Persian cuisine is a rich and diverse cuisine. It’s not just an exotic and different cuisine, but it’s also one of the most ancient cuisines in the world. This cuisine has a rich history with Greek, Indian, and Chinese influences.
Cooking is an art anyone can enjoywithout biasing on their nationality or ethnicity. This is why there are so many cookbooks written about different cuisines worldwide; they offer a window into other cultures and traditions while also providing people with recipes to explore new flavors and dishes.
Persian cuisine is one of these cuisines that have been around for centuries and have an exciting story behind it. Persian cookbooks can be a great way to learn about Persian food and cooking. But with so many cookbooks in the market, it can be hard to find the best Persian cookbook for you.
7 Best Persian Cookbooks At A Glance
This article will explore 7of the best Persian cookbooks that are worth checking out.
Why is a Persian cookbook necessary?
A cookbook is not the only way to replicate Iranian dishes at home. You can learn from other materials, but cookbooks stand out for several reasons. Here is why Persian cookbooks are your best shot at learning to make Persian dishes:
Persian cuisine is rich and complex.
Persian cuisine is rich and complex. It combines flavors fromEurope, Central Asia, the Middle East, China, and India. Persian cuisine has been influenced by these cultures in different periods of history. You will therefore understand most of it if only you learn without hurry. This is only possible with a cookbook.
There are many Persian variations on dishes that are not found elsewhere.
Different Iranian regionshave different specialties. You will not find their dishes in other parts of the country or other countries. This is because the climate and geography of each region are different, meaning the type of produce available, the way people cook, and what ingredients and spices they use differ. If you want to learn various specialties and possibly try them out, a cookbook is your best shot. You also get to understand where to source the ingredients locally.
Persians have a unique culinary vocabulary with which you might not have familiarized yourself.
Persian cuisine is a rich and diverse tradition. Different dishes vary from region to region, and you have the freedom to choose which one to try out. But, for you to appreciate Persian cuisine in all its glory, you’ll need a better understanding of Persian food vocabulary. Do you think even 50% of the vocabulary can be squeezed into a single recipe video? Certainly not! Grab one of the cookbooks below to dive right into the vocabulary by exploring the glossary sections.
A Persian cookbook will give you tips on finding Persian ingredients, which can be challenging to find in some places.
Many Persian ingredients can be difficult to find in most grocery stores. Thankfully, most cookbooks will help you find almost all of the ingredients you’ll need for your favorite Persian dishes. So what are you waiting for? Check below for the most suitable one.
Best Persian dishes to expect from any great cookbook
There is more than a single unique dish to enjoy in Persian cookbooks. Among the tens, or even hundreds, here are the favorites you should try out first, the moment you have your cookbook delivered:
Considered one of the best Persian dishes in Iran, Kabob is simply minced lamb meat cast into long strips. The lamb can also be substituted with beef or chicken grilled over an open flame. This meat is then served alongside rice sprinkled with sumac, charred tomatoes, flatbread, and parsley salad.
This is another famous classic meat-based meal. Fesenjoon is prepared by stewing pomegranate puree, cooking it with chopped onions and walnuts, and then serving with balls of meat or chunks of poultry.
Chelo simply refers to steamed rice. It is an Iranian signature dish, commonly served with stews, kebabs, and a range of other main dishes.
- Ghormeh Sabzi
Do you love stewed greens? Then you’ll be glad to learn how this dish is prepared from various ingredients. You may find ingredients such as parsley, kidney beans, dried fenugreek leaves, dried lemons, coriander, parsley, leeks, spinach, and even beef or lamb that’s seasoned in turmeric.
The above meals are just a drop in the ocean of Persian dishes. Explore the following 7 cookbooks, true to the Iranian culture for a wider variety.
Best Persian Cookbooks Reviews
You have decided to go for a cookbook, but do you know how frustrating it can be to single out one from hundreds of similar products? It won’t matter if you are already here, for I have gone through as many cookbooks as I could get my hands on and narrowed it down to the best seven.
1. Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies by Najmieh Batmanglij
This 640-page cookbook is not just a recipes manual but also a comprehensive guide into a whole culinary family andprovides a modern touch to ancient Persian cooking. You’ll learn lots of recipes, but that’s not all. Immerse yourself into the diverse ancient and timeless Persian culture through cooking.
As a simplified edition, this 25th Anniversary Edition of Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies includes 330 regional and classical Iranian recipes, giving you the best indulgence into the Persian culture. These recipes are accompanied by a narration of Persian culture, art, and history.
In addition to that, you’ll explore the beautiful photography depicting the recipes, ceremonies, anecdotes, poetry, folktales, and travelogue excerpt. Needless to say, the cookbook accomplishes more than a cookbook is designed to do!
Spanning over 30 years, Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies is a carefully researched, well-tested collection of authentic Iranian dishes focusing on the authenticity and practicality of Iranian recipes in the modern American kitchen.
Most of the ingredients are already readily available in the United States. Regardless of your skill level, you’ll be able to reproduce truly refined tastes, texture, and visual appeal, an experience that takes you deeper into Persia.
Food of Life includes pieces like the 10th century Book of Kings, the 1,001 Nights, popular ones by Mir Mosavvar and AqMirak, poetry and humor pieces by MullaNasruddin and Omar Khayyam. While these might sound crazy to appear in a cookbook, they are all food-related and are explained in a logical and easy-to-follow manner.
From dishes like rice to the jewels of Persian cooking that you can combine with fruits, vegetables, herbs, white meat, fish, and fowl, this cookbook will give you a glimpse into Iran’s rich and robust food traditions.
What we like:
- Contains recipes from the 16th century Persian cookbooks
- Includes a vegan-friendly section
- Has glossary of all the ingredients
- Recipes are photo-illustrated
- Lists Persian stores and interest suppliers for all ingredients
- States temperatures in both Celcius and Fahrenheit units
- Some recipes have both oven and stovetop instructions
- Available in hardcover and Kindle
2. The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan
Yasmin is a multi-award-winning author. Some of her wins include the MFK Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing, New York Times’ Cookbook of the Year, BBC Food Programme’s Best Cookbook of the Year, and Wall Street Journal’s Best Cookbook of the Year. These are just a few of her accolades, and the reason behind it all is her passion for food exploration.
Now, I have a weakness for Persian food, and this book is one of the reasons why. The recipes are full of flavor and relatively simple to prepare, while the author’s stories about Iranian home kitchens make it an inspiring piece. Also, the book is hardbound and beautifully illustrated with vivid images of Iranian life and ingredients.
From Saffron Chelo, fesenjoon, kofteberenji, to ghalyiehmaygoo, Yasmin walks you through the sophisticated and delicate dishes of Iran, leaving you with a yearning to taste them all. Aside from that, she offers vegetarian dishes like tahcheen, domaj and Persian desserts like almond and rose cake, and dark chocolate cookies.
What we like:
- Recipes include vegan-friendly variants
- Includes Persian-inspired desserts recipes
- Recipes have clear instructions with mouthwatering pictures
- Hardcover edition with beautiful pictures
3. Joon: Persian Cooking Made Simple by Najmieh Batmanglij
Najmieh is a chef and author, a restaurateur, and a culinary teacher. She has been cooking from an early age; this cookbook has been the Persian cuisine guide for many people for over 30 years. Chef Najmieh simplifies her favorite Persian dishes in the 75-recipe cookbook, presenting the how and the why in a clear and organized manner.
You’ll also learn the essential tools and techniques in Persian cooking and how to make the best of these dishes at home.To further simplify your task at learning and give a guess of what the finished dish should look like, Joonincludes a photograph of every meal. These include classic meals and favorites like kale and quinoa cooked the Persian way.
Others among the recipes include yogurt-based salads, sweet dips, and spreads, delicious side dishes, platters of grain, delicious kukus, fresh herbs and beans, frittatas, spice-infused fish, rice cooked in every manner, meatballs and kebabs, vegetable and her-filled omelets, Polow, flatbreads, sauces, various sour and sweet braises, as well as cakes and cookies.
