Searing is a technique used in grilling, braising, sautéing, etc. in which the surface of the food is cooked at high temperature until a browned crust forms. Similar techniques and blackening, are used to sear all sides of a particular piece of meat, poultry, etc. before finishing it in the oven. To obtain the desired brown or black crust, the meat surface must exceed 150 °C, so searing requires the meat surface be free of water, which boils at around 100 °C. Although said to "lock in the moisture" or "seal in the juices", searing has been demonstrated to result in a greater net loss of moisture versus cooking to the same internal temperature without first searing. Nonetheless, it remains an essential technique in cooking meat for several reasons: The browning creates desirable flavors through the Maillard reaction; the appearance of the food is improved with a well-browned crust. The contrast in taste and texture between the crust and the interior makes the food more interesting to the palate.
A common misnomer linked with searing meat is caramelization. Caramelization is simple carbohydrates; the Maillard reaction, by contrast, involves reactions between some sugars. In grilling, the food will be seared over high heat and moved to a lower-temperature area of the grill to finish cooking. In braising, the seared surface acts to flavor and otherwise enrich the liquid in which the food is being cooked; the belief that searing meat "seals in the juices" is widespread and still repeated. This theory was first put forth by Justus von Liebig, a German chemist and food scientist, around 1850; the notion was embraced including Auguste Escoffier. It is more cited in regard to larger cuts steaks and chops, of non-poultry meats such as beef, pork and tuna. Simple experimentation can test the theory, in which two similar cuts of meat are cooked, one of, seared and the other is not; each piece is cooked in a preferred method until each reaches the same predetermined internal temperature. They are weighed to see which lost more moisture.
Such experiments were carried out as early as the 1930s: the seared roasts lost the same amount of moisture or more. More liquid is lost, since searing exposes the meat to higher temperatures that destroy more cells, in turn releasing more liquid. Moisture in liquid and vapor form continues to escape from a seared piece of meat. For this reason, searing is sometimes done at the end of the cooking process to gain the flavor benefits of the Maillard reaction, as well as the benefits of cooking for a greater duration with more moistness
Coffee is a brewed drink prepared from roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from certain Coffea species. The genus Coffea is native to tropical Africa and Madagascar, the Comoros, Réunion in the Indian Ocean. Coffee plants are now cultivated in over 70 countries in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, Indian subcontinent, Africa; the two most grown are C. arabica and C. robusta. Once ripe, coffee berries are picked and dried. Dried coffee seeds are roasted to varying degrees, depending on the desired flavor. Roasted beans are ground and brewed with near-boiling water to produce the beverage known as coffee. Coffee is darkly colored, bitter acidic and has a stimulating effect in humans due to its caffeine content, it is one of the most popular drinks in the world, it can be prepared and presented in a variety of ways. It is served hot, although iced coffee is a popular alternative. Clinical studies indicate that moderate coffee consumption is benign or mildly beneficial in healthy adults, with continuing research on whether long-term consumption lowers the risk of some diseases, although those long-term studies are of poor quality.
The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking appears in modern-day Yemen in southern Arabia in the middle of the 15th century in Sufi shrines. It was here in Arabia that coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed in a similar way to how it is now prepared, but the coffee seeds had to be first exported from East Africa to Yemen, as the Coffea arabica plant is thought to have been indigenous to the former. The Yemenis began to cultivate the seed. By the 16th century, the drink had reached Persia and North Africa. From there, it spread to the rest of the world; as of 2016, Brazil was the leading grower of producing one-third of the world total. Coffee is a major export commodity, it is one of the most valuable commodities exported by developing countries. Green, unroasted coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world; some controversy has been associated with coffee cultivation and the way developed countries trade with developing nations, as well as the impact on the environment with regards to the clearing of land for coffee-growing and water use.
