Healthy Persian Recipes That Everyone Will Love
Persian Rice Pie (Tah Chin)
The bottom layer of this rice pie is all tahdig--the delectable, crispy golden rice that is the highlight of an Iranian meal. Cooking the pie on the stovetop before it goes into the oven gives the rice its signature crunch.
Oven-Roasted Fish with Onion, Lemon, Fenugreek & Cilantro (Mahi-e Shekam Por)
Cooking whole fish is easy--most fish markets sell them already cleaned and butterflied with the backbone and rib bones removed. (If not, ask the fishmonger to do it for you.) Leaving the head and tail intact makes them easy to work with--and the presentation at the table is impressive. A flavorful stuffing made with tangy tamarind and aromatic herbs is a great foil for the mild fish.
Grilled Liver Kebabs (Jigar)
Made with just about any kind of meat, kebabs are classic Iranian street food. Lamb is the predominant red meat eaten in Iran, and its liver is a delicacy. Lemon, garlic and fresh basil nicely balance the liver's mineral flavor.
Yogurt with Beets (Borani Chogondar)
Borani, a Middle Eastern yogurt dip, can be made with anything from spinach to eggplant to carrots. This recipe gets its shockingly pink color from grated beets. Make it ahead--the longer it sits, the better it tastes.
Chicken Stew with Green Herbs & Citrus (Morgh-e Torsh)
This delicious chicken stew is traditionally made with sour oranges, which are prolific in Iran--if you find them, use the juice of two in place of the citrus called for here. Serve with rice to pair with the flavorful spinach sauce.
Cucumber & Pomegranate Salad (Salad-e Khiar-o Anar)
A platter of herbs, scallions and feta is typically served alongside Persian meals in lieu of a Western-style green salad. They are meant to be folded into flatbread as an accompaniment to a meal (or sometimes as the meal itself). This salad is a riff on that, with pomegranate seeds and cucumbers mixed in.
Persian Grilled Chicken
This easy grilled chicken recipe owes its tenderness to an overnight soak in a yogurt-lemon juice marinade and its soulful flavor to saffron and onion. A healthy drizzle of saffron-infused butter before serving adds an extra layer of richness. Serve with aromatic rice with pistachios and torshi, Central Asian pickles available at Persian and Middle Eastern grocery stores.
Persian Cucumber Salad with Lentils & Sprouts
Quick-pickling adds bright flavor to this cucumber and lentil salad recipe, perfect for a simple lunch or as part of a larger meal. We like French green lentils for this salad because they hold their shape well when cooked. Look for them in natural-foods stores and well-stocked supermarkets.
Jeweled Golden Rice
Inspired by a classic Persian recipe, this eye-catching fruit- and nut-studded rice dish goes well with roast poultry or pork. Here, the colorful “jewels” are fresh and dried cherries, chopped celery, green onion and mixed nuts. The dish is prepared ahead, making it very convenient for entertaining. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.