Spring is welcomed by Persians on the first day of Nowruz by gathering with their family members around the serving table.
Like any good holiday, food plays a major role at Nowruz. Having a feast is half the reason for getting together! There are specific foods associated with Nowruz: noodles for untying life’s complications, fresh herbs for rebirth, eggs for fertility, and fish for life.
On the Nowruz table many people place special sweets because, according to a three-thousand-year-old legend, King Jamshid discovered sugar on Nowruz (the word candy comes from the Persian word for sugar, qand). These seven sweets are:
Baklava, a sweet, flaky pastry filled with chopped almonds and pistachios soaked in honey-flavored rose water;
Nan-e berenji (rice cookies), made of rice flour flavored with cardamom and garnished with poppy seeds;
Nan-e nokhodchi (chickpea cookies), made of chick-pea flour flavored with cardamom and garnished with pistachios;
Nan-e badami (almond cookies), made of almond flour flavored with cardamom and rose water;
Nan-e gerdui (walnut cookies), made of walnut flour flavored with cardamom and garnished with pistachio slivers;
Noghls (sugar-coated almonds)
Sohan asali (honey almonds), cooked with honey and saffron and garnished with pistachios.
From the first day of Nowruz celebrations, people visit each other’s house. The main Nowruz food during this while is mainly pastries, sweets, sherbets, nuts and fruits. Nowruz parties are also held and it is a good time for all accompanied with traditional mouthwatering Nowruz food delicacies. Some of the more popular Nowruz dishes include:
Sabzi Polo Mahi Rice tinted vivid green with herbs and served with fried fish
Sabzi polo is a brilliant green version of the famous Persian “polo,” or pilaf, rice dishes. The green comes from a variety of herbs that give an otherwise plain dish a sublime flavor. Pair sabzi polo with fried fish, and you have sabzi polo va mahi, the traditional Nowruz Persian New Year meal. Other herbs that can be used include fenugreek leaves and garlic chives. For an extra special dish, sprinkle a big pinch of saffron into the stock or water.
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