Iran is a vast country with several local cultures and lifestyles. This diversity in culture leads to diversity in food. In Iran you can find lots of unique delicious foods and drinks. Here we try to help you find your favorite Iranian dish.
Stew (in Farsi: Khoresht)
As you might guess, rice is one of the most common foods in Iran. Rice with stew might be the favorite dish among Persian people. There are several kinds of stews and it’s not easy to determine the most delicious one.
Ghormeh-sabzi: Do you like greens? What about kidney beans? Ghormeh sabzi(roughly translated: Stewed greens) is made of roasted greens, kidney beans, dried lemons and lamb/beef. Like other Iranian stews, Ghormeh-sabzi is served with rice(in Farsi: Polo or Chelo) I believe you’d like the different taste of this stew.
Fesenjun: Looking for a more unique food? In Iran, there’s a lot of pomegranates and people make amazing stuff using this fantastic fruit. Fesenjun is made of pomegranate paste, blended walnuts, chicken/meatballs. Depending on the pomegranate paste, this stew can be sweet, sour, or something in between. I strongly recommend you to have this stew, it’s delicious and very nutritious.
Gheymeh: This one is the most common one among stews. But I assure you, it’s as delicious as it looks. The ingredients are chunks of meat, dal, dried lemons, tomato paste and French fries/fried eggplant. This stew is usually served in big religious festivals or ceremonies.
If you like kebab as much as I do, Iran is your ultimate destination. Because we have lots of different kebabs. There are more than 15 different types of kebab in Iran. Here we introduce the most important ones:
Koubideh Kebab: The most common type is Koubideh which is made of ground meat, ground onion and some spices. It might look easy to cook a Koubideh kebab, but the process of putting the meat around a skewer is very tricky. If you are an amateur, the meat will fall off the skewer seconds after you hold it above the fire. You can find a very nice Koubideh in a small restaurant near Denj hostel, named Golpayegani Kebab Store.
Barg Kebab: This one is made of cleaver-smashed beef or lamb. You can ask for a juicy or crispy one. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice, and you can feel the taste of heaven ;)
Juje Kebab: This one is not so special, it’s just chicken kebab which can be found almost everywhere. But If you go to Darband in Tehran, and have some, I’m sure it will be your new favorite chicken kebab.
Dande Kebab: Do you like ribs? Rib kebab tastes like nothing else in this world. If you’re looking for the best rib kebab EVER, you must visit Kermanshah, in the west region of Iran. But be careful, this one is a bit expensive.
There are some other kinds of kebab like Kardi, Soltani, Bakhtiyari, etc.
Fast food is very common in Iran like everywhere else. You can easily find a nice fast food in Tehran and other big cities like Esfahan or Shiraz. But in smaller cities it might take you some time to find a good one. Different kinds of sandwiches, fried chicken and pizzas are served in these fast foods. Usually pizzas are cooked in the American way, but you can find Italian pizza or pasta too in Italian restaurants. The cheapest sandwich you can buy, is falafel. If you don’t know what a falafel is, well, ask a vegetarian J
Dizi: This special food which is also known as Ab-Goosht is one of the oldest Persian foods. Dizi is very slow cooked and the ingredients are lamb, chickpeas, white beans, potatoes, dried limes, tomatoes, and turmeric. You must first remove the solids form the broth and start mashing them in a bowl or something to make something like hummus. You would love the outcome.
Tah-Chin: If someone asks me about my favorite Iranian dish, I would definitely say Tah-Chin. It’s 100% Persian and made of chicken, rice, lots of saffron, yoghurt, barberries and some spices. Believe me, if you try this once, especially in Moslem restaurant in Tehran, you would order Tah-chin for the rest of your meals in Iran. The best thing about Tah-chin is the crispy rice and the saffron taste.
Kalle-Pacheh: This one is not good looking, but for sure delicious. Kalleh-Pacheh is made by cooking a sheep’s head and some other internal organs. It’s very nutritious and also heavy. It’s better to have Kalle-Pacheh for breakfast or lunch.
Iran is not the best country to visit for vegetarians, because well, we love meat :D But there are some foods which can be interesting for vegetarians. Here we introduce four of them.
Mirza Ghasemi: There’s no English translation for this food, so it must be 100% Iranian. It’s made of tomato, eggs, mashed eggplants, garlic and some spices. Sometimes the eggplant is barbecued first to add the smoky taste to the food which I absolutely love it. Mirza Ghasemi is mostly served with bread.
Kashk-e Bademjan: This one is containing mashed eggplants (fried or barbecued). But this time along with Kashk, walnuts and garlic. Trust me fellas, you would love this taste. You might wonder what kashk is. It’s a range of diary, usually used in Iranian or Turkish cuisine. This one is also served with bread.
KuKu: There are 2 different kinds of KuKu. Both are egg-based and vegetarian. KuKu Sabzi can be made by mixing blended vegetables, eggs, walnuts, barberries and some spices, then folding and frying this mixture. Kuku Sibzamini on the other hand is mostly eggs and potato and onion. Both must be served with bread.
Āsh: or Aash is a kind of thick stew/soup made of slow-cooked beans, chickpeas and lentils along with blended vegetables and a special kind of macaroni called reshteh. Aash is usually served hot. There are different kinds of Aash, but the most common one is Aash Reshteh.