Rice Cakes, Meat, and Yoghurt Dishes to Impress Your Persian In-Laws

Iranians love their food and have a rich culinary history, as evidenced by their many amazing dishes. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)
Iranians love their food and have a rich culinary history, as evidenced by their many amazing dishes. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Are you in love or engaged to an Iranian and meeting their parents for the first time? If so, you need to cook the yummiest of Persian dishes to impress your prospective in-laws. Iranians love their food and have a rich culinary history, as evidenced by their many amazing dishes.

Zereshk polo

Zereshk polo is basically barberry rice with saffron chicken. Its sweet and sour flavor makes it a hit with people. “Iranians love sour flavors. Like cranberries, barberries have a vibrant red color, but they’re even more sour,” according to Food Republic. The dried red berries are rehydrated before using in the dish. The rice is cooked in butter, which gives it a soft, sumptuous taste that goes well with the tartness of the berries. The chicken is roasted with saffron and is usually golden brown on the outside, with a meaty, juicy interior. The dish is served with veggies like bell peppers, carrots, and onions. Zereshk polo is usually served at weddings and big feasts as it is easy to cook in large quantities.

(Image: Hamid3 via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Zereshk polo is barberry rice with saffron chicken. (Image: Hamid3 via wikimedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

Tahchin

This is basically a rice cake that contains yogurt, eggs, saffron, chicken, and so on. Some versions use veggies and other kinds of meat instead of chicken. Tahchin is comprised of two sections. The first is the white rice that makes up the bulk of the dish. The second is the thin tahdig part that contains the chicken fillet and other ingredients. The crispiness and the burnt texture intensify the flavor of the tahdig, making it extremely popular with people. In fact, many restaurants only prepare the tahdig without the white rice section as it is the most demanded item.

Fesenjan

You will find fesenjan at almost every Persian wedding. “Though in Iran fesenjan is traditionally made with duck, in the U.S., you’re more likely to find the stew made with chicken. The other main ingredients of pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts infuse the dish with a sweet and sour, earthy flavor,” according to Zagat. In some northern regions of Iran, the dish is made with fish. For the fensenjan to achieve the ideal taste and texture, it is necessary that the dish be cooked slowly. The color of perfect fesenjan will look almost black and it will have a thick, creamy consistency. Its unique flavor is a result of the combination of duck, roasted walnuts, and pomegranate syrup.

(Image: stringparts via wikimedia CC BY 2.0 )

The color of perfect fesenjan will look almost black and it will have a thick, creamy consistency. (Image: stringparts via wikimedia CC BY 2.0 )

Kebab

Kebab is a meat dish that comes in incredible varieties. At its most basic, kebab is ground meat mixed with spices and grilled over charcoal. The traditional chicken kebab is usually marinated in onion and lemon, with butter and saffron poured over it during cooking. The end result is a lip-smacking dish that will satisfy any meat lover. Lamb liver kebab, known as jigar, is also popular among Iranians and is served garnished with lemon and basil leaves.

Mast

Mast is essentially a yogurt salad. The yogurt used in the dish tends to be thicker than the American one and is very creamy and tart. Preparing mast is pretty easy. All you have to do is mix yogurt with some diced cucumbers, rose petals, shallots, salt, and pepper. It is usually served as an accompaniment for kebabs. The dish is similar to Greek tzatziki and Indian raita. Some versions add chopped walnut pieces, dried mint, and dill to enhance the flavor.

Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our weekly email

The Symbolism of Flowers and Fruit in Chinese Art
Burying Ancestors With Tuition Money Is Rewarded in an Unexpected Way