Take a culinary journey throughout Iran with chef, author, and “guru of Persian cooking” Najmieh Batmanglij. Celebrate the release of her new book Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes and Kitchen Secrets with a talk, followed by a reception and tasting.
Najmieh Batmanglij left Iran thirty-nine years ago. Out of nostalgia and a yearning to connect with her roots, she wrote her first cookbook, Food of Life, which was followed by six others. As she worked on these publications from America, however, a fantastical dream took hold—a craving to revisit Iran and celebrate the specialties and traditional dishes of each region.
After five years of overcoming a variety of obstacles, Batmanglij made a detailed plan to travel the length and breadth of Iran to cook with local chefs, visit workshops, and develop recipes. The result is Cooking in Iran: Regional Recipes and Kitchen Secrets. The book is an exploration of a cuisine whose cultural roots are among the deepest of any in the world. Batmanglij takes us on an extraordinary culinary journey: from the daily fish market in Bushehr, on the Persian Gulf, to the heart of historical Isfahan, in central Iran, where she prepares lamb necks with yogurt and saffron sauce. Traveling north to the Caspian Sea, she introduces us to slow-cooked duck in a pomegranate and walnut sauce. Lingering in tribal Kurdistan in the north, she treats us to lamb-and-bulgur meatballs filled with caramelized onions and raisins. Dropping south, to Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf, she teases our palates with rice cooked in date juice and served with spicy fish, while in Baluchistan she cooks spiced goat in a pit overnight and celebrates the age-old method of making bread in hot ashes. At every village and off-the-beaten-track community, Batmanglij unearths traditional recipes and makes surprising discoveries, giving us a glimpse along the way of the places where many of the ingredients are grown.