Ghalieh Mahi – Fish in a tamarind and herb sauce

قلیه ماهی

The cuisine of Southern and South-Western Iran is known for its rich, bold flavors and the creative use of tamarind, dates, regional spices and of course, seafood from the Persian Gulf! This stew is a great representation of the region’s dishes: slightly spicier, and with a different flavor profile.

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Aash-e Mash – Mung beans and herbs soup

آش ماش

Here is another great entry in the long line of Aashes – thick, hearty soups – in Persian cuisine. Much like others in the series, this Aash incorporates an abundance of fresh herbs, Kashk, a Persian whey sauce, along with crispy garlic, caramelized onions, and the aromatic mint sauce!

Though the main ingredient for this Aash is the mung bean, the turnip is the true star. Persians have a long history of love affairs with turnips! To be more accurate, Persian moms have a long history of forcing their children to eat, drink, and breathe turnip in its various forms for its health benefits!

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Aash-e Anar – Pomegranate soup with meatballs

آش انار

This is Aash-e Anar, another of the popular and well-loved members of the Aash family, with many enticing and creative seasonal variations.

Aash has always been front and center of Persian cuisine. This is a Farsi term used to describe a thick style of soup that often combines a variety of beans, grains, sometimes noodles, herbs, spices and meat. 

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Sohan Asali – Walnut brittle

سوهان عسلی

To most Persians, Sohan Asali is a beloved and familiar sweet that is a prime example of Mehmoon-Navazi, a uniquely Persian style of over-the-top hospitality!

To me, Sohan Asali is a reminder of the nearly forgotten years of 40 years ago when I lived in Iran and celebrated the Winter Solstice, called Shab-e Yalda in Farsi. Shab translates to night and Yalda is the reference to the longest night of the year.

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Kashk-e Kadu – Butternut-squash-spread with whey and mint

کشک کدو

Fall is my favorite season for variety of reasons: the turning of the leaves, the bright and colorful fall foliage, my birthday, and the arrival of harvest-time.

Squashes, persimmons, quinces and pomegranates top the list of seasonal favorites for me. I find the flavors of squashes quite appealing and when you think of it, what’s not to love?! They deliver carbs with a soft texture and a sweet flavor profile that pairs so nicely with many other flavors.

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Morgh Shekam Por – Saffron-glazed stuffed chicken with fruits and nuts

مرغ شکم پر

Morgh Shekam Por is a traditional stuffed chicken that is packed with a wide range of flavors, textures and colors. Chickens – often the smaller varieties that have the best flavor – are marinated in citrus juice, spices and oil, and then filled to the brim with the stuffing.

Shekam Por is an endearing Persian term used when vegetables, meats or fish are stuffed. In Farsi, Shekam means belly and Por means full, so Shekam Por is what I am hoping you will experience after preparing this dish!

In the northern part of Iran by the Caspian Sea, it is quite customary to use ducks instead of chicken, in which case the name of the dish changes to Morghabi Shekam Por.

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Kadu Polo – Butternut squash rice

کدو پلو

Kadu Polo is a delightful Fall-weather dish from the Caspian Sea region of Iran, where its regional name is Ka-ee Pelah. It is a true celebration of the local flavors and produce that make northern Iranian cuisine so incredibly fresh, tasty and healthy.

I am often surprised and delighted when simple dishes without a long list of ingredients turn out so incredibly rich and flavorful. Fresh ingredients and proper cooking techniques are two essential elements of Persian cuisine.

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Ferni – Rose water rice pudding

فرنی

This is Ferni, one of the most comforting and familiar dishes in Persian cuisine; a smooth and creamy dessert that is loved by both the old and the young. Though to call it *just* a dessert really doesn’t capture the essence and significance of this dish.

Ferni is so much more than a sweet rice pudding; it is a cultural phenomenon which requires more explanation. But first let’s talk about it as a culinary creation.

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Aash Gholvat – Potato and herb stew with eggs

آش قلوت

What looks like a soup or a stew, but is neither? It is an Aash!

Aash has always been front and center in Persian cuisine. This is a Persian term used to describe a thick style of soup that often combines a variety of beans, grains, sometimes noodles, herbs, spices and meat. 

There are nearly 50 varieties of Aash. Aash Resteh, Aash Jow and Aash Sholeh Ghalamkar top the list, followed by less recognized and more regional Aash dishes.

This Aash definitely packs a ton of flavors into a surprisingly simple vegetarian dish. The usual suspects in this Aash are Sabzi (fresh herbs in Farsi), and sprinkled on top fried dried mint leaves and caramelized onions.

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Sholeh Zard – Saffron and rosewater rice pudding

شله زرد

Sholeh Zard is a beloved and popular rice pudding that has all the quintessential flavors of a Persian dessert. Fragrant Persian rice is slowly simmered in a large body of water until it begins to soften. One by one, saffron, rosewater and sugar find their way into the pot and diligently do their part to create a creamy, aromatic and vibrant rice pudding that is as familiar to Iranians as apple pie is to Americans.

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