The Saffron Tales: Recipes from the Persian Kitchen by Yasmin Khan

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Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Carrot and pistachio salad

    • TrishaCP on April 13, 2020

      I am craving the taste of fresh veggies while #stayathome, and this salad really worked for me. The mint (from the garden) brightened up the carrots, as did garden cilantro (instead of parsley, although I would have made that substitution anyway). The pomegranate molasses was just right, not too sweet.

    • Yildiz100 on November 13, 2017

      Very nice. A bit like a french carrot salad but prettier and with a nice fruitiness from the pomegranate molasses. Added pomegranate seeds-they were nice.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      This is an excellent winter salad that we have made several times. Goes well with anything that could use a tart and crisp side.

  • Persian rice (Chelow)

    • EdM on January 04, 2021

      Made the yogurt tahdig variation. 350g rice is 2 cups. Boil about 8 minutes, drain and rinse, then steam 25-30 min.

  • Butternut squash and dried lime soup (Soup-e kadoo halva-ee)

    • Yildiz100 on February 05, 2018

      This was very disappointing - no one in the family would eat it. I think if the squash were roasted rather than just being sweated/boiled the flavor could have been improved. As it was it was pretty insipid. I wouldn't repeat it even with that change however, because I found the cinnamon, dried lime, and pomegranate molasses combo just tasted strange with the squash.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      We really like this soup, however you have to like warm spices and dried limes, which is a distinctive flavor profile. Our in-season butternut had plenty of flavor to carry the soup.

  • Easy naan bread

    • Yildiz100 on April 03, 2020

      My favorite ever homemade naan. Has a bit more yogurt than some, which keeps it soft. Needed a bit more water for the dough, which should be a bit sticky. Roll very thin - they do puff up. The pieces that I cooked a little less were best. Will need a bit of practice to get the pan temp and timing just right, but still excellent.

  • Gilaki pinto beans (Loobia pokhte)

    • Yildiz100 on May 19, 2017

      I chose this because I wanted to use up some pintos but I didn't want to make a Mexican dish, and this fit the bill. This was just ok. My bean loving 4 year old didn't like it, so I will not repeat.

    • dylanjamesk on May 19, 2020

      Delicious - much more than the sum of its parts, and incredibly easy. Don’t forget the sumac!

  • Persian ajil granola

    • Yildiz100 on November 14, 2017

      Excellent! Subbed chopped pecans for sunflower seeds out of necessity and halved the recipe but otherwise followed it exactly. (Added the pecans together with the almond slices i.e. half way through cooking since I think they are prone to burning.) Crunchy and sweet with lots of lovely clusters. Goes great with unsweetened Greek yogurt. Used cranberries and apricots for the dried fruit. The red and orange looked very pretty with the green pumpkin seeds and pistachios. Baking times were spot on.

  • Date, almond and tahini energy balls

    • Yildiz100 on October 05, 2017

      I followed this to the letter except for the fact that I did not measure the ground almonds that the balls get rolled in. I even had Iranian dates. I thought at first the mixture might be too dry to hold together but I kept pulsing in the FP and it wasn't a problem at all. These are so good! I love the way the slight bitterness of the tahini complements the dates. Huge hit with everyone in the house.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      Delicious snack, and the dates don’t need to be too moist, so it’s a good way to use up old dates.

  • Scrambled eggs with feta and dill (Panir bereshte)

    • Yildiz100 on January 08, 2018

      I substituted 1 tbs fresh dill for the 2 tbs dry and cut the turmeric to 1/4 tsp. Next time cut turmeric to 1/8 tsp for my taste, though a turmeric lover would like it at 1/4 tsp. Very good and comforting.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      Tasty flavor variation for scrambled eggs. Nice in winter, with the dried dill.

  • Olives marinated with walnuts and pomegranates (Zeytoon parvandeh)

    • Yildiz100 on November 22, 2018

      Delicious flavors but I had a very thick batch of pomegranate molasses, and it wanted to form a dough with the walnuts. Next time, I will dissolve the the molasses in the olive oil and be careful adding the walnuts. Even better, only make this recipe with a thinnish pomegranate molasses.

  • Mixed herb kuku (Kuku-ye sabzi)

    • Yildiz100 on February 26, 2019

      I used slightly less spinach. As for herbs, this recipe called for "bunches" so I used 40 gr parsley, 27 cilantro, 20 dill, and 10 chives. Next time reduce cilantro a tad. Can increase chives. The only thing that I didn't like was the technique causes all the garlic to be on the bottom, and since garlic burns so easily, it did just that. Next time try stirring it into the egg mixture to evenly distribute first. Very good, particularly delicious inside baguette sandwiches with feta, tomatoes, and Lebanese pickles.

