Country we are exploring: Iran

Continent: Asia

Capital: Tehran

Population: 77.5 million

Official language(s): Farsi

Suggestion for fun image: Chef Koochooloo riding on a magic carpet on top of Isfahan Mosques

Fun fact: On the last Tuesday of each year, children in Iran celebrate the New Year by participating in the Festival of Fire (Chahar-Shanbeh Soori) and jumping over fire!

Bonfires are made in the streets and yards, representing good thoughts, good words, and good deeds. Iranians believe that by jumping over fire, they will have enlightenment, good health and happiness throughout the coming year.

English recipe name: Persian Cutlets

Name of dish in native country: Kotlets

Type of dish: Main dish

Recommended season or holiday: New Year’s

Serving Size: 4-6 people

Ingredient Spotlight: Parsley

Can you guess what is the most popular herb in the world? It’s parsley!

Parsley is a related to celery and derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery”. Parsley can help prevent rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that can cause pain in your joints, typically in fingers, wrists, feet, and ankles.



  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 3 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp parsley
  • ½ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • Olive oil

Big Chef Duties:

  1. Cut the potatoes in half and place them in a large pot and cover with cold water. Add some salt, and cook until a easily pierced with a fork.
  2. Once they are finished boiling, place the potatoes in a bowl full of ice.
  3. Grate onion in a large bowl and give to Little Chef.
  4. Finely chop the parsley.
After the Little Chef has performed their duties, heat olive oil in a pan on low heat. Place the patties in the pan with some distance between each. (Tip: Take a very small piece of the one of the patties and place in the pan, fry it a bit, then taste it to assess whether you need any more spices.)
  6. Once all the kotlets are placed in the pan, fry on low heat. Stay near! Flip them when the kotlets seem crispy and have darkened a bit.

Little Chef Duties:

  1. Peel the potatoes and mash them.
  2. Add the meat, bread crumbs, eggs and spices, salt, pepper to the bowl.
  3. Sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley.
  4. Mix with hands. (You might want to wear gloves, this gets messy!)
  5. Scoop individually with your hands and roll each into a ball, then flatten. (Iranians usually make oval shapes, but you can have fun with various geometric shapes. Experiment with making squares, triangles, pentagons, etc.) Give to Big Chef to cook.

Learn while you wait: What kind of geometric shapes can you make with your Kotlets? Try diamonds, hexagons, and circles.

Presentation: Garnish with parsley and some lightly fried tomatoes in olive oil, with a little salt and pepper. Of course Chef Koochooloo had some ideas of her own on how to present her Kotlets!

Teach the kids how to say Bon Appetit in the language of this recipe: Nooshe jan

Did you know? Girls in Iran don’t always enjoy the same opportunities as boys. For instance, girls are not allowed to play soccer.

Conversation Igniters: How would you feel if you had to live in a country where girls and boys did not have the same opportunities?

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