The markets for fair trade and organic coffee are expanding, notably in the USA. The word coffee appears to have derived from the name of the region where coffee beans were first used by a herder in the 6th or 9th century: kaffa derived from Kaffa Province, the name of the region in ancient Abyssinia; the word "coffee" entered the English language in 1582 via the Dutch koffie, borrowed from the Ottoman Turkish kahve, borrowed in turn from the Arabic qahwah. The Arabic word qahwah was traditionally held to refer to a type of wine whose etymology is given by Arab lexicographers as deriving from the verb qahiya, "to lack hunger", in reference to the drink's reputation as an appetite suppressant, it has been proposed that the source may be the Proto-Central Semitic root q-h-h meaning "dark". The term "coffee pot" dates from 1705; the expression "coffee break" was first attested in 1952. According to legend, ancestors of today's Oromo people in a region of Kaffa in Ethiopia were believed to have been the first to recognize the energizing effect of the coffee plant.
However, there is no direct evidence, found earlier than the 15th century indicating where in Africa coffee first grew or who among the native populations might have used it as a stimulant. The story of Kaldi, the 9th-century Ethiopian goatherd who discovered coffee when he noticed how excited his goats became after eating the beans from a coffee plant, did not appear in writing until 1671 and is apocryphal. Other accounts attribute the discovery of coffee to Sheikh Omar. According to an ancient chronicle, known for his ability to cure the sick through prayer, was once exiled from Mocha in Yemen to a desert cave near Ousab. Starving, Omar found them to be bitter, he tried roasting the seeds to improve the flavor. He tried boiling them to soften the seed, which resulted in a fragrant brown liquid. Upon drinking the liquid Omar was sustained for days; as stories of this "miracle drug" reached Mocha, Omar was made a saint. The earliest credible evidence of coffee-drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree appears in the middle of the 15th century in the accounts of Ahmed al-Ghaffar in Yemen.
It was here in Arabia that coffee seeds were first roasted and brewed, in a similar way to how it is prepared now. Coffee was used by Sufi circles to stay awake for their religious rituals. Accounts differ on the origin of the coffee plant prior to its appearance in Yemen. From Ethiopia, coffee could have been introduced to Yemen via trade across the Red Sea. One account credits Muhammad Ibn Sa'd for bringing the beverage to Aden from the African coast. Other early accounts say Ali ben Omar of the Shadhili Sufi order was the first to introduce coffee to Arabia. According to al Shardi, Ali ben Omar may have encountered coffee during his stay with the Adal king Sadadin's companions in 1401. Famous 16th-century Islamic scholar Ibn Hajar al-Haytami notes in his
Cooking oil is plant, animal, or synthetic fat used in frying and other types of cooking. It is used in food preparation and flavouring not involving heat, such as salad dressings and bread dips, in this sense might be more termed edible oil. Cooking oil is a liquid at room temperature, although some oils that contain saturated fat, such as coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil are solid. There is a wide variety of cooking oils from plant sources such as olive oil, palm oil, soybean oil, canola oil, corn oil, peanut oil and other vegetable oils, as well as animal-based oils like butter and lard. Oil can be flavoured with aromatic foodstuffs such as chillies or garlic. A guideline for the appropriate amount of fat—a component of daily food consumption—is established by government agencies. > While consumption of small amounts of saturated fats is common in diets, meta-analyses found a significant correlation between high consumption of saturated fats and blood LDL concentration, a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases.
Other meta-analyses based on cohort studies and on controlled, randomized trials found a positive, or neutral, effect from consuming polyunsaturated fats instead of saturated fats. Mayo Clinic has highlighted certain oils that are high in saturated fats, including coconut, palm oil and palm kernel oil; those having lower amounts of saturated fats and higher levels of unsaturated fats like olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil and cottonseed oils are healthier. The US National Heart and Blood Institute urged saturated fats be replaced with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, listing olive and canola oils as sources of healthier monounsaturated oils while soybean and sunflower oils as good sources of polyunsaturated fats. One study showed that consumption of non-hydrogenated unsaturated oils like soybean and sunflower is preferable to the consumption of palm oil for lowering the risk of heart disease. Peanut oil, cashew oil and other nut-based oils may present a hazard to persons with a nut allergy.
Unlike other dietary fats, trans fats are not essential, they do not promote good health. The consumption of trans fats increases one's risk of coronary heart disease by raising levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and lowering levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. Trans fats from hydrogenated oils are more harmful than occurring oils. Several large studies indicate a link between the consumption of high amounts of trans fat and coronary heart disease, some other diseases; the United States Food and Drug Administration, the National Heart and Blood Institute and the American Heart Association all have recommended limiting the intake of trans fats. In the US, trans fats are no longer "generally recognized as safe," and cannot be added to foods, including cooking oils, without special permission. Heating an oil changes its characteristics. Oils that are healthy at room temperature can become unhealthy when heated above certain temperatures, so when choosing a cooking oil, it is important to match the oil's heat tolerance with the temperature which will be used.
Deep-fat frying temperatures are in the range of 170–190 °C, less lower temperatures ≥ 130 °C are used. Palm oil contains more saturated fats than canola oil, corn oil, linseed oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil. Therefore, palm oil can withstand deep frying at higher temperatures and is resistant to oxidation compared to high-polyunsaturated vegetable oils. Since about 1900, palm oil has been incorporated into food by the global commercial food industry because it remains stable in deep frying, or in baking at high temperatures, for its high levels of natural antioxidants, though the refined palm oil used in industrial food has lost most of its carotenoid content; the following oils are suitable for high-temperature frying due to their high smoke point above 230 °C: Avocado oil Mustard oil Palm oil Peanut oil Rice bran oil Safflower oil Semi-refined sesame oil Semi-refined sunflower oilLess aggressive frying temperatures are used. A quality frying oil has a bland flavor, at least 200 °C smoke and 315 °C flash points, with maximums of 0.1% free fatty acids and 3% linolenic acid.
Those oils with higher linolenic fractions are avoided due to polymerization or gumming marked by increases in viscosity with age. Olive oil has been used as a frying oil for thousands of years. Olive oil All oils degrade in response to heat and oxygen. To delay the onset of rancidity, a blanket of an inert gas nitrogen, is applied to the vapor space in the storage container after production – a process called tank blanketing. In a cool, dry place, oils have greater stability, but may thicken, although they will soon return to liquid form if they are left at room temperature. To minimize the degrading effects of heat and light, oils should be removed from cold storage just long enough for use. Refined oils high in monounsaturated fats, such as macadamia oil, keep up to a year, while those high in polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean oil, keep about six months. Rancidity tests have shown that the shelf life of walnut oil is about 3 months, a period shorter than the best before date shown on labels.
By contrast, oils high in saturated fats, such as avocado oil, have long shelf lives and can be safely stored at room temperature, as the low polyunsaturated fat content facilitates stability. Cooking oils are composed of various fractions of fatty acids. For the purpose of frying food, o
A seed is an embryonic plant enclosed in a protective outer covering. The formation of the seed is part of the process of reproduction in seed plants, the spermatophytes, including the gymnosperm and angiosperm plants. Seeds are the product of the ripened ovule, after fertilization by pollen and some growth within the mother plant; the embryo is developed from the seed coat from the integuments of the ovule. Seeds have been an important development in the reproduction and success of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants, relative to more primitive plants such as ferns and liverworts, which do not have seeds and use water-dependent means to propagate themselves. Seed plants now dominate biological niches on land, from forests to grasslands both in hot and cold climates; the term "seed" has a general meaning that antedates the above – anything that can be sown, e.g. "seed" potatoes, "seeds" of corn or sunflower "seeds". In the case of sunflower and corn "seeds", what is sown is the seed enclosed in a shell or husk, whereas the potato is a tuber.
