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Servings: 6
Prep time: 15 min.
Cooking time: 1 1/4 hours

2 cups green lentils, picked over and washed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, butter, or ghee*
2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon angelica powder*
1/2 cup Seville orange juice* or a mixture of 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 1/4 cup fresh orange juice

Lentil Dip

  1. Place the lentils in a large saucepan and add 6 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil.
  2. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally; add more water as necessary to keep the beans immersed.
  3. In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and fry for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. Add the fried onion mixture, salt, and pepper to the lentils and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for another 45 minutes.
  5. Add angelica powder and Seville orange juice and adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot or cold with lavash bread. This recipe may be made up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator. If the salad is refrigerated for more than an hour, remove it from the refrigerator 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe from Najmieh Batmanglij's A Taste of Persia, page 32


Servings: 6
Prep time: 35 min.
Cooking time: 1 1/2 hours

3 cups long-grain white basmati rice
I cup vegetable oil, butter, or ghee*
2 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken or meat (lamb, veal, beef) cut in 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons Persian spice mix (advieh)*
1 teaspoon ground saffron threads,* dissolved in 4 tablespoons hot water
1 1/2 cups green lentils
1 cup raisins
2 cups pitted dates
1/2 cup slivered orange peel, bitterness removed*
2 tablespoons plain yogurt


Rice With Lentils & Dates
(Adas Polow)

  1. 1. Pick over and wash the rice per the master recipe on page 89.
  2. In a medium pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add half the sliced onion and stir-fry for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic and meat and stir-fry for 10 minutes longer. Add 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, turmeric, and cinnamon, 1 teaspoon advieh and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes over low heat. Add a few drops of saffron water and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the lentils in 3 cups of water with 1/2 teaspoon salt for 10 minutes. Drain the lentils, reserving the water for later use, and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the remaining onion and fry for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the raisins, dates, and slivered orange peel, and stir-fry 2 minutes longer; set aside.
  5. In a large nonstick pot, bring 8 cups of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil. Add the rice to the pot and boil briskly for 6 to 10 minutes, gently stirring twice with a wooden spoon to loosen any grains that stick to the bottom. Once the rice rises to the top of the pot, it is done.
  6. Drain the rice in a large, fine-mesh strainer and rinse with 3 cups lukewarm water.
  7. In a bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons oil, 1/2 cup water, 2 spatulas full of rice, the yogurt, and 1 tablespoon saffron water, and spread the mixture over the bottom of the pot. This will form the golden crust, or tah dig.
  8. Place 2 spatulas full of rice in the pot. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon advieh. Add a spatula full of the lentil mixture and then a spatula full of the meat. Repeat, alternating layers of rice with lentils and meat, mounding the ingredients in the shape of a pyramid. Sprinkle the remaining advieh on top.
  9. Cover the pot and cook the rice mixture for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  10. Mix 1/4 cup cold water with 4 tablespoons oil and pour over rice. Sprinkle on the remaining saffron water. Place a clean dishtowel or 2 layers of paper towel over the pot to absorb condensation and cover firmly with the lid to prevent steam from escaping. Reduce the heat to low and cook 50 minutes longer, taking care that the towel does not burn.
  11. Remove the pot from the heat and cool it, still covered, on a damp surface for 5 minutes to loosen the crust.
  12. Remove the lid, hold the serving platter tightly over the pot, and invert the two together, unmolding the entire mound onto the platter. The rice will emerge as a golden-crusted cake, to be garnished with edible flowers and herbs, then served in wedges. Alternately, you may lift out the rice mixture, taking care not to disturb the tah dig, and heap it onto a serving platter, as shown here. Serve the tah dig separately on the side.

Recipe from Najmieh Batmanglij's A Taste of Persia, page 96


Servings: 4
Prep time: 25 min.
Cooking time: 40 min.

4 tablespoons vegetable oil, butter, or ghee*
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
10 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 cups chopped fresh coriander leaves (cilantro)
2 large tomatoes, peeled* and crushed
1 cup chopped fresh fenugreek or 3 tablespoons dried
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2/3 cup tamarind paste* diluted in 1/2 cup water
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, and patted dry

Herb & Tamarind Shrimp
(Ghalieh Maygu)

This recipe comes from the Persian Gulf.

  1. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and stir-fry for 10 minutes, until translucent. Add the coriander and stir-fry 3 minutes longer, then add the tomato and stir-fry 5 more minutes.
  2. Add the fenugreek, basil, curry powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and tamarind liquid. Mix well, cover, and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning and set aside.
  3. Just prior to serving, in a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Stir-fry the shrimp for 2 to 3 minutes, just until it changes color. Be careful not to overcook-shrimp loses its tenderness when overcooked. Add to the sauce.
  4. Add salt to taste and adjust seasoning. Serve with saffron steamed rice (chelow)

Variation: Replace the shrimp with scallops, mackerel or grouper fillets.

Recipe from Najmieh Batmanglij's A Taste of Persia, page 67


Servings: 36 cookies
Prep time: 20 min. plus 30 min. cooling time
Cooking time: 10­15 min. plus 15 min. cooling time

For Syrup
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 tablespoon rose water*

For Batter
3 egg yolks
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup clarified butter or ghee*
1/2 cup corn oil
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
3 cups rice flour
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Cardamom Rice Cookies
(Nan-e Berenji)

  1. Combine the sugar and water in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes, being careful not to let the mixture boil over. Remove from the heat, add the rose water, and set aside to cool. This syrup should be room temperature and not too thick. Set aside I cup and bottle the remainder for future use.
  2. In a warm mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon sugar and beat well, until creamy.
  3. In another mixing bowl, combine the clarified butter, oil, cardamom, and rice flour. Mix well for a few minutes then add the egg yolk mixture and mix a few seconds. Add the I cup syrup from Step 1 and knead well for a few seconds, or until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. This will create a snow-white dough. Allow the dough to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
  5. Take a spoonful of dough, roll it into a ball the size of a hazelnut, flatten it slightly, and place it on the cookie sheet. Repeat, leaving 2 1/2 inches between each ball. With a fork or the edge of a cookie cutter, draw geometric patterns on the cookies and sprinkle them with poppy seeds. You may also use a cookie press (readily available in most cookware stores) to stamp a design in the dough.
  6. Place the cookie sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake the cookies 10 to 15 minutes. Keep in mind that the cookies should be white when they are done.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool. Lift the cookies off the baking paper carefully: They crumble very easily.
  8. Arrange the cookies in a pyramid on a footed cake dish.

Recipe from Najmieh Batmanglij's A Taste of Persia, page 148