I have been cooking Persian food for over 30 years. As a self-taught and passionate home cook, I learned every dish through trial and error without a recipe. When I first started cooking, I didn’t have all the resources widely available today. There were very few Persian cookbooks and the internet didn’t exist. Some of the ingredients were not readily available. I knew how the food was supposed to look and taste like so I started experimenting with local ingredients to create traditional Persian dishes. I kept making a dish over and over, tasting then tweaking the recipe until I got it right. I had my share of kitchen disasters, but every disaster brought me a step closer to perfecting my recipes.
The thought of learning Persian cuisine can be intimidating for some people because of the preparation and cooking time involved. Most people I know prefer to eat Persian food at a restaurant or at someone else’s house due to their busy lifestyles. Persian cooking can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, but the end result is well worth the effort. The food keeps well in the refrigerator for days and even tastes better the next day, making it a great make-ahead party meal.
You don’t have to wait for the next family gathering, that special event or restaurant trip to enjoy your favorite Persian dishes. By becoming familiar with the ingredients and cooking techniques, you can cook the popular dishes in your own kitchen. Once you master the basic techniques for making one of the popular stew or rice dishes, you can cook the rest of the dishes like a pro. Although the ingredients change, the techniques stay the same.
The most popular Persian dishes consist of khoresht (stew) served over polo (rice), mixed polo (rice mixed with vegetables, fruits and herbs), chelo kabab (rice served with kabab), or ash (thick soup). You can find most Persian pantry items in Middle Eastern markets or online.
In the past when I shared my recipes with friends and family they wanted to know the precise measurements and the timing for each step so they could recreate the recipes at home. Since I had always cooked by eyeballing the ingredients, judging the timing and balancing the flavors from experience, I started to document and photograph every step of my cooking process to create recipes I could share with others. My hope is that these illustrated step-by-step recipes can help you visualize a recipe from start to finish, give you an idea of how the dish should look at every step, and guide you through the entire cooking process. I tried to streamline the more complex recipes, when possible, to make the cooking process faster and easier without sacrificing the authenticity or flavor of the dish.
My goal is to make Persian cooking less intimidating and more accessible to every type of cook, regardless of your experience level. My recipes cook traditional dishes of my upbringing. Every family in every region of Iran has unique variations of the recipes presented here, so feel free to adapt my recipes to your taste and lifestyle.
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Happy Persian Cooking 🙂