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Posted on: March 19, 2018

Happy Nowruz!

The Persian New Year begins this Tuesday the 20th, signifying the beginning of spring! Here are a couple great traditional recipes to make for you to ring in the new year!

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Rice with Fresh Herbs and Fish

Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

Rice

3 cups long-grain basmati rice
½ cup chopped fresh chives of spring onions
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh dill
2 ½ cups coarsely chopped fresh parlsey
2 cups chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
¾ cup oil, melted butter, or ghee
1 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 4 tablespoons hot water or rose water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 green garlic, trimmed, or 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

Fish

1 large white-fished fish (striped bass, rockfish, 4-5 pounds, scaled, cleaned, and cut to 6 pieces, rinsed and patted dry
4 tablespoons oil

Dusting

½ cup flour combined with 2 teaspoons seas salt, ½ teaspoon tumeric, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon

4 tablespoons oil for frying fish
4 small bitter oranges or limes for garnish

Directions:

  1. To cook the rice: clean and wash the rice. Bring 8 cups water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in a large, non-stick pot. Pour the rice into the pot. Boil briskly for 6 to 10 minutes. Bite a few grains, if they feel soft and all the rice has risen to the top, it is ready to be drained. Drain rice in a large, fine-mesh colander and rinse with 3 cups water.
  1. In a bowl, toss the chopped herbs and fenugreek together and set aside.
  1. To make the crush: in a mixing bowl, whisk together ½ cup oil, ¼ cup water, and a few drops of saffron water. Pour this mixture in the same pot.
  1. Place 2 spatulas full of rice in the pot, then add one spatula full of herbs. Repeat, alternating layers of the rice and herbs, sprinkling the cinnamon between the layers. Cover and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.
  1. Pour the remaining oil, ½ cup of hot water, and a drop of saffron water over the rice. Arrange the garlic on top. Wrap the lid with a clean dishtowel and cover the pot firmly to prevent steam from escaping. Cook for 60 minutes longer over low heat.
  1. Heat 4 tablespoon oil in a wide skillet over medium heat until very hot. Dredge the fish in the dusting mixture, and brown the fish pieces on both sides. Add more oil if necessary. Arrange the fish on a serving platter. Sprinkle each piece of fish with a squeeze of bitter orange and a dash of the saffron water. Keep warm.
  1. Remove rice pot from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes on a damp surface without uncovering it. Transfer the rice onto a serving platter. Unmold the tah-dig and place around the rice. Serve the rice with the fish. Nush-e Jan!

Note: If using dried herbs, reduce the amount used to ¼ of the fresh herbs. Place a sieve in a bowl of lukewarm water and soak the dried herbs for 20 minutes. Remove the sieve from the bowl and use the herbs.

Chickpea Cookies

Nan-e nokhodchi (Persian chickpea cookies) is a crumbly, melt-in-your-mouth cookie, made with the fragrant flavours of rose water, cardamom and pistachio. | aheadofthyme.com

Makes 40 pieces
Preparation time: 15 minutes plus 30 minutes resting time
Cooking time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup clarified butter or oil
1¼ cups confectioners sugar
4 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 tablespoon rose water
3¼-4 cups triple-sifted roasted cickpea flour

Decoration:

4 tablespoons slivered raw pistachios

Directions:

  1. In the mixing bowl of a food processor, combine butter, sugar, cardamom, and rose water, and mix for 2 to 3 minutes until white and creamy. Add 3¼ cups chickpea flour and mix until you have a sticky dough.
  2. Line a baking sheet with a baking mat and dust it with chickpea flour. Place the dough on top. Knead the dough, adding more chickpea flour if necessary, until you have a dough that does not stick to your hands. Flatten the dough and shape it into a ½-inch-thick square. Cover the entire baking sheet with plastic wrap and use a rolling pin, gently, to even out the dough. Allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes (or up to 24 hours in the fridge)
  3. Line 2 baking sheets with baking mats or parchment paper. Place the oven rack in the center and preheat the oven to 300° Unwrap the dough. Use a cloverleaf cookie cutter dusted with chickpea flour to cut out the dough. Place cooking on the lined baking sheets, leaving 1 inch between pieces. Decorate each cookie with slivered pistachios.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and place on a cooling rack. When cookies have thoroughly cooled, carefully lift using an offset spatula (be careful, these cookies crumble very easily). Arrange the cookies on a platter. Nosh-e Jan!

All recipes from Najmieh Batmanglij’s Food of Life.

You can read a little about the traditions of this holiday from our post last year HERE!

From our family here at Orley Shabahang to yours, we’d like to with you a very happy new year! Nowruz Mobarak!