Named after the Persian equivalent of “life,”Joonis genuinely a delight to read, while it will definitely give you the answer on why Persian meals are famous for their colors and aromas.
What we like:
- Clear instructions and pictures for every recipe
- Recipes are simple yet yield complex flavors
- Glossary of all the ingredients used in the recipes
- Employs a storytelling approach to Persian cuisine
- Provides a great deal of information about the culture and traditions behind each dish
- Includes desserts and slow cooker recipes
- Available in print and digital versions
- Affordably priced
4. Bottom of the Pot: Persian Recipes and Stories by NazDeravian
Authored by the IACP 209 First Book Award winner, NazDeravian, this cookbook is a collection of the author’s signature dishes and sweet memories about her home country. Naz presents 100+ recipes, ranging from easy dishes to elaborate meals and a sneak peek into the Persian table.
Additionally, she invites you to explore her childhood memories before the age of eight when she and her family fled their country at the height of the Iranian Revolution of 1979.Not only does this book contain 100+ recipes, but it is also a dialogue on Persian hospitality and the treats that go along with it.
Naz details the secrets of hearty aash, tahdig, steaming pomegranate, and walnut chicken.Learn about tahdig from the professional, taking you through how to serve the delectable rice crust at the bottom of the pot at home.
Bottom of the Pot paints a complete picture of the Persian cuisine and culture, including music and poetry, the bitter and the sweet sides of assimilation, and the significance of Persian cuisine.
What we like:
- Includes 100+ recipes for appetizers, main dishes, side dishes, and desserts
- Authentic beginner-friendly recipes that are easy to follow with detailed instructions
- Consists of a great variety of recipes, including slow cooker recipes
- Narration on Persian hospitality and traditions surrounding the table
- Authored by a professional Persian native chef
- Available as a hardcover, and Kindle digital formats
- Affordable price tag
5. From a Persian Kitchen: Authentic recipes and fabulous flavours from Iran by AtoosaSepehr
From a Persian Kitchen is a rich compilation of recipes by AtoosaSepehr. This book provides insight into the author’s life and her family kitchen and shares recipes for their favorite dishes.
The book has earned several awards, including Best Food Book of the Year by Irish Times, and is a notable mention by the Irish Examiner, BBC, The Hampstead Kitchen, and the Sunday Express. It was also a finalist in the Gourmand World Cookbook 2019.
In addition to recipes and striking food photography, Atoosa takes her readers deep into the culture of the Iranian people and the landscape of its land. Her writing allows you to live out the experience through her eyes, bringing this unique food culture to your table.
We like the traditional recipes passed down through generations in the author’s family, including dishes for appetizers, main courses, salads, desserts/sweets, and drinks. All ingredients for these recipes can be sourced under one roof in a supermarket-a plus for busy cooks.
Grab yourself this 306-page cookbook and discover your next favorite Persian dish.
What we like:
- Encompasses a wide variety of recipes for appetizers, main courses, salads, desserts/sweets, and drinks
- Includes authentic recipes with simple ingredients and easy to follow instructions
- Includes beautiful food photography
- Provides insight into Persian culture and the landscape of the country
- Available as a hardcover and Kindle version
- Reasonably priced
6. Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East and Beyond by Sabrina Ghayour
Featured in New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Saveur Magazine, The Observer Food, Library Journal, BBC Good Food Magazine, Delicious Magazine, The Telegraph, and The Spectator, Persiana is a compendium of recipes by Sabrina Ghayour.
Under the publications above, this book earned the Best Middle Eastern and North African Cook after turning out as the best cookbook of the year (2014). This book includes a vibrant mix of recipes from her Middle Eastern roots and over 100 dishes with dishes from the Middle East, North Africa, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iran.
Notable recipes include Spiced Carrot, Pistachio & Coconut Cake with Rosewater Cream, Lamb & Sour Cherry Meatballs, Persian Flatbread, Blood Orange & Radicchio Salad, and Chicken, Preserved Lemon & Olive Tagine.
Tired of those everyday meals? Switch things up with this Mediterranean cookbook, and discover your next favorite Iranian recipe.
