One of my favorite things that Payam has introduced me to is Persian Breakfast. We eat it all the time. Sometimes even for dinner, which is awesome because it is quite easy to make if you have all the necessary ingredients on hand. But it’s kind of like having enough ice cream to go with your cake in that if you are missing one ingredient, it throws the whole ratio off.
Most importantly you have to have bread, cheese, grapes, walnuts and sabsi. Everything else is extra. Sabsi roughly translates to greens and it usually includes Thai basil (my favorite), chives (not my favorite because of stinky breath) and mint. Extras can include any other fruit, tea of course, coffee (for me) and any other type of sweet you might like to throw in.
Isn’t this teapot beautiful? I borrowed it from Joon. Her mother brought it over from Iran for her and we keep it in her closet to keep it safe. She let’s me use it for special occasions. The glass tea cups are traditional tea cups.
Persians are very interesting in the way they drink tea. They put a large piece of sugar (like that yellow saffron sugar you see above) in their mouth and then sip the hot tea around it. I’m not a fan because I like my tea strong without sugar but it’s kind of cool to watch them do it.
The rest of the table is set with a basket of hot (freshly toasted) Arabic bread covered in a towel and then a plate with feta cheese, walnuts, grapes and sabsi in the middle.
The way you eat Persian breakfast is you take a piece of bread and smash some feta cheese onto half of it with a fork. Then you place grapes and walnuts onto the cheese and top that with sabsi. You can put strawberries or candied kumquats on your cheese too instead of grapes, it really doesn’t matter as long as you have a nice balance of sweet to go with your salty, creamy cheese. Then you fold your bread in half and eat it like a taco. It’s delicious!
A few of my friends have been having Thursday morning get-togethers at each other’s houses because the local tea and coffee shops near us suck. After spending half an hour trying to find an open table big enough for all of us at Starbucks (which ended up being a tall table, two tall chairs and two low chairs and being in the way for everyone passing through) and spending the other morning waiting forever for them to get our various orders right, we decided that we could do a better job having tea and coffee at our own houses! It worked out brilliantly!
We had English Breakfast with fancy tea and crumpets at my travel agent friend’s house and so I decided to serve Persian tea and breakfast at my house!
Don’t be mislead by my friend having her nose down to her phone. She wasn’t bored of us, she was just fielding emails from her busy job. We’re all pretty lucky that we can work from home but that also means taking our jobs with us when we have leisurely breakfasts during the work day.
A new special treat that I brought to our breakfast are these almond cookies. I can’t find a link to them anywhere and when you buy them from the local bakery they don’t really have a name for them either. They are like florentines but they are very lightly sweet, not your usual heavy caramel or dipped in chocolate. They remind me of a delicate granola. In fact. I put some in a bowl and poured milk on them and they tasted like the best granola cereal ever.
Decorating for a special breakfast is half the fun. I don’t do this every day but when friends are coming over it’s nice. Payam’s brother brought us these decorative lace table coverings from Beirut when he was working over there. They are perfect for dressing up a table that might have a million scratches on it from all the various crafts I do.
The dangly star candle isn’t middle eastern at all but I like it because it’s cozy and sparkly.
And that’s pretty much it! If you are ever in the neighborhood please stop by and request a Persian breakfast! It’s the best!
So beautiful! (You are a good photographer, too). And it looks and sounds really delicious. I wish I could join you and your friends for Persian breakfast.
I worked in Turkey and breakfast there was somewhat similar but equally amazing. The salty and sweet combo is sooooo good – besides how can you go wrong with cheese for breakfast?
Lynne aka gingermog
It all looks so elegant. A real delight for the eye as well as the taste buds. I think it’s a shame generally we’ve stopped setting the table in such detail for meals. It’s something I want to do more of and I did bring some brightly coloured cloth back from Sri Lanka to make into table runners and I’m using our tea pot more ( it really does taste better). I wish I could make myself some Persian breakfast right now. I do have cardamom coffee, olives some blueberries hmm were out of humus but I have a can of chickpeas, tahini etc and can whizz some up. I’ve begun to make rotis with wheat free flour, which are similar to pita bread as they are flat but no pocket to fill with deliscious things.
I have never seen the saffron sugar lumps you have pictured, but in the Persian restaurant I used to work at as a teen, we had this dark brown, sticky, rocky like sugar which was practically like a sweet.
Loved your kumquat recipe on alpha mom the other day too. Sadly I’ve never had a situation where I’ve had an abundance of kumquats. In fact I’ve only had dried ones from China town ( so sad) if you were talking about apples, yes we have plenty of them. We have some stored in the barn and I’m trying out different wheat free apple cake receipes.