Exploring Persian Food in “Together Tea”

I recently finished the novel “Together Tea” by Marjan Khamali. There were lots of delicious food terms I wanted to know more about.

These are some of the food terms in the book which may not be familiar to the American food palate. From what I am reading, if you like Greek and Indian, you will like Persian dishes, too. There are lots of delicious options that have plenty going on if you prefer meatless meals:

Balal: means “corn”. Specifically, it means grilled corn sold on the streets of Iran. It is seared in flame to release natural sugars, then immersed in salted water.

Barbari bread:  A yeast flatbread sprinkled in wheat bran and nigella seeds. Thinner than lavash, sold in long flattened sheets. I enjoyed the demos I watched on Youtube.

Dolmah: In Turkish, it means a vegetable stuffed with a mixture. For Persians, its grape leaves stuffed with rice and spices, then rolled with the ends tucked in.

Esfand: African rue seed, a plant successfully grown in the Southwest United States. Esfand seeds are burned to ward off the evil eye.

Fesejoon: A sweet and sour chicken, ground pomegranate, and walnut stew cooked slowly so all the flavors meld beautifully. Served with rice.

Ghormeh Sabzi Koresh: A green herb stew with spinach, spring onions, kidney beans, and cubed lamb or beef. Herbs include turmeric, parsley, coriander, garlic, and fenugreek.

Khoresh: It means stew. the fig&quince blog indicates this stew is more refined. So I think they’re saying its like elegant Spanish, Portuguese or Brazilian dishes served over rice. Not Dinty Moore, Anglo-Saxon meat n taters you find in a can and are eaten out of a bowl stews.

Kotelet: Spices, mashed potato, and ground beef formed into a ball, then a flattened almond shape, then breaded and pan-fried. Spices include turmeric, salt, pepper, and a blend called advieh: a teaspoon of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground rose petals,cardamom, cumin

Lavash (lah-vahshh): A whole grain yeast bread flavored with honey and brown sugar. Served with kabobs.

Noon vayi: Noon is bread like Indian naan.

Olivieh: A cold dish with a creamy base. TurmericSaffron’s uses a sour cream and mayo base, but probably greek yogurt would work as well. This salad contains shredded carrots, potatoes, frozen peas, olives, boiled eggs, chopped dill pickle, chicken breast cubed, lemon juice and olive oil. During blazing hot southern summers, this sounds like a great idea for lunch or a work buffet contribution. I would suggest it for a cookout, but only if its kept on a fresh bed of ice the whole time.

Sangak:  Baked on small hot stones, it has a rippled, moon-like texture once baked, its shape has an arrow point at one end and rectangular at the other. It is put in the oven with a paddle.

Sabzi: Means “herbs”

Taftoon: Super-thin bread baked into oval sheets with rows of holes.

Tahdeeg: Means “bottom of the pot”, referring to crisy rice grains or sometimes vegetables that crisped while cooking. Usually served to guests since it is so delicious.

If you’d like to learn more about Persian cuisine, check out these blogs for recipes and videos: