The Legendary Cuisine of Persia - Recipe and Giveaway

Persia bridges the Far East and the Middle East and has survived centuries of struggle. In The Legendary Cuisine of Persia by the late Margaret Shaida, the rich culinary history of Persia is brought to life. The author's knowledge is impressive and her storytelling kept me engaged soaking up the first fifty pages of introduction. Embellished with a stripe of tapestry print similar to that found on the cover, made the reading of the introduction even more enjoyable.

Persian cuisine has endured and survived mainly by its ability to absorb and adapt to the foods of other nations. The intricate blend of flavours is another staying factor. Saffron, Indian lemon and enticing spices and aromas are synonymous with the food of this area. 

I was surprised to learn that Persia had influenced many other cultures. For instance, the Persian bread nan took India by storm when it was first introduced there, biryani is from the Persian word for baked and boorâni is the Arabized Persian word for any yoghurt dish mixed with vegetables. Ingredients, spices, hospitality and other information that will help in creating these dishes are set forth as well.  

Striking photographs of the food are shared intermittently along with a wealth of details about the history of each recipe and ingredients used within. The Legendary Cuisine of Persia will entice you, educate you and invite you to create the breads, rice dishes and stews in your kitchen.

Special thanks to Grub Street for sharing a recipe with our members today and for providing five copies of this beautiful book to our members in the UK and US. Please be sure to scroll down to enter. 


Minced Meat Kebabs

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Kabâb koobidehis the Persian equivalent of the American hamburger and is the favourite 'take-away' food of the urban middle classes. It is served wrapped in warm Persian sangak bread and eaten withtorshi-ye leeteh, fresh herbs and a liberal sprinkling of sumac. It is also frequently served as part of the national dish chelow kabâb. These minced kebabs are splendid affairs. They are large and well browned on the outside with a soft and succulent interior. Chenjeh kabâbare similar but smaller in size, while the tiny looleh kabâbare served as a light snack wrapped in bread.

The preparation of minced meat kebabs, as its Persian name implies (koobideh means pounded or kneaded) requires a fair amount of kneading. This is vital to achieve the necessary elasticity for the kebab mixture to adhere to the skewers. Some people try to cut a corner and add an egg to the mixture, but it shouldn't be necessary. Making use of the dough blade of a food processor for a few minutes saves a lot of aching arms. Kneading the mixture over slight warmth also helps a lot but be careful not to allow it to get too warm. The meat should be quite fatty so I suggest using lamb from the shoulder.

  • 500 g/1 lb boned shoulder of lamb
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Mince the meat finely, first on its own, then with the onion. Place in a large heatproof bowl, adding the remaining ingredients and knead well together for 15 minutes, partly over the low heat for a minute or two, until the mixture is smooth and sticky.

Wash your hands free of fat. Have a bowl of fresh cold water nearby and keeping your hands wet, take a medium handful of the mixture and mould all around an inch-wide skewer, pressing the mixture lightly with the fingers, making indentations all the way down the skewer; press firmly to the skewer at both ends. The kebabs should be about 20 cm/7-8 in long.
Grill the kebabs for two or three minutes on each side, turning twice. When nicely browned and cooked through, slip off the skewer onto some warm Persian (or pitta) bread. Cover with bread to keep warm.
Serve immediately, with pickles and fresh herbs, or with rice.

The publisher is offering five copies of this book to EYB Members in the US and UK. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted for more information on this process, please see our how to post. Please be sure to check your spam filters to make sure you receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on November 10th, 2017.


  • lpatterson412  on  9/28/2017 at 1:40 PM

    Beautiful book, I would love to try the syrup fingers and threads, they sound very good!

  • nmouncey  on  9/28/2017 at 1:52 PM

    There are so many things I'd try from this book, as I love Persian food. I don't know what the first main course thing I'd try. But I'm always looking for great Persian Rice recipes and the one here looks great. So whatever else I tried with a meal, the Persian Rice would accompany it for sure. Looks to be a very exciting book. Can't wait to check it out.

  • doogiemb  on  9/28/2017 at 1:55 PM

    Stuffed shoulder of lamb (Sardast-e barreh tu por) sounds absolutely delicious

  • lauriesk  on  9/28/2017 at 1:59 PM

    I would try the cubed lamb kabob.

  • kmn4  on  9/28/2017 at 2:06 PM

    Yoghurt drink (Doogh)

  • linded  on  9/28/2017 at 2:10 PM

    Baked rice with lamb and saffron and yogurt, served with cucumber pomegranate salad sounds incredible. I know very little of Persian food, but would love to elearn

  • Rinshin  on  9/28/2017 at 2:55 PM

    rice anything

  • jifar  on  9/28/2017 at 3:05 PM

    The duck with walnuts and pomegranates is my choice

  • ravensfan  on  9/28/2017 at 6:17 PM

    Rice, Persian style

  • TrishaCP  on  9/28/2017 at 7:17 PM

    Rice with prawns....

