Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan by Naomi Duguid

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Pomegranate ash with meatballs (Ash-e-anar)

    • featherbooks on October 29, 2016

      Delicious winter soup. Be sure to use the most sour pomegranate molasses (I used a brand called Dwadi). I'd also add the herbs closet to serving time to preserve greenness.

    • sosayi on April 14, 2017

      Such a warming, comfortable bowl! I had to use a pomegranate molasses substitute (reduced unsweetened cranberry juice into a syrup) due to an allergy, and consequently (maybe?) had to add a bit more than instructed, but once I did..... oh my! The flavors are incredible.

    • Stephenn31 on November 26, 2023

      I cooked the first part in a pressure cooker and it turned out well. Delicious and thick and unctuous for a fall evening. Nice to have something green and lively. I added a lot more pomegranate molasses than the recipe called for. I also salted at different points along the way instead of just at the end. Served with some naan which worked well

  • Thanksgiving-pumpkin rice (Khapama)

    • mcvl on October 18, 2018

      Good ... perhaps not as special as I had hoped. I wonder what I could add to spark it up a little.

    • mcvl on October 18, 2018

      Hmm. I added some cooked ground pork, some fennel seed, and some cumin seed. Certainly delicious, but so far from the original dish as to be unrecognizable.

  • Yerevan tongue salad

    • mcvl on October 01, 2018

      Needs more oil for mouthfeel, otherwise seems too naked. Lovely combo with tongue.

    • rmardel on December 24, 2016

      Excellent salad, slightly tart and refreshing with subtle flavorings. I could eat this by the bowlfull.

  • Beef stew with onion and tomato (Kharcho)

    • mcvl on October 07, 2020

      I have several recipes for kharcho on my bookshelf; I mostly followed this one, but with the addition of fresh sour plums from Jane Grigson's Fruit Book. Good, but I would like the liquid thickened.

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      I didn’t follow this recipe faithfully, I made it up to the point of adding the walnut paste, found the spices underwhelming, and added red ajika instead since I had already used 1/2 pound of walnuts on that. We all liked it but did not love it, and since we rarely eat beef stew, I’d select other recipes over this one.

  • Cucumber and tomato salad with pomegranate molasses

    • mcvl on May 05, 2018

      This is delicious! Our guests, who are usually meat-and-potatoes kinds, ate it all with great alacrity. I was afraid the pom. molasses might be too sweet, but it worked perfectly.

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      What a great summer salad, I love the tart sweetness of the pomegranate molasses. I also worried it would be too sweet but it’s not. If I was serving it with something other than a kebab I’d probably add some olive oil.

    • Delys77 on August 10, 2022

      This one is a winner. Easy to toss together and a lovely combination of sweet and salty. Once the tomatoes give off a touch of liquid you end up with a lightly clinging vinaigrette (sans the oil) which was great. Added a few grinds of pepper as well.

    • pattyatbryce on October 22, 2023

      Nice side to any of the Persian grilled meats.

  • Kurdish white beans (Shley fasouleh)

    • mcvl on October 13, 2021

      Skip the parsley and scallions -- the beans are very mild and subtle, they need no competition.

    • inflytur on February 28, 2019

      Don’t skip including the dried lime. It really makes the dish special.

    • pattyatbryce on October 15, 2023

      Really mild, but good. Don't skip the dried lime!

  • Lobio with pomegranate and onion

    • mcvl on December 21, 2018

      Oh, sigh. This was quite bland. It cried out for ... bacon.

  • Baku fish kebabs (Baliq shashlik)

    • TrishaCP on May 19, 2019

      Simple and delicious grilled fish, especially with the sumac.

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      Such a simple recipe and absolutely great for an oily fish like salmon. Between this and the cafe kebabs from the same book I’m completely sold on dusting kebabs with sumac as they grill. Wonderful with the herb plate, also same cookbook or “Ottolenghi style” as I’ve come to think of it.

