This past monday, the celebration of Iranian New Year, or Norooz, came to an end. To mark the occasion, I thought I would present you with one last Norooz post- what we ate, how we celebrated, etc.
The traditional new year's meal in Iran is sabzi polo (rice pilaf with herbs), kookoo sabzi (kind of a frittata with herbs), and fish. We left out the fish part, of course! The use of green herbs in abundance is meant to symbolize the season and the hopes for abundance that it brings.
Here I am chopping herbs with my trusty mezzaluna. I needed to chop the herbs very finely, but didn't want to use a food processor, since that would make more of a paste.
Which herbs did I use? I decided to keep things simple (and Syracuse-seasonal) and use the same in both the rice and the kookoo: parsley, cilantro, scallions, and garlic. (If you have them available, garlic shoots are a much more subtle and gentle substitute for garlic cloves.)
Here is the rice, with the "tadig" crust on top. To make sabzi polo, simply follow my instructions for making rice from here, but after the first parboiling, fold a combination of 1/2 bunch parsley, 1/2 bunch cilantro, 1/2 bunch scallions, and 1-2 cloves garlic chopped finely and combined, into the rice as you are adding it back to the pot. Finish cooking as usual.
With the other half of the chopped herb mixture, make the kookoo. Traditionally, kookoo sabzi is made with a bunch of eggs, a mixture of herbs, walnuts, and zereshk, cooked on the stovetop like a frittata. I substituted silken tofu and flour for eggs in my recipe, but I'm still tinkering with it. My kookoo came out a little softer than I would have liked (the taste was fine, though) so I'm still trying to get it to a firmer texture. I finished the kookoo in the oven. Amey has a recipe for this dish using firm tofu (click here) so you can use her recipe!
Depending on availability, you can use different herbs or herb combinations: try dill, chives, etc.
Here is our norooz dinner, pictured all together.
Close-up of the sabzi polo.
13 days after the beginning of Spring, Iranians finish up their new year celebrations with "sizdeh be dar." On this day, everyone goes out to a picnic in the park with their friends and family to celebrate the last day of the holiday. (After this, it's back to school and work!) Sometime during the picnic, it's traditional to take your sprouts from your haft-sin table, make a wish on them, and throw them into a creek, river, or some other moving water.
I sprouted lentils this year. It's also traditional to sprout wheat berries. Heck, last year, I sprouted some cat grass so the kitties could join in the festivities! As long as it's green, it's good.
Daiku and I were unable to have a picnic on Monday due to cold weather, but we decided to take our sprouts out anyway. First, we walked to a little park by our house, but the little creek there was stagnant- definitely not moving! So we drove a little bit and, boy did we find moving water!
The next series of photos shows our sprouts being thrown into the canal... enjoy! Everyone, thanks for sharing in my new year's celebrations with me, and have a fantastic year to come.