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Lufthansa City Center

Telephone: +98 21 / 22181000
+98 21 / 22409519

No. 39, Moghaddas Ardebili St., Zaferanieh,
19868-13911 Tehran

The cuisine refers to the traditional and modern styles of cooking related to Iran. The Iranian culinary style is unique to Iran, though has historically both influenced and been influenced by Iran's neighboring regions at various stages throughout the history. Specifically, these have been mutual culinary influences to and from Mesopotamian cuisine, Anatolian cuisine, and especially the Central Asian cuisine. The cuisine includes a wide variety of food families ranging from rice served with roasted meat (chelow kebab), different kinds of Persian-style Kebabs, namely Barg, Koubideh, Shishleek, Soltani, Chenjeh; various types of stews served with rice (Khoresht), namely Ghormeh Sabzi, Gheimeh, Fesenjan; different types of thick soup (Ash) including āsh-e reshte, āsh-e anār, āsh-e dough; a special type of vegetable souffle, namely kuku; a wide variety of rice served with other food items, named in Persian “polo” for example Loobia Polo (Rice with green beans), Albaloo polo (Rice with Black Cherry), Rice with Vegetables (Sabzi Polo), Rice with Barberries (Zereshk Polo), etc. and a diverse variety of Salads, Pastries, and soft drinks specific to different parts of Iran.

Iranian Caviar

Iranian Karaburun Ossetra caviar is a variety of Iranian Ossetra caviar which boasts a nutty, creamy roe. The flavor can only be described as a perfect balance of salt and butter undertones. The texture is silky yet separate eggs hold together well in a mass.

Karaburun refers to the particular sturgeon (acipenser persicus) which is native to the southern Caspian Sea, and is mainly processed by Iranian fisheries. Karaburun caviar is distinct in that it is one of the only remaining wild sturgeon that is not considered an endangered species because of the efforts put forth by the Iranian Ministry of Fisheries.

Considered the most flavorful and elite caviar by some critics, Iranian Ossetra (sometimes also spelled Osetra or Asetra) is one of the most desired types of caviar in the world. It can look, smell, and taste a little different each time you try it due to abundant varieties (see below). Generally nutty and buttery in taste, the savory roe ranges in color from deep black to light gold and almost white. The texture of Ossetra caviar tends to be a bit firmer than other types of caviar, yet still delicate.

The Ossetra sturgeon fish, found mainly in the Caspian Sea, is usually harvested in Iran or Russia. The sturgeon reaches maturity at around age 15, but can live up to eighty years. Although they are generally smaller than Beluga sturgeon, Ossetra sturgeon can weigh anywhere between 50-400 pounds. Experts conclude that the variations in taste occur because the Ossetra is a bottom-feeder; thus, its eggs acquire the flavor of what the fish eats, which may vary based on time of year, weather, and other environmental factors.

Currently, our Iranian Ossetra has a smooth nutty-flavor and a light salt taste accompanied by exceptionally large roes in a mid-toned gray color.

Iranian Sevruga Caviar with gray eggs sitting atop a caviar blini and creme fraicheThis Caspian Sea caviar consists of smaller roe than that of the other two main caviar varieties. However, what it lacks in size, the Iranian Sevruga more than makes up in it’s intense flavor. Sevruga caviar (acipenser stellatus) is saltier and richer in taste, which is why it is often referred to as the “Strong Sturgeon”.

It’s relatively affordable price is reflective of the fact that the Sevruga sturgeon is rather common and quick to reproduce, developing viable eggs as early as seven years of age. Noted as the smallest of the Caspian Sea sturgeons, Sevruga rarely weighs over 25 kilograms.

Our Iranian Sevruga’s texture consists of a lustrous greenish-gray to dark-gray roe. It is also notable for its rather crunchy texture and deep flavors of salt and butter.

Zereshk Polo

Iran is known for many of its exports …… oil, saffron, rugs, and of course Persian cats:) But one commodity that many in the West may not know of is zereshk. Iran is the biggest producer of zereshk in the world. Zereshk are dried barbarries – small delicious tart berries that have been cultivated in Iran for over 200 years. They are used in jams, dried fruit leathers and candies. But one of the most popular dishes that features zereshk is Zereshk Polo.