Many structures referred to as "seeds" are dry fruits. Plants producing berries are called baccate. Sunflower seeds are sometimes sold commercially while still enclosed within the hard wall of the fruit, which must be split open to reach the seed. Different groups of plants have other modifications, the so-called stone fruits have a hardened fruit layer fused to and surrounding the actual seed. Nuts are the one-seeded, hard-shelled fruit of some plants with an indehiscent seed, such as an acorn or hazelnut. Seeds are produced in several related groups of plants, their manner of production distinguishes the angiosperms from the gymnosperms. Angiosperm seeds are produced in a hard or fleshy structure called a fruit that encloses the seeds for protection in order to secure healthy growth; some fruits have layers of both fleshy material. In gymnosperms, no special structure develops to enclose the seeds, which begin their development "naked" on the bracts of cones. However, the seeds do become covered by the cone scales.
Seed production in natural plant populations varies from year to year in response to weather variables and diseases, internal cycles within the plants themselves. Over a 20-year period, for example, forests composed of loblolly pine and shortleaf pine produced from 0 to nearly 5 million sound pine seeds per hectare. Over this period, there were six bumper, five poor, nine good seed crops, when evaluated for production of adequate seedlings for natural forest reproduction. Angiosperm seeds consist of three genetically distinct constituents: the embryo formed from the zygote, the endosperm, triploid, the seed coat from tissue derived from the maternal tissue of the ovule. In angiosperms, the process of seed development begins with double fertilization, which involves the fusion of two male gametes with the egg cell and the central cell to form the primary endosperm and the zygote. Right after fertilization, the zygote is inactive, but the primary endosperm divides to form the endosperm tissue.
This tissue becomes the food the young plant will consume until the roots have developed after germination. After fertilization the ovules develop into the seeds; the ovule consists of a number of components: The funicle or seed stalk which attaches the ovule to the placenta and hence ovary or fruit wall, at the pericarp. The nucellus, the remnant of the megasporangium and main region of the ovule where the megagametophyte develops; the micropyle, a small pore or opening in the apex of the integument of the ovule where the pollen tube enters during the process of fertilization. The chalaza, the base of the ovule opposite the micropyle, where integument and nucellus are joined together; the shape of the ovules as they develop affects the final shape of the seeds. Plants produce ovules of four shapes: the most common shape is called anatropous, with a curved shape. Orthotropous ovules are straight with all the parts of the ovule lined up in a long row producing an uncurved seed. Campylotropous ovules have a curved megagametophyte giving the seed a tight "C" shape.
The last ovule shape is called amphitropous, where the ovule is inverted and turned back 90 degrees on its stalk. In the majority of flowering plants, the zygote's first division is transversely oriented in regards to the long axis, this establishes the polarity of the embryo; the upper or chalazal pole becomes the main area of growth of the embryo, while the lower or micropylar pole produces the stalk-like suspensor that attaches to the micropyle. The suspensor absorbs and manufactures nutrients from the endosperm that are used during the embryo's growth; the main components of the embryo are: The cotyledons, the seed leaves, attached to the embryonic axis. There may be two; the cotyledons are the source of nutrients in the non-endospermic dicotyledons, in which case they replace the endosperm, are thick and leathery. In endospermic seeds the cotyledons are papery. Dicotyledons have the point of attachment opposite one another on the axis; the epicotyl, the embryonic axis above the point of attachment of the cotyledon.
The plumule, the tip of the epicotyl, has a feathery appearance due to the presence of young leaf primordia at the apex, will become the shoot upon germination. The hypocotyl, the embryonic axis below the point of attachment of the cotyledon, connecting the epicotyl and the radicle, being the stem-root transition zone; the radicle, the basal tip of the hy
Chinese herbology is the theory of traditional Chinese herbal therapy, which accounts for the majority of treatments in traditional Chinese medicine. A Nature editorial described TCM as "fraught with pseudoscience", said that the most obvious reason why it has not delivered many cures is that the majority of its treatments have no logical mechanism of action; the term herbology is misleading in the sense that, while plant elements are by far the most used substances, animal and mineral products are utilized, among which some are poisonous. In the Huangdi Neijing they are referred to as 毒藥 which means poison, or medicine. Unschuld points out that this is similar etymology to the Greek pharmakon and so he uses the term "pharmaceutic". Thus, the term "medicinal" is preferred as a translation for 药. Research into the effectiveness of traditional Chinese herbal therapy is of poor quality and tainted by bias, with little or no rigorous evidence of efficacy. There are concerns over a number of toxic Chinese herbs.
Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. Among the earliest literature are lists of prescriptions for specific ailments, exemplified by the manuscript "Recipes for 52 Ailments", found in the Mawangdui which were sealed in 168 BC; the first traditionally recognized herbalist is Shénnóng, a mythical god-like figure, said to have lived around 2800 BC. He tasted hundreds of herbs and imparted his knowledge of medicinal and poisonous plants to farmers, his Shénnóng Běn Cǎo Jīng is considered as the oldest book on Chinese herbal medicine. It classifies 365 species of roots, woods, furs and stones into three categories of herbal medicine: The "superior" category, which includes herbs effective for multiple diseases and are responsible for maintaining and restoring the body balance, they have no unfavorable side-effects. A category comprising tonics and boosters, whose consumption must not be prolonged. A category of substances which must be taken in small doses, for the treatment of specific diseases only.
The original text of Shennong's Materia Medica has been lost. The true date of origin is believed to fall into the late Western Han dynasty; the Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders and Miscellaneous Illnesses was collated by Zhang Zhongjing sometime at the end of the Han dynasty, between 196 and 220 CE. Focusing on drug prescriptions, it was the first medical work to combine Yinyang and the Five Phases with drug therapy; this formulary was the earliest Chinese medical text to group symptoms into clinically useful "patterns" that could serve as targets for therapy. Having gone through numerous changes over time, it now circulates as two distinct books: the Treatise on Cold Damage Disorders and the Essential Prescriptions of the Golden Casket, which were edited separately in the eleventh century, under the Song dynasty. Succeeding generations augmented these works, as in the Yaoxing Lun, a 7th-century Tang dynasty Chinese treatise on herbal medicine. There was a shift in emphasis in treatment over several centuries.
A section of the Neijing Suwen including Chapter 74 was added by Wang Bing in his 765 edition. In which it says: 主病之謂君，佐君之謂臣，應臣之謂使，非上下三品之謂也。 "Ruler of disease it called Sovereign, aid to Sovereign it called Minister, comply with Minister it called Envoy, not upper lower three classes it called." The last part is interpreted as stating that these three rulers are not the three classes of Shénnóng mentioned previously. This chapter in particular outlines a more forceful approach. On Zhang Zihe is credited with founding the'Attacking School' which criticized the overus of tonics. Arguably the most important of these works is the Compendium of Materia Medica compiled during the Ming dynasty by Li Shizhen, still used today for consultation and reference; the use of Chinese herbs was popular during the medieval age in western Islamic countries. They were traded through the Silk Road from the East to the West. Cinnamon, rhubarb and cubeb are mentioned as Chinese herbs by medieval Islamic medical scholars Such as Rhazes, Haly Abbas and Avicenna.
