The Persian Empire, which at various stages incorporated the geographic areas of modern day Iran and some of the surrounding areas, was a source of a variety of intriguing recipes and ingredient combinations. From traditional takes to contemporary riffs, these recipes incorporate some of the flavour profiles of the region.
Vegetarian Spinach-Walnut Pate
According to Naomi Duiguid’s excellent work, Taste of Persia, the ancient empire used to cover many of the surrounding regions, such as Georgia — and still share some of the same flavour profiles. One such commonality is this pate, based on the Georgian pkhali, a spread made out of spinach and other savoury ingredients.
Couscous, Feta and Currant-Stuffed Grape Leaf Rolls
Stuffed grape leaves are also found in many areas of the Mediterranean and Middle East — and while this recipe differs from the Persian version in some ways, such as the addition of couscous and currants, there are also areas of commonality. In most varieties, pliable grape leaves and a fragrant rice stuffing are mainstays (Persian versions tend to veer more towards rice than their meat-filled Grecian counterparts).
Roasted Eggplant With Ricotta and Pomegranates
Inspired by ingredients common in the cuisine of Iran, this recipe uses meaty eggplant, walnuts and pomegranate glaze to make a pretty vegetarian dish that can be served as an appetizer, main or side.
Crispy Seed Lavash
Lavash is another example of how one food item can have many different variations per region — the Persian style is a softer bread that can be wrapped around kebabs, while this version, which resembles the Armenian style, is crispy.