There is an unsurpassed variety of delicious ingredients which are being planted in Iran, including pistachios, almonds, walnuts, saffron, mint, oranges, pomegranates and grapes. According to various climates with four distinct seasons, the ancient Persians transformed vast stretches of arid land into fertile oases via underground water tributary that leaded melted snow water into the desert.
Fesenjan (Pomegranate Walnut Stew)
Smashed walnuts, pomegranate paste and onions are slowly simmered to make a thick sauce. Sometimes saffron and cinnamon are added, and maybe a pinch of sugar to balance the acid. At the ruins of Persepolis, archaeologists found inscribed stone tablets from as far back as 515 B.C., which listed pantry staples of the early Iranians. They included walnuts, poultry and pomegranate preserves, the key ingredients in Fesenjan.
Baghali Polo (Rice with Dill And Fava Beans)
In Iranian cooking, rice can be prepared simply with butter and saffron, known as chelo. But just as often, it’s cooked with other ingredients and called polo. Polo can be made with herbs, vegetables, beans, nuts, dried fruit, meat and even noodles, and acts as the centerpiece of the meal. The dish is flecked with green dill and favas, and is often cooked with very tender chunks of lamb. It may be served alongside lamb on the bone. The rice is better to be served with a mild saffron flavor.
Zereshk Polo (Barberry Rice)
Iranians love sour flavors. Like cranberries, but they’re even more sour. This classic rice dish is accompanied with the red berries, which are dried before cooking. The rice is cooked with plenty of butter, which helps to soften the intensity of the berries.
Gormeh Sabzi (Green Herb Stew)
It’s sour and full of herbs made from herbs, kidney beans and lamb, deep green gormeh sabzi. The stew is simmered with dried limes, limo amani in Farsi. These limes are extra sour, with a bittersweet taste that gives the stew a unique flavor.
Ash e Reshteh (Noodle and Bean Soup)
It’s topped with mint oil, crunchy fried onions and sour kashk, a fermented whey product eaten in the Middle East that tastes akin to sour yogurt. The noodles, which made their way to Iran from China, are thought to represent the many paths of life, and this soup is traditionally served when someone sets off on a long journey. Because of its auspicious ingredients, it’s also part of the menu for Norooz, the Persian New Year, which occurs at the spring equinox in March.
The one and only traditional dish in Isfahan, Biryani a soft pasty patty of fatty lamb mince arrived on stone-baked sangak bread that had been splashed that is slow-simmered. The portion seems deceptively small, but I’d recommend splitting one order of biryani between two people.
Koresht Mast in Isfahan
This dish deserves to be tasted if you are on your trip in Isfahan. The mixture of sugar, saffron, yoghurt, eggs, heaps more sugar and saffron, and…shredded cow or sheep neck. The collagen from the neck meat makes this eccentric local stew one that is strikingly similar to a rich gelatinous porridge.