In this post you will find a list of all the sabzi or Persian herbs (in farsi and english) you will need for each dish. You will find the recipes for these dishes in the ‘recipe’ section.
The sabzi should all be stemmed and roughly chopped. Use fresh herbs when possible but it’s fine to use a mixture of both fresh and dried sabzi. Always use the same measure of each unless otherwise stated. Herbs can bought fresh when in season, be prepared and then frozen for use later.
For more information about the different herbs used in Persian cooking follow this link
I wanted to make something different to contribute to the family Christmas table and I thought for a change I’ll make something for tea! That is ‘tea time’! Tea time is an important ritual in England and especially on Christmas day!
I made this gluten free but you can easily use a wheat flour cake recipe.
~Make your sponge as you usually would but add two teaspoons of liquid saffron for a rich yellow colour and 1 teaspoon of vanilla for taste. You could opt to add rosewater as a substitute for vanilla but I think it might be too much if you use it for the icing too. I used two medium eggs in the sponge recipe but you may prefer to add a teaspoon of flour to thicken the mixture up again.
~Remove the sponge from the oven, set to the side and leave to cool.
~Take a bowl and add a tablespoon at a time of icing sugar. Add a teaspoon of liquid saffron and a teaspoon of rosewater initially and just keep adding until you have enough colour and taste to suit you! There is no right or wrong here, its completely personal taste. Pour over the cake.
~ Roughly crush the pistachio nuts and sprinkle over the sponge. Finally sprinkle crushed rose petals over the iced sponge and there you have it!
The process of extracting oil from Damask rose petals was first practiced in Iran mainly for its perfume and then from rose petal oil came rose-water or golab. Both rose petal oil and rose-water are now used the world over for cooking, beauty preparations and for the relief of medical conditions .
Rose water or golab has a very distinctive smell and flavour is used extensively in Persian deserts, such as ‘shir berenge’ or rice pudding, in jams and ice creams such as bastani ba faloodeh ( my personal favourite) , pastries such as ‘ baamiah’ and ‘halva’ and in cookies such as ‘naan berenji ‘ the list is endless.
Rose water also has symbolic meanings within Iranian traditions and culture. It represents cleansing and as such is often placed on the ‘haft sein’ table at new year or Naw rooz ( a table containing 7 traditional items…
If you ask anyone who has never eaten Persian food before they always imagine that it’s heavily spiced, a lot like Indian food! And then they’re always surprised to learn it isn’t!
Persian cooking is made with a delicate balance of sweet and sour, hot and cold and the flavours are subtle and memorable. Quite unlike most other middle eastern food, Persian cuisine has a flavour all of its own. Often we take a recipe and ‘Persianise’ it, like Spaghetti ! We add what we think it lacks to create a better balance, or a taste that we prefer.
The ingredients of Persian food are largely the same ingredients that food all over the world is made from and yet when we add spice to a recipe, it literally transforms it. In Persian cooking we use fruits, herbs, flowers and ground roots to create a delicate aroma and a rich…
Protein packed and full of healthy fresh green herbs and nothing could be easier than making kookoo. Kookoo makes a great lunch or light supper or even something to take out with you on a picnic as it can be eaten hot or cold and both are equally delicious. Kookoo can be made in less than 30 mins and cooked either in the oven or in a pan on the cooker, which ever you prefer.
1 teaspoon of advieh
1 teaspoon of salt
pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 cup of coriander ( if you prefer you can use dried herbs, simply use 1/2 the amount and soak in water first. Remember to squeeze the water from the herbs before you use them)
liquified saffron is essential to Persian cooking. You will use it in rice dishes, Khoresht and for deserts and even in your chai. It gives Persian food its unique and subtle flavour and sets it apart. I always keep my saffron in an airtight container in a dark cupboard to ensure its rich yellow colour and to avoid it loosing any of its strength of flavour. saffron is very expensive to buy so you want to take care of it. I personally only buy Persian saffron because I know its good quality and I’ll get the results and taste I want. Spanish saffron is widely available in the UK and I buy this only if I run out ( which almost never happens ).
Take a really good pinch or of saffron and place it in a pestle and mortar, add a tiny pinch of sugar or salt ( use which ever will suit your recipe) and grind. I use a pestle and mortar but many people use small food processor and powder up bulk batches of saffron strands at a time .
Place the ground or powdery saffron in cup and add a little boiling water and stir and then cover and allow to infuse for at least 30 minutes. The longer you leave it, the richer the color.
Once you’ve made liquid saffron you can keep it in the fridge for about 2-3 days, but remember to cover it with cling film or keep in an air tight container!
Fact: Saffron is said to help ward off mild depressive thinking. I dont know how true this is but just the colour alone makes you think of sunshine and that makes me smile :)