Zereshk polo is one of the easiest and yet most elegant Persian dishes to prepare. This traditional rice dish has the perfect balance of tart and sweet. Zershk Polo is delicious on it’s own, but I find that it goes exceptionally well withSaffron and Lemon Roasted Chicken.

Mirza Ghassemi

Mirza Ghassemi is a delicious blend of creamy baked eggplant, tomatoes, lots of garlic and egg. There is something poetic about the combination of eggplant and tomato……Italians have Caponata, the French have Ratatouille, the Lebanese have Menazzaleh and we Iranians have Mirza Ghassemi.

Mirza Ghassemi is a Northern Iranian dish from the Gilan province. The first time I remember tasting it was in my student days at a restaurant in Montreal. As an eggplant and garlic lover I was instantly in love! I had never cooked an Iranian dish in my entire life but I called home immediately and demanded a recipe from my mother. My roommate and I attempted to re-create the dish and were surprised at how simple it was. It became a regular part of our cooking repertoire and hopefully it will become part of yours as well.

Kashk-e Bademjan

Fortunately, Persian cuisine is an eggplant lovers paradise. If I had to pick my favourite Persian eggplant dish it would be a tight race, but I think Kashk-e Bademjan would have to be the winner. Creamy and garlic-y with caramelized onion and tender, fried eggplant, this dip is ridiculously delicious. It has ruined many Persian restaurant lunches for me as I can not resist ordering it and eat so much that I have no room left for Kabab!

For those of you who don’t know, kashk is whey – the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained in the cheese-making process. In North America, most people’s familiarity with whey is in the form of whey protein for protein shakes. In the Middle East, whey (or kashk as we call it in Farsi), is used a great deal in cooking. It provides a wonderful flavour and a creamy consistency to a lot of dishes. Kashk and eggplant are a wonderful complement to each other. The following is the Kashk-e Bademjan recipe my mother taught me, which I believe is superior to any restaurant version I’ve had!

Khorest-e Ghaimeh

For those of you unfamiliar with Khorest, it is a Persian stew and one of the pillars of Iranian cuisine. I have to admit that I always found the idea of cooking Khorest very intimidating. It seemed complicated and time-consuming and best left up to the experts….. namely my mother. But once she began to teach me, I learnt that, while Khorests do take a long time to simmer (as do most stews), many of them are incredibly simple to prepare and are the perfect make ahead dinner.

Khorest-e Ghaimeh was always one of my favourite stews growing up and one of the absolute easiest Khorests to prepare. It is a savoury mix of tender beef, yellow split peas flavoured with rich tomato and tangy dried persian limes and then topped with fried potatoes. What child wouldn’t love a stew that is essentially topped with french fries!

There is much debate in my family about how the potatoes should be served. My mother and I like to serve them on top of the Khorest as a garnish so they remain crispy. My father, on the other hand, says that the “correct” way is to incorporate the fried potatoes into the stew so they absorb the delicious flavours. You be the judge.

Persian Rice and Golden Potato Crust (Ta-dig)

To Persians, making rice is an art form. There is a great deal of care and detail involved in making the perfect fluffy and delicate rice we are famous for. The crown jewel of Persian rice is the Ta-dig. The delicious, crunchy golden crust that forms at the bottom of the pot during the cooking process.

Ta-dig is beloved by Iranians and it often disappears as soon as it hits the dining table. When I first started dating my husband, who is Canadian, my younger brother tried to convince him that non-Iranians were not allowed to eat the ta-dig in a desperate attempt to keep it all for himself.

Ta-dig comes in many forms. Some make it with simple saffron rice, others add lavash bread, yogurt, tomatoes, scallions or leeks…..the possibilities are endless. But my absolute favourite is ta-dig made with thinly sliced potatoes. The potatoes form a crispy crust that almost tastes like a cross between a french fry and a potato chip……can you think of anything better than that?