Okay, I cannot postpone this any longer, so I shall try to sum up some of my impressions from the trip to Iran. Because I went there mainly to see my dearest friends Shadi and Houman, it wasn't really a classic tourist trip. Instead of lurking around hotels and running after the monuments and museums, I enjoyed the incredible hospitality of my Persians and their friends, and instead of trying not to miss any tourist attractions, I had the opportunity to take a little peak into the lives and kitchens of the Iranian People. Soon, I tuned my internal clock to the local time, which runs considerably more slowly than ours, and, as a result, the three weeks flew past without me even noticing. When you get up around eleven, then spend two hours leaving the house, and then three more hours in the cab, it's pretty much time for dinner even before you get to your desired destination. I soon realised, however, that if I won't try to fit everything in, at least I won't miss the most precious moments running past. I had the best breakfast of my life in a little roadside café in Hamedan, consisting of fresh bread, cheese, butter and honey, eaten out in the open. I tasted ghormeh sabzi made by three moms, khanum Komondor, khanum Rajabi, and Najme. I spent endless hours talking with Shadi at the back of the shabbiest cabs in the Iranian metropolis. I attended a party of four best friends, where only Farsi was spoken (with an occasional reader's digest, courtesy of Houman), yet it was probably the best absinth party of my life. I've been introduced to The Palang and obtained his no-less pathetic twin, The Baby Cow... And I could go on. From the food enthusiast's point of view, of course this was a trip to paradise. In my opinion, Persian cuisine is delicate, elaborate, fine, exotic, and extremely close to my heart. Often, it isn't pretty, but who cares? It's the food to warm your soul. And thanks to Najme's care, I brought home many treasures: some excellent saffron, limu omani or dried lemons without which no sabzi would be complete, zereshk or barberries to add to rice, and dried rose petals which you add to yoghurt. After coming back, I obviously needed to cook some of the foods immediately, which made me miss Iran all the more. I was surprised that it all turned out pretty well - I made lamb ghormeh sabzi, saffron and zereshk rice, kuku sabzi and halim bademjan, an interesting dish of aubergine and boiled beef. Persian food will definitely become a staple of my repertoire, and not only for nostalgic reasons.
yoghurt with rose petals, sweet jewelled rice, and halim bademjan.
halim bademjan, detail.
kuku sabzi, bylinková omeleta.
my attempt at homemade barbari naan.
rice with zereshk and lamb ghormeh sabzi.