Persian Food Thread

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Persian Food Thread

Post  Guest on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:02 am

*The first thing you notice when you eat Grilled Persian Chicken is the complete absence of chili (mircha) in the dish. And then you remember that in Abul Fazl's Ain-i-Akbari when the recipes of some of the dishes cooked in the royal kitchen of mughal emperor Akbar are described by Fazl the absence of chilli is immediately observable. In fact chili was not prevalent at all in India during Akbar's time. What this really means is that authentic grilled persian chicken (like Chicken Darb), which is well spiced with various spices and herbs, is probably closer to the food eaten by Akbar and Jahangir than any mughlai chicken you are liable to eat in India which will invariably contain chilli powder.

*The other Grilled chicken you have eaten is Turkish grilled chicken kabob which is like the chicken tikka and also like grilled persian chicken but the spices in the three different types of grilled chicken are all different. You enjoyed the Persian chicken but did not care much for the Turkish chicken.

*You did not care much for the Persian doogh (buttermilk). You found the Turkish Ayran to be quite refreshing though. You are not sure what exactly goes into the preparation of these drinks but one of the things you noticed was that the salt content in doogh is too much for your taste.

*The best flat bread you have ever eaten has got to be two different varieties (out of the several existing varities) of Persian flat bread. In restaurants: the Taftoon bread. At the Grocery store: Sahar Sangak break. More on Sangak bread here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sangak

and here:

http://www.saharsangak.com/The_Bread.html

*The jalebis in the Persian grocery store are a lot better than the ones obtainable at the local Indian store.

*There is a special kind of Health Bread they sell in the Grocery Store. It is made of different whole grains like oat, rye, barley, etc. and the claim is that it is suitable for diabetics and it promotes weight loss. You tried this bread and it was not bad at all (but nothing like the Sangak or Taftoon).

*You have now tried three different varieties of Sanghak bread. You found Saher Sanghak bread the best.



http://www.saharsangak.com/The_Bread.html

*Besides Sangak, Taftoon, and the Health Bread, you have also eaten the Lavash bread and the Barbari bread which are also nice but not as nice as Sangak and Taftoon.

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Re: Persian Food Thread

Post  Guest on Thu Aug 01, 2013 12:06 am

a nice article on persian food:

http://www.saveur.com/article/Travels/The-Land-of-Bread-and-Spice

Extract:

As much as Iranians respect bread, they revere rice (berenj in Persian), and they have turned the cooking of it into an absolute art form. Many Iranians buy rice and rock salt—the only salt traditionalists will use with rice—at stores that sell nothing but these ingredients. I encountered such a shop, in Bandar-e Anzali, the caviar capital on the Caspian Sea, when I left Tehran for a few days to explore Gilan province in the northwestern part of the country. It had half a dozen sacks of rice, each with a sign indicating the variety and price. It was here that I heard a woman ask the age of the rice she was buying, and discovered that discerning Iranian cooks prefer their rice to be at least a year old. "You shouldn't eat freshly harvested rice," she said in broken English as she gestured for me to smell the grains. "It needs to be fragrant."

I've never seen so many different ways of cooking rice as I did in Iran. The following day, I visited Tahereh Akbar and her daughter Laleh Akbar at their home in Rasht, the capital of Gilan province. In their small, modern kitchen, the women showed me how to make rice the way cooks do in northern Iran: a style called kateh that calls for cooking the rice until the water is absorbed and a crisp layer forms on the bottom and sides of the pan. Tey also made tah chin, a baked rice dish that's inverted, cut into squares, and sprinkled with dried barberries, a local fruit with a tart flavor, and currants, which gave the dish an even more appealing aroma and texture.

Kateh's rice crust is less pronounced in flavor and texture than the coveted tah dig, a crust that is the distinguishing feature of many of Iran's most elaborate rice dishes, or polows. I tasted one such dish the very next day at the home of Fereydoon AbbasNejad, a burly man with the most extraordinary handlebar moustache, on a farm outside the city of Qazvin, south of Gilan province. He and his family prepared a "jeweled" shirin polow, a festive dish studded with chicken, orange rind, and pistachios, with shami kebab, succulent ground beef kebabs seasoned with turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron. AbbasNejad parboils his rice before steaming it, and tastes it at regular intervals as it cooks, the way Italians taste pasta to ensure the right degree of al dente texture. He explained that the grains needed to retain a hint of bite on the inside, but not feel brittle.

AbbasNejad drained the cooked rice, then to make tah dig, he placed lavash over the bottom of a pot before spooning the drained rice over top, and putting it back on the stove to crisp up. Purists make tah dig just with rice—which is how I like it—or by covering the bottom of a pot with thinly sliced potatoes. But AbbasNejad's way with bread, which created a golden crust that he mixed in with the rice so you got some tender and some crisp bits with each bite, was delicious, and made the polow feel even more substantial and special.

While we cooked together, I was amused to see this big man carefully wrap each of the lids for his rice pots with a fitted cloth. As I travelled around Iran, I noticed that every household has a selection of different-size fitted cloths designed to prevent condensation on the lid from dripping back into the rice and ruining its perfect texture.

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