Hungry not to leave: what a tourist will feed in Iran.
“Many culinary experts consider Persian cuisine to be one of the most delicious in the world. And it’s hard not to agree with them, “writes blogger Natalia Anokhina. – For two weeks of our trip we visited seven Iranian provinces, everywhere tasted local dishes. Such a variety of cold and hot snacks, hot dishes, desserts and sweets, I probably never saw anywhere else. For the Iranians, we were sincerely glad – they can cook, they love and they are doing it very well. ” With the consent of the authors, “Caspian News” presents a detailed gastronomic report on modern Iran.
Iran has become one of those countries where we ate in absolutely different places: in expensive restaurants, in cafes, in medium-sized restaurants, and in ordinary fast foods. And all the time the food was delicious, interesting and real. In Iran, it does not even occur to me to doubt that meat is meat, vegetables are vegetables, fruits are fruits, and flat cakes are cakes, not something grown on antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides with a huge number of any E- additives.
Honestly I admit that after a couple of times when we managed to dine and have supper at expensive restaurants for European tourists, we “scored” on this matter, and did not go to such institutions. The food there was absolutely the same in quality and freshness as in ordinary cafes, but here it cost several times more expensive. What is the point of overpaying? In general, we turned to the people’s institutions.
In fact, the concept of “Iranian cuisine” does not exist. Until 1935 Iran was called Persia, and all the dishes that are cooked in the country now are Persian dishes, some recipes of which have been preserved since the 6th century BC. At that time, Cyrus the Great created an empire stretching from India to Egypt and Greece, and it was she who became such a “conductor” of cooking. National Persian ingredients, such as saffron and rose water, later became popular throughout the empire.
As for spices and spices, the Iranians really like to use them in their dishes. I got a great pleasure walking around the grocery bazaars. Their markets are in the markets! In the most direct sense of the word. Spices are poured over with a “slide” in multi-colored layers, and then from the buyers cut it like a cake, and all these layers become visible.
Interestingly, despite such an abundance of spices and spices, Iranians do not eat too spicy dishes. They are not sharp fans at all. Dishes as a whole at them spicy. The main ingredients are rice, bread, fresh vegetables, fruits and greens. Meat, oddly enough, is not the main product. Although, frankly, we did not meet any institution, where we would not prepare kebabs or horeshi. Well, if this is the case, then I’ll start my story with them.
In Iran, there are two kinds of kebabs: meat pieces (in other words, shish kebabs) cooked on open skewers with skewers and minced meatballs prepared with skewers (we have a similar dish called lyulya-kebab). Kebab in the form of pieces of meat is more expensive than the one that is made from minced meat. The taste, perhaps, is also tastier than the first.
As for the types of meat, most often kebabs are made from meat of lamb and beef, less often from chicken. Since Iran is a Muslim country, pork is not eaten there at all. But there are places where you can try the camel. We, for example, once ordered a dish from it in our hotel. The camel was prepared in the form of choresh (choresh – stew), along with tomatoes and potatoes. It seemed to us very similar to beef, except that it is slightly softer.
If we are talking about meat dishes, Iran is preparing kufte – fried or braised chicken. Like kebabs they are made of minced meat, only they are cooked not on open fire.
The main side dish in Iran is rice. Without him, no lunch or dinner will take place. The Iranians sincerely believe that on every rice grain is inscribed “he is a god” and, eating rice, a person becomes closer to the creator. More than 100 dishes are prepared from rice. The most popular is Chelou. To prepare the chelou rice washed, soaked, boil until half, then cooked for a couple. As a result, it turns out to be airy, and the rice does not stick together. Often in the forehead add herbs, beans or even slices of potatoes. Sometimes in one plate they serve several types of chelove.
During the preparation of the chela at the very bottom of the pan, a tadig is formed – a crispy golden crust. It is believed that the tastier the tadig turned out to be, the better the cook. But, frankly, how many we did not order a man, we gave him with tadig in just one institution. And I was not particularly enthusiastic about him. So it’s a piece.
Plov, or as it is called in Iran – a streak, oddly enough, is not as popular here as a man. Probably, because it is considered that it is more difficult to prepare it. In principle, they prepare it as a chela, but meat, vegetables and even fruits are fried to it, and they are spread on layers with layers of rice, and then scalded for a couple.
Often as an additive to the main course are snacks: large green olives, pickles, pickled peppers. And also the grilled tomatoes. The last ones I was especially impressed with – the most delicious thing. Fresh tomatoes in Iran also eat, but, here, as for cucumbers, they have it is not a vegetable, but a fruit, and they serve it at the very end in a vase along with other fruits.
