Torsh Tareh – Tangy fresh herb stew with poached eggs

ترش تره

I seem to be on a roll of doing back-to-back northern Iranian dishes! All over Iran, many stews feature fresh herbs in the place of other vegetables to accompany either animal or plant-based proteins. While each stew has its own unique combinations and ratios, they all have one thing in common: Iranians’ celebration and love of herbs.

What makes this dish characteristically northern is the addition of a sour element. For this stew, the most traditional ingredient is Seville oranges (Ab Narenj in Farsi). Alternatively, you may use unripe sour grape juice (Ab Ghooreh in Farsi) or lime juice to create that signature tart flavor.

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Kuku Gerdu – Walnut and herb frittata

کوکو گردو

You say frittata: I say Kuku; you say (Spanish) tortilla: I say K . . . and we are saying the same thing – almost! It is actually a stretch to call this dish a frittata or a tortilla, but I don’t know a better comparison.

Kuku is an Iranian egg-based dish that combines vegetables, herbs and/or meat mixed into the egg mixture along with spices, and is baked or pan-fried to create a light and fluffy savory delight.

This Kuku is another specialty dish from the Caspian Sea region of Iran. This region has such an affinity for simple but exceptionally flavorful dishes that are naturally plant-forward and rely heavily on abundant local produce.

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Mella Ghormeh – Eggplant with herbs and poached eggs

ملا قرمه

Mella Ghormeh is a signature dish from the Caspian Sea region of Iran that celebrates the region’s abundance of local produce while bringing a depth of flavor into a simple dish.

In many regions of Iran, there is a heavy reliance on a medley of spices. However, many Northern Iranian dishes rely on simpler fresh and flavorful ingredients to create enticing and rich flavors.

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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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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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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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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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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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Khoresh Baghala Ghatogh – Butterbeans with poached eggs

باقالا قاتق

This simple peasant food brings back fond memories of childhood and time spent visiting family near the shores of the Caspian Sea.

It is surprisingly simple in composition but packed with flavors. The signature flavors for this dish are garlic and dill.

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