Persian cuisine is a revelation to many.
We often get comments from clients, trying Persian cuisine for the first time, that they have never eaten anything quite like it. Others comment about similarities they can taste to other countries’ cuisines. This is often because many other nations derived some of their dishes from ancient Persian food, countries such as India, Greece and Turkey to name a few. Also many of these different countries were part of the ancient Persian empire, so influences would be obvious.
Persian cooking incorporates many spices, some known, others not, but this does not mean that all our food is hot, as so many people interpret ‘spicy’ to mean. Yes our food is full of spice but some are so delicate that they are but a whisper – others talk more loudly!
Persians also use a lot of fresh and dried herbs: fresh coriander, parsley, dill and mint feature heavily in our cuisine as do dried fenugreek, dill tips, mint and wild angelica. Saffron, the king of spices, also plays an important role in flavouring more delicate dishes. Turmeric, sumac and cinnamon are used as well.
Fruit is an important element in the food of ancient Persia. Quinces, pomegranates (said to have originated in Persia), plums and cherries are all important players in the dishes of Persia. Often adding sweetness, but not cloyingly so.
Rice is essential to the Iranians who eat it at almost every main meal to accompany their khoreshts (stews). The cooking method employed is quite unique and produces rice that is dry and each grain beautifully separated and elongated, much appreciated by the Persians. A by-product of cooking rice the Persian way is something called taqtig, which is the crunchy golden crust found at the bottom of the cooking pan. This is always reserved for special guests and much fought over in Iranian households around the dinner table.
From time to time we get asked if we serve kebabs. We choose not to, preferring to concentrate on the exotic and intricate dishes of Ancient Persia, full of delicate flavours and nuances.