Traditional Persian Foods
When I look back at my life I would never thought nor imagined that at some point revealing that I am Persian Armenian. Growing up in the 80's in a Anglo community in Sydney was a challenge. There were just a mere handful of immigrants at our primary school. As I got older thanks to media it made it even harder to be open about my birth country and heritage.
It wasn't until I had children that I became open about where I am from and then even more so when Roar Living was born. It is because of my background that Roar Cordials exists.
When my husband requested Persian Kebob for his birthday celebration I was gleaming with excitement.
I recall the very first time Matthew came to our family home over 15 years ago for dinner. He walked into the dining room and asked if there were more people joining us? No, this is our every day table. Usually a hero dish, lots of sides and accompaniments. Always consideration to those who are vegetarian and vegan. Every meal there will be a selection of homemade fermented veggies as well as a bowl full of homegrown assorted mixed herbs. Anyone who has dined at a Persian Restaurant or middle eastern will know that a plate of mixed pickles and herbs is placed on table.
This is the entire spread excluding adult treats and birthday cake. Preparations started Tuesday.
I will share a few recipes which I know are easy for you to try. A separate blog for the salads and adults treats though.
My childhood weekends being at our relatives house is what I recall. Most often walking into their homes mouth watering already from the smell of rice cooking. Women huddled around the soul of house, the kitchen, helping and chatting whilst men outside discussing their veggie gardens how much of what has grown, what ferments they have made, who they spoke to when they booked that international call with telecom, all the while kebobs were being turned on the middle eastern coal bbq.
Here is a photo of my father, who I have learn't so much from. Chicken kebobs on the middle eastern bbq. Food is cooked over coals giving that delicious smokey flavour.
Quality key ingredients for hot dishes on my menu include Saffron Threads, Barberry, Black Eye Beans.
Saffron comes from the Crocus flower. It's the stigmas that are dried and used. Look at the details and presentation of the saffron tin. My father buys it for me in Sydney, excellent quality both in smell and taste. Deep shades of reds and orange awaiting to burst into yellow golden colour.
Barberry, ancient berry. Used as medicine, packed with benefits. Some restaurants may have a rice dish on menu, Shirin Polow which has nuts and citrus zest, Zereshk Polow barberry and saffron. Tart rubies of goodness.
Jewels dancing on fluffy rice. Full of exotic flavour.
This is Tahdik. Slices of potato or Lebanese Bread are placed on the bottom of the rice pot along with either ghee, or 1/2 1/2 butter/oil. The strained rice is placed on top of the bread or potato, cooked medium high to give you Tahdik. Once I took out the crispy Lebanese bread I used kitchen scissors to cut into portions.
Much consideration is given to those who are vegan or vegetarian there is always ample selection. We show respect and highest regard to everyone who has gathered around the table. No one leaves hungry. My mum is vegetarian, Matthews sister in-law vegan as are Matthews 3 nieces. When I menu plan I consider everyones needs.
Another traditional dish and very popular is the well known Khormeh Sabzi. If you ever see the word Sabzi know that it is a combination of herbs. One can make with or without an animal protein.
Assorted herbs, Coriander, Persian Leeks, Parsley and Fenugreek are picked, washed, dried, chopped then cooked slowly with the addition of a pulse. My family have always used Black Eye beans as opposed to Kidney Beans. Whole Dried Lime is cracked open and let to simmer.
I was in the kitchen most of the time so no photos of the kebobs, sorry. Chicken is marinated in lime or lemon juice with loads of onion over several days. On the day of the bbq, each piece is skewered then placed over the hot coals and cooked. This is how i was taught. Persian actually marinate their animal protein in yoghurt, saffron and lime or lemon juice.
Onto mezze platter and salads.