A traditional Persian plate of fresh herbs usually consists of basil (rayhan), mint (naana), tarragon (tarkhoon), chives (tareh), radish (torob-cheh), scallion (piaz-cheh), cilantro (geshniz), parsley (jaafari), dill (shevid), and Iranian watercress (shaahi). For many of us who live outside of Iran and who may not be able to find the exact herbs that we are used to, we've learned to substitute. For example, instead of using "tareh" I use chives in sabzi khordan and in cooking I use the green part of scallions or leeks whenever the recipe calls for "tareh."
Typically, a platter of washed, cleaned and trimmed herbs is placed on the table and is passed around for each person to take a handful. This aromatic, flavorful, and nutritious side enhances the taste of any dish including all polow and khoresh dishes.
Noon paneer sabzi consists of herbs served with flat bread like lavash or pita with feta cheese. To me, this herb, cheese and warm bread with the addition of walnuts is a perfect meal all by itself. This is a healthy, light and tasty meal with no cooking involved! What more can you ask for?
Sabzi Khordan: Persian Assortment of Fresh Herbs
Use a bunch of each of the following herbs (if available):
- Trim the vegetables and remove the stems of parsley, dill, cilantro, basil and mint. Remove the leaves of radishes and the green parts of the scallions, (you may serve them if desired). Make sure every vegetable is trimmed into small and bite-size pieces.
- Wash all vegetables thoroughly including packaged herbs in a clean sink (I soak all vegetables in a large bucket, rinse and wash several times, making sure all parts are clean).
- Place in a colander and get rid of the excess water (I also use a salad spinner).
- Place on a platter and serve.