Among the high carbohydrate Persian dishes, it is still not difficult to find keto-friendly Persian food or turn a Persian recipe to keto-friendly by some adjustments.
Since Persian rice is almost a fixed part of Persian dishes, most of the Iranian foods might seem full of carbohydrates. But as rice is usually served alongside the main food, it can be easily removed to turn a lot of Persian dishes suitable for keto diets.
For those who follow the keto diet, avoiding carbohydrates has always been a big challenge but avoiding them while travelling to another country can even be a bigger challenge.
If you follow the ketogenic diet, and you are planning on visiting Iran, here are 12 Keto-friendly Persian Food you can order in restaurants.
#1 Mirza Ghasemi
Mirza Ghasemi (Persian smoked eggplant dip) is a popular food among Iranians and it dates back to the Qajar dynasty era in Iran. This vegetarian Persian meal is made of eggplant, tomatoes, garlic, eggs, and butter or oil. It is a perfectly keto-friendly meal by having a very low net carb per serving.
Even though nowadays this food can easily be found in most traditional restaurants around Iran, it is originated from Gilan province in the north of Iran. Therefore if you ever wanted to travel to Gilan province, make sure to put Mirza Ghasemi on your must-try bucket list.
#2 Kuku Sabzi
This vegetarian Iranian dish is quick to make. Kuku is a type of egg-based Persian food that has different variations based on its ingredients. Kuku Sabzi (fresh herb-baked omelette) is made with plenty of herbs that bring a delicious taste and smell to this food. You can have this food as an appetizer or main dish. Ingredients for Kuku Sabzi are fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill and chives), walnuts, barberry, and oil.
#3 Fried Fish
As many cities in the north and south of Iran are near the sea, seafood is a big part of their Persian cuisine. Fried fish is a typical seafood dish in Iran that is sometimes served along Sabzi Polo (Persian rice with herbs). Fried fish with Sabzi Polo is traditionally served on Persian new year (Nowruz). Since rice is not a part of a keto diet, you can cook Sabzi Polo with cauliflower rice and herbs to get rid of the carbs.
#4 Akbar Joojeh
“Akbar Joojeh” is a dish that was originally served in a restaurant with the same name in Mazandaran province. The unique taste of this food made it so popular in many parts of Iran and expanded the “Akbar Joojeh” restaurant branches everywhere.
The special taste comes from the chicken that is fried in butter. This food is usually served with pomegranate sauce, saffron rice and olives. Akbar Joojeh is high in fat and protein, and it is a delightful keto meal. It’s normally served with rice which can be easily missed.
#5 Persian Lamb’s Tongue
Lamb’s tongue is a great source of protein. Although it may seem a bit difficult to cook, Iranians cook and serve the Lamb’s tongue in the most pleasant way! Cooking the lamb’s tongue takes a long time and needs a pressure cooker. After it is fully cooked, slice the tongue, fry it with butter and enjoy eating it with Persian side dishes or vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, cauliflower puree, etc.
#6 Kabab Tabei or Pan kabab
Kababs have a significant part in Persian food culture. Persian Kabab Tabei (Pan Kabab) is a good choice if you don’t have access to a barbecue as you can cook it in a pan. Pan kabab takes a few ingredients and not a lot of time to make.
This keto-friendly food is made with ground meat, onion, and spices. It is usually served with fried tomatoes or tomato sauce.
#7 Joojeh Kabab
Joojeh kabab is a Persian chicken kabab. You can marinate your chicken pieces with different ingredients and grill them on charcoal or barbecue. The traditional Iranian method is to marinate chicken with salt, pepper, lemon, yoghurt, onions and saffron. Saffron gives this food an attractive colour and a delicious smell.
Joojeh kabab is usually served alongside grilled tomatoes and fragrant butter rice. Buy skipping rice and eating it with butter and tomatoes you will have a Keto-friendly meal that is awesome.
#8 Lamb Shank
Lamb shank is high in protein and fat. It is also very nutritious and delicious. Cooking lamb shank the Persian style takes a long time as it is usually cooked with low heat. First marinate the shanks with spices (salt, pepper, turmeric) and then sauté them with onions and saffron. When they are slightly golden, add some water and put them on low heat. Then add garlic and seasonings. You can add carrot and celery too.
Since lamb shank is a popular Iranian food, you can find it at most traditional Iranian restaurants and enjoy eating it.
#9 Nargesi (Persian Spinach and egg omelette)
Nargesi is a delicious Iranian omelette that you can quickly make. The name of this dish comes from Narcissus flower because of the similar colour composition of this flower with Nargesi.
This dish has simple ingredients and short preparation time. To cook Nargesi, mix the spinach with fried garlic and onions then add the eggs and seasonings. You can eat this very healthy Keto-friendly dish as breakfast or dinner.
Find out more Persian Omelette recipes here.
#10 Shishlik Kabab (Lamb chops kabab)
Shishlik kabab, another traditional and tasty Iranian dish, is made from lamb rib chops. This dish. like other Iranian Kebabs, is sometimes served with saffron rice, butter, and grilled tomatoes.
To make Shishlik kabab, you need to marinate the chops with salt, pepper, yoghurt, onions, saffron, and olive oil overnight. Then roast them on the charcoal until the desired doneness.
#11 Keto-Friendly Tahchin
Tahchin is one of the most beautiful Iranian dishes in addition to its unique flavour. Tahchin is also known as Persian saffron rice cake. It is a delicious combination of rice, eggs, yoghurt, butter and sometimes chicken. To have a keto-friendly Tahchin, you can substitute the usual rice with cauliflower rice.
To make the cauliflower rice, grate the cauliflower, then sauté it with butter, salt, pepper, and saffron in a pan. Then add the yoghurt and egg mixture as described in the main recipe. The rest of the steps are the same as the original Persian Tahchin recipe.
#12 Khoresh Karafs (Persian Celery Stew)
Celery stew is a unique blend of aromatic herbs, meat, and celery. Stews are a big part of Persian cuisine. They are usually served over rice but you can enjoy having this low-carb, tasty stew without rice while you are on a keto diet. The secret to the deliciousness of Iranian stews is slow cooking so you have to be patient to have a great celery stew.