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Persian Cuisine

“Food is central to the lives of Iranians in different ways: medicinal, cultural, philosophical, and historical”

Ariana Bundy the author of “Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes.”

Persian restaurants are countless around the world and thriving in metropolitan hot spots in the United States. Yet, it's hard to describe the taste of Iran if you haven't experienced a home cooked Persian meal. This rich, exotic cuisine has influenced cooking all over the worldfrom the sweet and sour that was popular during the medieval era to the beef dishes of India, and the pungent cuisine of South Asia. The warmth of the Persian table will always be central to family gatherings, parties, good times and memories.

The special thing about Persian cuisine is that it goes beyond the taste buds. Many of the recipes are softly blended with vinegar—which is known as an additive cure for almost every disease under the sun, including heart diseases. The sweet sharp mint and vinegar syrup called “Sekanjebeen” is a refreshing healthy drink that can be served with pride.

Pomegranates and Roses is about more than a list of recipes, it reflects passion for cooking, bringing a glimpse of history and the traditional methods of preparing Persian delicacies with a different unique attitude.

To add an exotic flavor to the table I chose the “Taachin” as it is a different way of cooking chicken in a Saffron rice cake along with the easy to prepare “Salad E Shirazi.”

Bon Appétit,

Marianne

SALAD E SHIRAZI
FRESH CRUNCHY CUCUMBER, TOMATO AND ONION SALAD SPRINKLED WITH MINT

A simple refreshing salad, its vinegary taste marrying well with heavier Persian meals, cutting through any slightly oily stew or rice. Salad e Shirazi resembles a coarse salsa or pico de gallo (chunky uncooked Mexican salsa), but it is a salad not a condiment and is served as a side dish to many Iranian rice dishes such as Lubia Polo.

 

It is extremely simple to make. Use Persian cucumbers if you can find them, otherwise any compact small ones will do. Since there aren’t many ingredients in this recipe, it’s best to use the freshest, crunchiest vegetables available. Traditionally, the dressing was made with Middle Eastern red vinegar, which contains no alcohol, but red wine vinegar or lemon juice will do if you can’t track any down. Dried mint was used in preference to fresh in the past, but I like to chop some fresh mint leaves along with the dried.

- 4–5 Persian cucumbers, or any small compact cucumbers (skin on or peeled, as you wish), chopped into small even-sized cubes
- 2 large firm but ripe tomatoes, deseeded and chopped into small even-sized cubes
- 1 large sweet red onion, chopped into small even-sized cubes
- 2–3 tbsp Middle Eastern
- red vinegar or juice of 1 fresh lemon
- salt and a little pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried mint
- 5–6 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped (optional)

Chopping the vegetables to approximately the same size ensures even distribution of the dressing – and the salad looks prettier. Add the vinegar or lemon juice, salt and pepper, olive oil and mint and mix gently. Serve straight away, as the cucumbers tend to release their juices and become limp over time.

Taachin means 'to arrange everything at the bottom'...

 

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