Baklava, an original Turkish dessert, is made from thin alternating layers of filo sheets, finely chopped nuts, and honey or syrup.
The origin of this mouth-watering pastry is still yet to be definitely determined, although parallel recipes of the dish have been discovered in ancient civilizations such as Greece and China.
Yazd is the most famous city for making Iranian baklava. The city’s unique version of baklava uses a combination of chopped almonds and pistachios enlivened with cardamom and sweet syrup with rosewater scent.
In contrast to the baklava of other neighboring countries, Iranian baklavas are less sweet and less oily.
Traditional Iranian baklavas are best eaten with Turkish coffee and dried fruits.
A legacy of the Ottoman empire to the Iranian cuisine is the dish called dolma.
Dolma is basically plain vegetables, such as eggplant, tomato, pepper, and onions, which are hollowed and stuffed with rice, grain, chopped nuts, and herbs and spices.
The term dolma is of Turkish origins. It is from the word dolmak, meaning “to be stuffed” or “stuffed things.”
Fillings of dolma dishes may contain meat. Meat-stuffed dolmas are best served hot and smothered with sauce.
On the other hand, dolma with stuffing without minced meat are usually served cold.
Dolma, in general, is enjoyed with yogurt.
The city of Shiraz in Iran is widely known for its flat bread, which usually comes in two variants: the Naan-e Sangak or Sangak bread and Naan-e Barbari o Barbari bread.
The Sangak bread is the traditional Iranian bread and is made from brown flour and fermented dough. The fresh dough is fermented for an hour or two before the bread is cooked in a stone (sangak) oven.
On the other hand, the Barbari bread is long and fluffy bread. It is made from white flour, which makes it slightly costlier than the cheap Sangak bread.
Flat breads are a staple food in Iran and are supplied almost any time of the day.
Usually served with traditional sidings, these breads are eaten on regular meals and special occasions.
Balal – grilled corn on sticks – are a favorite street snack in Iran. These corn ears grilled on open fire are often salted and served with freshly baked flat bread, calf liver, or fresh greens.
During harvest season of corns, balal vendors sprout on the streets of the cities. This cheap treat is satisfying with every single bite and with the lingering taste of freshly burnt corn kernels and the suave kick of salt.
Iranians enjoy freshly grilled balal with lime juices to complement the seared taste.
Halva (also halwa, halvah, halava, helva, or halawa) is one of the most famous Middle Eastern sweets. It is made only from flour, sugar, and butter. Occasionally, rosewater scent is incorporated into the mixture to add a more appetizing aroma.
In Iran, freshly cooked halva paste is poured evenly onto a serving dish and then chilled. To make it more appealing, patterns and decorations are made on top of the halva paste. When set, halva is usually cut into slices and served with coffee or tea for an afternoon snack.