Friday, April 1, 2011

The Early Bird Catches the Bread

Travelling halfway around the world can give you some pretty intense jet lag. Actually, the jet lag I experience wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Mostly, I was just waking up super early (4 AM, then 5 AM). However, an afternoon nap every day was an absolute necessity. I tried taking melatonin for jet lag, but I really didn't notice any improvement.

Being up early allowed me to enjoy some truly Iranian experiences, such as hearing the beautiful pre-sunrise call to prayer .

Another way to spend an early morning in Iran is to head to the local bakery to pick up some fresh bread.

Every neighbourhood has a few bakeries like this. They are only open at certain times throughout the day (generally before mealtimes).   They are very efficient operations.

Bread is called nun (nan/naan) in Farsi.  It is the original naan that you may have heard of in Indian cuisine. The Persians introduced it to India!  There are several different types of Iranian bread (more pics to come!) This one is the most basic and readily available type.

Outside each bakery is a rack like this where the fresh hot breads are laid out to cool off a bit before being sent home with you.  During busy times the customers themselves will come here and spread out their breads for a few minutes before taking them home.  Bags are not usually provided, so many people just carry the bread in their hands or bring their own bags.

Breakfast was always tea and a yummy spread of feta, butter, jams and honey to top the fresh bread with.  Deelish!

1 comment:

  1. Nice candid shots :). Early morning azaan is an experience indeed.
    One correction though about the Persian naan being introduced to India. Though it might be true that naan or Indian naan was introduced to present-day India by the Persian invaders (esp the Mughals later on), this isn't true of the entire sub-continent or what was British-India. In the north-western part of ancient sub-continent, what is now Pakistan, naan has been a staple food since forever due to the extensive wheat growing (a crop not as common in present-day India). The 'naan' varieties are also starkly different from the Indian standard naan or even some of the persian naan types (e.g. Naan-e-Taftoon from Iran and Taftoon/Taftaan from Pakistan have the same name but refer to entirely different breads). Some Pakistani naans closely resemble the Afghan naan (e.g. Peshawari Naan), others like the "Roghni" and "Sheermaal" are completely native. Also unlike India e.g. where naan is a restaurant item served with so-called 'mughalai cuisine', in Pakistan naan is a standard option at even roadside restaurants and almost every local 'tandoor' even in the remotest areas.

    However, I think the "word" naan has been a Persian influence, since the national language Urdu shares tons of vocab with Farsi. Interestingly, while the word for bread is also 'naan' in Urdu, not every kind of 'bread' is called 'naan'. Only the yeasty, non-sweet kinds.