Good Food: Persian Potato Salad

26 Sep

Hello my lovelies, cheers & here’s to good friends, food & drink!

Food is important, and delicious, and mealtimes are special in Persian culture.

In Iran, food is not just about health, it’s a huge social activity. It’s about gathering together to be together.

It doesn’t matter that it’s breakfast with your immediate family or a wedding meal, it has the same significance and importance and pleasures.

Bread is an important component of breakfast and other meals in Iran. It is made daily. Available fresh and delicious, warm from the oven everywhere you go. It makes all the difference.  This lady was on her way to buy bread when we met her and after a few photos of her immensely toothless but rapturous grin she asked us for money for her bread in return. Cheeky but funny! Here she is with her bread purchase afterwards!

Meals are lovingly prepared, sometimes very intricate, always very flavourful and plentiful.

There are traditions and ceremonies that go with different foods and vice versa. 

If you have a cold, then foods considered cold, like cucumber, should be avoided. Nabat (a form of rock sugar) is good for settling upset stomachs. The New Year celebration – the main celebration and holiday period of the year – has various dishes traditionally served during this celebration. Halva is given away as a kindness and to bring good luck back to your family.

Bowls piled high with the freshest, most beautiful fruits and small cucumbers are served whenever a guest comes to your house. Nuts and dried fruits are similarly presented in pretty dishes for the guests’ eating pleasure.

Persian food consumed, but never the end.

Spices and herbs and fruits and vegetables are important components of Persian cuisine and the Iranian diet. They add unique flavours to Persian dishes in bold and delicious ways. 

Persian food is very special, and perhaps this comes in part from how important it is to prepare meals, that you are preparing them with kindness and love, and that they are made from the freshest, most wonderful combination of ingredients. 

There is nothing more wonderful than taking the time to sit, with people you care about, and enjoy quiet (and sometimes very noisy) mealtimes. It is, in every respect – from deciding on the menu, to the gathering of the ingredients to the serving of the meal, and finally, the serving of fruit and tea at the end of the meal – about taking the time. 

Tea is the warmth of your wonderful time spent with people you care about

wrapped up in a tiny glass at the end of your meal.

Food is a journey and a pleasure. And I love discovering new things. 

Ancient archaeological site underground on the Island of Kish in the Persian Gulf. Discovery is innate in me.

Archaeology is a huge part of my own personal history and journey.

Posting today reminds me to take the time to think about what my children like eating, to prepare healthy and interesting, tasty meals, and equally importantly, to sit and enjoy each meal with my children. Time is always very stretched these days, but I believe there is great health and well-being benefits from sitting down to enjoy a meal together, without standing/walking/working and without interruptions like televisions/newspapers/noise/toys/stuff in general that take away from that time together to talk and bond over food. 

Sometimes we just strap on the proverbial feedbag and stand/walk and eat. Too busy to bother with a proper meal. You are neither experiencing the food in its full capacity nor noticing your consumption. Food is a fuel meant to be enjoyed.  

The feedbag method is not the most enjoyable way to eat – I think my subject above can attest to that fact!

There is nothing more enjoyable than being together over good food. Today I wanted to share a wonderful and delicious potato salad that is a meal in itself and so very easy and reasonable to prepare.

Potato salad is really a meal to be found in many cultures across the globe and often using very similar ingredients. What differs is the actual recipe. Here is my own family famous Iranian potato salad recipe that is requested at pretty much every get together we have in our family. 

 

Salad Olvieh – Potato Salad

  • 8 medium to large boiling/mashing potatoes – washed, peeled and cut into large cubes.
  • 6 free range eggs
  • 1/2-1 chicken breast cooked and finely shredded (may be omitted (e.g. for vegetarians))
  • 250-500g Best Foods (or similar non-sweet like Japanese Kupi) mayonnaise
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 Iranian gherkins (khiarshor) cut into tiny pieces

Method:

Boil the potato cubes until cooked. Drain and mash roughly. Boil eggs until hard and then place in a bowl of cold water. Peel the eggs and add to the mashed potatoes. Mash until well mashed and blended. Add the cooked, shredded chicken, the gherkins, and add mayonnaise (enough to create a creamy mixture – I tend to use more rather than less). Mix well to combine.

Serve on a large platter in a mound shape, lightly cover with more mayonnaise, and decorate with pieces of sliced gherkin and parsley. Serve with crusty bread rolls or Middle Eastern style bread.

Enough to serve as a main dish for 4-6 people or as a party dish for up to 15 people. 

This recipe can be increased, decreased, or proportioned according to personal taste – this is my version, which is far too popular not to share!

Well, my lovelies, I think you will really enjoy this dish. Even for people like myself who might not be potato (or in my case even mayonnaise) fans, I love, love, loooove this dish! It is just that good!

 

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