Lesson 82: Food (Vocabulary Sprint)

In this vocabulary sprint lesson, Leyla and her husband Chris go over Persian/ Farsi vocabulary associated with food. Food is an important topic of conversation in Persian culture, as Iranians have a rich history of gathering and celebrating food. In this lesson, we go over different important dishes in Persian culture, such as ghormé sabzi, fesenjoon, and kabob. In addition, we learn the words for different mealtimes. These are:

  • Breakfast - sobhāné
  • Lunch - nāhar
  • Afternoon snack - asrooné
  • Dinner - shām

In addition, we talk about drinks, and different parts of a meal such as appetizers and desserts. There are so many topics to cover about Persian food, so in this lesson, we try to get you started with a good selection of vocabulary.


GREETINGS:

salām
hello
سَلام
chetor-ee
how are you?
چِطوری؟

Note: In Persian, as in many other languages, there is a formal and an informal way of speaking. We will be covering this in more detail in later lessons. For now, however, chetor-ee is the informal way of asking someone how they are, so it should only be used with people that you are familiar with. hālé shomā chetor-é is the formal expression for ‘how are you.’

Spelling note: In written Persian, words are not capitalized. For this reason, we do not capitalize Persian words written in phonetic English in the guides.


ANSWERS:

khoobam
I’m well
خوبَم

Pronunciation tip: kh is one of two unique sounds in the Persian language that is not used in the English language. It should be repeated daily until mastered, as it is essential to successfully speak Persian. Listen to the podcast for more information on how to make the sound.

Persian English
salām hello
chetor-ee how are you?
khoobam I’m well
merci thank you
khayli very
khayli khoobam I’m very well
khoob neestam I’m not well
man me/I
bad neestam I’m not bad
ālee great
chetor-een? how are you? (formal)
hālé shomā chetor-é? how are you? (formal)
hālet chetor-é? how are you? (informal)
khoob-ee? are you well? (informal)
mamnoonam thank you
chetor peesh meeré? how’s it going?
ché khabar? what’s the news? (what’s up?)
testeeeee

Chris  
Learn Persian with trying conversation lesson 82

Leyla  
Hello and welcome to lesson 82 of learn Persian with Chai and Conversation. So this is our vocabulary sprint unit and we are covering food today. But before we get into that, let me introduce my wonderful co host. And that is my husband Chris. Salaam.

Chris  
Salam

Leyla  
And so this is one of our favorite topics of conversation.

Chris  
Who doesn't love food? I mean, this is really the quintessential aspect of cultural sharing

Leyla  
really is it really is I mean, there's also music and the arts and everything, but really the fastest way to someone's heart is through food. If

Chris  
that's right, when you think about, you know, other cultures, a lot of times the first thing you think about is what kind of food these other cultures eat.

Leyla  
That's true. And I'd say Iranian food is kind of a, a underappreciated, and kind of sleeper type of food. We keep waiting for it to become the next big thing.

Chris  
It's I mean, it's amazing. It's It's such a unique flavor profile. It's sweet and sour together, very, what's the word- substantial?

Leyla  
But it's also pretty acceptable to Western palate, right?

Chris  
Oh, absolutely.

Leyla  
It doesn't do too much. It's not very foreign. seeming. It's very it's things that we're, we're we come across a lot, just in different combinations.

Chris  
Yes, absolutely. It's It's so wonderful. It's difficult to boil it down. And I I personally feel really lucky because, you know, before marrying Leyla, I had gone to you know, a few dinner parties at her house and I was familiar with Persian food just through through my friendship with Leyla. But since being married to Leyla my Persian food has, I'm blessed to have an abundance of Persian food

Leyla  
and I do love cooking Persian food and it's it's laborious but I find it very satisfying to Persian food and our kids love Persian

Chris  
food. Oh they just gobble it up and real quick I'm going to plug the Instagram because if you're not following Leyla on Instagram, this is a great time to to open up that app and fall down a few wormholes of Instagram and find Leyla's Instagram because frequently we do stories where she records cooking and it's true. It's always really fun. And then at the end we have a big reveal with the dish and we feed it to the kids and we get their their approval or disapproval. Spoiler spoiler alert. There's never been a disapproval

Leyla  
that They always do gobble it up and it's nice. Yeah, if you're trying to figure out food to feed toddlers, I would say Persian food.

Chris  
That's right. There's a lot of rice, there's a technique then the vegetables get cooked in with the rice. There's little, you know, meatballs flown around in there.

