Sabzi Khordan – Persian Fresh Herbs Assorted Platter | All You Ever Wanted to Know!

plate of sabzi khordan persian fresh herbs platter: radishes (torobche) fresh mint (na'na) & piyazche (spring onions)

Simple plate of sabzi khordan: piyazcheh, torobcheh & na’nah

If you come from a Persian household or have had occasion to dine at one, you are privy to the fact that a Persian table at mealtime is considered naked without sabzi khordan (Persian: سبزی خوردن ).

Sabzi khordan literally translates to either “edible herbs” or “eating herbs” and refers to an assorted plate of fresh herbs and raw vegetables. An assortment that might include: basil (reyhan), green onions aka scallions (piyaz che), parsley (jaffari), chives (tareh), coriander (geshniz), cilantro, mint (na’nah), fenugreek (shanbalileh), radishes (torobche), savory (marzeh, origany or sweet fennel), tarragon (tarkhun), Persian watercress (shâhi) and maybe even sliced raw onions. (To see the vast potential variety of sabzi khordan, you might want to feast your eyes on this Google image search for سبزی خوردن.)

The choice of which fresh herbs and how much of them to use to assort the Persian herbs platter are entirely up to one’s whim and whimsy and provisions-at-hand; although typically, sabzi khordan is not really sabzi khordan without the presence of radishes which are crunchy, healthy, add a pop of color, and pack a nice bit of heat.

trimmed radishes (torobche) soaking in cold water | FigandQuince.com (Persian cooking and culture blog)

Radical Radishes (torobcheh)

a plate of radiant raihan (fresh basil) | FigandQuince.com (Persian Cooking and culture)

Radiant Raihan (Fresh Basil) | King of herbs!

scallion or green onions (piyazche) washed trimmed on cutting board to make sabzi khordan | Figandquince.com (Persian cooking and culture)

Scoundrel Scallions (Piyazcheh) for sabzi khordan

To make a meal out of sabzi khordan, Click to continue!

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Golpar | A Persian Spice

Angelica (seed of Persian spice plant known as Golpar) | FigandQuince.com (Persian Cooking & culture blog)

Golpar (aka Persian Hogweed) Seed pods | A Persian Spice

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.)

Ground Angelica (seed of Persian spice plant known as Golpar) | FigandQuince.com (Persian Cooking & culture blog)

Golpar koobideh (ground golpar)

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.’)

Ground Angelica (seed of Persian spice plant known as Golpar) | FigandQuince.com (Persian Cooking & culture blog)

The End script graphic

Internet: Persian Style! | Part 3

director Ida Panahandeh, actors Navid Mohammadzadeh, Sareh Bayat and Pejman Bazeghi pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Nahid, at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France

The director and actors of Nahid | Source

Horray! It’s time for Part 3 of our Internet: Persian Style series! ( See here for the series’ mission statement.) Let’s get the ball rolling with this cheerful pic above:

In this photo taken Sunday, May 17, 2015, from left, director Ida Panahandeh, actors , Pejman Bazeghi, Sareh Bayat and Navid Mohammadzadeh pose for photographers during a photo call for the film Nahid, at the 68th international film festival, Cannes, southern France. Panahandeh has made a splash with her film debut, landing in competition at the Cannes Film Festival for “Nahid,” a fraught portrait of the byzantine legal complications and social stigmas concerning divorce and remarriage in Iran.Source

Can’t wait to see this film! And on a shallow note: what a good looking bunch of folks!

Speaking of looks, isn’t Pejman Bazeghi (second from the left, next to the director) a dead ringer for that country music star Blake Shelton? I mean, they could be clones!

Side by side photo of Blake Shelton & Pejman Bazeghi (Iranian actor) - Separated at birth? | FigandQuince.com (Persian cooking & culture blog)

Blake Shelton & Pejman Bazeghi – Separated at birth?

Things that make you think! But let’s gallop and move on …

Concours de Saut International held in Tehran | Male Horseback Rider Concours de Saut International held in Tehran | Female Horseback Rider

What do we have here?

“Photos: Concours de Saut International held in Tehran

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Concours de Saut International (CSI) is a ranking system for the equestrian competition show jumping. All CSI events are approved by the international governing body of equestrian sport, the FEI.” LOTS of pix at the source.

Hummm! Huh! Very interesting!

You know what else is interesting? Pix of university graduation celebrations in Tehran:

University of Tehran graduates, graduation ceremony, Tehran, Iran |figandquince.com 2015 Class of 1385!

