Other things you need to know

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.

Limu amani.

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.

tomato purée

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.

Zershek ( Barberries)

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 ( ab Limu)

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.


21 thoughts on “Other things you need to know

  1. I love your website and the great recipes contained in it. They are so simple to follow and gives a great idea of difficulty and uses for meal preparations. thanks.

    1. Hello and thanks for your comment Gloria. Im so pleased you are enjoying them. Let me know how they work out. It’s easy to write a recipe when you know how to make something and I hoped I included everything needed to make them successful for other people to follow. It’s really good to have your feedback. 🙂 Javane

    1. Hi Janice … I think your best bet is to go to an Iranian grocery store. There is a link on my home page to shops and events in the UK and some international address’s too. If that isn’t helpful do a search in your locality or try ebay. I hope you find them 🙂

  2. Hi, Javane!
    I’m hoping you can help me solve a food mystery.

    Many years ago I had a Persian friend (a Princess named Roshanak) who taught me how to make something we called Persian Rice. It was much more that just rice. I can no longer remember exactly how it was made or the spices that went into it. I’ve lost Roshanak many years ago.

    It was crispy rice – cooked rice and then we would add holes and pour oil into the holes, cover with towels and a heavy lid and cook the rice until it was golden brown and crispy.

    Then we would pour a meat mixture with a tomato base over the rice. The meat mixture used spices from Iran that her mother would send to her. It was DELICIOUS! But I don’t know what that spice mixture was. Advieh?

    Can you help me identify what those spices may have been? I know they had marijuana seeds in them …but that’s all I can remember!


    1. Bob jan I think your princess taught you to make something like lubia polou. You can find this recipe in the rice section https://javanehskitchen.wordpress.com/2010/04/02/lubia-polou-or-persian-rice-with-green-beans/ . The crispy rice you refer to is called ‘tahdig’ also in the rice section. I hope this is what you remember. Advieh recipes can be found in the spices section and there you can find advieh for rice and khoreshte. You are most welcome and think you for your comment.

  3. Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes and tips. I just found this today, and will devour (no pun intended) it completely, as i have a great passion for cooking, incl. persian food. God bless you

    1. Im so pleased to hear such lovely feed back from people who enjoy cooking. I wish you every success with the recipes and god bless you and your family too Rita jan

  4. I stumbled upon your site while planning a dinner party that I would like to serve Zulbia and Baamieh for dessert but I’m wondering if you think I can make them the day before to save time? Or do you think they need to be served immediately (I’ve never made them)? Please let me know what you think…thanks! Mariam-joon

    1. Yes Fresh is best but you can make them the day before. It takes a little practice to make so be sure you give yourself time to try making them before your dinner party. Good luck

  5. I live in an area in London where there are many ethnic grocery shops, and it is so helpful to see your translations and photos of all these foods. I found your site because I was trying to find out the ingredients of a packet of Ghorme Sabzi, which I have just bought – the people selling it didn’t know, and there was no information on the packet (I suspect that is illegal!). Anyway, now I have found out, I am going to take it back to the shop for them to taste, and then give them a print-out of your wonderful information – so useful!

  6. I have come across your website and loved it. We live in London and really really enjoy eating at Persian restaurants but as my wife is coeliac we don’t go as often as we find it hard to explain her condition – would you be able to give us a few words that would be understood in our local Persian restaurant and explain my wife’s condition. My three children and I would be eternally grateful as we love the cuisine but go rarely due to my wife’s condition. Thanks.

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