This is a glossary of persian food, their english translations and additional information about each item:
Aash is soup. Persian soups are usually rich in nutrients and vitamins. Aash e Reshte is probably one of the most well known and uses lentils, herbs and reshte which is similar to spaghetti and not gluten free. I will post a gluten free alternative recipe soon. Meanwhile here is a link to a recipe for Aash e Reshte
Advieh is the name given to a mix of spices used across a range Persian cooking in soups, rice dishes and on chicken for example. Advieh is used to complement the flavours of your ingredients. Many people add ground ginger or cloves. You can make your own mix of advieh quite easily: 2 tblspoons of dried rose petals, 2 tblspoons of cardamom, 2 tblspoons of cinnamon and 1 tblspoon of ground cummin. Store in an airtight container and keep in a cool dark place. For more information and other variations for advieh follow this link.
Rice is called ‘berenge’ when its uncooked and ‘polou’ once it’s been cooked. For more information about rice and the different grades of rice see my post ‘what you need to know about rice’
Khoreshte simply means stew.
Sabzi means green vegetables which include all herbs and as it’s an important ingredient and more complex, I have another page just devoted to sabzi.
Dried whole limes are used frequently in Persian cooking and can be found in almost all Iranian grocery stores and often some Indian stores. They are dried at harvest time by cooking them in salty water and then left to dry out. They will stay fresh for up to 2 years if stored correctly. You can also buy this in powdered form. Both need to be stored in airtight containers to help preserve the strength of flavour. Limu amani is used in many dishes to create a sour taste. I also pop one in my tea-pot, with a pinch of za’faran for extra specially delicious chai. Limes also have a medicinal value in that they are rich source of citric acid, natural sugar, vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus.
It’s far easier to use already purée ‘d tomatoes and I buy mine in a tin because it’s usually cheaper. Here’s a tip… pour the contents into a large freezer bag, flatten out and place in the freezer. This way you can be sure your purée is always fresh and just break off what you need as you need it.
Zereshk are the fruit of a shrub widely grown in Iran’s Khorasan province. They come in two varieties red and black. Rich in vitamin C, they add a sharp flavour and are mainly used to make Zereshk polou. I have added another recipe Khoreshte Khalale from the Kermanshah region of Iran which uses black zereshk and sliced almonds. You can find this is the recipe section.
Zereshk can also be safely stored in you freezer and used immediately as and when you need them.
If like me you are a coeliac, please ensure you wash zereshk thoroughly as they are often found growing near wheat fields and may carry wheat dust.
Lime juice is a typical flavouring in Persian cooking is used in many dishes, it adds zest and tastes better than lemon juice. It has many additional benefits such as Vitamin C. The health benefits of lime include scurvy, digestion, constipation, eye care, piles, peptic ulcer, respiratory disorders, gout, gums, weight loss, skin care, urinary disorders. Lime juice is used in many dishes from deserts to Khoreshts. You can even add it to ice cream. I always have plenty in my cupboard.
Sumak is a Middle Eastern spice and mostly grown and harvested in Iran. It has no english name.and is not generally used out side of the Middle East, although it grows wild in parts of Italy. It is however widely used in Turkish, arabic and particularly Lebanese cuisine. The berries of the ‘sumak’ bush are red, pungent and quite hairy! The taste is quite sour and fruity. In Iran sumak is used on meat both before and again after it’s been grilled. Sumak is thought to be helpful as a diuretic, for complaints of the bowel and for general stomach upsets. Always store sumak in an air tight container out of sunlight or its colour and flavour will fade.