  • Herb plate (Sabzi khordan)

    • bernalgirl on October 21, 2023

      Barely a recipe, but for those who have cooked from Ottolenghi, this will feel both familiar and abundant. I layered thinly sliced tomato, cucumber, red onion, and radishes with arugula, dill, basil, and cilantro, scattered with sumac. Next time I will try fresh fenugreek leaves, but I was completely out.

    • mjes on April 27, 2018

      This is the recipe that was mentioned in a Persian cooking class just before this cookbook was released. The instructor had seen a preview. This selects among basil, coriander, mint, summer savory, parsley, scallions, fenugreek leaves, tarragon, watercress, dill, arugula, chervil, chives and sorrel; suggested additions include radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles, fresh cheese, walnuts ... I was especially glad to see sorrel to the Armenian version that I had learned. After a class with Omid Roustael, I really want to try this with fresh fenugreek - even if I have to grow it myself.

  • Pomegranate-coriander sauce

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      An absolutely beautiful sauce with the Baku fish kebabs from the same book. The pomegranate adds a lovely sweet tartness that even my father, who tastes cilantro as soap, couldn’t stop adding to his fish.

  • Green ajika

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      An intensely flavored and salty herb sauce that is great dabbed on kebabs, mixed with olive oil for a chimichurri-like sauce, or diluted into a flavorful vinaigrette. I halved the recipe and would happily do so again as that still made a plentiful amount.

  • Red ajika

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      I made half a recipe with 1/4 the salt and this was still intensely salty and even with fermentation the garlic is almost overpowering. I’m not sure if I’ll get through the full mason jar of condiment, which is too bad because the walnut-red pepper combination seemed so promising. Maybe I’ll stir it into a batch of lentil soup.

  • Baku-style tomato salad

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      A lovely salad that’s perfect for summer tomatoes and cucumbers, I agree that the sumac adds a floral note that I prefer to lemon and this is a great compliment to the oilier nature of the kebabs. This and the Baku-style fish kebabs make a good combination and an easy summer dinner.

    • rmardel on October 05, 2023

      The softness of the very ripe tomatoes contrasted nicely with the crispness of my cucumbers and the sharp sweetness of the onion. The sumac brings a tart sharpness which is more complex and less aggressive perhaps than lemon juice, as it also has a hint of sweetness and a subtle hint of floral fruitiness. It also brings a beautiful color to the salad, a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds.

  • Eggplant and tomato stew (Bainjan shley)

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      This is a dream for true eggplant lovers, there aren’t a lot of competing flavors, and the texture after the long braise is wonderful. That said, I added some oil at the end to bloom more turmeric and cumin to up the flavor a bit. The arugula and feta provide solid contrast, and I would happily make this dish again.

  • Persian café kebabs with grilled tomatoes (Koobideh kebab)

    • bernalgirl on October 02, 2023

      These are so simple yet absolutely outstanding. The onions processed into the meat and the sumac on the crispy outside are absolutely addictive. I doubled the recipe and used 2 lbs. beef to one lb. lamb. My family wants these kebabs on a sandwich with lots of arugula and harissa, on a salad, in an omelette, and simply with an Israeli salad and fresh pita.

    • pattyatbryce on October 22, 2023

      Easy recipe and very accessible. We've had better, but these are solid.

  • Wine-country beef kebabs (Mtsvadi)

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      This is barely a recipe, just flank steak seasoned with salt and grilled. It is lovely with the red ajika, although I regretted the volume of garlic in the ajika the next day.

  • Turkey kebabs (Shislik hinduska)

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      These are outstanding, although next time I would salt the marinade. A great summer recipe for turkey, and a great alternative to chicken. I used cut up turkey breasts, and these were tender and flavorful.

  • Kurdish red rice (Birinji sur)

    • bernalgirl on October 20, 2023

      I didn’t like the texture of the golden Kurdish rice so I made this with enriched long grain rice and liked the outcome much better. A gently seasoned rice dish that was a good accompaniment to kebabs and stew recipes from this book.

  • Kurdish golden rice (Birinji zerde)

    • bernalgirl on October 02, 2023

      I loved the flavor and color of this beautiful side but not the texture of the boiled Arborio rice, this felt like a waste of a great ingredient. I’d like to try this again pilaf-style with long grain white rice.

