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Posts Tagged ‘saffron’

Exploring the bazaar in Esfahan is one of my favourite pursuits and I never tire of idly roaming from seller to seller passing by the rhythmic hammering of the copper beaters and sawdust covered  furniture makers as we make our way towards the Bazaareh Advieh Furushaan-the spices.

The hammering and sawing noises fade as we catch our first peppery wafts of the herbs and spices (advieh). The fragrance is overwhelming and the ground and chopped produce displayed so beautifully that you can’t help but want to photograph the colourful mounds.

As well as being sold separately a selection of seven spices (haft-advieh) is sold together to create the Persian spice mix which makes Persian stews (khoresht) and rice (pollo) dishes so tempting. It is a collection of  heady and pungent flavours which varies between regions but can include black pepper, cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg, cumin, cardamom, and ginger.

And it not only looks good, it tastes great.

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Iranians have always loved their tea and I love their tea too. Mostly it is brewed from a mild, non-aromatic long-leaved loose tea with T-bags only being used for convenience on picnics and when travelling .

Iranian or Persian tea is brewed for breakfast, at mid-morning, before and after lunch and dinner and at all hours in between! In fact we always have a pot of tea keeping warm over the kettle (in Iran) or over a tea-light warmer when in the UK (see photo above). Persian tea is drunk black and traditionally served in “Estekaans” which are small, see-through glass cups.

Being a mild tea means that you can experiment with different flavours to suit your taste and common Persian additions include rose petals or rosewater and cardamom. I was given a packet of pods to bring back to the UK on my recent visit to Iran and I love the tangy taste not just in tea but in the Iranian sweet Sohan, made in Esfahan.

Sohan is a traditional Iranian toffee flavoured with saffron and cardamom and covered in slivers of almond and pistachio nuts. I would have shown you a photo of the box of Sohan I brought back with me last week but I’ve eaten it 😦  

Different types of sugar cubes are also served with the tea, and my two favourites are Nabat and Pulaki. I prefer plain Pulaki, thin slivers of crystallised sugar, to the variety made with sesame seeds but it is a personal choice and you will usually be offered a variety of sweeteners to choose from. You can add the sugar to your tea, as in Chai Nabat, or sip your tea through the sugar in your mouth. Alternatively, you can drink your tea without but that’s not nearly as much fun! 

  

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