What we like:
- Offers a vibrant mix of 100+ recipes from the Middle East
- Includes individual appetizers, main courses, side dishes, salads, and desserts
- Provides additional background on traditional Persian dishes
- Features simple steps for making authentic Middle Eastern meals at home
- Award-winning cookbook
- Comes in hardcover, e-book, and Kindle version
7. The Enchantingly Easy Persian Cookbook: 100 Simple Recipes for Beloved Persian Food Favorites by Shadi Hasanzade Nemati
This is one of the cheapest cookbooks, yet as resourceful as our other top picks. The Enchantingly Easy Persian Cookbook is a first-of-its-kind, exciting compilation of Persian recipes by Shadi Hasanzade Nemati.
With this book, you will be able to bring vibrant Persian dishes straight to your table. It features 100 simple recipes, including Saffron Syrup Cake, Pomegranate, and Walnut Stew.Although cheap, this cookbook doesn’t appear as such.
For instance, you’ll find a guide on the basic preparation of the ingredients. Seeding pomegranate, drying limes, making saffron water, and storing fresh herbs are just some of the topics addressed.It also contains a section on practical grocery recommendations for staples like cardamom and sumac, as well as photos to help you pinpoint ingredients like clotted cream and ghee.
If you are a beginner, the difficulty level label on every recipe helps you choose which one to try first and what to make time for later. There are also tips and tricks that Shadi has tried and tested over the years to help you get the best out of your Persian cooking.
Finally, there are memory sidebars for every treasured recipe. These sidebars describe the author’s recollection of every respective dish.
What we like:
- 100 simple recipes for appetizers, main courses, salads, soups, and desserts
- Shares essential preparation of ingredients, shopping lists for staples, and memory sidebars
- Includes Persian rafraichis, aperitifs, pickles, and jams
- Additional information on storing herbs, fruits, teas, and more
- Colorful photo of each dish
- Available as a paperback cookbook
- Includes a comprehensive glossary of Persian ingredients and terms
What to look for in a Persian cookbook | A buying guide
If you tried searching on your own before landing on this review, you must have been frustrated by the large number of cookbooks, all claiming to offer the best Persian recipes. Luckily for you now, you have the seven best cookbooks to choose from, but what factors would you consider before settling for a Persian cookbook?
- Author, and their origin
Some cookbooks are written by unfamiliar people who don’t even have an Iranian history documenting their Persian background. These are nothing but copied and doctored recipes, hardly reproducible.
It makes sense to consider cookbooks written by authors who are close enough to the Iranians and have a good understanding of the ingredients and their Persian origin.
- Ingredients used
If you are looking for traditional Iranian recipes, go for a cookbook that only uses Persian ingredients. Although some of the best cookbooks might entail a few alternative products, you should definitely consider one that sticks to the original components.
- Instructions provided
The best Persian cookbook offers detailed instructions on how to prepare each meal, especially those requiring ingredients with a unique cooking process.
- Difficulty Levels
Before compiling this review, we considered that you’ll be buying a cookbook for beginners, middle-level cooks, and experts. For this reason, we have considered cookbooks suitable for all categories of cooks.
- Tips and tricks
The best Persian cookbooks also come with simple tips and tricks that help you get the best out of your cooking experience, such as how to get the most juice out of lime or make Persian ice cream at home.
- Design and appearance
The design and appearance of a cookbook matter. A well-designed and formatted cookbook is easy to use as it isn’t cluttered with small texts, images, and diagrams.
- Glossary of ingredients
The best Persian cookbooks contain a comprehensive glossary of terms, ingredients, and special instructions that help you to the core.
- Sizes and prices
Before settling with a Persian cookbook, consider your budget, as well as the price of the cookbook. Some of these books are not very affordable, while others are worth a few bucks.
If you are looking for a comprehensive guide to Persian cooking, look no further than this review. We have considered all the important factors that make up a good cookbook and selected seven of the best ones. Our top pick is the Food of Life, so feel free to make it your first trial, if you are still indecisive.
Enjoy your Persian Cooking!
Rita C. Donnell (Jennifer) has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Readmore