It’s a nut that its cultivation in Iran dates back to the ancient times. We don’t know much about the plant back in history; yet, most of the tourists and travelers who have come to Iran since the Safavid era and afterwards have mentioned the plant’s farming, its consumption and export.
French traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier has pointed out in his travelogue that the pistachio of the city of Malayer was the best in the world and it was exported to India. British Orientalist and Iranologist Edward Brown has also stressed that Iran’s pistachio was being exported to India during the Qajar dynasty. Ernst Holster, German photographer, who was in Iran in the age of Qajar has a similar story about pistachio.
These travelers portray a clear picture of pistachio’s place in the culinary culture of Iran. Dried pistachio was a common snack in royal ceremonies. Pistachio was also used in different foods and served as a condiment for cooked rice. An official of Naseraddin Shah administration in his work called Notes from the Private Life of Naseraddin Shah refers to a kind of food called pistachio-yogurt. It’s probably the same dish that people of the city of Sirjan make out of pistachio and yogurt nowadays.
Pistachio is being planted in different peripheral parts of Iran’s dessert, especially the east and the southeast of the country. It has different types. Kale Quchi, Akbari, Ahmadaqayi, Khandan, Shahpasand, Owhadi etc are some of the most famous ones.
Pistachio is the ingredient of many popular dishes. Shirinpolo is one of them which is a ceremonial dish of Iran. Pestepolo, or pistachio mixed with rice, is another popular dish which is cooked with peeled pistachio. People of Anar (a district in Kerman province) make a local food out of melted Kashk, and fried onion which is designed with grinded pistachio in the end. It’s served with bread.
Pistachio is a key ingredient in different sweets and desserts.
Pistachio is a key ingredient in different sweets and desserts. People use pistachio peel to make pickles or jams in some of the cities of Iran where the plant is farmed. Some cook green pistachio and add salt and lemon juice to it. That is a sort of snack called pistachio-lime.
In the past, people of the region of Sirjan used pistachio crust to make a kind of beverage, close to coffee and serve their New Year guests with that.
Pistachio is one of the most significant imports of Iran to other countries. Many tourists take it home as a souvenir. Pistachio is easy to find in Iran and is sold in confectionaries and nuts shops.