Leyla  
That's right. And in the in the last few years, there's really been an abundance of amazing cookbooks produced by Iranian authors, one of which has become an international bestseller which is the salt fat acid heat by Samin Nosrat. She doesn't cook exclusively Persian food, but she does talk about it in her book a lot. And if you've watched her Netflix specials, she's talked about it, but I would say that's the biggest cookbook that's come out in the past few years. And so she she does specials now in the New York Times where she shows up differently

Chris  
was that one up if you don't know it, look it up. It's gonna change your food game overnight.

Leyla  
And there's a few other cookbooks that I really love. And this month, we are actually on the blog going to be covering some of the Persian cookbooks that we use and we have a lot of Different things lined up for this lesson in particular. So make sure to go on the website on the page for this lesson, you'll see in all the notes all the resources. Yeah.

Chris  
And and one more that I think is is essential is Bottom of the Pot. Definitely. And this is one that you'll see a lot on our, our, our website and and we've got some interviews coming out. But this is definitely one. She really nails Persian cooking. She puts it out in a very accessible way. We have a dear friend who's a neighbor, who is always borrowing or mom whips up some amazing Persian cooking and he's not Persian at all. He's from Mississippi.

Leyla  
Yeah, so then without further ado, let's get into some vocabulary for Persian cooking. So first of all, what is the word for for food and Chris you're gonna be so mad at me but It has the best sound in it. word for for food in Persian is Ghaza.

Chris  
Ghaza?

Leyla  
Yeah, you got it.

Chris  
know when it comes to food, I'm gonna nail it.

Leyla  
Every morning Chris gets up now and he goes gh gh gh, which is my recommendation. It's not a great way to wake up but it's a good way to

Chris  
practice that sound just because I'm going to bed too late

Leyla  
ghaza. You know, to make a word plural in Persian. You just add- ghazaha

Chris  
ghazaha

Leyla  
yes, aha, the foods of Ron. I love the word for cook in version two. So I wanted to cover that early on. The word for cook is ash paz

Chris  
ash paz

Leyla  
and I've covered this with you before. Chris, can you want to explain it? Ash is the word for soup.

Chris  
right. Yes. When we're talking about things that we can do with our time or employment in our activities. If you're an ash paz, As you are a soup cooker, that's what what any food prepare,

Leyla  
rIt translates literally to someone who cooks soup

Chris  
right soup cooker soup

Leyla  
ash paz, but that's the word for a chef in Farsi. So ash paz then making food in general ash pazee

Chris  
Ash pazee

Leyla  
Yeah, so if you're, if you're a cook, you're an ash paz and you do ash pazi

Chris  
That's right, ash pazi done by the ash paz. That's right.

Leyla  
So I first wanted to go over some of the most common foods in Persian culture, and the most common is Polo. Polo, and that is rice. So we have Polo with everything. That's right. So Polo, and then usually you combine it with a stew -koresh. Yes. So khoresh is a stew that goes over your rice and the rice is the polo. Yeah, so polo khoresh

Chris  
Polo khoesh

Leyla  
Polo khoresh is the word for our combination of khoresh and polo, and there's a ton of different types of khoresh. So we're not going to go over all those in this vocabulary sprint. Those are going to be in the bonus materials for this lesson, which you can see on the website for this lesson. But some of the most common I'd say is khoresheh ghormeh sabzee

Chris  
ghormeh sabzee

Leyla  
yeah, and that is the the greens that we have the

Chris  
this is this is a quintessential Persian dish ghormeh sabzee. And if you take the ghormeh sabzee, if you remember from a previous sprint sabzi is green. And if anyone knows any French out there Gourmet, I guess that's English too. It's just gourmet greens.

Leyla  
That's right So ghormeh sabzi is a bunch of different herbs mixed together and made into this delicious stew

Chris  
so good. And then there's these big red kidney beans in there and you put it all in On top of rice

Leyla  
Another really common dish is khoreshe fesenjoon

Chris  
Khoresh fesenjoon This is it's funny I'm I'm stumbling over this because this is actually my favorite koresh

Leyla  
and that has the sweet and sour that Chris was talking about it's walnuts mixed with chicken and pomegranate juice and really good sweet and sour combination. Then there's also on the Polo you have this is probably the most important word in Persian food. Tah deeg

Chris  
tahdege

Leyla  
and Tad dig. Dig is the word for a pot to attack. Deeg is bottom of the pot.

Chris  
There you go. That's where we get the name of that cookbook. Tah deeg.

