Iranian or Persian food has historically both influenced by neighboring regions at various stages throughout its history including Turkey and Afghanistan. The ancient Babylonians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans are just a few of the groups that have had an influence on Iranian culture and its cuisine.
Iranian cooking has much in common with Middle Eastern cooking, where wheat is a staple and yoghurt is common.
Most of Iranian dishes are prepared with herbs, vegetables and rice along with meat, lamb, chicken or fish. A distinctly sour flavor is evident in many dishes and is achieved through the addition of lemon, pomegranates or sour oranges. The dishes of Iran are often time-consuming slow-cooked affairs.
Central to cooking are the many rice dishes, some containing almonds, pistachios, glazed carrots or orange peels, and raisins; others with vegetables and spices; occasionally with meat. Most use saffron and are cooked slowly after boiling to have a hard crust at the bottom . Other recipes include stews, dumplings, kebabs, and stuffed vegetables accompanied by different sauces.
Sweet foods are very popular in Iran. Every province has its own traditions to make these exotic desserts. Fruits such as dates and nuts are common ingredients. However, Iranians will generally only eat sweet food and desserts on special occasions. Due to their love of fruit you will find that Iranians use any opportunity to get out the fruit bowl – to welcome a guest after lunch, tea or dinner.
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