Published October 26, 2011 - Last Updated February 5, 2021
When learning to cook regional dishes, I like to go straight to the source. I want to observe the way it’s done by people who grew up cooking and eating the food. I’ll travel pretty much anywhere to learn the secret of an authentic regional dish. Luckily, when I wanted to learn Persian cooking, I didn’t have to travel– instead, our friend Farah came to me. 🙂
Farah was born in Iran. She immigrated to Israel with her family when she was 5 years old. Her father worked as a cook in many different places, eventually landing as the head chef in a Tel Aviv hospital kitchen. Farah followed in her father’s footsteps, opening a small Persian cafe in Jaffa for other Iranian immigrants. She later moved to the United States with her family and cooked professionally for many years.
Farah is a terrific cook, and she’s generous with her talent. I asked her to give me a crash course in Persian cooking. When she asked what dishes I’d like to learn, I told her I really wanted the secret to making Persian rice with tah-deeg. So, she taught me how to make Persian rice with dill and lima beans… and Persian rice with raisins and carrots… and garlic roast chicken… and cucumber salad… and kooba, fried bulgur wheat pies stuffed with ground lamb and pine nuts. In addition to all this, my husband’s sister brought along two delicious eggplant recipes.
Needless to say, by the end of the night we were beyond stuffed! I think I waddled to bed. But the calorie splurge was worth it. Such a delicious meal!
Did I mention the Persian Lamb Stew? No? Well, it was my favorite dish of the night. I love it when a simple recipe is so full of flavor. You may be more familiar with traditional Irish Stew, but even if you’re not a big fan of lamb, you might want to reconsider and try this stew. The spiced meat is ultra tender, it flakes with a fork and melts in your mouth. The basmati rice soaks up the yummy sauce, a perfect accompaniment to the stew. As a bonus, this dish is gluten free. It also contains a hefty dose of turmeric, a spice that has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. What a treat!
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Thanks for stopping by! I am fascinated by the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...