Leyla  
Yes, a tah deeg,

Chris  
Tah deeg

Leyla  
Can you describe what the tah deeg is? It's the burnt rice at the bottom of your pot, that in some cultures, you'd say oh, let's throw this away. But someone thousands of years ago in Iran was like maybe we should try eating this burn rice and it became a delicacy and that is the most important part of it. Food right

Chris  
when when, if you ever go to a person's house and they serving you food, which they will because if you go to That's right, someone's house this is built in to the culture. You'll see on the top of their rice the rice will be in a little mound. And the top will have this beautiful golden brown crust to I won't say crust but

Leyla  
crisp rice,

Chris  
Crisp rice and you have to say, Wow, look at tah deeg. It's perfect because it will be.And, you know, that's the delicacy.

Leyla  
That's right. Okay, so we've covered Polo. kadesh Polo in general, tah deeg. There's also ash. As we said,

Chris  
Ash, that's the soup.

Leyla  
Yep. So that's, that's, you know, you have that in every culture, that kind of soup that you eat in and there's also salad, and what is salad?

Chris  
Well, it's salad.

Leyla  
That's right. And you also have desser.

Chris  
Desser

Leyla  
and that is, is a desert that is where you go, I like to throw in these easy words. I mean, there are words that we use all the time. Actually To

Chris  
tell you the truth, the words that are English words that have been Iranicized are the hardest for me because, you know, it's like tricking my brain into saying something with an accent that I'm not 100% familiar with.

Leyla  
That's true. But so you have the foods and then you also have drinks that come with food. So a drink is a noosheedanee

Chris  
Noosheedanee,

Leyla  
and there's a few common noosheedanees that I'd like to go over one is chayee,

Chris  
chayee

Leyla  
which hopefully if you've been listening to this podcast, you know exactly what that is. Chai is tea, and we have it several times a day. There's always a cup of Chai brewing and it's it's a way for Iranians to take breaks which we do very frequently throughout the day. Lots of breaks. You have to take you have to have a talk. Take a break Sit down. That's why lots of

Chris  
discussion. Lots of sitting on the couch with hot glass of chai.

Leyla  
And that's why Iranians have six day work weeks, not five day work weeks. It's because it's constantly taking breaks. There's also a ghahveh

Chris  
ghahveh

Leyla  
, and that is coffee, coffee. And I think that those both have the same roots coffee. They're very similar words. So there's also ab

Chris  
ab

Leyla  
Which is water. That's right. And that's a very, very simple one. The one that is a very common Iranian drink that that Chris is not a big fan of is doogh.

Chris  
Yeah, doogh

Leyla  
and that is the yogurt drink. Sometimes it's sometimes it's carbonate

Chris  
So to so to our Western audience here. I'm not trying to discourage you from exploring the wonders of dude, but for me, it just doesn't. carbonated herb yogurt drink Is is one step past my comfort

Leyla  
which is crazy to me because it's the most delicious drink it's an acquired taste some people love it.

Chris  
And I'm an I am adventurous in all aspects of life but food definitely I there's very few things that I turned my nose up

Leyla  
right? There's also soda,

Chris  
soda

Leyla  
that's our last drink that we're going to cover and that is obviously soda. And the funny thing is in Iran you really don't you don't say like Coke Pepsi you don't even say that. The the waiter will come up and they're like, what would you like to drink? And you go black, black soda and that just means any of the generic or Coca Cola or Pepsi whatever you have that's black. Then you can say white and that's you know, your sprite your Fanta your whatever. Okay, Orange is a popular one.

Chris  
I mean soda is is like even in the US. There are so many regional right ways to say it. If you get a pop you're probably you know from Buffalo. You could drink a coke, right so we do down here in Texas. Yeah, so you might be a sprite, you know, if you order a coke you're not you're not ordering Coca Cola you're ordering a carbonated sugar beverage.

Leyla  
That's right, that's right. But Iranians call it as it is black soda, whatever that is. So then we've covered our few foods and we've covered a few drinks. Now let's go over where you can actually have these foods. So you could eat it at home and that is ghazayeh khoonegee.

Chris  
Ghazayeh khoonegee

Leyla  
Yeah, and that means home food like home cooked food guys. Ghazayeh khoonegee

Chris  
Ghazayeh khoonegee

Leyla  
Yeah, food from home and that is the the most common

Chris  
food. Can you tell us what those two words main

Leyla  
Ghaza is food and then Khooneh is home. Yeah. So yeah so home cooking is just as a ghazayeh khoonegee or you could eat at a restaurant and that is that is restooran

Chris  
restooran

Leyla  
So now here's another really popular food that I waited until we covered it the restaurants because it neuron basically at home is where you get all your dishes and all that kind of stuff. The really good food in the restaurant is where you get kind of our our national dish and that is kabob. Ah, that's right. So you go to the restaurant and that's basically all they serve is Polo chellokabob is what it's

Chris  
chellokabob. And what is cello?