    • Delys77 on February 03, 2022

      This was a great recipe. I did use the pressure cooker as a short cut and it worked very well. I sautéed the onion in the pressure cooker than add the spices and then the rice. Once all was in I added the broth and cooked for 3 minutes on high pressure with a 15 minute natural release. Lovely accompaniment to kebabs.

  • Pomegranate-marinated kebabs (Torshe kebab)

    • Delys77 on February 24, 2022

      The marinade is almost like peanut butter it is so thick. That said, after a 1 day marinade these were delicious with leg of lamb kebabs. Nice and tender and flavourful without covering up the lovely natural flavour of the lamb. I don't see how you could simmer the marinade, in my case it was too sticky to get out of the bag or off the lamb, but no matter they were good as is.

  • Marinated pork kebabs (Basturma)

    • Delys77 on February 03, 2022

      I also used a loin roast and went with the pomegranate molasses/water suggestion and these were out quite well for us. They were quite tender in the end and the flavour was subtle but nice. I do think it benefits from some punchier flavours on the plate (ajvar and maybe some pickles), but overall quite good.

    • sarahawker on May 24, 2018

      Used pork loin and marinated for almost 48 hours, the flavor of the wine was very evident but these were super dry. Would not make again, there are better pork kebabs.

    • Stephenn31 on June 11, 2023

      Turned out well. Juicy. Very easy. Made with the pomegranate molasses and water combo

  • Cucumber salad with sumac and mint

    • Delys77 on February 03, 2022

      What could be easier really. Use your best little Persian cukes and I add a touch of olive oil and this goes over well.

    • inflytur on February 28, 2019

      A refreshing side dish and super easy to pull together.

    • pattyatbryce on October 15, 2023

      Super easy side dish with many of the soups and meat dishes.

  • Onion salad with barberries

    • rmardel on October 15, 2023

      An excellent salad! Fresh, crisp, tart, fruity. Will go well with so many things.

  • Spinach borani (Borani ye esfenaj)

    • rmardel on October 14, 2023

      This was a bit of a fail for me, surprising because I love both spinach and yogurt. I did cook the onions longer than the recipe specified in order to achieve the kind of crispy onions shown in the photo. I do think the onions helped, but the combination of yogurt and spinach seemed lacking in something; it was just bland and somehow less than any of the ingredients individually.

    • inflytur on February 28, 2019

      This was incredibly popular both with both adults and children. Each element is delicious separately and heavenly in combination.

    • pattyatbryce on October 01, 2023

      We found this a bit bland. Also hard to reheat for leftovers if you add yogurt as stated. We were hoping for new take on classic "steakhouse creamed spinach," This fell short on flavor. Also, directions on cooking onions and picture were different. Translucent and starting to show color per directions. Pic showed crispy fried onions. Which one? I think the latter would be better.

  • Sour plum sauce (Tkemali)

    • kitchen_chick on August 14, 2018

      I served this with the Persian Cafe Kebabs (meat patties version), and it was an excellent condiment with the lamb.

  • Azeri mushrooms

    • kitchen_chick on June 01, 2018

      Delicious! Recipe claims 8oz mushrooms serves 2 as main course and 4 as a side. I recommend doubling the recipe.

  • Saffron water

    • inflytur on February 28, 2019

      Keep this on hand to drizzle over everything!

    • mjes on June 03, 2018

      Thanks to a class by Omid Routaei, I use rose water or orange blossom water instead of plain water depending on what is most appropriate for the dish.

  • Roast chicken with Persian flavors

    • inflytur on February 28, 2019

      This makes a succulent, flavorful roast chicken. Making the stuffing ahead works well. We were unable to find dried cherries and substituted a combination of tart cherries and cranberries. The substitution works.

  • Persian rice pudding (Shir berenj)

    • mjes on June 03, 2018

      First time making kheer with broken rice as suggested in the recipe. As for congee, broken rice works perfectly for this pudding. I used a rich Jersey milk that was not homogenized, a choice I'll repeat. This is a very good, mildly flavored rice pudding that we all loved.

