Other Sassanid dishes and conclusion

In the Karnamak of Ardeshir Babakan [1], food is mentioned twice in passing. The first is a reference to a roast lamb when Ardeshir and his army are sitting down to a meal in the course of a war. The second is a much more dramatic occasion when one of his wives tries to poison him. She offers him a refreshing drink made with roasted barley flour and milk called past. Dehkhoda Persian dictionary online provides a lengthy explanation for past which ultimately covers flour made from any roasted grain or seed. On long journeys travellers took a dry sweet mixture of roasted flour, ground nuts and sugar or a savoury mixture of flour with salt or fermented, sour ingredients as a nourishing base for drinks or thickener for soups and stews.

We will wrap up this article with Professor Christensen’s [2] list of Sassanid khoreshs:

Royal khoresh, خورش شاهی consisted of cooked hot and cold meat, cold cooked rice, aromatic leaves, fat birds, khabis [خبیص [3, and crystallised sugar. It sounds to me as a selection of the best brought together possibly as a spread rather than a single dish. It combines hot and cold,   savoury and sweet, soft and chewy and crunchy. The purpose seems to be to show off the skill of the cook to satisfy the most discerning and delicate of palates, that of the King of Kings.

Khorasani khoresh, خورش خوراسانی, included kabab roasted on skewers, meat cooked in the pot, butter and other condiments.

Khoresh Rumi, خورش رومی, made with milk and sugar, or with eggs and honey or with rice, butter, sugar and milk. This is another combination of dishes around a sweet, milky theme.

Khoresh Dehqani, دهقانی خورش, salted lamb meat and lamb marinated in pomegranate molasses served with boiled eggs.

As mentioned before, in these fragments we find the foundations of a cuisine which went on to influence not just the neighbouring cultures but those in other continents. The focus is in juxtaposition of methods, tastes and textures and in this respect they were much more adventurous than we are today.

< The extravagance of King Khosro and Ridag

[1] Karnamak Ardeshir Babakan, A Pahlavi source describing the life and times of Ardeshir, the founder of Sassanid Dynasty.
کارنامک ی ارتخشیری پاپکان
کانامه اردشیر بابکان
به اهتمام دکتر جواد مشکور

دنیای کتاب 1369

[2] ایران در زمان ساسانیان

[3] Farhang Mo’in describes it as āfrusheh آفروشه, a sweet halva made with flour, oil and honey or egg yolk sugar syrop and sugar.

Leave a Comment on this article