Even in Iran, a dish called banemdzhan is very popular. These are eggplants. They are cooked in different ways, sometimes a grill, sometimes in the form of a salad, but more often as a stew.
If you went to any Iranian restaurant to have a bite and already ordered a dish, then while you wait for it, you will be served cakes. The most common here is thin lavash. It is baked immediately. Eating lavash, which was cooked a few hours ago, is not accepted. There are also thicker and lush cakes – barbari, which are often sprinkled with sesame seeds. Their recipe was brought to Iran in the 19th century by migrants from Afghanistan, and he very much liked the local population.
By the way, cheese in Iran is also loved. But, as a rule, it’s not hard cheese. Most often it looks like a brynza, although not as salty. And eat the usual fused.
As for the eggs: any dish from eggs in Iran is called a kuku. At breakfast we were always served eggs hard-boiled. At the same time, nobody bothered with their cooking process. Eggs were put in a saucepan, poured with water, cooked for a certain time, then water was drained, and the eggs were poured into the cup directly through the edge of the dishes. They, of course, fought, but nobody cared.
I would not say that the Iranians are fish fans. We tried it once in the town of Anzali on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Specially took two different kinds of fish. Both were fried, the waiter named one of them – siva, and the second – azad. To tell the truth, mediocre, lamb kebab from the Iranians are better. By the way, the snacks that were served to the fish here were also very different. The fact is that Enzeli is famous for its olives and garlic. Olives are marinated with pepper, tomatoes, minced fish and served with different sauces. They are very tasty.
As for soups, in Iran we have not tried them. We even saw them only once – in the mountain village of Masula near the Caspian Sea. There was a market, and one of the sellers had large tanks with three different kinds of soups: vermicelli with greens, some white soup-puree and large red beans. Nearby lay plastic bowls, and those wishing for a small money could buy themselves a bowl of soup. In general, it is believed that Iranian soups are eaten very often, and the most popular soup is considered to be ashe-reshete – soup made of noodles, beans, lentils, flour and greens.
The most-loved drink – dugh. Dugh is a drink like Tana or Ayran, and Iranians usually drink hot meat and vegetable dishes. Serve it in small plastic bottles (it is sold in them). And most of the time, a muggy is. Probably, that’s why the Iranians believe that after him he always sleeps well.
Officially in Iran – a dry law, and there is no alcohol, although I read that for ritual and healing purposes, you can still find wine here. For example, Cahors in Christian Armenian churches.
But the Iranians are not teetotalers. And when they go to countries where there are no such strictures with alcohol, then they even consume it. And some even try to do it themselves in Iran, although it is prohibited by law and punished for a period of one to three years in local prisons. And put in such cases, not only the seller-moonshine, but also the buyer.
So the Iranians learned to do without alcohol. And that was not offensive, in bottles in the form similar to beer and on wine here pour non-alcoholic drinks – “lemonade” beer.
As for soda, despite the sanctions, there is a fantasy in Iran, and sprite, and Coca-Cola. And in Iran, things are fine with freshly squeezed juices and all sorts of fruit drinks. On the streets in the cities often meet, as we called them, “juice” – stalls or tiny cafes with several chairs and tables, where you can drink a frash. Make juices from melons, carrots, pineapples, bananas. Portions are divided by volume. A small portion is a glass, the middle one is a beer mug, a large one is a jug. Also in Iran, we often met a “fig drink”, that is, a drink made from figs. Honestly, we did not like it: just sweet with floating seeds.
With the real boiled coffee in Iran, the problem (we met the coffee machine only once – in the coolest restaurant in Shiraz), but the Iranians respect Iranian tea. In cities, even there are tea houses, where you can go and have tea with baked goods. We went to such a place in Isfahan – a sweet thing. And, in general, an amazing thing: it always seemed to me that if tea drinking in the country is an ancient tradition, then there must be some special tea there. After all, if I’m not mistaken, as early as the 19th century, the first samovars were brought from Russia to Iran. And if in our daily life the samovar is a rarity, in Iran they are still popular. Wherever we went to the local bazaar, we definitely met ranks with samovars.
Of course, ordinary loose tea in Iran is also sold, but Iranians prefer tea in bags.
But as for sweets for tea, the Iranians have no equal. They like sweets very much. Why are there, they only have one halva there are a dozen species. And all such tasty, that for ears you will not pull! I especially liked the puff. The sellers slashed huge blocks into pieces, wrapped them in food transparencies and sold them that way. The lower layer was made of coconut, the upper layer was made of sesame, and at the very top it was sprinkled with ground peanuts.
There are so many sweeties in Iran that the “Caspian News” decided to devote a separate material to them. Follow the heading “Tourism” on our portal!