- Jamal Rayyis
Does anyone know of a good (or even better, excellent) Persian restaurant in New York City? I've heard there are several in parts of New Jersey, but being carless, this isn't much of an option. Any help would be appreciated.
Persian baklava? That's a first to me. While I don't doubt that baklava is made in Iran, I think it comes more from Turkish, Arabic, or Armenian influence than anything particularly Persian. Baklava is often flavored differently according to region. Many Arabs, for instance, like the addition of rose or orange blossom water to the syrup. And, of course, the choice of nuts also differs from region to region. In Turkey, baklava is sold in "wet" or "dry" versions. The "dry" is the type that most in the United States are familiar with. "Wet", as you'd imagine, is a less crispy version. It seems to have more syrup on it, but honestly, it never stuck me as being much more sweet. It could be that the way syrup is added is different. For "dry" baklava, one pours either hot syrup over the tray of baklava that has cooled to room temperature, or, one pours room temperature syrup to the pastry fresh out of the oven. As for what they do in Iran, I'm now as curious as you.
In case you, or anyone is intereted, Charles Perry of the Los Angeles Times, wrote a fascinating essay about the origins of baklava for a conference entitled "Culinary Cultures of the Middle East." It appears in a book published under the same name.