  • Shanthz  on  9/28/2017 at 7:20 PM

    Cauliflower omelette sounds interesting

  • DarcyVaughn  on  9/28/2017 at 8:59 PM

    sturgeon kebabs

  • tennyogirl  on  9/28/2017 at 10:54 PM

    Fish with walnuts and pomegranates

  • size_27  on  9/29/2017 at 12:39 AM

    Rice with broad beans (& dill...)

  • lapsapchung  on  9/29/2017 at 10:09 AM

    There are some wonderful rice dishes listed but as I love meat and pulses together I think I'd go for Apple stew (Khoresht-e seeb)

  • docpetra  on  9/29/2017 at 10:53 AM

    Baked rice with spinach (Tahcheen-o esfenâj) sounds intriguing - and it's got lamb in it, too, which I love!

  • sarahawker  on  9/29/2017 at 11:06 AM

    Tabriz meat dumplings (Koofteh Tabrizi)

  • lorenza43  on  9/29/2017 at 11:12 AM

    Rice with broad beans (Bâghâli polow) (page 76)

  • sgump  on  9/29/2017 at 12:36 PM

    Rice with dried fruit and nuts (ajeel polow) sounds lovely as we enter autumn!

  • heyjude  on  9/29/2017 at 12:41 PM

    Rhubarb Stew

  • Siegal  on  9/29/2017 at 2:13 PM

    I want to make the stuffed vine leaves

  • NancyLynn  on  9/30/2017 at 2:41 AM

    jeweled rice, loved it at a wedding I attended

  • Karla123  on  9/30/2017 at 7:59 AM

    This gorgeous dried fruit salad would be a delicious end to dinner on a cold winter's night.

  • RichardMosse  on  9/30/2017 at 10:50 AM

    Pomegranate soup

  • rachael_mc  on  9/30/2017 at 12:22 PM

    Rice with prawns

  • LaurenE  on  9/30/2017 at 3:05 PM

    Tabriz meat dumplings (Koofteh Tabrizi)

  • kbiggs  on  9/30/2017 at 3:52 PM

    Rice with black-eyed beans (Loobyâ polow)

  • Scotsman61  on  9/30/2017 at 7:12 PM

    Stuffed shoulder of lamb (Sardast-e barreh tu por)

  • ladybrooke  on  9/30/2017 at 9:21 PM

    Persian ice cream (Bastani sa'labi)

  • rosalee  on  9/30/2017 at 11:06 PM

    The rice with sour cherries sounds super intriguing!

  • matag  on  10/1/2017 at 12:40 PM

    Jeweled rice

  • samwesthill  on  10/1/2017 at 1:12 PM

    Chicken and potato salad for me. Sounds awesome.

  • aoiwowie  on  10/1/2017 at 6:58 PM

    Carrot jam!

  • alemily  on  10/2/2017 at 12:46 AM

    Stuffed fish, Southern style (Mâhi tu por, Jonubi)

  • jezpurr  on  10/2/2017 at 1:21 AM

    The stews look interesting!!!^_^

  • bibliophile02  on  10/2/2017 at 4:50 PM

    Green bean omelette

  • skipeterson  on  10/5/2017 at 3:30 PM

    Heart and kidney kebab (Del-o-golveh kabâb)

  • lgroom  on  10/5/2017 at 4:43 PM

    Rice with prawns.

  • Julia77  on  10/6/2017 at 4:55 PM

    Rice with broad beans

  • choppergirl  on  10/6/2017 at 6:36 PM

    Stuffed peppers (Dolme-ye felfel)

  • Dmartin997  on  10/6/2017 at 9:33 PM

    Stuffed chicken, northern style

  • robynsanyal  on  10/6/2017 at 9:48 PM

    Rice with prawns!

  • Jpt70  on  10/6/2017 at 10:00 PM

    Baked rice with chicken

  • percussion03  on  10/6/2017 at 11:01 PM

    Any of the breads. Or rhubarb stew!

  • rachelsmitty  on  10/6/2017 at 11:04 PM

    Rhubarb stew!

  • rashaye  on  10/6/2017 at 11:52 PM

    Oh gosh! This is a fab book. I love Zereshk Polow (Rice with Barberries) Thanks!

  • heyjude  on  10/7/2017 at 12:56 AM

    Rice with Noodles

  • Foodycat  on  10/7/2017 at 5:11 AM

    I love Persian food! I find it so hard to stop eating the buttery rice. But I absolutely adore fesenjan so I think the first thing would be to try her version - Duck with walnuts and pomegranates (Khoresht-e fesenjân)

  • br22  on  10/7/2017 at 8:24 AM

    Definitely intrigued by the Rhubarb Stew!

  • chimpbob  on  10/7/2017 at 8:42 AM

    Chicken and potato salad sounds delicious

  • kitchen_chick  on  10/7/2017 at 8:52 AM

    Pomegranate soup!