Like this one of a group of University of Tehran graduates. (Found it via the always amazing @Iran_Style.)

University of Tehran graduates, graduation ceremony, Tehran, Iran |figandquince.com 2015, Class of 1385!

A Facebook friend @SamiraRahimee shared this other awesome pic of recent Tehran University graduates as well. Specifically, these are the graduates of University of Tehran’s Fine Art Faculty, Class of 1385!

Good luck dear graduates!  May the world treat you gently and nice.

University of Tehran Campus iconic entrance at night  (architecture) Photographer: Behrooz Sangani Tehran, Iran 2007

University of Tehran Campus at night (Photographer: Behrooz Sangani) Tehran, Iran 2007

The jubilant Persian graduates were posing in front of the very well-known, rather iconic entrance of the University of Tehran campus.

I’m happy to follow fellow Persian @SamiraRahimee on Twitter because she has some cool dreams!

Artist painting at sunset on the Mazandaran beach of the Caspian sea region of Iran | FigandQuince.com

Speaking of dreams … oh my goodness.

Absolutely adore this scene! Artist painting at sunset along the edge of the Caspian sea in Iran. Source is the very cool Motelghoo Instagram account.

You know what else is dreamy?

This delightful tale of chai and barbari and khorma that Turmeric & Saffron (one of my favorite Persian food bloggers) spins of an idyllic time under a pear tree.

Stack of freshly baked Lavash Persian Bread (Pane Persiano)

Just add butter, feta cheese and hot chai! Recipe!

Speaking of dreamy Persian breads, Barbari bread is awesome. Specially when it’s fresh out of tanoor. But lavash bread is no slouch either.

Let’s end this installment of our tour of the Persian Internet on this soft, succulent and lavish note of a stack of freshly baked Persian lavash bread as made by Rise of the Sourdough Preacher — one of my favorite food bloggers.

Khoda hafez, until we meet again!

heart illustration graphic icon

Beehive to the Zig Zag Girl’s Rescue

drawing/illustration of color pencil squiggles  | figandquince.com | Azitahoushiar.com

Oh what a tangled web!

Let the record show that I enjoy writing. Always have (since I was a wee little thing) and probably always will (till I’m a cranky ol’ person.)

However, there’s nothing on this God’s green earth that I find more stressful than writing things like an “about” section, a bio blurb, cover letter, or worst … the juggernaut of dread: a resume. YIKES! The mere mention of the word itself is enough to make me break into profuse beads of sweat. (By that of course I mean, glowing perspiration, as we all know that refined ladies comme moi do not sweat. All evidence to the contrary not withstanding.)

It doesn’t help either that I’ve made zig zag explorations in my career choices – linear route it has not been I do confess – which makes unjambling it all a rather exquisite nightmare. Oh what a tangled resume we weave when we first practice to jump from this job to that job and that field to this

Recently, I faced the uncomfortable fact that despite my valiant push-under-the-rug efforts it was high time to polish up and update ‘ye old resume. In the midst of ensuing panic attack angst, I had a light bulb moment to ask for help instead of tackling it myself. One of my Twitter friends has started her own company writing and editing resumes, so I reached out to her and got the help that I needed. Beehive Resumes took my tangled jumble of experience and skills and accomplishments and whipped it into a nifty. organized shape — and for that stellar accomplishment, I’m grateful.

So this here’s a shout out that if any of y’all need to teach that fool of your resume a lesson or two and turn it from a slouching tiger into a roaring dragon (oy vey w/these mixed metaphors), I highly recommend you consider the services of Beehive Resumes.

color pencil illustrations of colorful little dash lines | FigandQuince.com | AzitaHoushiar.com

tangled jamble no more! A garden of bright points!

This is obviously not a recipe post but if this talk of beehives has put you in the mind of honey, do check out this old honeypot turnip chestnut of a recipe re the healing properties of turnip and honey and a nifty DIY cold remedy. Also, be on your tippy toes lookout for another installment in the Drinking in Iran series and a couple of nifty recipes and other goodie posts coming your way soon.

Until then! xoxo

Laya’s Upside Down Persian rice in La La Land | Tahchin

tahchin Persian dish garnished with orchid barberriesThis is tahchin, or upside down Persian rice. Tahchin is made with half-cooked rice that’s mixed with yogurt, saffron, and egg; layered with chicken or lamb; packed and molded (nice and snug) into a casserole dish; cooked in the oven; inverted into a serving dish; and garnished with barberries. Maybe also with slivered pistachios if available. Because: why not!

