5 Things To Know About Persian Cuisine

Here in Brighton, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to international cuisine.

From the different ways to cook rice to what makes a perfect Persian dessert, here are 5 things to know about Persian cookery.

Delicious spices can quite often be associated with Indian cuisine, and Indian cuisine only. However, Persian dishes are distinguishably flavoured by particular spices which makes them recognisable as Persian cuisine. Spices such as saffron, cinnamon, fennel, and clove are used individually and as spice mixes to add that unique Iranian flavour. These spices also all have unbelievable health benefits as well as packing a punch with flavour.

Persian cuisine is made up of lots of different cookery techniques, native to Iran, meaning the style of dish served is extremely varied. Meat is often cooked over charcoal and served in one of the many styles of kebab native to Iran. Stew style dishes cooked with different meats, named Khoresht, are traditionally served with rice and vegetables and Polo is a generic term for the many different styles of rice dishes served in Persia. The charcoal grill is often the center point of the restaurant, offering diners a unique insight into one of many Persian cookery styles.

There are countless different ways to cook rice, many of which are native to certain countries. In Iranian cookery there are four main techniques used to prepare rice. Polo, or Pilaf, sees the rice boiled before being steamed, while the Tah Deeg style uses a high heat which forms a brown crust at the bottom of the pan. Kateh Rice is made by boiling away all moisture from the pan resulting in a stickier rice and Damy Rice introduces other ingredients to the cooking bringing different flavours to the dish.

Bread, or Naan, is another staple in Persia and there are over 40 different varieties made mostly from wheat. Again, as with rice, there are four methods wider used in Iran when making bread. The most popular throughout Iran, and even in Europe, is Naan-e-lavash. This is a thin and round bread and in the UK, the most recognisable as what we know as Naan. Secondly is Naan-e barbari, a bread from Turkish origin, which is thick and oval in shape. Naan-e taftoon, a thicker version of conventional naan which packs a punch with flavour!

Somewhat a speciality in Iran, sweet dishes are special and unique. An example is the popular Iranian version of ice cream, sometimes made with clotted cream, with decedent saffron and pistachio. Sticky homemade baklava is also served very often and can be almost impossible to refuse. 

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