Posted on: June 19, 2017

Fun Summer Recipes

Now that summer is officially upon us, here are a few of our favorite delicious and light Persian recipes!


Yogurt and Cucumber Dip, “Mast-o khiar”

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus 1 hour refrigeration


1 long seedless cucumber, peeled and diced

½ cup raisins, washed and drained (optional)

3 cups whole-milk yogurt

½ cup sour cream (optional)

¼ cup scallions

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

3 tablespoons chopped shelled walnuts (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper

For Garnish:

½ teaspoon chopped fresh or dried mint

2 tablespoons rose petals

1 teaspoon toasted sesame

1 teaspoon nigela seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds


In a serving bowl, combine cucumbers, raisins (if desired), yogurt, sour cream (if desired), scallions, mint, dill, garlic, and chopped walnuts (if desired). Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Garnish with ½ tsp. mint, rose petals, sesame, nigela, coriander, and cumin seeds. Serve with bread as an appetizer, or on its own as a side dish.


Tomato and Cucumber Salad, Salad Shirazi

Makes 4 servings

Preparation Time: 15 minutes


2 firm ripe tomatoes

1 seedless cucumber

3 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of 1 lime

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 scallions, chopped, or ½ small red onion, chopped

3 radishes, sliced

1 cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh mint

¼ cup chopped fresh coriander


Drop tomatoes into scalding hot water, remove immediately. Drain under cold water, peel, and cut into quarters. Peel and cut cucumber into 1-inch cubes.

Whisk together olive oil, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Add tomatoes, cucumber, remaining vegetables and herbs, and toss. Serve immediately.


Kabab Kubideh

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 40 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes


For Meat Kabab:

2 pounds twice-ground beef (not lean), or 1 pound beef and 1 pound lamb shoulder

2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 ½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons sumac powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 large onion, peeled and chopped

For Cooking and Garnish:

½ cup sumac powder

2 limes, cut in half

1 12-oz package of lavash bread

12 flat 1-inch skewers

For Baste:

2 tablespoons melted butter

½ teaspoon lime juice


In a warm mixing bowl, combine meat and the rest of the kabab ingerdients. Knead with your hands for about 5 minutes to form a paste that will adhere well to the cooking skewers. Cover the paste and let stand for 15 minutes at room temperature.

Using damp hands, divide meat paste into 12 equal lumps of about the size of oranges. Roll each into a sausage shape about 5 inches long and mold it firmly around each flat skewer. Cover and keep in a cool place.

If using charcoal, start at least 30 minutes before you want to cook and let it burn until the coals are glowing evenly.

For the baste, melt the butter in a small saucepan and add a pinch of salt and the lime juice.

Arrange the skewers on the grill 3 inches above the coals or heat, keeping in mind the meat should not touch the grill. After a few seconds, turn the meat gently to help it attach to the skewers and prevent it from falling off.

Grill the meat 3 to 5 minutes on each side, and brush with the baste just before removing from the grill.

Spread lavash bread on a serving platter. Loosen the meat from the skewers and slide off using another piece of bread. Arrange the meat on the bread, sprinkle with sumac or lime juice to taste, and cover meat with more lavash bread to keep it warm. Serve immediately with chelow basmati rice or bread, fresh herbs, and the mast-a-khiar and salad Shirazi!


Saffron Steamed Plain Basmati Rice with Yogurt Crust

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour 10 minutes


4 cups long-grain basmati rice

8 cups water

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons plain yogurt

1 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 4 tablespoons hot water

1 cup butter, vegetable oil, or ghee


Pick over the rice as needed to remove any small particles. Wash the rice by placing it in a large container and covering it with lukewarm water. Agitate gently with your hand, then pour off the water. Repeat this five times or until the rice is completely clean and the water runs clear.

After washing the rice, it is desirable but not necessary to soak it in 8 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of salt for 2 to 24 hours. Soaking in this way prior to cooking firms up the rice to support the long cooking time and prevent the rice from breaking up or sticking.

Bring 8 cups of water with 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in a large non-stick pot. Pour the washed and drained rice into the pot. Boil briskly for 6 to 10 minutes, gently stirring twice to with a wooden spoon to remove any grains that may have stuck to the bottom. Bite a few grains to test—when the grain feels soft, it is ready to be drained. Drain in a large, fine-mesh colander and rinse in cold water.

In a bowl, mix 3 spatulas of the drained rice, 2 tablespoons yogurt, ½ cup butter or oil, 1 cup water, a few drops of dissolved saffron water and the cumin seeds (if desired).

In the pot, spread the yogurt-rice mixture over the bottom and pack down. This will help to create the tender golden crust known as tah-dig when the rice is cooked.

Take one spatula of the drained rice at a time and gently place it on top of the yogurt and rice mixture, gradually shaping the rice into a pyramid. This shape leaves room for the rice to expand and enlarge. Poke one or two holes in the rice pyramid with the handle of the wooden spatula.

Place the pot of rice on low heat and cover with a towel (to absorb steam) before placing on the lid. Cook for 20 minutes until tah dig is crispy and rice is fully cooked.


All of these recipes are adapted from Najmieh Batmanglij’s Food of Life! Enjoy cooking!