Tahchin is pretty yummy. One of my favorite Persian rice dishes. It used to be the treat I asked for on my birthdays.

Laya made tahchin for me when I was in Los Angeles. (Recipe: All the way at the end!)Tahchin Persian rice food kitchen California

This is my lovely friend Laya. In her kitchen. In the City of Angels. (Vicinity of Tehrangeles.) California. United States of America. Planet Earth. Universe. (What comes after the Universe?)

NOTE: The tahchin inverted in the serving dish.

NOTE: The plate of sabzi khordan – an eclectic mixture of radishes and herbs which is the ever faithful sidekick of all Persian meals.

NOTE: The green sticky tape over the camera on ye ol’ faithful laptop of mine. (Yup, still there!)tahchin (Persian rice dish) with sabzi khordan

This is a closer look at the tahchin, and the aforementioned sabzi khordan (aka plate of fresh herbs and radishes.)

You know how you always find bottles of ketchup and mustard in a diner in the U.S.? Well, you would be hard pressed to find a mealtime Persian table without sabzi khordan. My father, for example, would not even conceive of such a travesty!

Tahchin (Persian rice) with berberries and yogurt

Yummy Tahchin! Up close and Personal!

THIS: Is an up close and personal shot of my plate of tahchin in action.

THIS: Makes my mouth drool every time I look at it.

THIS: Is torture! TORTURE!

Note the pool of yogurt to the side. As is the wont of most Iranians (and certainly the wont of yours truly) yogurt is nearly always served and enjoyed alongside with most types of Persian food. Like a sauce. It brightens and crackle pops all the flavors & textures.

Click here for rest of pix & stories and Laya’s yummy tahchin recipe!

Some Exotic, Eccentric & Delicious Iranian Drinks

chia khakshir tokhm sharbat persian beverage tehran Iran mugworth grain of teff

tokhmeh sharbat + khak ‘e shir = my first official drink in Tehran, Iran

In this latest installment of  “Drinking in Iran” — a photo-essay series documenting the tasty drinks (aka nooshidani) yours truly had to sip, gulp, swig, imbibe, taste, devour, knock back, or merely gaze at covetously during my sentimental, epic trip to Iran — I thought I’d show you some of the more eccentric libations and beverages.

Eccentric by the way does not mean weird or bad, just different. I mean: take a look at our featured cover drink. What was this concoction pray tell? I can tell you that making my very first solo foray in Tehran, I ended up walking up from Park ‘e Sayee all the way uptown and by the time I got to Vanak Square, I stopped dead in my tracks at the mesmerizing sight of this refreshment kiosk (pic below) with its whirling liquids and twirling floating orange and black seeds, and I had to have some.

chia khakeshir sharbat Persian drinks tokhmeh sharbatg

tokhmeh sharbat (chia seeds) & khak ‘e shir (literally dust of milk)

Click to continue to read!

Norooz! A New Day! Hello Spring and Persian New Year!

Norooz haft seen haftseen illustration happy graphic Persian New Year

Haftseen – Persian New Year’s Pretty Spread for spring

Tomorrow, at precisely 3:45 pm PST (6:45 pm EST) winter ends (bye bye Winter dear, don’t let the door hit you on the way out) and spring begins. Oh joy!

Spring Equinox marks the beginning of Norooz, the Iranian New Year. I wish I could wax poetic about it with you! But these past month has been a relentless whirlwind of activity (hope to share details with you by and by) and I’ve written a few posts about the pretty customs of Norooz already anyhow (the meaning of haftseen, Norooz in Tehran, the sweets of Norooz, coloring eggs, sprouting sabzeh, Norooz ‘a Palooza!)

So for now, as I laze around in my friend’s house in Los Angeles (I’m in LA because of this and to see this in person and of course while here I’m also delighted to enjoy the goodness of Norooz in Tehrangeles!) I just want to catch my breath, listen to the birds singing prettily, and just gaze at this beautiful yard – a corner of paradise – with a dreamy view of trees and flowers and hills.

sabzeh sprout pool Los Angeles beautiful view yard

My friend’s lentil sabzeh & sarv trees in LA! Sight for sore eyes!

 

BUT, I do also want to chirp in to say:

Norooz ‘etoon Mobarak and Pirooz (for all y’all celebrating Norooz)

& Happy Spring! Also Happy Fall to our friends in the land under!

& May all of you have a ‘shirin’, pretty and rocking season ahead.

daffodils-illustration