  • Tea from the Caspian

    • mjes on June 03, 2018

      This lightly spiced tea (I used Dragon Well green) is an ideal accompaniment for the Persian rice pudding from this cookbook. I choose a thin rosewater raisin cookie (nan-e keshmeshy) recipe from Omid Roustaei to complete the course.

  • The precooked beans habit

    • pattyatbryce on October 15, 2023

      Habit is a good description. I made the extra navy beans for the Kurdish White Beans and have many ideas on how to use the leftovers.

  • Lahich-style kofta soup (Kufta bozbash)

    • pattyatbryce on October 03, 2023

      Mild flavor in a good way. Easy to make but you do need some preplanning to let the meatballs rest. With preplanning you can make the meatballs at lunch and then cook them for dinner. I would add more water/broth because I like brothy soups. Also, I made the meatballs smaller and cut up the apricot proportionally so that they are easier to eat in the bowl.

  • Spiced beef shank

    • pattyatbryce on October 15, 2023

      Made with beef short ribs. I need to work on cooking time, but the flavor was terrific. Reminded me of a mild corned beef without the extra preservatives. I did need more salt.

  • Cheese-filled quick breads (Emereti khachapuri)

    • pattyatbryce on October 15, 2023

      Very nice - I liked the mozzarella for the non-feta cheese. Not too hard for someone who is scared of dough.

  • Classic pomegranate-walnut chicken stew (Fesanjun khoresh)

    • sarahkalsbeek on July 13, 2018

      This is AMAZING! I think I might either process the walnuts less (so they are chunkier) or grind them finer. We used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and it turned out great.

  • Dried apricot soup with wheat berries

    • excurvatus on December 22, 2019

      I almost feel like I can't evaluate this because of how different it was from anything I've ever tasted before, but I did enjoy. I'd make it again. most enjoyable when hot. very filling!

  • Kurdish black rice (Birinji rash)

    • Darja on September 26, 2023

      Very tasty pomegranate-flavoured rice. Can be eaten as a side dish or on its own. Requires a good addition of water if reheated.

  • Kurdish fried chicken in broth

    • Darja on September 26, 2023

      This was really tasty and fragrant but a bit too oniony. I recommend halving the amount of onion stated in the recipe.

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Reviews about this book

  • Eat Your Books

    Naomi Duguid is the goddess of cookbooks guiding us through new countries with her words and recipes.

    Full review
  • Food52

    The 2017 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks, Quarterfinal Round: Samarkand vs. Taste of Persia

    Full review
  • Food52

    The 2017 Piglet Tournament of Cookbooks, First Round: Taste of Persia vs. Tasting Rome (video review)

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  • Eat the Love

    Persia is one of those culinary destinations that is only just getting the respect and attention that it deserves, and this cookbook is the perfect introduction to it.

    Full review

Reviews about Recipes in this Book

  • ISBN 10 1579655483
  • ISBN 13 9781579655488
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Sep 20 2016
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 400
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Artisan

Publishers Text

Though the countries in the Persian culinary region are home to diverse religions, cultures, languages, and politics, they are linked by beguiling food traditions and a love for the fresh and the tart. Color and spark come from ripe red pomegranates, golden saffron threads, and the fresh herbs served at every meal. Grilled kebabs, barbari breads, pilafs, and brightly colored condiments are everyday fare, as are rich soup-stews called ash and alluring sweets like rose water pudding and date-nut halvah.

Our ambassador to this tasty world is the incomparable Naomi Duguid, who for more than 20 years has been bringing us exceptional recipes and mesmerizing tales from regions seemingly beyond our reach. Nearly 125 recipes, framed with stories and photographs of people and places, introduce us to a culinary paradise where ancient legends and ruins rub shoulders with new beginnings—where a wealth of history and culinary traditions makes it a compelling place to read about for cooks and travelers and for anyone hankering to experience the food of a wider world.

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