The history of food in Iran

Khansalar‘s constant companions! Today we are at your service to finish the discussion of the history of food in Iran. Last week we explored the history of kebabs, and now we’re going to explore other foods as well.

Mirza Ghasemi

Mirza Ghasemi is one of the popular dishes in the north of Iran, which has deep roots in the history of Iran. Mirza Qasim Khan Qajar was the ruler of Gilan in the 1230s. He was very interested in cooking and used to cook in his spare time. In 1239, he invented a new food by mixing eggplant, tomato and garlic. Because he loves the art of cooking, he spread the recipe of this dish in Gilan province, and this dish became known to Mirza Ghasemi. Mirza Qasim Khan later became the ruler of Shiraz after Gilan, and he died in Shiraz and was buried in the Hafeziya garden next to Hafez Shirazi.


One of the main Iranian food in Toronto is Fasanjan stew, which is usually cooked with sour and sweet walnuts and pomegranate paste. This dish was one of the popular dishes in Sassanid period and it was cooked with the beginning of Nowruz ceremony.

The main and important ingredient of this dish is walnut, but in different parts of Iran, different ingredients are used depending on the taste of people. In the old days, the meat of hunted birds had many fans in cooking this dish. In the western regions of Iran, the word viz means walnut and Injin means grinding. So Visainjin is the same as Fasanjan, which is known as Fasanjan in the center of Iran. But Fasanjan is the main food and special for the north of the country, especially Gilan.


The word Gheime in Dehkhoda’s dictionary is a Turkish word meaning chopped or minced meat, and Gheime stew is called a stew that is cooked with this type of meat. Jafar Shahri, the author of the book Old Tehran, writes about chopping Gheime meat: chop Gheime meat into hazelnuts. Therefore, it should not be surprising that gheems have a different appearance in different regions. But in terms of the type of cooking and the ingredients in it, there is little difference with the addition of potatoes or eggplant. A western orientalist named Chardin, who traveled to Iran during the Safavid period, says in his travelogue about the reception of the king by the elders of the city:

In Iran, meat is used in any way, whether it is ghee stew or kebab, they add the best spices to it.

Nader Mirzai Qajar in his book “Iranian Foods” describes the signs of the presence of this stew in Sassanid era in Iran as follows:

The king of stews is a very good stew with a very pleasant taste, which is called Gheime stew, left over from the Sassanids. A large piece of meat should be torn with a knife and thrown into the pot and heated with oil and onion. Then add cobs, water, saffron and spices. This is the simple way to cook this dish. But if you throw eggplant and Oman lemon in it, it becomes one of the best stews when the chickpeas and meat are half cooked, which is called eggplant stew.

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