There were multiple similarities between the clinical uses of these herbs in Chinese and Islamic medicine. There are 13,000 medicinals used in China and over 100,000 medicinal recipes recorded in the ancient literature. Plant elements and extracts are by far the most common elements used. In the classic Handbook of Traditional Drugs from 1941, 517 drugs were listed – out of these, only 45 were animal parts, 30 were minerals. For many plants used as medicinals, detailed instructions have been handed down not only regarding the locations and areas where they grow best, but regarding the best timing of planting and harvesting them; some animal parts used. Furthermore, the classic materia medica Bencao Gangmu describes the use of 35 traditional Chinese medicines derived from the human body, including bones, hairs, earwax, impurities on the teeth, urine and organs, but most are no longer in use. One batch of medicinals is prepared as a decoction of about 9 to 18 substances; some of these are considered as main herbs, some as ancill
Maghrebi mint tea
Maghrebi mint tea known as Moroccan mint tea, is a green tea prepared with spearmint leaves and sugar, traditional to the Greater Maghreb region. It has since spread throughout North Africa, parts of the Sahel and the Arab world, it is most associated with Morocco and in Spanish is known as "Moorish tea", té moruno. A similar drink is prepared in Spain but is served chilled as iced tea in the summer, instead of hot year-round; as a combination of imported ingredients and a local ingredient, it is an early example of globalization in cuisine. Mint tea is central to social life in the Maghreb; the serving can take a ceremonial form when prepared for a guest. The tea is traditionally made by the head male in the family and offered to guests as a sign of hospitality. At least three glasses of tea are served The tea is consumed throughout the day as a social activity, with tea bars filling a similar social function to coffee drinking establishments in Europe and North America; the spearmint cultivar Mentha spicata'Nana' possesses a clear, mild aroma, is the mint, traditionally used in Maghrebi mint tea.
Other hybrids and cultivars of Mentha, including yerba buena, are used as substitutes for Nana mint. In Morocco, people enjoy perfuming their Moroccan mint tea with flowers. For fancy occasions, they like adding orange blossom water. In the cold season, they add many warming herbs like Pennyroyal absinthe. Historians differ as to when they think tea was introduced to Moroccan culture, although some say it may have been as early as the 12th century, is credited to ibn Battuta; the main supplier of tea to the Maghreb countries remains China. Ingredients include green tea, fresh mint leaves in large quantity and boiling water; the proportions of the ingredients and the brewing time can vary widely. Boiling water is used in the Maghreb, rather than the cooler water, used in East Asia to avoid bitterness; the leaves are left in the pot while the tea is consumed, changing the flavor from one glass to the next. It is poured into glasses from high above to swirl loose tea leaves to the bottom of the glass, whilst aerating the tea to improve its flavour.
In the winter, if mint is rare, sometimes leaves of tree wormwood are substituted for the mint, giving the tea a distinctly bitter flavor. Lemon verbena is used to give it a lemon flavor; the tea is sometimes sold as a ready-to-cook mixture of tea and dried mint, easier to store and to prepare but has diminished flavour. A simple and practical method runs as follows: In a teapot, combine two teaspoons of tea-leaf with a half litre of boiling water. Allow it to steep for at least 15 minutes. Without stirring, filter the mixture into a stainless steel pot, so that the tea leaves and coarse powder are removed. Add sugar. Bring to boil over a medium heat. Fresh mint leaves can be added to the teapot, or directly to the cup. A more complex method is as follows: The tea is first put in the teapot and a small quantity of boiling water is added; the tea is left to infuse for 20–30 seconds. This initial liquid is kept aside; this is the "spirit" of the tea and will be added back after the tea is washed, to restore the "spirit".
The tea is "cleaned" by adding a small quantity of boiling water. This process may be repeated more than once. Mint and sugar are added, water at the boiling point is poured in the pot; the pot may be taken to heat and further boiled to increase the flavour of the infusion. After three to five minutes, a glass is served and poured back in the pot two to three times to mix the tea. Tea is tasted until the infusion is developed. Traditionally, the tea is served three times; the amount of time it has been steeping gives each of the glasses of tea a unique flavor, described in this famous Maghrebi proverb: Arabic tea Algerian cuisine Tunisian cuisine Moroccan cuisine Libyan cuisine Libyan tea Tea culture
The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as related languages; the ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the ancient Iranian population that entered the territory of modern-day Iran by the early 10th century BC. Together with their compatriot allies, they established and ruled some of the world's most powerful empires, well-recognized for their massive cultural and social influence covering much of the territory and population of the ancient world. Throughout history, the Persians have contributed to various forms of art and science, own one of the world's most prominent literatures. In contemporary terminology, people of Persian heritage native to present-day Afghanistan and Uzbekistan are referred to as Tajiks, whereas those in the eastern Caucasus, albeit assimilated, are referred to as Tats; however the terms Tajik and Persian were synonymous and were used interchangeably, many of the most influential Persian figures hailed from outside Iran's present-day borders to the northeast in Central Asia and Afghanistan and to a lesser extent to the northwest in the Caucasus proper.
