Quick and easy Persian food is possible. By sparing yourself the trouble of using tens of ingredients, you can achieve great results while keeping things simple. By adapting the recipes I have cooked, eaten and enjoyed hundreds of times, I hope to pass them on to you so that you can cherish them too. These recipes have been perfected through many repeated attempts, cooked at home and in the test kitchen dozens of times. I can guarantee that they will bring you neither disappointment nor discomfort and that not a single ingredient will be wasted.
My journey begins in the chaotic, mysterious, and beautiful city of Tehran, where culinary traditions date back 7,000 years. Some of my earliest memories are of my grandmother, my mother and I, together in a palatial kitchen with a high ceiling and blue- tiled walls, where they taught me the fundamentals of Iranian cuisine.
They entrusted me with their secrets; they told me how to get the most flavour out of ingredients and I learnt that rigour and respect for their methods were inescapable. They taught me that Persian food is at once complex, demanding and incredibly delicate.
They told me that leaving a stew to simmer overnight would give it an incomparable flavour and that it is impossible to cook Persian food in haste. Ask any Iranian mother and they’ll tell you ingredients must never be substituted.
As fond as I am of my mother and grandmother, when I moved to Holland, I had to stray from tradition: given how expensive energy is and how little time I could spend cooking on any given day, it was that or kiss Persian cuisine goodbye.
The methods I developed made cooking fast and simple, using few ingredients. I realised that there is nothing wrong with replacing the ingredients I couldn’t buy outside of Iran and that there is no need to waste time soaking beans and chickpeas overnight.
Using tinned ingredients was highly frowned upon in our household, considered lazy and testifying a lack of taste. But doing two master’s degrees and working full time as a teacher taught me that there is much more to life than spending hours in the kitchen preparing a single meal. And so I began breaking the rules of Persian cuisine.
Since 2012 I have been experimenting, tweaking and developing recipes reflecting the simple Dutch approach to food, applied to the traditional Persian meals I grew up eating.
The recipes are a result of that journey: an easy-going, stripped down take on Persian food using few ingredients and knowing when it is okay to stray from the rulebook. I now know that to enjoy Persian food with family and friends, it isn’t necessary for a matron to spend hours sweating over a stove. It is possible to cook, share and enjoy it with minimal effort.
For years I witnessed Iranian mothers going to great lengths to bestow joy upon their families and guests with their food, but the amount of strenuous work that went into it meant that by the time they sat down to eat, they were exhausted. For me, it isn’t just about making the people I cook for happy, it’s also about enjoying the process.
Persian spices studded with pistachios and almonds, charming in every bite
create your own no-fuss, easy and quick cakey bread: no yeast, no knead
delicious almond butter cake with cherries and gooey marzipan layer
a Persian adaptation of a French classic Croquembouche
exotic pistachio and cardamom carrot cake layered with jam
tomatoes are a great unconventional replacement for cucumber yoghurt
cool off with this strawberry lemonade punch to quench your thirst
fragrant, luscious and easy-to-make creamy saffron pistachio icecream
cold or warm Iranian version of ground meat patty named a Persian cutlet
easy, fast and delicious cute curry patties under 35 minutes ready to go
aromatic and nutritious easy-to-make Persian rice dish with raisins infused with cinnamon
tangy, savory and citrusy stew made with sautéed herbs, kidney beans and lamb
deeply aromatic, sweet and gold Persian rice pudding with saffron (shole zard)
the easiest and fastest so-called traditional Persian abgoosht deconstructed
an excellent blend of salmon cubes, feta cheese, spinach and puff pastry
fast but fancy potato pancakes wrap to perk up your lunch for an all day rollercoaster
easy yet stunning layers of flaky mille-feuille filled with whipped cream
here you will find all the recipes of Parisa's Persian Kitchen