With the start of spring and the Persian New Year, now is the perfect time to make Persian food at home. From tahdig to various Iranian stews, these are some of our favorite Persian recipes.
For Iranians, March 19 isn’t just another day. It’s the vernal equinox, which is a big event: the start of Nowruz, the festival of spring. This non-religious holiday is considered by many to be the start of the New Year, a time to set good intentions for the year to come.
If you don’t know much about Persian food, Nowruz is the perfect excuse to become more acquainted with everything about it: its flame-grilled meats, complex stews, and, of course, signature rice dishes, which use fragrant ingredients like sumac, rose petal, and pomegranate molasses for flavor. Nooshe jan!
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Find more Persian recipes in this award-winning book by Naz Deravian.
Iran’s most famous stew is fesenjan (sometimes referred to as fesenjoon), which consists of meat—often duck or chicken—simmered in a pomegranate and walnut sauce. This sweet and sour flavor profile is one of the most recognizable in Persian cuisine. Get the Fesenjan Pomegranate Walnut Chicken Stew recipe.
Even if you’ve never eaten Persian food, if you’ve watched “Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat” on Netflix, you know tahdig is saffron-encrusted basmati rice that’s been cooked in a pot until a crisp crust develops. It’s a staple at the Persian dinner table, and well worth making at home, though it may take a few tries to master the technique. Get the Tahdig recipe.
Sabzi, the Farsi word for fresh herbs, is big during Nowruz, as it represents new life. For that reason, kuku, a baked egg dish with green herbs, is popular fare during the holiday. Get our Kuku recipe.
On chilly days, serve this eggplant stew, better known in Iran as khoresht bademjaan, with strained yogurt and tahdig on the side. Get the Khoresht Bademjaan recipe.
Ghormeh sabzi, a lamb stew with beans, lime, and an abundance of fresh herbs, is often described as Iran’s national dish. Get the Ghormeh Sabzi recipe.
Unlike traditional fesenjan, this contemporary take on the dish calls for roasting duck and its sauce separately—but it’s also delicious made with chicken thighs. Get our Fesenjan Redux recipe.
Yogurt drinks are widely popular in this corner of the world, and Iran is no exception. There, the thirsty cool down with doogh, a drink made with yogurt, water or club soda, and salt. Get the Doogh recipe.
8. Jeweled Rice
Jeweled rice—sometimes referred to as morasa polow—is a stunning Persian centerpiece that involves steaming rice with fragrant additions like barberries, currants, candied orange peel, saffron, almonds, and pistachios. Get the Jeweled Rice recipe.
9. Noon Berenji
Serve another Nowruz specialty, noon berenji, for dessert. The thumbprint cookies are scented with rosewater and saffron, and made with rice flour so they’re naturally gluten-free. Get the Noon Berenji recipe.
Related Video: How to Make Persian Butter Bean Stew