In historical contexts in English, "Persians" may be defined more loosely to cover all subjects of the ancient Persian polities, regardless of ethnic background. The English term Persian derives from Latin Persia, itself deriving from Greek Persís, a Hellenized form of Old Persian Pārsa. In the Bible, it is given as Parás —sometimes Paras uMadai —within the books of Esther, Daniel and Nehemya. A Greek folk etymology connected the name to a legendary character in Greek mythology. Herodotus recounts this story, devising a foreign son, from whom the Persians took the name; the Persians themselves knew the story, as Xerxes I tried to use it to suborn the Argives during his invasion of Greece, but failed to do so. Although Persis was one of the provinces of ancient Iran, varieties of this term were adopted through Greek sources and used as an official name for all of Iran for many years. Thus, in the Western world, the term Persian came to refer to all inhabitants of the country; some medieval and early modern Islamic sources used cognates of the term Persian to refer to various Iranian peoples, including the speakers of the Khwarezmian language, the Mazanderani language, the Old Azeri language.
10th-century Iraqi historian Al-Masudi refers to Pahlavi and Azari as dialects of the Persian language. In 1333, medieval Moroccan traveler and scholar Ibn Battuta referred to the people of Kabul as a specific sub-tribe of Persians. Lady Mary Sheil, in her observation of Iran during the Qajar era, describes Persians and Leks to identify themselves as "descendants of the ancient Persians". On March 21, 1935, the former king of Iran, Reza Shah of the Pahlavi dynasty, issued a decree asking the international community to use the term Iran, the native name of the country, in formal correspondence. However, the term Persian is still used to designate the predominant population of the Iranian peoples living in the Iranian cultural continent; the earliest known written record attributed to the Persians is from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, an Assyrian inscription from the mid-9th century BC, found at Nimrud. The inscription mentions Parsua as a tribal chiefdom in modern-day western Iran; the ancient Persians were a nomadic branch of the Iranian population that, in the early 10th century BC, settled to the northwest of modern-day Iran.
They were dominated by the Assyrians for much of the first three centuries after arriving in the region. However, they played a major role in the downfall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire; the Medes, another branch of this population, founded the unified empire of Media as the region's dominant cultural and political power in c. 625 BC. Meanwhile, the Persian dynasty of the Achaemenids formed a vassal state to the central Median power. In c. 552 BC, the Achaemenids began a revolution which led to the conquest of the empire by Cyrus II in c. 550 BC. They spread their influence to the rest of what is called the Iranian Plateau, assimilated with the non-Iranian indigenous groups of the region, including the Elamites and the Mannaeans. At its greatest extent, the Achaemenid Empire stretched from parts of Eastern Europe in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen; the Achaemenids developed the infrastructure to support their growing influence, including the creation of Pasargadae and the opulent city of Persepolis.
The empire extended as far as the limits of the Greek city states in modern-day mainland Greece, where the Persians and Athenians influenced each other in what is a reciprocal cultural exchange. Its legacy and impact on the kingdom of Macedon was notably huge for centuries after the withdrawal of the Persians from Europe following the Greco-Persian Wars; the empire collapsed in 330 BC following the conquests of Alexander the Great, but reemerged shortly after as the Parthian Empire. During the Achaemenid era, Persian colonists settled in Asia Minor. In Lydia, near Sardis, there was the Hyrcanian plain, according to Strabo, got its name from the Persian settlers that were moved from Hyrcania. Near Sardis, there was the plain of Cyrus, which further signified the presence of numerous Persian settlements in