Leyla  
Chello is like Polo. It's like rice,

Chris  
I gotta say I make a mean kebab.

Leyla  
That's true. Yeah, he makes a khoonegee kabob. Yeah, it's very, very good, but it's all grilled and marinated. And just amazing.

Chris  
Comes wWith a tomato that's been grilled as well,

Leyla  
yeah, so chello kabob

Chris  
Cello kebab. That's right.

Leyla  
Okay, so now let's go over our different meals of the day. Okay, so first we have breakfast and that is sobhaneh.

Chris  
Sobhaneh

Leyla  
Perfect so sobh is morning. Sobhaneh breakfast, then you have lunch, and that is nahar

Chris  
nahar

Leyla  
And then we have it. Well, let's cover dinner first. It's sham

Chris  
sham,

Leyla  
and between sham and Nahar, we have something that I love in the afternoon. You have something called asrooneh

Chris  
Asrooneh

Leyla  
and asr means afternoon. So as soon it is this little afternoon snack that you have asrooneh. And there's actually not a word for snack in the Persian language. We don't really do snacks. We just have meals. But there's a word for just little app, the appetizers or hors d'oeuvres that you put out and that is tanagholat

Chris  
tanalgholat

Leyla  
tanagholat

Chris  
tanagholat

Leyla  
yeah that's a hard one to say. And you won't hear it very often but it's just like putting little nuts on the table Oh little

Chris  
Yes. Yes. Persians love to do this.

Leyla  
They do and they also love to put meeveh which is fruits. They love to put me there on the table as well.

Chris  
Meeveh what's it called the little like sugary treats.

Unknown Speaker  
Sheereenee

Chris  
Sheereenee

Leyla  
So we don't really have that like snacks like snack time snack time. It's really these like meals and then you just have these 10 apples on the table.

Chris  
That's right now we have something almost every single morning. Can we talk about that?

Leyla  
Sure, that is noon o paneer

Chris  
Noon o paneer

Leyla  
That's right. Noon o paneer that's a big part of Persian culture to every breakfast.

Chris  
So noon is bread noon paneer which is cheese. So it's a flat fluffy bread that you toasts and then you put cheese and other cheese betta cheese and nuts and cherries and all kinds honey sometimes. And then you make a little breakfast sandwich . And also you put in honey

Leyla  
Asal

Chris  
and cherry jam.

Leyla  
Moraba

Chris  
Moraba. And you put walnuts.

Leyla  
Gerdoo.

Chris  
That's right. Every single morning noon o paneer

Leyla  
Yes. And there's so many words that we can cover with this topic. I mean, that like Chris said, this is one of the most important cultural things that we don't have time to cover them in this podcast. We just wanted to give you a little introduction something to go off of login to our website at Chai and Conversation with CHAI spelled CHAI. There we have tons of bonus materials with lots of different words that we can learn lots of different specific foods that we can cover and also like eating utensils and all that is in the bonus material spoons. That's all Yes, spoons. Oh man. We should talk about spoon

Chris  
spoons. spoons are served with every single meal and they serve as forks and knives and also of course, spoons.

Leyla  
I had no idea that this was unique to Persian culture until I started living with an American. He was confused. I was always like, why are we missing a spoon at every meal. I don't know. I always had to get one myself.

Chris  
and say Leyla This is a sandwich. Why would you use a spoon for

Leyla  
you use this food for everything?

Chris  
Yeah. And I look over and she's just she's eating a sandwich with a spoon. That's

Leyla  
that's a little bit extreme. But yes, we do eat spoon.

Chris  
It's an extreme culture

Leyla  
well covered that. The one last word that I wanted to cover is the word, mehmoonee. Mehmoonee and this is a very important word to because, like Chris said, runnings love to feed other people. And oftentimes that happens in a myth when you which is a party, you never have a party without food. You have your mehmoonee, your party, you invite all your friends, and you cook elaborate meals for everyone to eat. And that's a lot of fun.

Chris  
That's right. And if you haven't mehmoonee please invite us we'll come.

Leyla  
We'd love to. And that wraps up our lesson for today. I hope that it didn't make you too hungry. Hope that you have a Persian restaurant nearby that you can go I am so hungry. I know try some of these and we are going to go eat. Alright, see you next time on trying conversation. Hoda Hafez from Leyla

Chris  
Khodahafez from Chris