A Traditional Cuisine
Kababs is form of the traditional cuisine. Predominantly made with lamb, the different styles of kabab vary from a thick and chunky tikka to a finer kabab-barg. To make a kabab, the lamb is generally marinated with finely chopped onion and lemon juice. Most kababs are served accompanied by herbs or pickles and are eaten wrapped in taftun or sangak (flat-style) breads. The exception to this is the kabab-barg, long considered to be the national dish of Iran. It is served with chelow flavoured with saffron, and then mixed with egg, butter and sumac. The complete dish is known as chellow-kabab.
The dishes of Iran are often time-consuming, slow-cooked affairs. Rice dishes are among the true specialities of the region. There are two primary preparations for rice in Iran: chelow and polow. Preparing both the chelow (white rice) and polow (a pilaf-style dish) is a long, complicated process. The rice is first soaked, then boiled and finally steamed. To make chelow koresh, a household favourite, the rice is then cooked until a golden crust forms at the bottom of the dish. Chelow is a common accompaniment to meat or poultry stews.
Persian Food and the West Met
The history of Persian cuisine tells a story of the human condition, where war, geopolitics, and culture all tangled to influence an ancient culture and its cuisine.
After 1945 and the end of World War Two, the western influences in Iran shifted from a European influence to an American influence. American GI's were stationed in Tehran during the final years of the war, to prevent the Nazi's and Soviets from taking over Iran. My grandmother remembers seeing GI's walk by her house in Tehran.