Watch: Let's make salade Shirazi - Iranian cucumber tomato salad #sidesmatter
Simple, quick and refreshing Iranian staple salad.
I've got a vivid memory of every lunch/dinner party I've ever been to: women of the household (or sometimes even the guests) knife in palms finely chopping cucumbers and tomatoes into a big bowl placed under their hands. No chopping board here! And while one brave soul volunteers to dice the onions separately, the others would enjoy some chats and waves of laughter!
Look at this beauty!
Making Salad-e-Shirazi is a group effort and a way of getting together to share some secrets or perhaps some backbites in the heart of the house, the kitchen. But it doesn't mean it is difficult or laborious to make! In large quantity, you may need some extra hands, but for a nice cosy family dinner, you're perfectly capable!
What makes Shirazi salad unique?
There are similar dishes to our salad around the world, but what makes a Shirazi salad truly Shirazi, are two things: using an acidic agent and chopping the ingredients as small as possible.
For the acidic part, traditionally, we use Aab Ghooreh; unripe grape juice mixed with salt. But I know this is a hard one to find, so sour orange or lime juice can be substituted here (Although in Shiraz, you wouldn't use these!)
The idea behind finely dicing is that you want to taste everything together. So when you have a spoonful of this salad, you're enjoying everything at once.
Some of the most common Iranian sides, From top left: Torshi (Persian pickled vegetables), yoghurt, Mast-o-Khiar (cucumber yoghurt) and salade-e-Shirazi
We don't add feta or olive oil. Never! I have read a lot of Shirazi salad recipes, and they all suggest olive oil. That's more of a greek/Roman thing! Some even suggest fresh herbs, which I'm sure is nice, but unfortunately in the original recipe, none of these is used!
The seasoning is very simple, but by adding the dried mint, you're going to enhance the flavour greatly!
All you need!
As to how the name suggests, this salad comes from my city, Shiraz, in the southwest of Iran. So what you see here, is the real deal! Of course, you can change it as you'd wished, but I thought I should share the most authentic recipe.
But here is the thing, it's not a recipe; it's more of a guide. So just eyeball and taste test everything. You need to aim for a similar amount of cucumber and tomato. And use fresh, firm and crispy ingredients!
Let's make it together!
(I filmed this video in our backyard and it got very windy; Hence the sudden camera movements! I try to solve this issue for my future videos!)
- 2 Persian cucumbers
- 2 Tomatoes
- An Onion (white or red)
- Seasoning (to taste): salt, pepper, dried mint
- Dressing: Ab Ghooreh (unripe/sour grape juice / verjuice) or sour orange juice or lime juice: to taste
- Finely dice the ingredients
- Add them to a bowl
- Add the seasoning. Taste and adjust
- Add the dressing to taste
- Mix well
- Optional: Add water if it is too sour
- Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or serve it right away!
When mixed, the salad should have even amounts of everything.
It is a great compliment to a lot of Persian dishes, especially to Polos and Kababs. Just pairing an Iranian comfort food like Dami Gojeh (Tomato rice) with this simple, crispy and refreshing salad would considerably elevate the meal.