Friday, February 27, 2009
Repeat after me: Noon, Panir, Sabzi!
For most Iranians (or maybe just me?) , these three things are like the holy triumvirate of Persian cuisine accompaniments. It's a staple on the tables of most every household or restaurant.
'Noon' means bread (usually pita or lavash-type thin flatbread), 'panir' means feta cheese (French and Bulgarian are the best in my opinion- more creamy and mild), and 'sabzi' means green herbs. The sabzi usually consists of fresh basil, tarragon, watercress, or mint.
On the same plate you'll often find spring onions, red radishes, and fresh walnuts, which have usually been soaked in water (it tastes so much better, trust me).
I was in Maryland this past week visiting my parents and was happily reminded of how a plate of noon, panir, sabzi is present for every meal- breakfast, lunch, dinner, and anything in between (including my parents 5pm wine-fueled happy hour). It could pass for a light meal in itself, because it's so satisfying...creamy, sharp, fragrant, herbal, crunch, all these different textures and sensory aspects.
It's like an Iranian taco of sorts. You just pick a piece of bread, a teared off piece of lavash- squish in some feta, some herbs, roll it up and chow down. While you're eating that with one hand, bite into a radish or a spring onion or walnut with the other...it's so simple and so very good.