Understanding History with Rice Pilaf

war of the rice

Going back to our investment in improving cooking through the book, Silk Road vegetarian, here’s our first dish from that culturally dense, maximally ‘bro’, vegetarian dish: Swiss chard, Persian rice pilaf.  You got nuts, raisins, Swiss chard, and brown rice.

Before getting into any of the history of this food, I think it’s a great dish for trying to get in extra calories if you’re a hard gainer type person and can’t seem to get in enough calories.  Nuts are a great way of getting in extra caloric intake and adding in raisins makes this cool thing where food tastes sweeter.

I’m going to look into why this is the case by usually adding salt with a sweet item of food enhances that sweetness.  And there’s something that also goes to say that when we are in need of food, we naturally start craving something that is sweet and has a decent fat content.

Regardless, going back to the food itself, it got me thinking about the history of Iran.  Now in 2017, the first thing many people think of when Iran comes ups is the world political stage. That’s doing the country and more importantly, its people a complete injustice. Persian culture is so old.

rice fortress of iran
A Persian fortress of the Sassanids. Now a world heritage site in Durbent, Russia.

From Cyrus the Great, to Darius, to the Safavids, the Zand, and the Parthians, Persia has been an incredible reservoir of culture and growth of peoples.  Think Babylon.  Think Hammurabi.

You know, it was through Persian culture that there was so much exchange of ideas with Greeks and thus Western culture.  The Persian invasions of Greece and Alexander the Great’s conquests of Asia, mixed in with the trading economy of the Silk Road were all events that transmitted knowledge between continents.

Not only that, but some of the greatest iron sports athletes have emerged from Persia.  Take the legendary Olympic Weightlifter, Hossein Rezazadeh.

So when you eat this awesome, nutritionally dense, rice, think about the centuries of intellectual, powerful, beastly athletes, and engaging history of one of the oldest civilizations in the world.

IMG_20170323_003656I’m a vegetarian, who happens to eat meat. The jerk chicken just happens to take over for the Persian pilaf.

Here’s the skinny:

long grain brown rice



olive oil





swiss chard




Food Navigator Study Suggests why Salt can boost sweet taste perception

Proceedings of the National  Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Glucose transporters and ATP-gated K+ (KATP) metabolic sensors are present in type 1 taste receptor 3 (T1r3)-expressing taste cells

Silk Road Vegetarian by Dahlia Abraham -Klein