Golpar (گلپر ) or Persian Hogweed (botanical name: Heracleum persicum) is a flowering spice plant, native to Iran, growing wild in its mountainous regions. (Linguistic fun: “gol” means “flower” in Farsi, and “par” can mean either “wing” or “feather” so theoretically golpar can be translated into flower-feather. For fun and giggles, I just did a domain search and shockingly, flowerfeather.com is available! Hurry and grab it!)
Golpar seedpods bear a unique smell one may call either pungent or aromatic depending on one’s point of view. For yours truly, a deep inhale takes me back to the deep recesses of spice enclaves in the Grand Bazaar of Tehran, and for that, I’m fond of the smell. Golpar seedpods contain seeds that are ground into a powder form and used as a spice. (Much like cardamom seeds inside the cardamom pods.)
In Persian cooking, golpar powder (golpar koobideh as it’s called) is used in advieh (spice mixture) to flavor rice dishes. For those so inclined, a bit of golpar may also be added to soups – a little bit of it does go quite well with lentil soup.
One of the most popular uses of this particularly Persian spice is to sprinkle golpar over baghali pokhteh, or cooked fava beans. Serving a bowl of pomegranate arils with a dusting of golpar sprinkle is an equally charming and popular use of this aromatic spice.
Another charming use of golpar seed pods is that you can often find it mixed with esfand seeds (اسپند) in the ancient Persian tradition of burning esfand (اسپند دود دادن) to avert the evil eye.
And that my friends, is the tale of a Persian spice called golpar. (“A Persian spice that is often erroneously sold as ‘Angelica Seeds.’)