water until most of the liquid is evaporated and then strained through a cheesecloth. The pulp is then rehydrated with some water and salt to create a reasonably thick sauce-like consistency. The end result is pure umami: a little salt, a lot of tang and a whole lot of flavor! In Persian cuisine, Kashk is either blended into dishes or quite often drizzled on top of them.

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Naan Sangak – Persian flatbread

نان سنگک

Bread is deeply integrated into Persian culture, and many types of flatbread appear on the Persian table to accompany breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of these is Sangak, which is truly unique in both its flavor and its baking techniques.

Sangak is the Farsi word for the little rocks or pebbles which ultimately make this bread different from all others. The dough is baked on a layer of hot pebbles, giving this bread its signature look of an uneven surface with many indentations.

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Soup-e Jow – Barley soup

سوپ جو

Soup-e Jow is a delightfully simple and flavorful soup, but is not really well-known in the line-up of Persian soups and Aashes. (Aash is a Farsi word for a thick soup, like a cross between a soup and a stew.) The barley offers an earthy flavor and satisfying chew, while lemon juice contributes a refreshing sourness. Carrots bring a brilliant color, and milk adds creamy richness.

This soup was a favorite of my family’s when I was growing up in Iran, and I remember looking forward to it every time Mom prepared it.

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Kayk-e Baghlava – Baklava cake

کیک باقلوا

It is that time of year: once again, Nourouz is here!

With the arrival of Nourouz, the Persian New Year, every Iranian diligently gathers specific items to be elegantly displayed on their Haftseen table (see more details below).

This is a lesser-known version of baklava that takes the form of a cake, instead of the flaky filo pastry that people are most familiar with. But it has all the familiar flavors that you would expect from a Persian baklava, such as rose water, ground nuts and cardamon. In Farsi, this cake is also called Kayk-e Sharbatie, referring to the syrup that is poured over the baked cake.

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Kashk Bademjoon – Eggplant spread with whey and mint

کشک بادمجون

Among all the eggplant spreads in the world, Kashk Bademjoon is unique! In this Persian dish the eggplant is the star, taking center stage with an up-and-coming co-headliner, Kashk. Kashk is most often referred to as liquid whey: tart, aromatic and salty, bringing a deep umami experience to the dish.

Name a culture, and it has a version of eggplant spread. Baba Ghanoush (Middle Eastern), Baklazhannaia Ikra (Slavic), Melitzanosalata (Greek), Mirza Ghasemi (another Iranian one), and the list goes on . . .

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Khoresh Fesenjoon – Chicken in pomegranate and walnut sauce

خورش فسنجون

This is fesenjoon, another national culinary treasure of Iran. There aren’t many dishes that give you as much pleasure and joy of eating as fesenjoon! It’s inherently a simple dish, showcasing a perfect blend of simple and yet flavorful ingredients that are abundant in Iran, making it a celebration of natural resources.

The dish starts with walnuts that are ground into a coarse powder and features lightly-browned chicken pieces that are patiently cooked to tenderness in a pomegranate sauce. Choosing the best quality ingredients will ensure you have the best fesenjoon on the block!

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Salad Olivieh – Chicken and potato salad

سالاد الویه

Salad Olivieh is a chicken and potato salad that has won most if not every Iranian’s heart! To mention Salad Olivieh to an Iranian is to watch an excited smiling face staring back at you and to hear tales of where and how they used to eat this salad. Most of us would have it wrapped in a thin lavash style of bread and eat it as a sandwich.

Salad Olivieh, originally a Russian dish, gained international fame at the turn of the century and became wildly popular. Because of Iran’s proximity to Russia, a number of Russian dishes have found their way to Iran via the Caspian Sea area.

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Meygoo Polo – Rice with herbs and prawns

میگو پلو

Meygoo Polo originated in Iran’s southern provinces of Khuzestan and Bushehr. It’s not surprising that this seafood dish comes from provinces that are located on the shores of the Persian Gulf.

Meygoo is the Farsi word for prawns, which are a staple for the residents of the Persian gulf region. This dish brings together warming spices and blends them with cups of fresh herbs, all layered in a pot full of light and fluffy rice. As with most traditional dishes, local and regional touches influence the specific ingredients.

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