This month, International Food Challenge is taking us to Iran and we are exploring Iranian / Persian cuisine, hosted by Savitha of Savitha's Kiitchen. Situated in the Middle East, the Iranian culinary style is unique to Iran, though is influenced from Iran's neighboring regions. Fresh green herbs and fruits such as plums, pomegranates, prunes, apricots, and raisins are frequently used. A typical Persian main dish is a combination of meat or fish with some vegetables, nuts and herbs. To achieve a balanced taste, characteristic Persian flavorings such as saffron, dried limes, cinnamon, and parsley are mixed delicately and used in some special dishes.
Javaher Polow or jeweled rice is a traditional rice served at Persian weddings and celebrations. Its made of dried fruits and nuts representing various gemstones. Saffron, carrots and orange peel make gold, barberries/cranberries make rubies, pistachios make emeralds and almonds make pearls. The flavors infused into the rice with saffron and orange blossom water are beautiful. The bottom layer of this rice forms a crust called tahdig and is considered a delicacy. Since the jeweled rice is slightly sweet, a spicy curry would be the perfect accompaniment.
Notes and Tips
- Cooking the orange rind in hot water cuts down the bitterness, so do not skip it.
- Discard the cinnamon stick from the carrot-orange syrup.
- If orange blossom water is not available, try substituting with orange zest, but flavors may vary.