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Persian Recipes: Iranian Comfort Food, Like Grandma Used To Make (PHOTOS)

06/27/2013 08:58 am ET
Turmeric & Saffron

If you've never had Persian food before, don't feel too badly -- it's probably not your fault (unless you grew up in Los Angeles, in which case, sort your life out, it is everywhere). If you've never lived in a place with a large Persian population, or you never made friends with the Persian kids and got fed by their parents and aunts and uncles and cousins (etc. forever), it's not too late to enjoy some of the most delicious food on earth.

Persian food is criminally underrepresented in America, which has probably happened for a few reasons: 1) Persian recipes get frequently and incorrectly lumped into the category of "Arabic food." Although Persian and Arabic cultures share similar ingredients and originate from a similar part of the world, they are very much not the same. (Which is also not to mention the fact that there is no "Arabia," but that is another conversation for another day.) 2) Because U.S. relations with Iran are frequently less than perfect, we haven't had as flowing a cultural exchange as we have with a lot of other countries' cuisines. That is a bummer for a lot of reasons, but the reasons we are concerned with today are as follows: proper use of pomegranate juice, cardamom, rosewater, pistachios and saffron. Delicious things we should be cooking with more.

Persian recipes include a lot of ingredients and techniques that we're already familiar with -- steamed basmati rice, long-braised chicken dishes, kebabs, yogurt marinades. We've tried to represent some of the most tried and true Persian comfort food classics here, as introduced to us by our friends and their families. Like the other cultural cuisines we adore, the Persian kitchen is marked with a constant desire to feed the people you love, whether they are hungry or not.

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