  • Livia  on  10/7/2017 at 1:49 PM

    It has got to be Rice with barberries

  • Jostlori  on  10/7/2017 at 2:27 PM

    I love Persian food! I would try the Rice with Prawns recipe first...

  • tararr  on  10/7/2017 at 2:28 PM

    Rhubarb stew

  • sequoia55  on  10/7/2017 at 6:17 PM

    Tabriz meat dumplings (Koofteh Tabrizi)

  • infotrop  on  10/7/2017 at 6:56 PM

    Carrot jam (if I can hunt down rosewater...)

  • chasteph  on  10/8/2017 at 1:53 AM

    Minced meat kebabs for sure!

  • RickPearson54  on  10/8/2017 at 9:16 AM

    Carrot jam

  • Mivas  on  10/8/2017 at 10:31 AM

    Lamb , Lamb Lamb!!!

  • PennyG  on  10/8/2017 at 2:06 PM

    Minced meat kebab (Kabâb koobideh)

  • jwbackhouse  on  10/8/2017 at 3:47 PM

    Rice with sour cherries (Âlbâloo polow)...

  • Sfgordon  on  10/8/2017 at 6:19 PM

    the broad bean stew sounds very good, as does the duck with pomegranate and walnuts.

  • dusksunset  on  10/9/2017 at 7:08 AM

    Cauliflower omelet

  • bstewart  on  10/10/2017 at 1:10 PM

    Duck with walnuts and pomegranates!

  • Littlebirdchoc  on  10/12/2017 at 7:27 PM

    While I'm a sucker for Persian meats and rices - the concept of a yoghurt omelette sounds SO intriguing!

  • sunset34  on  10/14/2017 at 3:36 AM

    The Northern sauce would be very handy. Thanks

  • fbrunetti  on  10/14/2017 at 11:29 AM

    Split pea and lamb stew

  • Kelos  on  10/14/2017 at 2:48 PM

    Stuffed chicken, Azerbaijan style :)

  • JenJoLa  on  10/15/2017 at 12:28 PM

    Cauliflower omelette (Kookoo-ye gol-e kalam)

  • rchesser  on  10/17/2017 at 8:20 PM

    Jewelled rice (Morasa' polow) .

  • Katiefayhutson  on  10/17/2017 at 8:55 PM

    Stuffed shoulder of lamb

  • kitchenclimbers  on  10/18/2017 at 2:12 PM

    rhubarb stew

  • ltsuk  on  10/19/2017 at 11:33 PM

    rice pudding

  • RSW  on  10/20/2017 at 6:48 PM

    Rice, Persian-style

  • Jenamarie  on  10/22/2017 at 3:27 PM

    Duck with walnuts and pomegranates for sure

  • orchidlady01  on  10/23/2017 at 2:31 AM

    Rice with lentils (Addas polow)

  • Julia  on  10/25/2017 at 9:39 PM

    Rice with carrots.

  • t.t  on  10/25/2017 at 11:45 PM

    Thin flat bread (Nân-e taftoon)

  • milliganf190  on  10/26/2017 at 1:05 AM

    Cauliflower omelette

  • Alison  on  10/26/2017 at 2:09 AM

    the stuffed-shoulder-of-lamb-recipe sounds fabulous

  • ojailyn  on  10/26/2017 at 9:29 AM

    Persian rice

  • silversand  on  10/26/2017 at 10:40 AM

    I'd like to try Stuffed fish, Southern style (Mâhi tu por, Jonubi)

  • Shana.  on  10/26/2017 at 9:08 PM

    Yoghurt with cucumbers

  • rejcooks  on  10/28/2017 at 9:41 AM

    Stuffed fish, Southern Style, also jewelled rice

  • PennyBarr  on  10/29/2017 at 6:10 AM

    Lovely-looking book - I think I’d like to try the stuffed fish, which sounds wonderful. 🥘

  • Amandaspamanda  on  10/30/2017 at 2:47 PM

    I've tried and tried to make a good flatbread, with limited success. I'd try the Thin flat bread (Nân-e taftoon) recipe first, maybe I'll get it right this time!

  • verorenee  on  10/30/2017 at 10:30 PM

    The Minced Meat Kebabs sound amazing!

  • fiarose  on  10/31/2017 at 8:29 PM

    mmm, aubergine omelette...or one of the lamb dishes, my boyfriend loves lamb!

  • contest718  on  11/1/2017 at 5:10 PM

    Rice, Persian-style

  • caitmcg  on  11/1/2017 at 6:08 PM

    Duck with walnuts and pomegranates (Khoresht-e fesenjân). I love this dish.

  • peacheater  on  11/2/2017 at 8:42 AM

    I'd love to try the Rhubarb stew!

  • sipa  on  11/2/2017 at 9:20 AM

    Jewelled rice (Morasa' polow)

  • hillsboroks  on  11/4/2017 at 11:27 AM

    Barberry and almond stew sounds wonderful.

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