The cuisine is one of the primary elements of Persian culture. Cooking and eating is not only about the meal. It is also a medium through which Iranians express their identity, community, values, creativity and artistry. Iranians like to put in a lot of effort and time in preparation of their meals. One of the main elements of the Persian culture is their hospitality. Food also serves as a way of bringing families and friends together. To help you to learn how to cook Persian dishes, we asked our staff to share their favorite and best Persian cookbooks with us.
Cooking authentic Persian dishes can often be a long and exhausting process. Many traditional recipes may be somewhat challenging for beginners. Therefore, it is essential to have the right cookbook at hand that break these recipes down into simple and understandable steps for you.
The Best Persian Cookbooks 2020
Below is the list of the five best Persian cookbooks our staff members recommended. Since they all have different cooking skills, they range from more simple Persian recipes to more advanced Persian cookbooks.
The Enchantingly Easy Persian Cookbook
Our rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Difficulty Level: Easy
If you have little time on your hand or are a beginner to the Persian cuisine, this is the ideal cookbook for you. Persian dishes are principally characterized by aroma and flavors. Therefore, many recipes require a lot of time. However, this particular cookbook makes sure that your Persian meals are ready in 15 minutes. The recipes are uncomplicated and straightforward. You also won’t need a lot of equipment in your kitchen. The instructions are also written in a simple language, so they are easy to follow too.
The cookbook also highlights the importance of flavors such as saffron and rose milk, which forms the very essence of Iranian cuisine. Conveniently, the nutritional values of the recipes are also listed, allowing you to count your calorie intake.
The best part about this cookbook is that it mentions some of the simplest Persian recipes that you can also serve as snacks. The ingredients used are quite simple and easy to get, and the flavors are still authentically Persian. The cookbook contains 100 Persian recipes in total.
Joon: Persian Cooking Made Simple
Our rating: 4/5 Stars (great for vegetarians or vegans)
Difficulty Level: Easy
This cookbook contains 75 simple Persian recipes that require only one pot and less than an hour to cook. One great thing is that it lists various Persian vegan and vegetarian recipes. In Joon, master chef Najmieh Batmangliz divulges the secrets of cooking one of the world’s oldest and most sought-after cuisines. Even though the tastes and aromas are complex, she manages to explain her 75 favorite Persian recipes in an easy way.
The recipes in the book come straight from Najmieh’s kitchen and every dish is accompanied by a photo. Perfect if you are looking for some inspiration. This Iranian cookbook also features some delicious side-dishes such as yogurt-based salads, dips and spreads, kukus, meatballs, and a variety of kebabs. To round off your meals, the cookbook also contains recipes of delightful desserts such as aromatic cookies and cakes.
Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories
Our rating: 4/5 Stars
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
As the name of the cookbook suggests, it contains authentic Persian dishes that one can cook using one single pot. Most of the recipes in the book come straight from the kitchens of Iranian households and thereby retain the originality and authenticity of flavor and aroma. You will come across ingredients such as rose water and saffron that not only contribute a tinge of color to the food but also add a distinct flavor and smell.
One of the highlights of this cookbook is that it exclusively contains a pot cooking procedure that entraps all the right flavors. The ingredients are readily available, and the steps are simple enough to follow. In addition to the delicious and traditional recipes, it also contains various stories around the Persian cuisine that you can lose yourself in.
Our Recommendation: The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen
Our rating: 5/5 Stars
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate
This book is our top recommendation and in the eyes of our staff the best Persian cookbook. Author Yasmin Khan brings together a wide range of recipes from Iranian home kitchens with exclusive photographs.
The preparation steps are explained in detail and very easy to follow, also for newbies to the Persian kitchen. This is one of the important things we are looking for in a good cookbook. There is nothing more frustrating than a recipe that doesn’t explain the steps well enough.
You will stumble upon some of the most traditional Persian recipes such as fesenjoon (chicken with pomegranate and walnut), kofte berenji (lamb meatballs stuffed with barberries and prunes), and ghalyieh maygoo (prawn, tamarind stew, and coriander).
The book also features numerous vegetarian dishes such as tahcheen (eggplant rice and baked saffron), and domaj (flatbread, mixed herb, and feta salad).
You can conclude your meals with some lip-smacking desserts too, as the book mentions recipes of wonderful desserts such as rose and almond cake, dark Persian chocolate cookies, and sour cherry.
Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies
Our rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
This Persian cookbook by Najmieh Batmanglij contains recipes blending the cuisine of ancient Persia with modern Iranian dishes. It is one of the most famous Persian cookbooks that is already published in the 25th edition. While most of the recipes revolve around a variety of meat, there is a separate menu for vegetarians, too, that consists of different rice dishes and vegetarian kebabs.
One of the best features of this cookbook is that it mentions the history behind each dish. Moreover, for some preparations, the occasion on which it is traditionally served is mentioned too.
Vegetarian dishes are separated from non-vegetarian so you won’t have to spend ages finding some great vegetarian inspiration. Sweet dishes form an integral part of Persian cuisine. Therefore, the book also contains a separate section entirely dedicated to desserts.
The step-by-step instructions for each dish are very detailed and easy to follow. The average cooking time that is mentioned for each dish is also accurate, according to one of our staff members who loves this book.
We recommend this book if you are looking for some elaborate Persian dishes to surprise your friends or family. While the recipes are easy to follow, they might not be ideal for absolute beginners.
Are you hosting a Persian dinner party? Check out our helpful posts about the best Iranian saffron, the best Persian sweets and the best Persian tea varieties. There is no Persian meal without tea.
The best Persian dishes
Persian food is characterized by the combination of savory fresh herbs and spices like saffron with the sweetness of cinnamon and pomegranate. Many dishes are rounded off with a dash of nuts, beans, and dried fruits on the top. Some of the best and classic Persian recipes include:
- Fesenjoon: This classic Persian preparation is basically stewed pomegranate puree, cooked with walnuts, chopped onions, and chunks of poultry or balls of meat.
- Ghormeh Sabzi (Stewed greens): An exotic Persian preparation cooked with a range of ingredients such as parsley, spinach, coriander, leeks, dried lemons, kidney beans, dried fenugreek leaves, and turmeric-seasoned lamb or beef.
- Kabob: This is the most beloved Persian dish across Iran. Kabob is long strips of minced lamb, beef, or chicken grilled over a fire and served with charred tomatoes, parsley salad, flatbread, and rice sprinkled with sumac.
- Chelo (Steamed white rice): An authentic fluffy rice preparation of Iran, usually served with kebabs, stews, and other main dishes.
Persian cuisine, over the years, has earned its reputation for maintaining the balance of the right flavors and ingredients. With these five best Persian cookbooks available online, you can now conveniently bring the authenticity to your kitchen and woo everyone with mouth-watering Persian dishes. If you know or use a Persian cookbook that we haven’t mentioned here, let us know in the comment section and we will check it out. And possibly add it to the list.
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