Wednesday, April 04, 2007

New Year end-up round-up


sprouted lentils for the haft-sin table

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!



Ha ha!

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.







bye-bye, sprouts...


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22 comments:

meesh said...

Happy new year to you too! I love to learn about different traditions and how these important times of the year are celebrated by other people. Thank you so much for sharing that. :) Your meal looked beautiful and tasty (as always!).

Kati said...

15 miles on the Erie canal... Do you think your sprouts will make it all the way from Albany to Buffalo? Sorry, I guess that was some upstate NY humor for you. ;) Happy New Year!

Rachel said...

Great recipe and info!

Vegyogini said...

Bazu, thank you so much for the lesson in Iranian traditions. Until now, the only Norooz tradition I knew was the jumping of the fire. I really appreciate your willingness to share your traditions with us. :-)

SusanV said...

Such a beautiful tradition! Thanks for sharing it with us, and happy new year!

Susan said...

Hi Bazu! Thanks for sharing your Iranian traditions. The kookoo sabzi sounds absolutely delicious, and if it's like a frittata, I know I'll love it. Wishing you a Happy New Year and warm weather! :)

Catherine said...

Happy New Year Bazu! (And Happy Birthday, too!) I haven't been reading blogs much lately; I had a bit of catching up to do today! All of your food looks delicious -- especially that chicago deep-dish pizza! Wowzers. It was sweet of Daiku to surprise you with breakfast in bed on your birthday. AND . . . your kitties are adorable!

scottishvegan said...

I thought those sprouted lentils were for eating and was thinking that they looked quite tasty! It’s so interesting to read about your Iranian traditions. And the food looks fabulous!

Theresa said...

Ooh, what a fun tradition. The food looks so yummy--I love the rice that looks like a cake!

Vincent Guihan said...

Everything looks great. I love the mezzaluna action shot. I have one, but it's smaller and I don't use it as often as I should.

Nikk said...

It all looks so delicious. I haven't had any Iranian food since going veg, I really should attempt it sometime!

Mikaela said...

I can almost smell the herbs from here! Sounds like a really fun day :)

laura jesser said...

Wow, what an awesome post. Next year I want to come celebrate the new year with you! It sounds incredible.

KleoPatra said...

Very cool post! Thanks for sharing this with us, Bazu. And i looooooooove the food photos and rice dish. Delish! I love learning about celebrations like this. My pal Peter and i went roller blading (and yes, i bit the dust BIG TIME, still skinned knees, elbow and a very sore rear end) and there was a big party for this very celebration at Mission Bay Park in San Diego this past Sunday! Here's the link to the story that the local noozpaper did on it:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/metro/20070402-9999-1m2persian.html

aTxVegn said...

What a great fun post! The New Year's food recipes sound fantastic and they look awesome. I love the symbolism of tossing sprouts into the water.

Too Fond of Books said...

Everything looks so yummy! Thanks for sharing your traditions with us!

springsandwells said...

Hi Bazu!!
I love the sprout-tossing series! We took our sabzi to the beach and tossed them out into the waves... it's so wonderful, isn't it?

Your sabzi polo looks soooo good. I still have never successfully made persian rice with the tah digh. boo hoo. I miss it. My old bf Ali was so good at it - and MAN it was good!

Happy No Rooz - I hope the new year is full of growth and greenery and friendship and vegan delights!

Jackie said...

What wonderful traditions you have.

I must actually do my lentil sprouts like that as it makes a pretty table piece which I can then eat :)

Vivacious Vegan said...

Sorry Bazu, just catching up here. Loved hearing about Norooz and sharing the information with my sister. Sounds like a terrific celebration. Happy New Year!

Your rice looks wonderful. I love the tadig crust but can never seem to get it right. I'm ging to try it your way now.

Emmy said...

Sorry for the late comment Bazu...I've been out of town. The Norooz dinner looks so yummy! I loved learning that the green herbs symbolize the season and hopes for abundance.

vko said...

Happy New Year!

I love the sprouts going in the water as a promise growth & abundance for the year. Your meal looks amazing and that meal certainly represents all the good things for the year ahead!

Candi said...

Happy New Year! I love how you share these traditions with us. I think the food looks amazing too. All the herbs and the rice... oooh yum! :) I didn't realize the sprouts were off to the canal at first since I thought they looked delicious. Lol! :)

I hope you had a fun time, and thank you for sharing with us!!