Najmieh Batmanglij likes to say that the ancient Greeks had really good PR because they get credit for almost every advancement in the ancient world. Yet Persia has a history that dates back over 9,000 years. It also is a region as diverse as any on the planet, from the Caspian Sea to the north (lots of garlic and a penchant for sour foods) to the Persian Gulf in the south (seafood and date palms) and a dozen or more regions between.
One might expect dishes that do not translate well to other kitchens, but Batmanglij's new book, “Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes and Cooking Secrets” which came out in November, offers a surprising number of simple, appealing recipes that perfectly suit the new American palate.
Braised beans with 5 cups of fresh herbs; onion, egg and spinach soup; a salad of apples and cucumbers, lime juice and salt; quick open-faced omelets with cheese and dill; and rice cooked with oil and butter.
Spend some time with the book, and you’ll understand why Yotam Ottolenghi calls Batmanglij "the goddess of Iranian cooking."
If you're looking for dishes to celebrate the Persian New Year, or looking to dive into a cuisine that you haven't yet explored, "Cooking in Iran" is a culinary adventure well worth taking.
To see more of what we’re reading here at Milk Street, check out Christopher Kimball’s book reviews here.
For two of our favorite Persian recipes, try:
Persian Jeweled Rice
Nuts, zest, spices and skillet transform everyday rice.
Persian Herb Omelet
Kuku sabzi is traditionally served at Persian New Year’s feasts; it is jammed with herbs to symbolize rebirth.