A bowl of herbs accompanies nearly every Iranian meal. The fresh herbs—mint, chives, scallions, parsley, dill, tarragon—are placed on the table as an appetizer or to eat with different dishes.
In Lebanon, a platter of fresh vegetables and herbs is always part of a mezze table: cucumbers, radishes, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, parsley, purslane, watercress, mint, and scallions are those most often encountered. The Vietnamese share this passion for fresh herbs. No meal is complete without a bowl of fresh herbs: basil, cilantro, rau ram, red and green perilla, mint, cucumber, and lettuce leaves.
The Iranian passion for herbs carries over to their cooked dishes. Large quantities of fresh herbs are used in summer time; in winter dried herbs are used. Herbs dry well in Iran’s hot climate, retaining their flavor and colour; they’re available from Iranian markets.
Rice mixture (sabzi polo) has equal quantities of parsley, cilantro, chives, and sometimes dill.
Stew mixture (sabzi ghormeh) contains parsley, chives, and cilantro with a little fenugreek; powdered dried lime is invariably included, and sometimes dill and mint.
Soup mixture (sabzi âshe) has parsley, chives, and cilantro as staples, and sometimes mint and fenugreek.