Persian cuisine is exotic yet simple similar to an Omar Khayyam’s poem. It is healthy, yet colorful, like Persian miniature painting. Persian cooking is combination of rice with meat, chicken or fish and plenty of garlic, onion, vegetables, nuts and herbs. To achieve a delicious taste and a balanced diet, unique Persian spices such as saffron, diced limes, cinnamon and parsley are mixed delicately.
The Cuisine of Persian influenced cooking all over the world, from the beef dishes of India, to the sweet and sour that graced the table of medieval and Renaissance Monarchs. Modern Iranian food fits perfectly with today’s lighter eating style. Iranian food has a lot of similarity with the other cuisines of the Middle East, but it is more sophisticated and imaginative, as colorful and complex as a Persian carpet.
Iranian food is inventive, rich and varied. Rich-usually flavored with saffron- is a staple, along with vegetables. The dishes that have made Persian cuisine famous worldwide are mostly homemade, because Iranian women generally do not work in restaurants. One of the most celebrated dishes is Ghormeh Sabzi, a subtle concoction of lamb, herbs and lemon that takes great skill and hours to prepare. Another is Fesenjan, Chicken in a pomegranate sauce with walnuts. Iranian food is not spicy. Herbs are used a lot, as is fruit from plums and pomegranates to quince, prunes and raisins. Much preparation time also goes into rice.
‘it is a whole ceremony”, says Somaya, an Iranian friend of mine. Iranians feel that the best rice is a type grown in the northern part of their country around the Caspian sea, it costs twice as much as the imported varieties from Southeast Asia. First, it is thoroughly rinsed. ”we do this because we believe that smell of the bag or container it was in could destroy the beautiful scent of the Caspian rice,”says Somaya. The rice is then put in boiling water, strained and finally steamed.
At most restaurants, the kebab is king ,mostly because it is fast to prepare, and eateries are generally run by men ,whose main culinary skill ,as for many of their Western counterparts, is barbecuing on the grill, Iranians have looked at food at 3 different ways for many centuries, medicinal, philosophical & cultural. Iranian Physicians & philosophers considered food & beverages as the main factor to revive body. Consuming food is a way of weakening or strengthening human character. Consuming a lot of red meat &fats was thought to create evil thoughts and makes us selfish. However, consuming a healthy diet including fruits, vegetables, fish fowl, mixed petals & blossoms of roses create unusual power & make us gentle& noble creatures. From cultural points of view, Persian food has always been considered as an art providing enjoyment to both body & mind. No accurate record of classical Persian cooking is available.
The techniques have been passed down generation to generation. Women have had a great influence in the history of cooking in Iran. The best Persian cuisine chefs were and still are women.
Like other cultures, special foods are prepared for different occasions, i.e. weddings, funerals, birthdays, Persian New Year, religious& historical feasts, formal and state gatherings.