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New Cookbook Introduces Healthy Persian Cooking

by Erin Mawn

I suppose every nationality takes immense pride in its food; each St. Patrick’s Day my father insisted on having a traditional Irish dinner complete with corned beef, potatoes and cabbage. As a self-described ‘foodie’, one of my joys in life in trying new foods. When I was young I visited Australia and actually tried shark meat, kangaroo meat (it’s equivalent to Americans eating venison) and the pride of the Aussies: Vegemite. In college I went to England, and I was more than happy to go out each night to a different pub and try the fare. However, rather than spending all the dough to travel to a foreign country every time I want to try a new food, I have learned to look for local venues that offer interesting dishes. My newest experience though, is a do-it-yourself one.

stuffed grape leavesPersian cuisine, or the cuisine of Iran, is deliciously diverse and also very health conscious. Many of the dishes use rice as a staple ingredient, and almost all of them have fruits and vegetables either as main ingredients or as sides. I realize that most people would have no idea how to begin cooking a Persian dish, and so to make the process easier, here is the book to lead the way: Simply Persian Cuisine. The book is presented in a very straight forward manner, so that anyone, even those whose free time is at a premium such as working mothers or college students, can pull together a healthy and delicious meal.

Nadereh Naderi, the author, is a native of Iran and her love of cooking began at an early age. She says, “I was always fascinated by watching my mother cook in the kitchen”. Five or six years ago, she began to write the recipes down. Her three children had been telling her that she should for years, and she recently decided that now was as good a time as any. She says, “It’s like planting a seed in your head- and it doesn’t go away.” All of the recipes in the book are favorites of Nadereh and her family, and the pictures that accompany each recipe were taken by the author as well.

The recipes in the book range from common favorites, such as banana bread, to more exotic dishes such as pirashki (meat pies). Some of the ingredients alone are enough to pique your curiosity: pomegranate paste, rosewater, nigella seeds, and angelica powder. Yogurt is used in many of the soup recipes.

Her advice to anyone who wishes to write a book: just go for it. “Most of the time, it’s the fear that stops us from doing what we want- including writing a book.

If you would like to learn more about Nadereh Naderi and her cookbook, then please visit her website: http://www.simplypersiancuisine.com/index.htm. Excerpts of her book, including recipes, can be found on the site, and copies of the book can also be purchased.

Iranian grocery shops, which carry some of the more exotic ingredients for the recipes, can be found on the western shore. Here are some that I found in my web search:

Ceazar International Market and Restaurant (formerly Sizar's)
6801 Douglas Legum Drive
Elkridge, MD 21075

Orchard Market and Café

8815 Orchard Tree Lane (off Joppa Road behind Gardiner's Furniture)

Towson, MD 21286

Aladdin Food Mart

308 Main Street (off Rte 1)

Laurel, MD 20707

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