I have a story in the Saveur March issue about Iranian food. My first ever Iranian meal in London may have been an impossibly glamourous one at Ava Gardner‘s house (cooked by an Iranian friend of hers) which I describe at the beginning of my piece or it may have been an almost equally glamourous one at Alidad‘s house (cooked by his mother). Both meals were totally delicious. Since then, I have had many more fabulous Iranian meals — it is one of my favourite cuisines. Anyhow, the story is not yet online but it will eventually, like my previous one on Ramadan and Emirati food. Until then, I thought I would post a clip of bakers making lavash (or perhaps it’s nan-e taftoon; the difference is slight with the latter being a little thicker) in Tehran. Like elsewhere in the Middle East, bread is an essential part of Iranian meals and they have several different kinds. This one can be baked on a hot plate like the one in the top clip or in a tannur oven as in the clip below.
I love Persian food. Have done so from when I first met my lovely friend Alidad (many, many years ago) and tasted his mother’s cooking — she is a wonderful cook. However, unless you are lucky enough to have Persian friends who will invite you to share their home-cooked food, you will not be able to appreciate how amazing and rich this cuisine is.
Most Persian restaurants only serve kebabs, and if they have khoreshts (Persian stews) on the menu, they will not be so good. What is more annoying, Persian restaurants hardly ever serve tadigh, the wonderful rice crust which you see in the picture above and which is achieved by first soaking the rice, then parboiling and draining it before letting it cook (or to be more accurate steam as there is no water in the pot) for an hour or so over a very low heat. And if they have tadigh, they may well serve it microwaved which was what I got recently at Galleria, a well-known Iranian restaurant in London. Definitely not a place I will be returning to.