  • Cucumber salad with sekanjibeen dressing

    • Yildiz100 on October 29, 2017

      This is a tasty, light, marinated cucumber dish that is very low in oil, so it would make a great contrast to a rich main dish. It made me think of a Persian version of pressgurka. The dressing has a lot of honey so the salad has a noticeable honey aroma. This was nice with the cucumbers, but I don't personally love that particular honey smell so I liked but didn't love this dish. A honey-lover would probably go crazy for it though. For a better presentation, add dressing and salt, blend, THEN add pomegranate. Otherwise, the seeds all fall to the bottom when you stir. I peeled the cucumbers because I prefer the texture, but the lack of green did make the salad less pretty. Maybe peel stripes next time.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      We love this salad and have made it both with and without the pomegranate arils (they being available such a limited part of the year). Crunchy, sweet, and tart, this is a marvelous accompaniment to all sorts of things.

  • Bandari fishcakes with a tamarind and date sauce (Kuku-ye mahi)

    • Yildiz100 on February 05, 2018

      The potato completely overwhelmed the fish so that the fish was undetectable. The texture was spongy and unpleasant with a powdery mouth feel. I think this needed some flour or breadcrumbs to make it more solid. (Also less potato and more fish.) Not willing to risk trying it again with these changes though. Afraid it won't work out and will end up going to waste.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      These were okay, but they were very salty as written, and the texture wasn’t the best. The sauce was quite nice, though, and I would use that for a different recipe.

  • Grilled mackerel with a spicy pomegranate salsa

    • Yildiz100 on January 08, 2018

      Nice, but I wasnt sure the salsa really complimented the fish. The crunch of pomegranate is odd with the texture of fish. It was delicious eaten separately as a salad, however. The mint was a bit too strong. Not minty-more bitter. Reduce to 1 tbs next time.

  • Date and walnut squares

    • Yildiz100 on April 13, 2021

      Very nice, but very rich! If you cut them into 24 squares as directed you may think they look small, but the portion size is just right. Note: I cut the butter into the flour and baking powder with a food processor, then blended this mix with the oats and sugar by hand.

    • Clog on February 13, 2021

      Incredibly moreish. While the spices are very subtle they really lift this into another dimension. Even if you normally cut up your walnuts quite coarse, ground/chop these finely to make sure the filling is a smooth paste.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      This is just a basic crumble bar, but the spiced walnut-date filling is delicious and I absolutely recommend it.

  • Chicken with walnuts and pomegranates (Fesenjoon)

    • Barb_N on January 16, 2019

      Please note- you must plan ahead or have an entire evening to make this dish, but it is worth it. Unlike versions on Food52, the walnut paste is cooked for an hour, then another hour, THEN you add the chicken. Maybe I skimped by 15-30 minutes but I thought I compensated by adding less water (some of which I replaced with stock) but I felt my sauce was too thin. By then it was almost 9 pm and we ate anyway. Delicious. Will definitely make again when I can keep ‘on the hob’ for 3 hours but I will still use less liquid. Wanted to serve with Melissa Clark’s Roasted carrots with walnuts, feta and dill from Dinner Tonight but used up all the walnuts in this recipe.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      Excellent fesenjoon recipe. The pomegranate seeds are an absolute must to cut the richness of the walnut sauce - don’t skimp.

  • Lime and saffron chicken kebabs (Jujeh kabob)

    • inflytur on July 01, 2018

      Beyond delicious. I once made this for a barbecue pot luck and now it is the dish I am always asked to bring. One particularly great aspect of the recipe is that you roast the chicken in the oven and then crisp it on a grill. That means that you can largely prepare the dish the day before and that you don’t have to transport raw chicken. Keep in mind that longer the chicken marinates the better it will be. Let it marinate for at least 24 hours. 36 is best.

  • New potato salad with a dill yoghurt dressing

    • Anneherzberg on May 14, 2019

      This turned out delicious. I added fresh lemon juice for a little more acidity, and extra dill. Used some no sugar added pickles that were nice and crunchy.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      This is a good but not exceptional potato salad. I prefer a vinegar-ier potato salad, so if you like creamier this may well be for you.

  • Broad bean, sour cherry and rice salad

    • jungliemonkey on November 13, 2020

      A great combination of textures and flavours! I included the feta, and may try with more/bigger broad beans or edamame another time. Edit: I have now made a variant of this with edamame and can confirm that it is just as tasty, and significantly less faff.

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      This was good, but the effort required for the favas just wasn’t worth it here, as their flavor was hardly noticeable. I’m actually tempted to replace them with edamame; I think that would make a nice lunch salad.

  • Lamb and mixed herb stew (Ghormeh sabzi)

    • Clog on February 13, 2021

      Uninspiring; neutral flavour rather than bland. We were expecting much more. It was rather greasy too, which we dealt with by pairing the stew with a simple but sharp watercress salad.

