In America, a side dish of marinated garlic cloves might seem a little unusual, but in Persian cuisine, it’s a classic!
Seer torshi (pronounced tor – shee) means “garlic preserved in vinegar.” And that’s basically what it is! Garlic marinated in salt and vinegar until the garlic is tender and sweet.
A variety of vinegar can be used for this recipe, such as white vinegar, cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, malt vinegar, or balsamic. Some recipes suggest that if you’re using plain white vinegar, you should add a little honey for sweetness.
After the ingredients are mixed in a glass jar, screw on the top and wait. And wait…and wait. Some say a few months will be long enough for the transformation to happen. But others say that you should wait at least a year. Some people cure their seer torshi for more than 7 years! At Moby Dick House of Kabob, we serve torshi that has cured for many, many months.
As you wait, the garlic and brine turn a deep brownish-red color, almost like balsamic vinegar. The garlic becomes soft and loses that raw “bite.” Instead, it becomes sweet and almost fruity.
Seer torshi is often served with fish during Nowruz, the Persian new year celebration. And there’s an old saying that suggests eating one clove of seer torshi a day to stay healthy. But once you try it, you’ll want more than that!
This tasty garlic is great with kebabs, rice, and lemony sumac, or wrapped up in a pita.