  • Onion and fenugreek soup (Eshkeneh)

    • jenburkholder on February 15, 2021

      Very tasty soup. Tart, warming, deeply flavored, and easy. Went well with a hunk of bread and a green salad for lunch.

  • Spicy lentil and tamarind soup (Soup-e daal addass)

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      This was quite tasty. The only modification I would make is less ginger, and grating it instead of mincing - the flavor was quite overwhelming.

  • Stuffed aubergines (Dolmeh)

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      These were good, but the filling was a bit too mushy for our tastes. Would replace short-grain rice with basmati in the future.

  • Rice with lentils, dates and walnuts (Addas polo)

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      The flavor is good, but the instructions are horribly confusing. Look elsewhere for an addas polo recipe.

  • Garlicky beans with dill and egg (Bagalee ghatogh)

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      These sounded really good, but the end result was pretty blah. Some more garlic might help, but I’m not sure I’d make again.

  • Persian garden salad

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      We made this without the basil, as it was winter, but otherwise followed the directions. This was a pleasant salad, and the different ingredients worked together surprisingly well. As it has a lot going on, it could probably make a light meal with some people bread, if one were so inclined.

    • emeewhy825 on September 02, 2020

      This very good. It has a crunchy/salty/sweet flavor that I really enjoyed.

  • Green bean and caramelised onion kuku (Kuku-ye loobia sabz)

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      This is very nice, although the amount of onion ended up making it a bit sweet. That didn’t bother us, but might perturb some.

  • Saffron, potato and barberry kuku (Kuku-ye sibzameeni)

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      These were good, made a convenient meal-prep breakfast for the week. Two made a serving.

  • Salad Shirazi

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      This is an excellent salad, crunchy and refreshing. The 1/8 inch dice is a bit precious, though, so we’ve generally done it a bit larger with no real ill effects.

  • Date and cinnamon omelette (Gheysavah)

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      This was surprisingly enjoyable. I would cut the dates into smaller pieces, however, to spread them out across the omelette.

  • Sour cherry and dark chocolate cookies

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      We have a sour cherry tree, so I’m always on the lookout for recipes. These are lovely cookies, soft and chewy with good chocolatey flavor.

  • Lamb meatballs stuffed with barberries and walnuts (Kofte berenji)

    • jenburkholder on August 18, 2020

      We loved these. The texture was soft and silky, the flavor was rich. The only change is not adding water near the end, as it absolutely didn’t need that. Will make again.

  • Slow-cooked lamb shoulder with dried lime and split peas (Gheimeh)

    • emeewhy825 on October 25, 2020

      This was good. I think getting the legumes to cook correctly is probably part of mastering this dish over time. Mine ended up a little undercooked and I actually cooked the stew for a little longer than the instructions said and at a slightly higher temperature. I think if I make it again, I might buy lamb stew meat . Trying to trim the fat from lamb shoulder is time consuming.

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Reviews about this book

  • Eat Your Books by Jenny Hartin

    Yasmin Khan is a storyteller who happens to share tales of delicious food and beautiful lands.

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1408868733
  • ISBN 13 9781408868737
  • Linked ISBNs
  • Published Apr 07 2016
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 240
  • Language English
  • Countries United Kingdom
  • Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

Publishers Text

Armed with little more than a notebook and a bottle of pomegranate molasses, and fueled by memories of her family's farm in the lush seaside province of Gilan, British-Iranian cook Yasmin Khan traversed Iran in search of the most delicious recipes.

Her quest took her from the snowy mountains of Tabriz to the cosmopolitan cafés of Tehran and the pomegranate orchards of Isfahan, where she was welcomed into the homes of artists, farmers, electricians, and teachers. Through her travels, she gained a unique insight into the culinary secrets of the Persian kitchen, and the lives of ordinary Iranians today.

In The Saffron Tales, Yasmin weaves together a tapestry of stories from Iranian home kitchens with exclusive photography and fragrant, modern recipes that are rooted in the rich tradition of Persian cooking. All fully accessible for the home cook, Yasmin's recipes range from the inimitable fesenjoon (chicken with walnuts and pomegranates) to kofte berenji (lamb meatballs stuffed with prunes and barberries) and ghalyieh maygoo (prawn, coriander, and tamarind stew). She also offers a wealth of vegetarian dishes, including tahcheen (baked saffron and aubergine rice) and domaj (mixed herb, flatbread, and feta salad), as well as sumptuous desserts such as rose and almond cake, and sour cherry and dark chocolate cookies.

With stunning photography from all corners of Iran and gorgeous recipe images, this lavish cookbook rejoices in the land, life, flavors, and food of an enigmatic and beautiful country.



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